Fair Enough: Egalitarianism in Australia

By Elaine Thompson | Go to book overview

1
THE SILVER BODGIE AND THE SILVERTAIL

WE HAVE FLATTERED OURSELVES THAT WE ARE NOT AS THE
ENGLISH ARE, VICTIMS OF A CLASS SYSTEM, AND WHEN
OCCASIONALLY EMBARRASSEd by THE INEQUALITY IN OUR
MIDST, HAVE TAKEN REFUGE IN A SENTIMENTAI APPEAL TO
A 'FAIR CO'.

(THE AGE, 8 DECEMBER 1986)

The Australian who 'tips his hat to no man' is part of our folk history. Whether he is found in the bush or on the city streets, this irreverent Australian is one of the strongest of our images of ourselves. Intimidated by no one, he judges people on their merit and treats everyone equally. The use of the masculine here is deliberate, in that this Australian is almost always male. Historian John Hirst, in his seminal piece on egalitarianism, wrote of this Australian as having an egalitarianism of manners ( Hirst 1988b:74-5). Thirty-five years earlier W.E.H. Stanner wrote of the 'relative unimportance of status, class and rank among us; our passionate insistence on a man's

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Fair Enough: Egalitarianism in Australia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vi
  • Introduction vii
  • 1 - The Silver Bodgie and the Silvertail 1
  • 2 - A British Soul 27
  • 3 - The Other Australians 48
  • 4 - The Cult of Disremembering 92
  • 6 - A Fair and Reasonable Living 155
  • 7 - Castles in the Air 193
  • 8 - Tall Poppies, Small Minds 215
  • Conclusion 249
  • References 254
  • Index 270
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