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This paper provides a critical analysis of the cultural and arts policies released by the Keating Labor government of the early 1990s and the current Howard Coalition government. While official definitions of Australian national identity promoted multiculturalism, analysis of Creative Nation, Labor's 1994 cultural policy, and recent statements from the Coalition, exposes the partiality of recent constructions. Both Labor and the Coalition's constructions of identity were based on an economism that was linked to traditional, masculine myths of egalitarianism and ‘mateship’. Such constructions show that neither party has embraced multiculturalism to the degree suggested by policy rhetoric.