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A passion for white elephants : some lessons from Australia’s experience of nation building

Evans, Richard 2008, A passion for white elephants : some lessons from Australia’s experience of nation building. In Butcher, John (ed), Australia under construction : nation building - past, present and future, ANU E Press, Canberra, A. C. T., pp.49-56.

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Title A passion for white elephants : some lessons from Australia’s experience of nation building
Author(s) Evans, RichardORCID iD for Evans, Richard orcid.org/0000-0003-4052-6771
Title of book Australia under construction : nation building - past, present and future
Editor(s) Butcher, John
Publication date 2008
Series ANZSOG series
Chapter number 5
Total chapters 11
Start page 49
End page 56
Total pages 8
Publisher ANU E Press
Place of Publication Canberra, A. C. T.
Keyword(s) federal government -- Australia
politics and culture -- Australia
fiscal policy -- Australia
Australia -- social conditions
Australia -- economic conditions
Australia -- politics and government
Summary A ‘white elephant’ is a magnificent, high-status possession that is not particularly productive, costs a lot to maintain, and which you cannot get rid of. Since colonial times, Australians have had a weakness for white elephants. Traditionally, these were massive, debt-funded public works schemes that were economically, environmentally or socially dubious. In recent years, our white elephants have taken on different guises, but the ruinous expense and misdirected effort remain the same. This paper explores some of the reasons for our society’s historic enthusiasm for white elephants, and suggests some remedies.
ISBN 9781921313776
Language eng
Field of Research 210303 Australian History (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
Socio Economic Objective 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology
HERDC Research category B1.1 Book chapter
Copyright notice ©2008, ANU E Press
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30037141

Document type: Book Chapter
Collection: School of History, Heritage and Society
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