The Wheeler Centre
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So Who the Bloody Hell Are We?: The Fair Go
In this third instalment of our So Who the Bloody Hell Are We? series exploring Australian identity, Damien Carrick shepherds Melissa Lucashenko, Monica Dux, David Manne and Stuart Macintyre through an examination of the ‘fair go’.
Macintyre reveals the historical basis of the idea and the phrase, while Lucashenko questions whether, in the context of drastic inequality between white and black Australia, ‘fair’ means ‘fair-skinned’. Is the fair go part of a tired blokey mythology that excludes women, refugees and indigenous Australians?
Our panellists share their conflicted responses to Julia Gillard’s Australia Day speech, in which she beckoned Australians to “pursue with new determination the Aussie fair go, which alongside mateship, defines the spirit of our nation.”
Finally, they ask: are we being too hard on the fair go? And if the idiom is not to be taken too literally, what is the power of its emotional appeal? In what other, unexpected ways can it be functional?
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Does the Aussie fair go still mean anything? Can the term be reappropriated to be more meaningful or ‘real’?