at The Wheeler Centre

Not Quite Australian: Citizenship and Belonging

The goalposts for Australian citizenship status have often shifted over the course of our history. Most recently, new laws passed by the Turnbull Government have given increased power to the executive in making decisions on individuals’ citizenship cases. What are the personal costs of this friction between issues of national security and human rights? And what happens when people who are Australian in all but name are denied the rights and protections guaranteed to citizens?

For this discussion, we’ll bring together two journalists who have undertaken investigations into these issues: Kristina Kukolja and Peter Mares. Kukolja’s documentary, Unwanted Australians, looks into the case of hundreds of post-war immigrants who were denied naturalisation for decades, with no official reason and no chance to appeal. Peter Mares’s book, Not Quite Australian, examines the growing phenomenon of temporary migration in Australia. Right now, there are more than one million temporary migrants living on our shores.

With host Santilla Chingaipe, the pair will discuss how the lack of – or loss of – citizenship affects the fabric of our nation.

(Illustration: First Dog on the Moon)


Portrait of Santilla Chingaipe

Santilla Chingaipe

Zambian-born Santilla Chingaipe is an award winning journalist and documentary filmmaker. She spent seven years working for SBS World News, which saw her reporting from Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia and interviewing some of Africa’s most prominent leaders.

She reports extensively on Australia’s diverse African community and recently presented a one-off documentary for SBS, Date My Race, which aired in February. Santilla is currently directing and producing documentary on the complexities of Australia’s South Sudanese community.

Portrait of Peter Mares

Peter Mares

Peter Mares is an independent writer and researcher. He is a contributing editor for online magazine Inside Story and a senior moderator with The Cranlana Programme. Peter was a broadcaster with the ABC for twenty-five years, serving as a foreign correspondent based in Hanoi and presenting national radio programs. His latest book is Not Quite Australian: How Temporary Migration Is Changing the Nation. 

Portrait of Kristina Kukolja

Kristina Kukolja

Kristina Kukolja is a multi award-winning journalist with SBS World News, based in Melbourne. With fellow journalist Lindsey Arkley she is the co-author of Unwanted Australians, a special investigation revealing the scope of past Australian governments’ refusal of citizenship to migrants on political grounds for decades until the 1970s. The series of multimedia reports has also given voice to the first collective call for official acknowledgment by a group of those affected and their families.  

In 2010 she received a Walkley Award for her work on Echoes of Srebrenica



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