Volume LVII Number 5
Quadrant magazine is the leading general intellectual journal of ideas, literature, poetry and historical and political debate published in Australia.
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The Howard Era
Published December 2009, 538 pages
Edited by Keith Windschuttle, David Martin Jones and Ray Evans.
Essays by Tony Abbott, James Allan, Chris Berg, Ian Callinan, Sinclair Davidson, Bob Day, Kevin Donnelly, Michael Evans, Ray Evans, David Flint, Gary Johns, David Martin Jones, John Kunkel, Barry Maley, Gregory Melleuish, Alan Oxley, Ken Phillips, Andrew Shearer, John Stone, Tom Switzer, Michael Wesley.
Central to the political doctrine that shaped the Howard era is a political philosophy that Tony Abbott identifies as a distinctively realist Australian conservatism, that ‘looked at specific problems and devised policies to deal with them’, rather than self-consciously starting out with a predetermined set of values that government converts into policy.
For a number of commentators, this unsystematic approach to policy reflected a notable Burkean tendency in the approach of the Howard government. For Edmund Burke, political instinct, a recognition of the legacy of the past and our ‘inherited freedoms’ for political conduct in the present, was more important than abstract ideological speculations, which ‘in proportion as they are metaphysically true are morally and politically false’. Or as Howard put it, ‘a conservative is someone who does not think he is morally superior to his grandfather’.
Ultimately for Howard, who was not particularly impressed by fashionable theories, pragmatism in foreign policy and balanced budgets in domestic policy summated this triumph of instinct and tradition over an abstract rationalism.
from the Introduction by David Martin Jones
Older and Wiser
Published October 2009, 320 pages
Frank Devine was a brilliant writer who brought a world-wide view to editing,
and happily disrespected all the pieties of Australian public life.
Chris Mitchell, Editor-in-chief, The Australian
Growing old is an aspect of the human experience only thinly covered in literature. When he reached seventy, Frank Devine decided to add to the subject by writing on what it feels like to grow old and how to do it well.
With humour and extraordinary passion for life he writes about being home alone when his wife is hospitalized, on being a grandparent, on long-term marriage, his cancer treatment and the proper attitude and attire of a man his age. He also looks back on his career in newspapers and discusses good writers and great men.
In this celebrated book a retired journalist turns himself into one of our great essayists.
Frank Devine was one of the notable journalists of his time. Born at Blenheim on the south island of New Zealand in 1931, he worked as a reporter and columnist in New Zealand, Western Australia, Chicago, New York, London, Tokyo and Sydney.
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