Essential Reading

Insights from Quadrant
Insights from Quadrant

Minister Wyatt makes
his preference clear

On Tuesday morning, Aboriginal Affairs minister Ken Wyatt could tap the wisdom of three people in regard to the ‘Voice” thing. They were Josephine Cashman, who recently complained to the Australian Federal Police that the Dark Emu author is a fraud, and her two fellow panellists, professors Marcia Langton and Tom Calma.

By Tuesday night, Minister Wyatt had only two advisers, having sacked Ms Cashman.

“Ms Cashman’s actions are not conducive to the constructive and collaborative approach required to progress the important co-design process for an indigenous voice,” Wyatt explained.

At this Twitter link, Ms Langton gives voice to the sort of counsel the minister evidently prefers.

Below, Ms Cashman and a voice he rejects.

Ms Langton prefers to believe that misquoted explorers’ journals are “correct”, that Aborigines lived in permanent towns, baked the first bread, invented democracy and were the original agriculturalists.

She obviously hasn’t read Peter O’Brien’s Bitter Harvest, which can be ordered here.

Insights from Quadrant

Bitter Harvest
now on sale

UPDATE: Indigenous Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt has sacked Josephine Cashman from his ‘Voice’ panel, apparently because she complained to the AFP that Bruce Pascoe is not an Aborigine bus has gained monetary advantage by presenting himself as such.

The Australian has the details.

_______________________

The highly readable vivisection of author Bruce Pascoe’s compendium of errors, misrepresentations and misquoted sources depicting Aborigines as sedentary agriculturalists with ‘skills superior to those of the white colonisers who took their land and despoiled it’ is available from Quadrant Books.

With the ABC pointedly ignoring any and all critiques of Dark Emu‘s fantasies as it peddles and promotes Pascoe’s shoddy scholarship, Bitter Harvest is essential reading for those who still believe truth matters.

Order your copy here

Insights from Quadrant

‘The demise of
academic history’

Readers of the Weekend Australian will have enjoyed Geoffrey Blainey’s feature essay on Captain Cook and his voyages — a theme also addressed by Quadrant‘s Keith Windschuttle, at left, in a column we first published in 2018 and reprise today for the Australia Day holiday.

Blainey’s article has inspired a series of spirited debates in The Australian‘s comments thread, with readers arguing the toss about everything from anti-scorbutics to Aboriginal “civilisation”. In the ink-and-paper Letters page, however, a missive from historian Greg Haines made it only so far as the editor’s spike — a pity, as it makes some cutting points about historians and the teaching of history in Australia’s universities. That letter, is reproduced below:

Geoffrey Blainey has well-served Australian History for over half a century. The intellectual pygmies of Melbourne University’s History school, led by careerist Stuart Macintyre, who replaced him as professor, have done so little. They have also pioneered the demise of academic history.

But these relatively irrelevant academics will continue to write their own obituaries, thus continuing the dreary life of their obscurantism. Their demise will have as its memorial empty lecture halls and tutorial rooms. It has already yielded a dearth of sound history tomes by academics, save fanciful, doubtful ones about Aboriginal history, pre-history too. Professorial chairs will remain empty as jobs disappear.

Australia’s imperilled history could well disappear for one or so generations. With it could go knowledge of Australia’s discovery and exploration and development and engineering, of its cultural evolution, of its science and wars and sport and music and schools and government and writing and the stories of its people, their songs of joy and of sorrow.

Compared with Blainey’s wonderful, continuing gifts to our culture, the legacy of these Melbourne (and other) anti-intellectual, academic historians looks like the wasteland of which T S Eliot wrote. A disgrace. Shame on our universities, their leaders especially.

Gregory Haines Ph.C., B.A., Ph.D.
Pharmacist and Historian

Insights from Quadrant

Bitter Harvest gets
the silent treatment

One of the most interesting things about the Dark Emu affair is the fact that a story of genuine public interest — a book of fractured scholarship lionised by the ABC and whose gross misrepresentations are being foisted on schoolchildren — has incited so little curiosity on the part of the mainstream press. You can understand, perhaps, why the national broadcaster would have its attention drawn to a disgrace and yet prefer to look the other way. It has made a substantial investment of faith and money in Emu author Bruce Pascoe and his book’s purported bona fides, and who likes to admit having been played for a sucker?

But from the Age and SMH, not a shred of interest. Likewise the TV free-to-air networks and radio stations. Peter O’Brien, whose page-by-page nailing in Bitter Harvest of Pascoe’s misrepresentations, misquoting and misbegotten notions of Aboriginal “civilisation”, would seem to have a story to tell.

