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Mungo MacCallum
Mungo MacCallum

Mungo MacCallum is the author of Quarterly Essay 5: Girt By Sea – Australia, the Refugees and the Politics of Fear. He has long been one of Australia’s most influential and entertaining political journalists, in a career spanning more than four decades.

Mungo has worked with the Australian, the Age, the Financial Review, Sydney Morning Herald and numerous magazines, as well as the ABC, SBS, Channel Nine and Channel Ten. His books include the bestselling Mungo: The Man Who Laughs, Run Johnny Run: The Story of the 2004 Election and Poll Dancing: The Story of the 2007 Election and Punch & Judy: The Double Disillusion Election of 2010, The Good, the Bad and the Unlikely: Australia's Prime Ministers and The Whitlam Mob.

By the author

Quarterly Essay 36: Australian Story
Kevin Rudd and the lucky country

In Australian Story, Mungo MacCallum investigates the political success of Kevin Rudd. What does he know about Australia that his opponents don’t? This is a characteristically barbed and perceptive look at the challenges facing the government and the country. MacCallum argues that the things we used to rely on are not there anymore. On the Right, the blind faith in markets has recently collapsed. The Left lost its guiding light with the demise of the socialist dream

Quarterly Essay 5: Girt By Sea
Australia, the refugees and the politics of fear

In Girt By Sea Mungo MacCallum provides a devastating account of the Howard government's treatment of the refugees as well as delineating the factors in Australian history which have worked towards prejudice and those which have worked against it; ranging from Calwell's postwar immigration policy to the recent revelations of beat-ups and distortions in the 2001 election campaign.

This is a powerful account of how the government played on what was ultimately the race issue. In an essay which is, by terms, witty, dry and bitingly understated, Mungo MacCallum asks what epithets are appropriate for a prime minister who has brought us to this pass. He also raises the question of whether Australia's contemporary treatment of refugees has anything in common with the sane and decent policies that have characterised the better moments in our history.