Thursday, August 17, 2006

Robert Manne versus Andrew Bolt!

In my tutorial on Wednesday for the notoriously biased and loony left-wing Indigenous People and the State subject I found out that the Melbourne Writer's Festival is holding a debate between Robert Manne and Andrew Bolt. It's on Sunday the 3rd of September. Details on how to buy tickets are at the official website.
Stolen Generations or hijacked history? - a debate

Over the last twenty years, the concept of the Stolen Generations, the abduction of thousands of Aboriginal children from their families by various state authorities up until the 1970s, has slowly gained acceptance. But did it happen at all? What is the evidence? Are we exaggerating a scant few cases into a long-term and widespread policy of destroying Aboriginal families?

This is a debate about history, truth and memory between Robert Manne and Andrew Bolt on the Stolen Generations. Professor of Politics at La Trobe University, Robert Manne has written extensively on the evidence for there being Stolen Generations and the attempt by others to down play it. A popular columnist with the Herald Sun, Andrew Bolt has consistently cast doubts on the idea, calling it a ‘myth’, a construction of certain ‘stolen generations activists’. The moderator will be historian John Hirst.
I think it should be quite a viewing event, given their extremely divergent views.


At August 18, 2006 4:39 pm, Blogger skepticlawyer said...

This should be fun. Bolt will jeer and Manne will froth, while everyone in the audience has a giggle.

At August 18, 2006 8:44 pm, Blogger Rafe said...

A massive myth is being foisted on to us, so far without success (I think). The “stolen generation” turned out to be an elastic figure in the range of 10%-30% of children, without proper reference to those who were “stolen” to save their lives or to remove them from situations where they were outcasts due to their mixed blood.

200 years ago a myth about the horrors of the industrial revolution was put about and it has exerted massive influence ever since. As I wrote at the start of a piece on the mythology of the trade unions, how did so many people manage to be so wrong for so
long? For an explanation, consider what will happen if the contents of the Bringing Them Home (stolen generation) report find their way without qualification into the
standard histories about the treatment of Aboriginal people that are used as the
authoritative sources for all students and laypeople for a century or two. In addition,
imagine a procession of films, novels, TV dramas, ballads and plays, both popular and
highbrow, along the lines of the film The Rabbit-Proof Fence, perpetuating the same message. Then in the future anyone who attempts to tell the truth about this particular topic will have a hard time to get a hearing, especially if one of the major political parties and other significant interest groups benefit from the traditional story and the majority of the intelligentsia are passionately committed to defending it.

Lets see how the myth of the stolen generation fares.

For the piece on the trade unions

At August 18, 2006 8:49 pm, Blogger Rafe said...

For the piece on trade unions, google William Harold Hutt on trade unions.

At August 18, 2006 10:06 pm, Blogger skepticlawyer said...

I don't know enough to be able to comment intelligently.

I do know that my parter (who is part Aboriginal) spent a considerable part of his youth avoiding the 60s and 70s equivalent of DOCS, because they kept trying to whisk him off to a boys' home. That said, he knows Aboriginal kids who did well from removal - one mutual friend went to Melbourne Grammar; another finished up running a chain of popular Brisbane gyms.

We both also know a decent number of disasters - one friend, an Aboriginal woman taken from her parents, was systematically sexually abused by her white adoptive father. The abuse only stopped when she ran away from home.

To me, the larger issue is government willingness to interfere in the lives of people considered - for various reasons - 'non-standard'. The whole episode reeks of the worst sort of paternalism, and offends my fundamental belief that individuals should - as much as possible - make their own decisions about how to live their lives.

There have always been winners and losers in the game of life. I do not think that government intervention - of whatever sort - will change this fundamental reality. It will only mask it.

At August 21, 2006 12:31 am, Blogger scotland said...

Ah Sukrit.

I am willing to overlook your shameless plug on the grounds that the classical liberal/libertarian in you no doubt firmly believed that in service of your own wants and needs your unannounced advertisement would not offend.

And whilst your brazen recruitment drive could hardly be described as offensive, I still feel somewhat wronged by the lack of notice given to the bloggers here at Farrago before you went ahead and used our blogospheric home as a billboard.

However, in keeping with the spirit of your blog, I think all will have to be forgiven and forgotten as I would be hard pushed to claim that my own individual liberty was restrained by your actions - after all, here I am indulging in my own politicking of sorts on your blog.

Anyway, future plugs can be best directed via email to Farrago, and we'll then decide whether of not a university student media outlet is the best (and indeed most equitable) place to run individual ads for other people's blogs.

Best of luck with your blog,


At September 06, 2006 10:56 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it increasingly difficult to understand how anyone with even a limited knowledge of Australian history can deny that the policy of removing Indigenous children deemed to not be 'full blood' from their families to be racially motivated. It was. Accept it.


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