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Not Quite Australian: Citizenship and Belonging


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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)


Santilla Chingaipe

Santilla Chingaipe is a filmmaker, historian and author, whose work explores settler colonialism, slavery, and post-colonial migration in Australia. Chingaipe’s first book of non-fiction detailing the untold stories of convicts of African descent is forthcoming, and the critically acclaimed and aw... Read more

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 Centr... Read more

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 politi... Read more


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