Advancing Public Debate

Sunday, 19 September 2010 18:55 Cassandra Reviews - Articles

One of the best things about living in a democracy like Australia is our freedom to say and do what we like, so long as it’s not against the law. Argument and debate on a wide range of topics are an integral part of our lives: whilst such arguments can sometimes get quite heated, it’s accepted that the mark of a free society is that all aspects of a topic (except maybe global warming!) are open to question.

It was therefore with great pleasure that I noticed that The Victorian Premier’s Literary Award shortlist for 2010 had just been announced. The Alfred Deakin Prize for an Essay Advancing Public Debate ($15,000) has shortlisted 3 essays deemed worthy of being awarded this grand sum of money. They are:

Wal is quite the literary critic himself. Last year he was on the panel of judges:
2009 Winner & Shortlist The Nettie Palmer Prize for Non-fiction
Judges: Helen MacDonald (convenor), Waleed Aly, Chris McAuliffe, Brenda Niall and Sue Turnbull

Sadly, Wal’s essay was only available by subscription, so I was not able to conduct my own critical appreciation. However, the next best way of judging the quality of a work must surely be to rely on SBS’s Jacquie Riddell, who voted it “BEST Number 1”

Australian multiculturalism is not as patriotic as American multiculturalism.
It's that time of the year, the time for reflection.
Over the next few weeks, I am going to dig out some BESTS to share with you.
Here's the first one.
This article Patriot Acts by Waleed Aly and published in The Monthly in June was one of the most inspiring reads this year.
Waleed, who is an Australian academic, rock musician and lawyer, beautifully contasts the laconic nature of our brand of multiculturalism, with the patriotic United States version of multiculturalism.
It's well worth the read.

So there you are: If Jacquie thinks it’s the best, it must be deserving of the award!