Helen Gilbert


Maurie McNarn's argument that Australia's '[i]nvolvement in Vietnam was the climax of the shift from dependence upon Britain, as an Imperial appendage, to alliance with America, as a satellite'1 is now commonplace, and most historians agree that the same colonialist mentality has governed both patterns of allegiance. The anti-Americanism that characterized our Vietnam period, and which persists in various watered-down forms today, can be seen as 'the latest version of post-colonial defiance which [is] itself the reverse side of Antipodean dependency'. 2 The contemporary theatrical response to Australian intervention in Vietnam attests not only to the complexities of such a positioning in Asian-Pacific politics but also to the dilemma of representation that inevitably faces a culture which has ' relied all too heavily on a military [patriarchal] past for images of national character'.3



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