Scandal Tom Wills - not a good guy?

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Ron The Bear

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As is their right. (Not that I'm advocating it.)

No idea why people are getting so hot under the collar about a mere suggestion that a statue be removed.

(I, for example, would be perfectly comfortable with a decision to remove the statue of William Crowther, because I have this peculiar belief that nothing good that a man does as premier of Tasmania can compensate for the obloquy he deserves for sawing off a corpse's face. But I am a bit old-fashioned about corpse desecration. I don't think a statue of Tom Wills should be pulled down on the strength of a scurrilous, inaccuracy-riddled article in an American newspaper, but I have no problem with other people thinking it should.)
It's only a problem when discussion spills over into people imposing their will and e.g. vandalising statues. Even worse when that behaviour is validated by people in positions of responsibility (whatever happened to that van Diemen woman?).
 

Ron The Bear

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Because they are the only media organisation who aren't compromised by corporate sponsors and so are free to report stories that may be critical of corporate interests. They have a charter they have to abide by and consequences for their management if they don't abide by it, unlike every other media organisation. No matter how much you dislike their reporting, you can't deny that they are subject to higher standards and scrutiny than any private media outlet.

In addition, they also provide the only major outlet for the performing arts on Australian television, and provide essential news services to people in rural areas.
There are holes in the Chicago Tribune story you could drive a truck through, and I think the way the ABC has chosen to promote it reflects poorly.

All Flanagan has done is drive the truck.
 

Johnny Bananas

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There are holes in the Chicago Tribune story you could drive a truck through, and I think the way the ABC has chosen to promote it reflects poorly.

All Flanagan has done is drive the truck.
Yes, unfortunately anyone posting an opinion piece is capable of getting things wrong. I never disputed Flanagan's credence on history or his standing to be able to criticise that article, so I'm not sure what relevance this comment has.
 

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SBD Gonzalez

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Kidding, right?
Actually, on a closer read of the Flanagan article I think he seriously over-eggs the pudding.

The ABC articles clearly state, from a number of voices, that the Chicago Tribune article is riddled with errors. Is he suggesting that the ABC shouldn't have reported this important find, because Australians are too stupid to understand the phrase "riddled with errors" (or similar)?

And this: “Wills is quoted as claiming ‘we killed all in sight’.” There is no more reason to believe Tom Wills ever said those words than there is to believe he returned to the family home in Victoria and found his family’s heads impaled on poles."

Um, yeah, and the ABC article(s) makes that clear.

And his point about typing "we killed all in sight" in Twitter is extremely disingenuous. It's hardly a day-to-day phrase (well, I guess that depends on the company one keeps), so why should we be surprised that most of the hits lead to comment on this article about Wills? That proves nothing.
 

SBD Gonzalez

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Kidding, right?
Because they are the only media organisation who aren't compromised by corporate sponsors and so are free to report stories that may be critical of corporate interests. They have a charter they have to abide by and consequences for their management if they don't abide by it, unlike every other media organisation. No matter how much you dislike their reporting, you can't deny that they are subject to higher standards and scrutiny than any private media outlet.

In addition, they also provide the only major outlet for the performing arts on Australian television, and provide essential news services to people in rural areas.
A few plain facts that are often overlooked in that post mate.
 

Ron The Bear

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Yes, unfortunately anyone posting an opinion piece is capable of getting things wrong. I never disputed Flanagan's credence on history or his standing to be able to criticise that article, so I'm not sure what relevance this comment has.
So they should be held to a higher standard since the public is paying their income.
The ABC articles clearly state, from a number of voices, that the Chicago Tribune article is riddled with errors.
It doesn't describe the nature of those errors which seriously impact the author's credibility, and the extract is edited so as to suit the ABC's narrative (which immediately raises questions. Why didn't they publish the preamble for context? What are they hiding?) It's not quite tabloid in nature but is at least related.
 

Johnny Bananas

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So they should be held to a higher standard since the public is paying their income.
All media should be held to a high standard. Lies don't become any less damaging to public consciousness if they're propagated by a private company.

I hope you apply that same attitude to politicians and are appalled by their attempts to avoid any scrutiny regarding corruption.
 

Ron The Bear

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All media should be held to a high standard. Lies don't become any less damaging to public consciousness if they're propagated by a private company.

