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Permanent migration has long been vital to the story of Australia. From the arrival of early settlers to waves of post-war immigration, the symbolic moment of disembarking onto Australian soil is an image deeply embedded in our nation’s consciousness.
Today, there are more than million temporary migrants living in Australia. They work, pay tax and abide by our laws, yet they remain unrecognised as citizens. All the while, this rise in temporary migration is redefining Australian society, from wage wars and healthcare benefits, to broader ideas of national identity and cultural diversity.
In Not Quite Australian, award-winning journalist Peter Mares draws on case studies, interviews and personal stories to investigate the complex realities of this new era of temporary migration. Mares considers such issues as the expansion of the 457 work visa, the unique experience of New Zealand migrants, the internationalisation of Australia’s education system and our highly politicised asylum-seeker policies to draw conclusions about our nation’s changing landscape.
Not Quite Australian is packed with fresh insight and challenging new ideas for understanding Australia’s growing culture of temporary migration.
‘Mares is indefatigable in his data gathering and scrupulously even-handed in weighing the evidence. He strikes an exquisite balance between the personal and scholarly, the humane and tough-mindedness. Not Quite Australian is big-picture storytelling with a pulse, always keeping ideals, blunt realities and people — the exposed who want a place and the lucky ones entrenched here — in the frame.’
‘Compellingly readable…[Mares’] research is comprehensive, intellectually deft, ethically and philosophically grounded – but digestible, and personally attested…This is on-the-ground, people-focused journalism of the highest kind.‘
‘Mares has once again presented a controversial and complicated topic with clarity and humanity. At a time when a national conversation about what it means to be Australian (or unAustralian) seems daily social media fodder, Not Quite Australian is an important contribution. And a reminder of the importance of thorough, slow-burn journalism in the hot-takes age.’
‘An important and timely contribution to the debate about how Australia should handle the migration of people to its territory, and I highly recommend it.’
‘This detailed, careful and topical book is illuminated by the personal stories of individuals and families caught up in a complex and bureaucratic system, and it leaves a lasting impression of an Australia that is becoming a two-tiered country…Powerful and persuasive.’
‘This book is one which should be read by policymakers and concerned citizens alike.’
‘One of the most important books published in Australia in 2016. An impressive account of one of the biggest scandals in contemporary Australia; how we’ve sleepwalked into a policy environment that encourages the systemic exploitation of an underclass of millions of temporary migrants in our country.’