Australian literary and cultural journal

Quadrant is a conservative[1] Australian literary, cultural, and political journal, which publishes both online and printed editions. As of 2019[update], Quadrant mainly publishes commentary, essays and opinion pieces on cultural, political and historical issues, although it also reviews literature and publishes poetry and fiction in the print edition. Its editorial line is self-described “bias towards cultural freedom, anti-totalitarianism and classical liberalism.”[2]

The magazine was founded in Sydney in 1956[3][4] by Richard Krygier, a Polish–Jewish refugee who had been active in social-democrat politics in Europe and James McAuley, a Catholic poet, known for the anti-modernist Ern Malley hoax. It was originally an initiative of the Australian Committee for Cultural Freedom, the Australian arm of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, an anti-communist advocacy group funded by the CIA.[5]
The name Quadrant was suggested by the publisher Alec Bolton, husband of the poet Rosemary Dobson (she had declined to join the editorial board of Quadrant, not wanting to be seen as “part of the right”).[6]
It has had many notable contributors, including Les Murray, who was its literary editor from 1990 to 2019,[7]: 240  Peter Ryan, who wrote a column from 1994 to 2015, Heinz Arndt, Sir Garfield Barwick, Frank Brennan, Ian Callinan, Hal Colebatch, Peter Coleman, Sir Zelman Cowen, Anthony Daniels, Joe Dolce, David Flint, Lord Harris of High Cross, Paul Hasluck, Dyson Heydon, Sidney Hook, A. D. Hope, Barry Humphries, Clive James, John Kerr, Michael Kirby, Frank Knopfelmacher, Peter Kocan, Christopher Koch, Andrew Lansdown, John Latham, Douglas Murray, Patrick O’Brien, Sharon Olds, George Pell, Pierre Ryckmans, Roger Sandall, Roger Scruton, Clement Semmler, Greg Sheridan, James Spigelman, Sir Ninian Stephen and Tom Switzer, as well as several Labor and Liberal political figures, including Bob Hawke, John Howard, Tony Abbott, Mark Latham and John Wheeldon.
After the publication of the 1997 Bringing Them Home report about the Stolen Generations, Quadrant published a number of articles critical of the report’s methodology and conclusions. Professor Robert Manne, who edited the magazine from 1990 to 1997, claimed that the Howard Government’s response to Bringing Them Home was influenced by and “collusive with” Quadrant’s position.[8]
As of 2017[update], commentators describe the magazine as presently having a strong right-wing bias and even engaging in extremism.[9][10]
In the week following the Manchester Arena bombing, Quadrant’s online editor Roger Franklin wrote an article titled “The Manchester Bomber’s ABC Pals”,[11] referring to the ABC’s Q&A TV program. In it he wrote, “Had there been a shred of justice, that blast would have detonated in an Ultimo TV studio”[12] and “…none of the panel’s likely casualties would have represented the slightest reduction in humanity’s intelligence, decency, empathy or honesty”.[13][14] ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie called for the article to “be removed and apologised for”.[15] Quadrant editor-in-chief Keith Windschuttle acknowledged that the article was “intemperate” and “a serious error of judgment” and apologised for the offence it had caused,[10] and the article was removed from the website.[16]

Stance and values[edit]
In October 1992, Dame Leonie Kramer, then the Chairman of the magazine’s Board of Directors, discussed the “deep values” of Quadrant:

“the intrinsic value of cultural and intellectual freedom and of inquiry…”
“cultural and intellectual freedoms, indeed negative liberties generally, depend upon an abundance of autonomous institutions and an open society…”
“political democracy… support of particular democratic institutions, and a culture that accepts peaceful and democratic modes of government and change of government…”
“liberal democracy, that is democracy that respects individual liberty… insists that government be limited: by other holders of political and economic resources, by legally protected private property, by free media, and most of all by the rule of law, that is the restraint and channelling of power by law…”
“the virtues, and commonly the wisdom, borne by traditions in social and moral life… It has not pretended that traditions have all the answers or should be treated with uncritical reverence… It has, however, recommended that… long established moral and social practices be treated with respect and caution.”
“an economic order in which markets are allowed to work – within the rule of law (and the framework of property rights) – as sources of information, as ingredients and supporters of liberty and as facilitators of competitive private enterprise and individual choice…”.[17]
In 2007, Quadrant’s mission was described by its editor as:

To defend the great tradition of free and open debate, to make possible dissent, while at the same time insisting on both civilised discourse and rational argument. This mission is not the same as at Quadrant’s founding, but it is not dissimilar. For while the communist dictatorship is no more, the love of anti-democratic dictators still survives among many intellectuals, as does their determination to impose their own strange beliefs on the population as a whole.[18]
In March 2008, the magazine was describing itself as sceptical of “unthinking leftism, or political correctness, and its ‘smelly little orthodoxies'”.[5] Regular contributors often support conspiracy theories viz that covid-19 has mild impact and that global warming is a hoax, and the 2020 US election was fraudulent.[10][19][20]
As of November 2019[update], the magazine simply describes itself as “Australia’s most open minded publication”;[21] while its home page includes articles critical of climate scientists, the ABC and “the Left’s triumphal anti-clericalism.”[22]