I hope you apply that same attitude to politicians and are appalled by their attempts to avoid any scrutiny regarding corruption.
If I had a dollar for every time I've been accused of being a Sky News devotee... I've never watched it.

Andrews did a fair impression of "corrupt" by wriggling out of responsibility for last year's deadly outbreak by obfuscating and claiming bad memory at the inquiry. Yet I generally approve of his handling of the pandemic since, which is at odds with most on the right.
 

NoobPie

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Actually, on a closer read of the Flanagan article I think he seriously over-eggs the pudding.

The ABC articles clearly state, from a number of voices, that the Chicago Tribune article is riddled with errors. Is he suggesting that the ABC shouldn't have reported this important find, because Australians are too stupid to understand the phrase "riddled with errors" (or similar)?

And this: “Wills is quoted as claiming ‘we killed all in sight’.” There is no more reason to believe Tom Wills ever said those words than there is to believe he returned to the family home in Victoria and found his family’s heads impaled on poles."

Um, yeah, and the ABC article(s) makes that clear.

And his point about typing "we killed all in sight" in Twitter is extremely disingenuous. It's hardly a day-to-day phrase (well, I guess that depends on the company one keeps), so why should we be surprised that most of the hits lead to comment on this article about Wills? That proves nothing.
You are too obtuse to understand Flanagan's point
 

dropbear101

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nah tom wills revenge angle doesn't get a pass.

when i was 17/18 i had a number of bad incidents with indigenous people. family friends mother bashed, don't get me started about the sh#tting in a lovely local public park to go with the beer bottles that i found every morning. i was called white dog a decent amount, white c#nt as well, they never gave a reason just thought they could. a few racially motivated things that scared the sh*t out of me (by indigenous people). my bike got robbed by some kids. believe it or not the bike thing still bothers me not so much the other stuff. they were just kids the other guys were drunks.

A little while later i had an uncle talking with approval about how some people in town were thinking about doing a patrol at night as they thought the crime was getting out of hand. I got all queasy. didn't pass the sniff test. It sounded like an opportunity to deal out some "justice".

the patrol never happened, nothing did. but i think it relates to tom wills revenge stuff. revenge is never cool and it is obvious in the moment if you stop and think about it.




ron the bear i'm responding to a post earlier that i know can't find. no black people don't hate white people. sometimes you get people on facebook calling us white c#nts but they don't represent the majority. most black people i've met have been lovely same as white people. tbh most just want us to acknowledge the atrocities committed against them. for us to then move on as a society and for them to get a fair share.
 

SBD Gonzalez

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Kidding, right?
It doesn't describe the nature of those errors which seriously impact the author's credibility, and the extract is edited so as to suit the ABC's narrative (which immediately raises questions. Why didn't they publish the preamble for context? What are they hiding?) It's not quite tabloid in nature but is at least related.
Well I disagree. There is no way a mature intelligent adult could read the ABC’s coverage of the story and walk away thinking that was an open and shut case.

But I’ve always assumed the ABC is there for people who don’t need everything served to them on a platter, and maybe I’m overestimating the critical capacities of the average Australian.

As to your bizarre claim earlier that what’s behind all this is some sort of plot by the ABC to destroy our great game (exactly why, is not yet clear, and let’s not forget, any number of detective novels will remind you that there has to be a motive) - if that is their wicked intention, then they certainly forgot to get the ABC Radio commentary team on board yesterday, whose enthusiasm and love for our great game was as in evidence as they called the GF as it always is.
 

NoobPie

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Well I disagree. There is no way a mature intelligent adult could read the ABC’s coverage of the story and walk away thinking that was an open and shut case.

But I’ve always assumed the ABC is there for people who don’t need everything served to them on a platter, and maybe I’m overestimating the critical capacities of the average Australian.

As to your bizarre claim earlier that what’s behind all this is some sort of plot by the ABC to destroy our great game (exactly why, is not yet clear, and let’s not forget, any number of detective novels will remind you that there has to be a motive) - if that is their wicked intention, then they certainly forgot to get the ABC Radio commentary team on board yesterday, whose enthusiasm and love for our great game was as in evidence as they called the GF as it always is.

Let's just be clear that you are absurdly overestimating your own "critical capacities"

Here is your post earlier

Actually, on a closer read of the Flanagan article I think he seriously over-eggs the pudding.

