Published: 24 February, 2020

Making history, MPs and Senators discussed Bruce Pascoe’s book, Dark Emu at the first Australian Parliamentary Book Club last night.

During a nation-wide call out for nominations, Pascoe’s award-winning non-fiction book was a clear favourite.

Bruce Pascoe and Anna Moulton, CEO of Dark Emu publisher Magabala Books, attended the evening and had a conversation with MPs and Senators about the book over pizza and drinks.

Bruce Pascoe and Anna Moulton from Magabala with Grahame and Hollie, holding the Dark Emu book

Pascoe said “The reading and lively discussion of Dark Emu in the Parliamentary Book Club, will I hope, add momentum to the discussion on how all Australians can take better care for our country. This is our shared country we are talking about, she deserves our most considered thought.”

Anna Moulton said, “Dark Emu has played an important role in helping Australians reconsider long-held beliefs about pre-Colonial Australia.  Of course it’s not just about the past, and we’re very hopeful that the discussions will have positive ripple effects. All Australians have so much to gain by embracing the achievements, culture and wisdom of First Australians.”

A spread of the books Dark Emu, Young Dark Emu, Dark Emu In The Classroom spread out on a table

The Parliamentary Book Club is a new, bi-partisan initiative led by Senator Hollie Hughes and Graham Perrett MP as part of the Parliamentary Friends of Australian Books and Writers group.

NSW Senator Hollie Hughes said “Dark Emu is a fascinating account of ancient practices that remain relevant – and the timing of the spotlight on Bruce’s remarkable text is poignant.”

Graham Perrett MP, Federal Member for Moreton said, “Bruce Pascoe’s ‘Dark Emu’ made my deep love for Australia even more profound.  Through the prism of more than 60,000 years of carefully laid out history of First Nations People I re-discovered the essence of a home that I thought I knew.  Now I know it better and even more proudly.”

Pizza in open boxes in the foreground as polliticians listen to and talk to Bruce Pascoe and Anna Moulton from Magabala books about Dark Emu as part of the first Parliementary Book Club

The call out for recommendations and nominations for the next Parliamentary Book Club book begins Monday 17 February. The next book will be announced in March.

“We will be calling for books, that like Dark Emu, will help us ask deeper questions and have broader conversations about our great nation” said Perrett at the end of the book club.

Perrett shared one of the lessons he learned in reading Dark Emu, “that lesson is encapsulated in the title Dark Emu itself. It stands as a metaphor for looking at the same beautiful southern sky, but seeing from a different perspective. Whether we focus on the bright stars, the constellations named by the Ancient Greeks and Romans, or the deep dark of the universe in between in the shape of an emu. The idea is that we are open to seeing both. And that is part of the great gift of our first Australians.”

What should our politicians read and talk about at the next Parliamentary Book Club?

Find your MPs by postcode here and let them know your recommendation for a reading nation. Email them or tag them on socials!

You have until March 6 to nominate a book by an Australian author published in the last five years.