In January 2009, Quadrant unknowingly published a hoax article. Its author, writer, editor and activist Katherine Wilson, stated that she aimed to show that the magazine and editor Keith Windschuttle had right-wing bias. Wilson claimed Windschuttle and Quadrant would publish an inaccurate article and not check its footnotes or authenticity if it met his preconceptions. Using the pseudonym “biotechnologist Dr Sharon Gould”, Wilson submitted an article claiming that CSIRO had planned to produce food crops engineered with human genes.[23][24][25]


Management structure[edit]
Editorial staff[edit]
Editor Quadrant magazine: Keith Windschuttle[28]
Editor, International, Quadrant magazine: John O’Sullivan[28]
Editor, Quadrant Online: Roger Franklin
Literary Editor: Barry Spurr[29]
Deputy Editor: George Thomas
See also[edit]


^ John Chiddick (2017): Quadrant: The Evolution of an Australian Conservative Journal, in: G. Scott-Smith, C. Lerg (eds): Campaigning Culture and the Global Cold War. Palgrave Macmillan, London 2017.

^ “Submissions – Quadrant Online”. Retrieved 8 March 2020.

^ “Australian Magazines of the Twentieth Century”. Austlit. Retrieved 1 January 2012.

^ Laurie Clancy (2004). Culture and Customs of Australia. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 125. ISBN 978-0-313-32169-6.

^ a b “About Us”. Quadrant. Quadrant Magazine Ltd. Archived from the original on 13 September 2009.

^ Cassandra Pybus, The Devil and James McAuley, 1999, Part 7: ‘The Wars of Love’, p. 152

^ Alexander, Peter F. Les Murray: a Life in Progress. Oxford University Press UK, 2000

^ Robert Manne. (April 2001). “In Denial: the Stolen Generations and the Right”, Quarterly Essay 1.

^ Seccombe, Mike (3 June 2017). “Quadrant and its slide into deluded extremism”. The Saturday Paper. Schwartz Media.

^ a b c Manne, Robert (29 May 2017). “The standards that ‘Quadrant’ seeks to uphold”. The Monthly. Schwartz Media.

^ The Manchester Bomber’s ABC Pals, 23 May 2017

^ Later amended to, “What if that blast had detonated in an Ultimo TV studio?”

^ “Quadrant apologises to ABC boss over ‘vicious’ bombing article”. ABC News. 24 May 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2017.

^ O’Malley, Nick (24 May 2017). “Quadrant editor issues ‘unreserved’ apology to the ABC over ‘sick and unhinged’ Manchester blast article”. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 24 May 2017.

^ Response from ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie to Quadrant editors, ABC, 24 May 2017

^ a b Amanda Meade (24 May 2017). “Quadrant’s editor-in-chief apologises for article about bombing ABC’s Q&A program”. The Guardian. Retrieved 17 November 2019. Keith Windschuttle says the article failed to meet Quadrant’s standards and he has ordered it be deleted from its website

^ Dame Leonie Kramer. (October 1992). “The Values of Quadrant”, in:Quadrant, No. 290, XXXVI (10), p. 2.

^ Martin Krygier. (December 2006-January 2007). “The usual suspects,” The Monthly.

^ “Following the Science into Crazytown”. Retrieved 4 May 2021.

^ “The twilight of Donald Trump”. Retrieved 4 May 2021.

^ “Subscribe”. Quadrant. Archived from the original on 17 November 2019. Retrieved 17 November 2019.

^ “Home”. Quadrant. Archived from the original on 17 November 2019. Retrieved 17 November 2019.

^ Burke, Kelly; Robotham, Julie (7 January 2009). “Plausible inventions lie alongside the facts”. The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. Retrieved 22 December 2019.

^ Margaret Simmons (5 January 2009). “How Windschuttle swallowed a hoax to publish a fake story in Quadrant”. Crikey. Private Media Pty. Ltd. Retrieved 22 December 2019.

^ Margaret Simmons (7 January 2009). “Outing ‘Sharon Gould’: the Hoaxer’s Identity Revealed”. Crikey. Private Media Pty. Ltd. Retrieved 22 December 2019.

^ “Australian literary magazines”. Department of Culture and Recreation. Commonwealth of Australia. Archived from the original on 8 December 2010. Retrieved 2 January 2011.

^ Ben Cubby (24 October 2007). “Windschuttle to edit Quadrant”. The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 15 June 2008.

^ a b c “Notes from the editor”, Quadrant, March 2017, p. 4.

^ “Barry Spurr appointed Quadrant’s new Literary Editor”, Quadrant, March 2019, p. 3.

External links[edit]
Official website
CIA as Culture Vultures, an essay by Cassandra Pybus, Jacket Magazine, No. 12, July 2000, as an extract from her non-fictional account of the life of James McAuley
Quadrant’s 50th anniversary (transcript) – interviews with Martin Krygier (former Quadrant Director and son of founder), Dame Leonie Kramer AC DBE (former Quadrant Chair), and Paddy McGuinness, at ABC Radio National Counterpoint, 2006
Address to the Quadrant Magazine 50th Anniversary Dinner by John Howard, 2006




Keith Windschuttle

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