The four of us have an extract from Imagining Australia in today’s Sydney Morning Herald. It begins:
This Friday Australia will remember the 150th anniversary of the Eureka uprising. Yet never before in our history has Eureka been more marginal. Many perceive the Eureka legend as having been appropriated by extreme groups, and having little relevance to modern Australia.
In its place, Australia has grasped hold of the Anzac legend, in the hope it might serve as our central story. But Gallipoli was no revolutionary war or civil war fought on behalf of universal principles. It was a small, failed campaign in a mostly pointless war to maintain the increasingly dysfunctional idea of balance of power at the heart of Europe. Anzac has little to say about national origins and independence, democracy and institutions or self-confidence and maturity.
Australia should re-elevate Eureka to its previous position as a central legend of Australian nationalism, standing for those distinctly Australian values – egalitarianism, mateship, fairness – together with democracy, freedom, republicanism and multiculturalism.
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