Yet not once has a journalist made contact to discuss his book.

To the extent that any mainstream media attention has been directed at Peter’s prosecutorial brief against Dark Emu, it has been to give the fauxboriginal author a chance to deny he plays fast and loose with primary sources or, when the spirit is upon him, simply makes stuff up. Just such a story appeared on January 19 in the former Fairfax comics, now owned by Nine. Written by the chain’s Melbourne editrix, Jewel Topsfield, as PR release it reads just fine. As journalism, which is supposed to be animated by the obligation to lay all relevant information before readers, it doesn’t even make it into the starting gate.

Order Bitter Harvest here

Still, Ms Topsfield might have been too busy, too distracted to present the full picture. These things happen in modern newsrooms, which are both short-staffed and over-supplied with cheap-to-hire recently graduated J-school alumni. As the Nine papers’ Melbourne chief there must be many moments when she feels less editor than babysitter. So I dashed off a quick note, reproduced below, offering Ms Topsfield the opportunity to chat with Peter O’Brien and get a good yarn out of the encounter:

Dear Ms Topsfield,
I enjoyed your piece this morning on Pascoe, but feel compelled to note that there was a glaring omission: any reference to Peter O’Brien, whose book “Bitter Harvest” systematically and page by page exposes Dark Emu’s shoddy scholarship and outright lies.

Peter is one of my authors at Quadrant Online. I can put you in touch at a moment’s notice and, I assure you, there is an interesting story to be had.

That is, of course, if you actually want such a story.

If the object is to focus on the tertiary issue of Pascoe’s “aboriginality”, thereby avoiding the key issue — lying for fun and profit — then you’ll no doubt ignore this.

For my part, speaking as a journalist, a story is a story — and this is a ripper.

Regards,

Roger Franklin
Editor, Quadrant Online

So far, not a peep by way of response from Ms Topsfield. Silence, as they say, speaks volumes.

Nine years ago in Quadrant, Shelley Gare explored how writers not in accord  with prevailing newsroom sentiments, which is to say green-left ones, are simply ignored. For those at a loss to understand how a monumental fantasy of a book can continue to receive fawning treatment while ill-deserved royalty cheques flow to its author, Death by Silence in the Authors’ Combat Zone will explain a lot.

Essential Reading

Insights from Quadrant
Insights from Quadrant

Minister Wyatt makes
his preference clear

On Tuesday morning, Aboriginal Affairs minister Ken Wyatt could tap the wisdom of three people in regard to the ‘Voice” thing. They were Josephine Cashman, who recently complained to the Australian Federal Police that the Dark Emu author is a fraud, and her two fellow panellists, professors Marcia Langton and Tom Calma.

By Tuesday night, Minister Wyatt had only two advisers, having sacked Ms Cashman.

“Ms Cashman’s actions are not conducive to the constructive and collaborative approach required to progress the important co-design process for an indigenous voice,” Wyatt explained.

At this Twitter link, Ms Langton gives voice to the sort of counsel the minister evidently prefers.

Below, Ms Cashman and a voice he rejects.

Ms Langton prefers to believe that misquoted explorers’ journals are “correct”, that Aborigines lived in permanent towns, baked the first bread, invented democracy and were the original agriculturalists.

She obviously hasn’t read Peter O’Brien’s Bitter Harvest, which can be ordered here.

Insights from Quadrant

Bitter Harvest
now on sale

UPDATE: Indigenous Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt has sacked Josephine Cashman from his ‘Voice’ panel, apparently because she complained to the AFP that Bruce Pascoe is not an Aborigine bus has gained monetary advantage by presenting himself as such.

The Australian has the details.

_______________________

The highly readable vivisection of author Bruce Pascoe’s compendium of errors, misrepresentations and misquoted sources depicting Aborigines as sedentary agriculturalists with ‘skills superior to those of the white colonisers who took their land and despoiled it’ is available from Quadrant Books.

With the ABC pointedly ignoring any and all critiques of Dark Emu‘s fantasies as it peddles and promotes Pascoe’s shoddy scholarship, Bitter Harvest is essential reading for those who still believe truth matters.

Order your copy here

Insights from Quadrant

‘The demise of
academic history’

Readers of the Weekend Australian will have enjoyed Geoffrey Blainey’s feature essay on Captain Cook and his voyages — a theme also addressed by Quadrant‘s Keith Windschuttle, at left, in a column we first published in 2018 and reprise today for the Australia Day holiday.

