In 2002 historian Keith Windshuttle published The Fabrication of Aboriginal History. A history which charged colonial Australians of a policy of genocide and warfare against aborigines. Windshuttle's scholarly Fabrication took this view apart,
When it is closely examined, much of the evidence for the claims about massacres, terrorism, and genocide turns out to be highly suspect. Most of it is very poorly founded, other parts are seriously mistaken, and a good deal of it is outright fabrication.
The book sparked furious debate amongst historians, academics, politicians and activists in what became known as 'the history wars'. In the ensuing ‘debate’ it’s evident Windshuttle was proved correct in refuting the politicising of aboriginal history by a generation of revisionist historians.
Until Windshuttle’s expose this black-armband view of aboriginal history took root and, sadly, served to influence much of our current, socially-engineered, aboriginal policy.
In today’s Australian, Windshuttle has written an article titled, Manhood Whitewashed. In it he provides the most cogent explanation to date for aboriginal child sexual abuse,
The root cause is that white Australia has deprived Aboriginal men in remote communities of their manhood. The instrument we used was social welfare: giving handouts that did not require them to work. The social policy of the past 30 years is the principal culprit...
...The social consequences of this should have been entirely predictable. No matter what their race or where they live, men who do not work have no social status, no sense of self-worth and little meaning in their lives.
Windshuttle closes the article (which deserves to be read in full) by encouraging Indigenous Affairs Minister, Mal Brough to remain resolute in his desire to make a difference in his new portfolio. And more power to him.
Which has me thinking - what Minister Brough now needs is personal support from the highest level, the Prime Minister. With the increasing likelihood John Howard may retire by years end, he couldn’t go out on a better note than wholeheartedly addressing our aboriginal crisis. And yes, it is our crisis, as much as their's.
For a man already regarded as one of Australia’s best Prime Ministers, the parlous and unresolved status of our indigenous is one area blotting Howard's copybook.
If an Australian Prime Minister achieved nothing else during his tenure but the successful rehabilitation of indigenous Australians, then it would surely rate as the greatest legacy an Australian leader could wish for.
UPDATE : Letter writers respond
UPDATE 2 : Archbishop laments closing of missions
UPDATE 3 : Sense and Nonsense in Australian History