The ABC articles clearly state, from a number of voices, that the Chicago Tribune article is riddled with errors. Is he suggesting that the ABC shouldn't have reported this important find, because Australians are too stupid to understand the phrase "riddled with errors" (or similar)?

And this: “Wills is quoted as claiming ‘we killed all in sight’.” There is no more reason to believe Tom Wills ever said those words than there is to believe he returned to the family home in Victoria and found his family’s heads impaled on poles."

Um, yeah, and the ABC article(s) makes that clear.
The ABC article did not make that clear at all. I did not quote the "heads impaled on poles" which was Flannagan's point when he wrote


The story about Wills being involved in a reprisal raid which appeared last week on abc.net.au did not include this paragraph. It is entirely relevant because, in legal terms, it goes to the credibility of the witness – that is, the anonymous author. But now comes his coup de grace!

Fictional Tom speaking again: “After 8 hours galloping we came up with the band about 3o’clock in the afternoon. What a shout went up as we sighted them. How we galloped down upon them! I cannot tell all that happened, but I know we killed all in sight.” The phrase “but I know we killed all in sight” was used by the ABC to promote the story and has since spread like a virus on social media.
Flannagan's whole point was that the ABC and Jackson elevated clearly fictional quotes from an anonymous american bigot decades after the event to the top of the article, key points and the promotion of the article with the clear effect that it leant credence to those fictional quotes. They left out the bits that were blatantly and demonstrably not true and quoted fictional Tom in full paragraphs before any mention of the inaccuracies in the account....and the ABC used a fictional quote of tom's to promote the story

And this.....


And his point about typing "we killed all in sight" in Twitter is extremely disingenuous. It's hardly a day-to-day phrase (well, I guess that depends on the company one keeps), so why should we be surprised that most of the hits lead to comment on this article about Wills? That proves nothing.
...again demonstrates you lack the "critical capacities" to even get what Flannagan's point was.

His point was the effect of elevating quotes from an incredible source into the key points and promotion of the article and generally framing led to a reaction that people believed WIlls actually said those things. i.e,.

The ABC, in its presentation of the story, ran a panel high up on the opening page headed Key Points. Here is the second of the three key points: “Wills is quoted as claiming ‘we killed all in sight’.” There is no more reason to believe Tom Wills ever said those words than there is to believe he returned to the family home in Victoria and found his family’s heads impaled on poles. The third key point repeats and compounds the fallacy: “He [Tom Wills] also described murdering an Aboriginal who stole his jacket”. Says who? The same anonymous author who implied Wills killed every Aboriginal person he met in later life.
Your suggesting he was being "extremely disingenuous" merely shows you couldn't actually comprehend the point he was making.
 

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Ron The Bear

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Well I disagree. There is no way a mature intelligent adult could read the ABC’s coverage of the story and walk away thinking that was an open and shut case.

But I’ve always assumed the ABC is there for people who don’t need everything served to them on a platter, and maybe I’m overestimating the critical capacities of the average Australian.

As to your bizarre claim earlier that what’s behind all this is some sort of plot by the ABC to destroy our great game (exactly why, is not yet clear, and let’s not forget, any number of detective novels will remind you that there has to be a motive) - if that is their wicked intention, then they certainly forgot to get the ABC Radio commentary team on board yesterday, whose enthusiasm and love for our great game was as in evidence as they called the GF as it always is.
Vast majority of readers would accept the article at face value along with snippets from the likes of de Moore that there "could be a thread of truth" apparently reinforcing the article's line. It doesn't make a definitive case that Tom Wills was a despicable murderer, but it leads the reader in that direction.

Meanwhile Andrew Bolt has posted his interpretation. BF rules prevent me from citing the whole thing, which is behind a paywall. Suffice to say he is critical of the ABC's selective quoting from the letter and labels the story "a hoax" that uses "dodgy evidence to yet again smear Australia as racist".

https://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/o...x/news-story/1888d1aeecd7b46f269df9239b5e5ec7 (paywalled)

Here is another version from the left-leaning The Conversation, reciting as fact the claims made in the letter as an introduction to a general anti-football diatribe.

https://theconversation.com/tom-wil...r-truth-telling-about-its-ugly-history-168381
 

NoobPie

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This is my last comment on this tangent. The republicans chant "Ra ra ra republic!" but have not been able to come up with a workable alternative model of government. They campaign without regard for the detail, of which people are wary, and that is why they continue to fail.

