Sorry litany of misinformation

Robert Manne; 6/2/10

Keith Windschuttle accused some historians of supporting gross overestimates of the number of Stolen Generations Aborigines. Here, a reply from one of the academics he criticised. Late last year the third volume of Keith Windschuttle’s self-published magnum opus The Fabrication of Aboriginal History: The Stolen Generations, 1881-2008 appeared. From a political point of view, Windschuttle’s book is probably irrelevant. Most Australians have accepted the justice of the Rudd apology; most of the right-wing commentariat have “moved on”. From an ideological point of view, it ought not to be ignored. The question of the Stolen Generations has been one of the most important fronts in the Australian history wars.Windschuttle’s case can be summarised like this. While there were many separations of Aboriginal children, the numbers have been wildly exaggerated. More importantly, the Aboriginal children removed by force were not stolen. They were removed for the same welfare reasons neglected white children were. Anti-Aboriginal racism played virtually no part in the removal process. Far from being concerned to destroy the Aboriginal people, the removals were justified and motivated by good intentions. Windschuttle regards the idea of the Stolen Generations as a left-wing myth whose purpose is to defame Australia.