In recent years race has moved from the fringe and to centre stage. The number of immigrants; the contest over Aboriginal land rights; the 'Asianisation' of Australia; the response to the Stolen Generations; the treatment of asylum-seekers; the fate of Reconciliation; international scrutiny of our human rights record: hardly a day passes without news stories prompted by current policies on these and other issues with a racial dimension. Race has an old history in the making of the Australian nation but why has it now re-emerged with renewed vigour? How has race become so prominent? Who reaps the benefits? Will race continue to shape politics in the years ahead? Race sets out to make sense of this issue's new and increasingly disturbing profile in public life.