Letter to the Editor

Open Inquiry and Robust Challenge

Sir: I write in relation to Mr Michael Connor’s article in the November issue, “The Academic Cover-Up of Massacre Map Defects”.

Firstly, I thank Mr Connor for bringing his additional corrections forward for consideration. Universities must be places of open inquiry and robust challenge. This is how ideas in society are contested and knowledge is advanced.

Since it began, the Colonial Frontier Massacre website has been a work in progress, with ongoing research resulting in changes to the information on the website. Where new information emerges, this is updated. As with any large project which incorporates community input, there are instances where review of the available data results in changes and corrections.

As Mr Connor has noted, his previous comments were both investigated and acted upon by the University. As with any updates to the information for the project, details of errata are published in the Updates and Changes section of the Colonial Frontier Massacre website. These are transparent and public records. I can assure your readers that there has been no “University cover-up”.

The University stands by the Massacre Map and Emeritus Professor Ryan’s work, which has been nationally and internationally lauded. Should Mr Connor have additional comments, he is encouraged to raise these through the University’s processes.

Alex Zelinsky
(Vice-Chancellor and President, University of Newcastle)


Intergenerational Trauma

Sir: As noted by Keith Windschuttle in “The Never-Ending Story” (September 2021), the Morrison government has endorsed the nebulous notion of intergenerational trauma. Consequently, even great-grandchildren of “Stolen Generations” claimants will be able to share in a redress scheme recently announced by the government. These payments are designed to assist with “intergenerational healing”. Australian taxpayers are expected to foot the staggering $632 million bill.

Despite being labelled “conservative” by its critics, the Morrison government has demonstrated a propensity to both spend like there is no tomorrow and capitulate to every woke orthodoxy under the sun.

Now that the Morrison government has endorsed the concept of intergenerational trauma, will the door be open to a flurry of compensation claims by other groups for real and perceived historical injustices?

For instance, should Australia now re-consider the plight of the descendants of the 168,000 convicts exiled to Australia between 1788 and 1868? A large number of convicts, particularly women and juveniles, were forcibly sent to the Australian colonies for reasons that would now be considered deeply unjust. Those transported here in chains from the British Isles suffered the loss of a homeland and the hardships of the penal system. If we accept the idea that trauma can be passed down through generations, then surely a case could be made for redress payments to those Australians alive today with some convict ancestry.

Alexander Walsh


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