Blainey’s article has inspired a series of spirited debates in The Australian‘s comments thread, with readers arguing the toss about everything from anti-scorbutics to Aboriginal “civilisation”. In the ink-and-paper Letters page, however, a missive from historian Greg Haines made it only so far as the editor’s spike — a pity, as it makes some cutting points about historians and the teaching of history in Australia’s universities. That letter, is reproduced below:

Geoffrey Blainey has well-served Australian History for over half a century. The intellectual pygmies of Melbourne University’s History school, led by careerist Stuart Macintyre, who replaced him as professor, have done so little. They have also pioneered the demise of academic history.

But these relatively irrelevant academics will continue to write their own obituaries, thus continuing the dreary life of their obscurantism. Their demise will have as its memorial empty lecture halls and tutorial rooms. It has already yielded a dearth of sound history tomes by academics, save fanciful, doubtful ones about Aboriginal history, pre-history too. Professorial chairs will remain empty as jobs disappear.

Australia’s imperilled history could well disappear for one or so generations. With it could go knowledge of Australia’s discovery and exploration and development and engineering, of its cultural evolution, of its science and wars and sport and music and schools and government and writing and the stories of its people, their songs of joy and of sorrow.

Compared with Blainey’s wonderful, continuing gifts to our culture, the legacy of these Melbourne (and other) anti-intellectual, academic historians looks like the wasteland of which T S Eliot wrote. A disgrace. Shame on our universities, their leaders especially.

Gregory Haines Ph.C., B.A., Ph.D.
Pharmacist and Historian

Insights from Quadrant

Bitter Harvest gets
the silent treatment

One of the most interesting things about the Dark Emu affair is the fact that a story of genuine public interest — a book of fractured scholarship lionised by the ABC and whose gross misrepresentations are being foisted on schoolchildren — has incited so little curiosity on the part of the mainstream press. You can understand, perhaps, why the national broadcaster would have its attention drawn to a disgrace and yet prefer to look the other way. It has made a substantial investment of faith and money in Emu author Bruce Pascoe and his book’s purported bona fides, and who likes to admit having been played for a sucker?

But from the Age and SMH, not a shred of interest. Likewise the TV free-to-air networks and radio stations. Peter O’Brien, whose page-by-page nailing in Bitter Harvest of Pascoe’s misrepresentations, misquoting and misbegotten notions of Aboriginal “civilisation”, would seem to have a story to tell.

Yet not once has a journalist made contact to discuss his book.

To the extent that any mainstream media attention has been directed at Peter’s prosecutorial brief against Dark Emu, it has been to give the fauxboriginal author a chance to deny he plays fast and loose with primary sources or, when the spirit is upon him, simply makes stuff up. Just such a story appeared on January 19 in the former Fairfax comics, now owned by Nine. Written by the chain’s Melbourne editrix, Jewel Topsfield, as PR release it reads just fine. As journalism, which is supposed to be animated by the obligation to lay all relevant information before readers, it doesn’t even make it into the starting gate.

Order Bitter Harvest here

Still, Ms Topsfield might have been too busy, too distracted to present the full picture. These things happen in modern newsrooms, which are both short-staffed and over-supplied with cheap-to-hire recently graduated J-school alumni. As the Nine papers’ Melbourne chief there must be many moments when she feels less editor than babysitter. So I dashed off a quick note, reproduced below, offering Ms Topsfield the opportunity to chat with Peter O’Brien and get a good yarn out of the encounter:

Dear Ms Topsfield,
I enjoyed your piece this morning on Pascoe, but feel compelled to note that there was a glaring omission: any reference to Peter O’Brien, whose book “Bitter Harvest” systematically and page by page exposes Dark Emu’s shoddy scholarship and outright lies.

Peter is one of my authors at Quadrant Online. I can put you in touch at a moment’s notice and, I assure you, there is an interesting story to be had.

That is, of course, if you actually want such a story.

If the object is to focus on the tertiary issue of Pascoe’s “aboriginality”, thereby avoiding the key issue — lying for fun and profit — then you’ll no doubt ignore this.

For my part, speaking as a journalist, a story is a story — and this is a ripper.

Regards,

Roger Franklin
Editor, Quadrant Online

So far, not a peep by way of response from Ms Topsfield. Silence, as they say, speaks volumes.

Nine years ago in Quadrant, Shelley Gare explored how writers not in accord  with prevailing newsroom sentiments, which is to say green-left ones, are simply ignored. For those at a loss to understand how a monumental fantasy of a book can continue to receive fawning treatment while ill-deserved royalty cheques flow to its author, Death by Silence in the Authors’ Combat Zone will explain a lot.