The Idea of Australia: A search for the soul of the nation by Julianne Schultz


Schultz reflects on how we might shake off our fears, our mediocrity and our moral torpor, and rediscover the country we once promised to be’ KERRY O’BRIEN

‘A penetrating analysis’ MELISSA LUCASHENKO

‘A triumph of art, politics, literature, history, and the deepest scholarship…A towering achievement.’ JENNY HOCKING

What is the ‘idea of Australia’? What defines the soul of our nation? Are we an egalitarian, generous, outward-looking country? Or is Australia a place that has retreated into silence and denial about the past and become selfish, greedy and insular?

A lifetime of watching Australia as a journalist, editor, academic and writer has given Julianne Schultz a unique platform from which to ask and answer these critical questions. The global pandemic gave her time to study the X-ray of our country and the opportunity for perspective and analysis. Schultz came to realise that the idea of Australia is a contest between those who are imaginative, hopeful, altruistic and ambitious, and those who are defensive and inward-looking. She became convinced we need to acknowledge and better understand our past to make sense of our present and build a positive and inclusive future. She suggests what Australia could be: smart, compassionate, engaged, fair and informed.

This important, searing and compelling book explains us to ourselves and suggests ways Australia can realise her true potential. Urgent, inspiring and optimistic, The Idea of Australia presents the vision we need to fully appreciate our great strengths and crucial challenges.

‘Timely, bracing, and ultimately hopeful’ YASSMIN ABDEL-MAGIED

‘Disruptive, bold and brilliant’ CLARE WRIGHT

‘A brilliant successor to Donald Horne’s The Lucky Country’ TOM GRIFFITHS

‘A contemporary classic in the making’ CHRISTINE WALLACE

‘Utterly compelling, engrossing and extraordinary’ ANNE TIERNAN

‘A wonderfully enthralling read’ ROSLYN ATKINSON

‘Subtle, powerful and compelling’ GLYN DAVIS

‘Essential reading’ FRANK BONGIORNO

‘A stunning book’ ANN CURTHOYS

‘A marvellous read’ TONY KOCH

‘Beautifully written’ MATT FOLEY