George Megalogenis is a senior feature writer for The Australian. I’ve often read his articles with admiration and so thought I’d give his book Faultlines a go. The refreshing thing about Megalogenis is that he’s not one of those left/right commentators. Rather, he divides Australia up into two sections: old Australia and new Australia. This is where all our cultural problems lie.
The new part of Australia Megalogenis describes as women who were the daughters of the baby boomers, and who have benefited from the new economy. The majority of our workers are now female. Added to this generation of women are the children of post-war immigrants. They, too, are all doing very well. Statistics show that the children of immigrants do considerably better than the children of ‘white’, Australian born citizens.
Old Australia is, well, old white Australia. Their children are not doing that well at school, and they themselves are not doing too well in the new deregulated economy.
These are the faultlines that Megalogenis uses as the title of his book. These two Australias are where we are currently experiencing our cultural clashes, between the so-called Hansonites and the so-called inner city, cut-off-from-reality elites. Megalogenis believes that it is the new Australia that is going to shape the future of the country: that will mean, a generation that is pro-republic, pro-reconciliation and at least for a softer policy on refugees.
There are also some pretty interesting chapters on John Howard’s rhetoric and the way he sees the electorate and manipulates it to his advantage.
This is not an earth shattering book, but nonetheless it does throw up a few new perspectives. Megalogenis seems like a nice, good natured guy. We need more of that in our political debate. Too many bat for one team or the other, and they bat hard against each other. This author opens up new lines of inquiry about our country. I hope he writes another book.
PS: He has actually just written a new book, would you believe. He was interviewed by Maxine McKew on Lateline a few days ago.