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By Stephen Fitzgerald

Shortlisted, nationwide Non-Fiction Award, pageant Awards for Literature 1998 The Australian neighborhood, so valued through Australians and others for its openness and tolerance, its secure manner of doing issues, is at risk of wasting its probability to realize a spot within the new and dynamic Asian group that's coming up in our zone. Our lack of information of our close to neighbours, our 'she'll be correct' angle in the direction of our eurocentred tactics and assumptions, hinder us from making the alterations had to permit us to play an element during this new international. Stephen FitzGerald's dedication to Australia is apparent. He passionately defends our friendly laid-back society, the conduct and values that make humans are looking to come and stay right here. And he commends the adjustments in the direction of 'Asianisation' that experience taken position,

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Although by then not in government, I have known briefings for ministers leading business or cultural or educational delegations to China where it was agreed that there were difficult issues to be firmly addressed but which were forgotten when it came to the point in discussion. One former minister went to China and commended the Chinese bureaucracy (60 million of them, notorious among Chinese for being obstructive, conservative, inefficient and time-serving) as superior to our own in loyalty, efficiency, responsiveness and selflessness!

I don’t really care what Gang of Four China thought, but I do care what Patrick FitzGerald thought. Sinologist, historian and humanist, and founding Professor of Far Eastern History at the Australian National University, he was probably more identified with China in the public mind than anyone else in Australia in the 1950s and 60s. And much of his life, from 1950 onward, was very much about Australians and China and what this meant for our culture and identity. He was concerned with his own identity in relation to China and to his adopted Australia, and with the Australian identity.

So China itself was still at one remove. But China as a symbol was quite central. It was a measure of where you stood on what mattered, on what you wanted for Australia. In important ways it wasn’t about radicals versus conservatives, or the Left versus the anticommunists. It was about those who wanted an identity for Australia based on an idea which belonged to another world and a connection with that other world, with Britain, which was receding, versus those who believed in a new idea for Australia, a new future and a new kind of culture.

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