In response to my case in Quadrant Online that he had given a false account of Commonwealth government support for policies on “breeding out the colour” in the 1930s, Robert Manne appeared on the ABC radio program Late Night Live on Tuesday night February 2. Manne said he had a document that proved my accusations wrong. He read it aloud to interviewer Phillip Adams.
The document was nothing more than one he had used in 2001 in his Quarterly Essay, In Denial: The Stolen Generations and the Right, and whose existence I acknowledged in Volume Three of The Fabrication of Aboriginal History. It was an internal memo from the Department of the Interior to the Department of Foreign Affairs in December 1938, which did not have the meaning Manne attributed to it in either his 2001 essay or in his ABC radio interview. This was the sole document Manne was able to provide in response to my charge that he failed to report:
(i) a cabinet decision in September 1933,
(ii) advice from the head of the Department of the Interior to his Minister, and
(iii) a statement to the House of Representatives in August 1934, all of which denied Commonwealth support for breeding out the colour.
Manne did not mention the absence of these events from his account of Commonwealth policy, nor did Adams question him about this.
When asked by Adams about another of my charges, that the removal of Aboriginal children was not related to the question of breeding out the colour, Manne failed to provide any evidence at all, apart from his own confident assurances, in support of his case.
Manne has indicated that he will soon present further responses, in writing, to my charges against him. I will provide a more detailed analysis of his claims as soon as they are published.
Robert Manne’s Late Night Live interview is here…
Keith Windschuttle was interviewed on Counterpoint here…
Keith Windschuttle’s “Robert Manne: a case to answer” is here…