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Rusted Off

Why Country Australia is Fed Up

Gabrielle Chan



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03 September 2018
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Gabrielle Chan is uniquely positioned with being a press-gallery journo in Canberra's cauldron, while living in a country town, married to a farmer, and of a Chinese immigrant parent. With this experience base, she goes deep into the psyche of the country mind-set, teasing out the conditions that define the country/city divide and its expression in protest voting patterns for independents and minor parties. Disenfranchised and dealt out. Recommended for those wanting to know more about root causes, as the world lurches to the right in the wake of Brexit and Trump, in an Australian context. Craig Kirchner


A big story from a small town.

Telling the story of Australia as it is today, Gabrielle Chan has gone hyper-local. In Rusted Off, she looks to her own rural community’s main street for answers to the big questions driving voters. Why are we so fed up with politics? Why are formerly rusted-on country voters deserting major parties in greater numbers than their city cousins? Can ordinary people teach us more about the way forward for government?

In 1996 – the same year as Pauline Hanson entered parliament – Gabrielle, the city-born daughter of a Chinese migrant, moved to a sheep and wheat farm in country New South Wales. She provides a window into her community where she raised her children and reflects on its lessons for the Australian political story. It is a fresh take on the old rural narrative, informed by class and culture, belonging and broadband, committees and cake stalls, rural recession and reconciliation.

Along the way, Gabrielle recounts conversations with her fellow residents, people who have no lobby group in Canberra, so we can better understand lives rarely seen in political reporting. She describes communities that are forsaking the political process to move ahead of government. Though sometimes facing polar opposite political views to her own, Gabrielle learns the power of having a shared community at stake and in doing so, finds an alternative for modern political tribal warriors.
Imprint:   Vintage
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 233mm,  Width: 155mm,  Spine: 29mm
Weight:   430g
ISBN:   9780143789284
ISBN 10:   0143789287
Pages:   336
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Gabrielle Chan is a journalist with 30 years experience, mostly on The Australian but in latter years at the ABC, the Hoopla and now at Guardian Australia. She has written/edited three books. She met and married a farmer and moved to the bush in 1996, the year that Pauline Hanson first entered parliament. She heard those conversations, lived the main street political debate in a small town west of Canberra, while reporting on Hanson's first speech from the federal press gallery. Gabrielle raised two children at the local bush school and was intimately involved in the town at a grass roots level. Gabrielle is the only person who can tell both sides of this story in such a unique way.

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