What I’ve been reading
Multiethnic Australia by Celeste Lipow McLeod. It’s aimed at a US audience, and gives a potted history of Australia since European settlement, from a pro-multiculturalist point of view. More here. Written after the Cronulla riots, the book maintains an optimistic viewpoint, which I think is broadly consistent with our history in the long run.
It’s worth remembering in this context that until quite recently, resentment about immigration and multiculturalism was directed mainly against East Asians. This was true both of Pauline Hanson and of the previous big backlash in the 1980s led by among others, Katherine Betts, Geoffrey Blainey and John Howard. In the decade since Hanson’s famous maiden speech, this kind of prejudice has ebbed dramatically, even as the number of Australians of East Asian background has increased rapidly. And the still older prejudices against Southern Europeans have disappeared almost entirely, along with most of the feelings of resentment and exclusion that were once very strong among these groups.
It may be a while before we overcome our current problems, but I’m confident we’ll do so in the end.