The Howard Years
Black Inc., $29.95 pb, 328 pp
Do John and Janette choke on their cereal at the name of Robert Manne as they breakfast in their harbourside home-away-from-home? They have every reason to do so. No single individual has provided so comprehensive a challenge to Howard and his ideological claque in the culture wars now raging in this nation. Manne was early to denounce Howard: for his soft-shoe shuffle with Pauline Hanson; for the inhumanity of the government’s approach to the boat people; for the shallow basis for our participation in the Second Iraq War. In the wider war, he wrote a savage critique of the right-wing cognoscenti who assailed Bringing Them Home, and he has rallied the troops to repel Keith Windschuttle’s revisionist history of black–white confrontation in nineteenth-century Australia. Now he has edited this selection of essays, which provides a critical survey of the Howard government across a wide range of its policies.