Rural insight on offer

By Madeleine Caccianiga

Author and city-born daughter of a Chinese migrant, Gabrielle Chan will share the story of her published book, Rusted Off: Why Country Australia is Fed Up with the Goulburn Valley this month.

The title provides a window into the community where Gabrielle raised her children and reflects on its lessons for the political story in Australia, where in 1996 she moved to a sheep and wheat farm in country NSW.

Goulburn Valley Libraries senior projects librarian Jan Sutton said the story was a fresh take on the old rural narrative, informed by class and culture, belonging and broadband, committees and cake stalls, rural recession and reconciliation.

‘‘Telling the story of Australia as it is today, Gabrielle 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,’’ Ms Sutton said.

‘‘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?’’

Along the way, Gabrielle recounts conversations with her fellow residents, people who have no lobby group in Canberra to better understand the 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, she learns the power of having a shared community at stake and in doing so, finds an alternative for modern political tribal warriors,’’ Ms Sutton said.

■Gabrielle will be speaking on Sunday, September 23, from 2pm at Shepparton Library, 41 Marungi St, Shepparton. To book a place, phone Shepparton Library on 1300 374 765 or email [email protected] by Thursday, September 20.