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How Martin Krygier ambushed the Quadranters…

And on Michael Duffy’s Counterpoint too. There they all were on the 18th September celebrating Quadrant’s 50th anniversary, and there was Martin, son of magazine founder Richard Krygier, along with the venerable Dame Leonie Kramer, P P McGuinness (the current editor) and of course the sometimes dippy Duffy, all bent on lauding John Howard’s favourite magazine, in what may also be John Howard’s favourite radio show, with the possible exception of Alan Jones at breakfast on 2GB of course. And it was all going swimmingly until the last few minutes:

Michael Duffy: Martin, can I ask you the same question? Before 1989 Quadrant had a neat role, if you like, a very specific role. What is or ought its role to be? Or does it still have a role?

Martin Krygier: Here I’d part company with my colleagues on the panel. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on September 29, 2006 in Aussie interest, Cultural and other, Current affairs, Indigenous Australians, Multiculturalism and diversity

 

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Is applying the Quadrant view the answer to the Aboriginal dilemma?

It cannot be denied there are tragic problems in some remote Aboriginal communities, and on that I commend Lateline to all but you really should read The National Indigenous Times as well, especially Wadeye: The truth of the matter.

But is the answer a new paternalism, as Tony Abbott claims? Well, his ideas do deserve to be looked at, but — and here I think I am actually being conservative in the proper sense — I think it is also a fact that we have seen a failure too of the superficially hard-nosed approach of “practical reconciliation”.

It seems to me that Paul Keating’s 1992 Redfern Speech is as relevant, true and seminal today as it was the day it was spoken, when it broke new ground in the reconciliation process. If the present government had not turned its back on the absolutely necessary symbolic actions that speech exemplified and foreshadowed they might be in a better position today to handle the problems of dysfunctional communities with integrity and honour. But that was not to be.
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Posted by on June 21, 2006 in Aussie interest, Current affairs, Indigenous Australians, Multiculturalism and diversity, News and Current Affairs, Politics, Reconciliation, Tony Abbott

 

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I just subscribed to The Monthly online…

…and so should you!

Here’s why.

“For years, everyone had believed that John Howard had promised to leave the prime ministership when asked to do so by his party. In September, the most authoritative voice of the party – a majority of the Liberals in his Cabinet – had asked him to retire. Howard stubbornly refused. Not only had he broken a promise made on a hundred occasions. It was suddenly clear that the promise had been formulated in so cunning a manner that its second half effectively negated its first. This was what one of those who spoke to the recent biographers of the prime minister meant by Howard’s ‘lawyer’s tongue’.”

In the Monthly Comment, Robert Manne presents a balance sheet for the Howard years and provides his final pre-election word on why Australia needs a change of government – on why an ex-mandarin must become the nation’s top banana. Read the rest of this entry »

 

PC not, but in a healthy way

I so bridle at the term “political correctness” that I resolved at the beginning of this year to avoid it. One reason for that is that the term often becomes a fall-back position for those who want to justify their prejudices, to do or say something that probably deserves to be “unspeakable”, or wish to beat up on folk with even mildly progressive thoughts in their heads, asserting as “common sense” the most reactionary attitudes and propositions. On the other hand, Nicholas Hudson pretty much gets it right in the Oxford Dictionary of Modern Australian Usage (2ed 1997).

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Posted by on September 6, 2007 in Education, Films, DVDs, TV

 

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Decline of Australian Literature revisited

Jim Belshaw has posted again today on the “decline” in Australian literature. Note I am keeping the quotation marks, as I still question the concept, which is after all a relative one. He cites in evidence a recent Bulletin article by Peter Pierce, former Professor of Australian Literature at James Cook University. I read that article myself last week, but had not yet commented on it. Jim and I had also had a discussion on the topic on comments here on 11 August.

Peter Pierce writes:

…The number of academic courses in Australian literature has sharply fallen. Less and less of it is taught in schools. The quantity of Australian titles in print (the vital resource for course planning) has shrunk. The number of novels published fell from 60 in 1995 to 32 in 2004. Sales of Australian fiction declined from $123m in 2001 to $73m in 2004. Last year, there were two chairs of Australian literature – only two, and one of them mine – now there is one. Against this parlous background, and in the spirit of regenerating the teaching of our literature in schools and universities, a roundtable, organised by the Literature Board of the Australia Council, was held in Canberra this week.

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Sad but true: the Right is unspeakable but the Left is unelectable

That’s my view, anyway, and has been for years, sorry to say. I despise the present Howard government with a passion, though I try in my commentary (except when in need of a good rant) to give them their due when they do something worthy, which, not quite yet having achieved Evil Empire status, they sometimes do, and there are decent individuals in the government — most of them retiring at the coming election (Bruce Baird, for one) or embattled and marginalised by the reign of the Great Grey Garden Gnome of Kirribilli House, the dreaded Magoo, the Prince of Babbittry.

But the Left don’t get it, to paraphrase Jim Wallis. Squabbling among themselves for the moral high ground or the correct definition of Utopia (just like the seventeenth century Puritans from whom they are descended) they attract minimal support from the majority of people, even if much of their collective wisdom is far sounder than that available from the other side. So I think Kevin Rudd is a breath of fresh air, personally. So long as his own Left don’t get all territorial on him and shoot him down from his own rearguard, cheesed off because he doesn’t make the appropriate noises or perform the appropriate rituals.

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Posted by on August 4, 2007 in Aussie interest, Kevin Rudd, Politics, Pontification and raving

 

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