New book outlines the liberal case for national reconciliation

Senator Andrew Bragg was appointed as a visiting fellow of the Institute this year and was commissioned to write a book making the liberal case for national reconciliation.

His book, Buraadja: The Liberal Case for National Reconciliation, provides a powerful account of the Liberal Party’s approach to Indigenous affairs. Bragg evaluates the party’s record of successes and failures frankly, and proposes this as an important basis for developing effective approaches to a number of pressing issues.

Bragg considers the problems faced by Indigenous people today through two contrasting lenses: the extremist lens of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the moderate lens of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. He argues that the Uluru Statement offers a modest approach to addressing problems by recognising Indigenous peoples in the Constitution, giving a Voice, and coming to terms with Australia’s history.

Stan Grant remarks, “Andrew Bragg is up for a fight: a fight for a more just Australia and he’s taking on his own political tribe.”

The acclaimed Indigenous filmmaker Rachel Perkins launched Buraadja by Zoom on 3 May with ACU’s Vice-Chancellor, Zlatko Skrbis.

She said, “At last, a pathway articulated by a Liberal to complete the unfinished business of liberalism in Australia.”

Bragg draws on liberal values to make a compelling case for national reconciliation in Australia. He offers some practical suggestions for remembering our history, listening to Indigenous people, and planning for the future.

The launch received extensive media coverage, including an article on the front page and an excerpt from the book in the Weekend Australian on 1 May.

On 6 May, South Australian premier Steven Marshall spoke at an event at Parliament House in Adelaide, which was reported in The Australian and other media. At the launch, the premier announced his plans for an Indigenous voice to be established in South Australia.

This was followed by an event in Canberra on 13 May at which Indigenous Australians minister Ken Wyatt spoke about the book at Parliament House together with Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies CEO Craig Ritchie.

“Bragg offers an insightful look into the past and invites us all to look at the future of Indigenous affairs policy as well as the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead,” he said.

Federal treasurer, Josh Frydenberg was due to speak about Buraadja at a lunch in Melbourne on 31 May, which had to be postponed due to the lockdown.

NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian spoke at an event with the Vice-Chancellor and ACU alumna Theresa Ardler at Berkelouw bookshop in Paddington on 7 June. The event was reported in The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian. In his remarks, Senator Bragg was very forthright in his praise for ACU. He stated, “The ACU has done more of the serious policy work in this area than any other institution and the only way you’re going to win a referendum, ultimately, is if non-Indigenous people spend some time thinking about these issues”.

Bragg addressed the Sydney Institute on 8 June about the issues he raises in the book. This was followed by an opinion piece by Institute policy advisor Damien Freeman in The Australian on 9 June.

A final event is planned for 16 August at KPMG’s Brisbane offices, which will also celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Neville Bonner as the first Aboriginal parliamentarian in Australia. If you would like to attend this event, please contact the Institute.


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