Some of the expats he interviews come across as profoundly narcissistic. For instance, Holly Lyons, now living in London complains that,
In Australia the television industry is ageist. As a 22-year-old woman, it was impossible to get work heading a script department.
Yes, Holly, it's tough not being able to start out at the top.
A lot of the expats, though, complain about a lack of job opportunities in Australia. This is interesting, as our Government justifies its immigration programme on the basis that Australia has too few skilled workers; the expats are providing evidence that the opposite is true and that there is an oversupply.
How do you fix this situation? Ryan Heath's solution is not to give preference to Australian youngsters seeking professional work, ahead of overseas applicants. Instead, it's actually to increase overseas migration and to create vacancies by kicking the older generation of Australians out of work (The charming title of his book, addressed to baby boomers, is Please Just F*** Off, It's Our Turn Now).
Heath is serious when he calls for more immigration. He wants Australia to be more globalised in its demographics and writes,
The truth is that Australia doesn't really have a world city - and it's too deluded to realise what it needs to do to create one.
Reading the morning papers in the aftermath of th 2005 London bombings, I was struck by the faces of London. Thirty-two of the 39 photos of victims that stared at us that next morning were under 35 and looked like the United Nations.
That's when I realised what a real "world city" is. It's not easy; it's not white; it's not old. It's crazy and colourful and out of control in a way I don't recognise in Australia.
This is not the most obvious conclusion to draw from the London bombings. But equally odd is Heath's next argument. He claims that Sydney is only a middle-ranking city and that,
it takes no great leap of the imagination to put Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro or Johannesburg on the same footing as Sydney. But it's a real challenge for white chauvinists to think that a Portuguese-speaking city might be more interesting.
The funny thing about this quote is that I have often wondered whether liberals really want Australia to end up like Brazil. And it seems that for Ryan Heath the answer is actually yes. He thinks it could only be chauvinism which might make an Australian prefer Sydney to Rio.
Ryan Heath, as you may have guessed, is not a politically neutral commentator. His leftist credentials include being a National Union of Students representative, and working as an Australian Labor Party adviser and refugee advocate.
He is not, though, considered to be radically leftist; some have actually critised his book for selling out the cause, and Heath himself wrote in reply to one correspondent that,
I am more glad that you still called me 'left'. I think quite a few people worry I have abandoned that perspective.
So he is not even on the far left. The gap between liberals, even of the mainstream variety, and the rest of us seems to be growing ever larger.