The ABC's Wills article takes the opposite tack - if we can't change the world, we'll tear the current one down.

Chinese Marxism has a hand in all of this.
Republicans have come up with a range of workable alternative models for a republic. The moderate versions of these do not entail an alternative model of government at all. There are many small C Australian conservatives they support these models. But then there are radicals who want directly elected president because for some moronic reason they think the political parties won't dominate it.

Ironically, what makes a republic something that may only ever happen after a massive crisis or even after the poms get rid of the monarchy first, is our constitution. Even the most moderate republican will require constitutional reform which will require a double majority to vote for it at a referendum.

Note, the westminster system that you are so worried about losing does not have a written constitution. We have a written constitution as it was necessary to federate 6 colonies cum states. When we were federating there was of course a reactionary minority that were petrified by the prospect and voted against it. Their ideological descendents are now protected from further change by the constitution they voted against.

This is the great irony of arch conservatives - every institution they cling to displaced something else at great resistance of the conservatives of their day. Everything.
 
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Tulip

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Including pricks like Flanagan.
Australia's pre-eminent Aboriginal sports writer since the 80s? My oh my you are misinformed.

With regards to the 'culture wars', how can you read this as anything but a condemnation of the left/right binary?

In an interview explaining his documentary on writer Ernest Hemingway, the great American documentary maker Ken Burns said: “There’s a tendency, particularly in our media world, for everything to be binary: good, bad, yes, no, up, down. And we found Hemingway tantalisingly complicated, which is what we like, because it is faithful to human beings”. The effect of the ABC’s presentation of the story was to catapult Tom Wills into the binary universe branded with the words “we killed all in sight”. If you don’t believe me, type the words “we killed all in sight” into Twitter and see how many tweets appear using those words to condemn Wills.
 
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Johnny Bananas

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Australia's pre-eminent Aboriginal sports writer since the 80s? My oh my you are misinformed.
Is that supposed to give him a free pass on any subsequent bad takes?

With regards to the 'culture wars', how can you read this as anything but a condemnation of the left/right binary?
That makes it all the more ridiculous that he goes on to miss the point he was making and run headfirst into that same binary.
 

Tulip

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Is that supposed to give him armour from any subsequent bad takes?


That makes it all the more ridiculous that he goes on to miss the point he was making and run headfirst into that same binary.
No, but it most certainly makes you calling him a 'prick' completely ridiculous, even without the context of this article being an Aboriginal man versed in both Tom Wills' history and journalistic standards responding to last week's controversy.

He's not 'running headfirst into the same binary' for goodness' sake. He's clearly demonstrating that people of both sides of the political bent use history to suit their own argument, and that facts should be placed beyond political point scoring. Do you honestly believe that he and his editor both missed him referencing binary politics after he criticised binary politics?

It's a terrific article. Flanagan doesn't say whether Wills did or did not to what he has been accused of. He quite simply pointed out that a story being treated as lore is riddled with holes.
 

Johnny Bananas

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No, but it most certainly makes you calling him a 'prick' completely ridiculous, even without the context of this article being an Aboriginal man versed in both Tom Wills' history and journalistic standards responding to last week's controversy.
As I've said before, anyone seeking to use a culture war to generate attention is a prick. Flanagan decided to turn opinion writer for this piece and so he'll cop criticism for it. Sorry if that's a sore point for you.

He's not 'running headfirst into the same binary' for goodness' sake. He's clearly demonstrating that people of both sides of the political bent use history to suit their own argument, and that facts should be placed beyond political point scoring.
Nah. He would have said that instead of regurgitating silly memes about the left that mischaracterise their aims and lead to nonsensical conclusions.

Do you honestly believe that he and his editor both missed him referencing binary politics after he criticised binary politics?
I believe he's deliberately being hypocritical to stoke controversy while also trying to appear to be above it.

It's a terrific article. Flanagan doesn't say whether Wills did or did not to what he has been accused of. He quite simply pointed out that a story being treated as lore is riddled with holes.
And if he'd just kept it to that, I'd have no issue with it.
 

SBD Gonzalez

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Kidding, right?
Vast majority of readers would accept the article at face value along with snippets from the likes of de Moore that there "could be a thread of truth" apparently reinforcing the article's line. It doesn't make a definitive case that Tom Wills was a despicable murderer, but it leads the reader in that direction.
Well you think readers are idiots. Those two ABC articles were a paragon of caution.

