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

Santilla Chingaipe is a journalist and filmmaker whose work explores migration, cultural identities and politics. She is a regular contributor to the Saturday Paper, and serves as a member of the Federal Government’s Advisory Group on Australia-Africa Relations (AGAAR). 

Chingaipe wrote and directed the documentary series Third Culture Kids for the ABC. Other credits include the short documentary Black As Me.

Her first book of non-fiction detailing the stories of convicts of African descent transported to the Australian penal colonies, is forthcoming with Picador in 2021.

The recipient of several awards, Chingaipe was recognised at the United Nations as one of the most influential people of African descent in the world in 2019. 

Portrait of Peter Mares

Peter Mares

Peter Mares is lead moderator with The Cranlana Programme, an independent, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to developing the ethical decision-making skills of Australia’s leaders. Peter is also contributing editor at Inside Story magazine and adjunct fellow at Swinburne University’s Centre for Urban Transitions. He is a former ABC broadcaster and the author of three books, including No Place Like Home: Repairing Australia’s Housing Crisis (Text 2018).

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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