Australia and the British Embrace

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Author: Stuart Ward
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Until a generation ago, 'Britishness' lay at the heart of Australian political culture. How and why did this fundamental idea lose its meaning for Australians and their political institutions?

The popular view is that the British ideal succumbed to a triumphant, long-thwarted Australian nationalism. The reality is much more complex. Having weighed the documentary evidence, Stuart Ward vigorously argues that it was not Australia but the 'Mother Country' that set the pace.

The critical move was the Macmillan Government's decision in the early 1960s to seek membership of the European Economic Community. Thereafter, the ties of imperial sentiment and the dictates of national self-interest were essentially irreconcilable. Australia s attachment to being British was profoundly shaken, and the contours of Australian nationhood were irreversibly redrawn.

Australia and the British Embraceis an engrossing account of the unravelling of Britishness in Australian political life. The consequences of that unravelling continue to dominate Australian politics--from multiculturalism to Aboriginal reconciliation, engagement with Asia and, above all, the pro

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