Historical discussion of Australia's relationship with Britain has generally concentrated on asking who won out. Was Australia, as Humphrey McQueen and others have argued, a 'willing, often over-anxious partner' in the British imperial endeavour, or was it a victim of British exploitation, as radical-nationalist writers have long maintained? Clearly the answers to these questions depend on the questioner's own set of values. There is plenty of evidence to support either case. But we also have to query whether the question is worth asking in the first place.