One in three Australians have Irish origins - and this is reflected in the national character. The humour; the sense of self-mockery; ideals of fair play; the dislike of pomp and bombast; the celebration of noble failure; are all characteristics both Irish and Australian. The story of the Irish in Australia has been one of conflict, often echoing dramatic events in Ireland. It’s a history that has been potentially so divisive that it has been ignored. But it is the key to understanding why Australia has become the democratic nation that it is, and yet remains ambivalent on national issues.