Book Club | Tim Watts MP and Alice Pung (Melbourne)

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Tim Watts MP discusses his new book 'The Golden Country: Australia's Changing Identity' with Alice Pung.

Tim Watts MP

If Asian-Australians make up 12-13% of our population, do we need to redefine our Australian story? If yes, how?

Join Tim Watts MP for Asia Society Australia’s first book club event as he discusses The Golden Country: Australia's Changing Identity, reassessing ‘Australianess’ through a deep dive into Australia’s race and immigration history. Tim will be joined by renowned Australian writer, lawyer and educator Alice Pung for an interactive conversation on inclusive identity and nation building.

Time: 5:30pm – 7:00pm

Date: Thursday 14 November, 2019

Venue: Asia Society Australia, Level 2, 77 Southbank Boulevard, Southbank, VIC 3002

This event is for invited guests only. Registration essential. If you're unsure, please contact programaustralia@asiasociety.org for further information.


About the Speakers

Tim Watts MP, Member for Gellibrand, Shadow Assistant Minister for Communications, Shadow Assistant Minister for Cyber Security

Tim Watts MP

Tim has worked in the IT and telecommunications sector for the better part of a decade, as a Senior Manager at Telstra and a Solicitor at Mallesons Stephen Jaques. He has a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from Bond University, Master of Public Policy from Monash University and Master of Politics and Communication from the London School of Economics.

While Tim’s ancestors arrived in Australia in the 1840s, his wife arrived in Australia from Hong Kong in the 1980s. In this way, Tim’s children are at once both second and sixth generation Australians. As a result, Tim is passionate about protecting the harmonious multicultural society in which we live and understands the specific needs of our multicultural communities.

Tim lives in Footscray with his wife and two children.

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Alice Pung, Author and Educator

Alice Pung

Alice Pung is a writer and lawyer who loves teaching. Alice’s books are studied in secondary schools and universities in Australia as well as the United States, and she has taught writing workshops to students from the ages of 8 to 80 in Australia, China and the States.

Alice is also an Ambassador for the 100 Story Building Project, a social enterprise which helps promote literature and literacy skills to young people in the Western suburbs.

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About the Book

The Golden Country: Australia's Changing Identity

John Howard was the unlikely reformer of Australian society. He loosened migration laws, massively boosting the population and making it less white. Simultaneously, his divisive rhetoric about national identity - a legacy of White Australia - hamstrung discussion of these huge changes.

As the MP for a diverse electorate, the partner of a Hong-Kong-Chinese-Australian and father of Eurasian-Australians, and the descendant of a proponent of laws stopping Chinese people from coming here, Tim Watts asks: Why don't we remember Billy Sing, the Chinese-Australian sharpshooter at Gallipoli, or that Ararat was founded by Chinese miners? Why is Australia's imagined community so far behind our lived community?

The Golden Country challenges us to reckon with the dark heart of Federation, the racial core of the Australian Legend, and to confront outdated notions of Australianness. It crunches the numbers on the economic and social effects of migration, and looks to a more inclusive future.


Our Arts, Culture and Diversity Programs span across visual art and performance, literature, media, technology, education, and community sectors. These unique partner events examine cultural traditions and expressions, celebrate diversity and multiculturalism, and explore a changing Australian society. Run as both public and member only events, this programming stream offers an exciting way to engage with the work of Asia Society Australia.

Event Details

Thu 14 Nov 2019
5:30 - 7 p.m.

Asia Society Australia Centre
Level 2, 77 Southbank Boulevard
Southbank, VIC 3006

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Add to Calendar 20191114T063000 20191114T080000 UTC Asia Society: Book Club | Tim Watts MP and Alice Pung (Melbourne) Asia Society Australia Centre Level 2, 77 Southbank Boulevard Southbank, VIC 3006