Humans are very positive creatures. We prefer to know good things
about ourselves, and not bad. The same goes for our sense of self. For Australians,
most of us would prefer to think of ourselves as being in control of our destinies,
and having the kinds of autonomous lifelines promised by the liberal ideal. We
would also prefer not to acknowledge deprived or disadvantaged backgrounds.
But the reason Australia has a non-indigenous population is precisely because of the
acute deprivation and disadvantage which affected Australia's 18th and early 19th
century forebears. Who, after all, would leave their home to move hal~ a world
away if things were good at home? For Australians with English, Scottish, Insh
and Welsh ancestry, most have forebears who were convicts or free settlers who
left a world of extreme poverty, hardship and deprivation.