Great that you're standing up for the rights of the comprehensionally-challenged, but this is not the forum to raise that.

Anyway, do you have any idea of how many requests for substantiation that weird Gerard Henderson and his weird Sydney Institute place with the ABC every week? (Heartily applauded by this current "government" who are doing everything in their power to destroy a beloved Australian institution - how patriotic of them). Do you seriously think the ABC is going to slit its own throat at a time like this? I'm not sure you quite understand how things work down there.

Meanwhile Andrew Bolt has posted his interpretation. BF rules prevent me from citing the whole thing, which is behind a paywall. Suffice to say he is critical of the ABC's selective quoting from the letter and labels the story "a hoax" that uses "dodgy evidence to yet again smear Australia as racist".

https://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/o...x/news-story/1888d1aeecd7b46f269df9239b5e5ec7 (paywalled)
Andrew Bolt is a goose and he has an agenda. So funny, when there is abundant evidence that Australia is racist, when there are reams and reams of documentation of the grim bloodiness of the frontier wars (I mean, come on, open your eyes) that he has to pounce on an article that any reasonable person (well, see below) would agree is flawed, to yet again shout that we are not racist. Talk about not seeing the wood for the trees.

Here is another version from the left-leaning The Conversation, reciting as fact the claims made in the letter as an introduction to a general anti-football diatribe.

https://theconversation.com/tom-wil...r-truth-telling-about-its-ugly-history-168381
I agree that that article is highly flawed in jumping to the conclusion that this recent discovery is "evidence". That is going way beyond anything said in the ABC articles, and such a conclusion is completely irresponsible.

Interesting though, that the article's point is 100% true. Such a pity the writer used flawed proofs to base it on. I'd be interested to hear what you disagree with in a very well-argued (but fatally flawed) piece.
 

Ron The Bear

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Well you think readers are idiots. Those two ABC articles were a paragon of caution.

Great that you're standing up for the rights of the comprehensionally-challenged, but this is not the forum to raise that.

Anyway, do you have any idea of how many requests for substantiation that weird Gerard Henderson and his weird Sydney Institute place with the ABC every week? (Heartily applauded by this current "government" who are doing everything in their power to destroy a beloved Australian institution - how patriotic of them). Do you seriously think the ABC is going to slit its own throat at a time like this? I'm not sure you quite understand how things work down there.
Not sure if they've broken any rules, but it looks to me that they have tried to slide one past the public with this. It's a perpetuation of the perception promoted in our universities, that Australia is a bad place founded on bad deeds when viewed with an almost puritanical hindsight and that today's citizens deserve to be browbeaten for the sins of the past.

It is less about the discovery's relevance to Australian history than it is about repeating the message that "Australia is bad".
 

SBD Gonzalez

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Kidding, right?
Not sure if they've broken any rules, but it looks to me that they have tried to slide one past the public with this. It's a perpetuation of the perception promoted in our universities, that Australia is a bad place founded on bad deeds when viewed with an almost puritanical hindsight and that today's citizens deserve to be browbeaten for the sins of the past.

It is less about the discovery's relevance to Australian history than it is about repeating the message that "Australia is bad".
So many misconceptions in this post.

If you troubled to look deeper you'll find that nuance abounds in the amazing historical research being done. It's this kneejerk response that Australian history must never be disturbed is somehow set in stone (and happens to be unfailingly in favour of the status quo) that is so denying of the reality right outside your door.

Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

And history goes up to yesterday, after all. Forced removals were still going on in the 1970s. Archie Roach was taken from his parents. I had the great honour to meet this dignified proud Australian once. Adam Goodes' mum was taken from her parents for crying out loud.

So these are not events of a hundred and fifty years ago (which you seem so keen to leave unexamined) but real things that happended recently to real people who are still living among us and hurting. (And they have their genesis in bloody events that happened right up until the 1930s. It's quite possible that the child of someone who took part in the last aboriginal massacres as a young man, is still alive.)

"the perception promoted in our universities"

Well if it is promoted in our universities, it's not without the application of exceptional academic rigour. If someone's perception of the standards expected in a history department are what Andrew Bolt tells them, then they probably will toss out sweeping unsupportable claims like this.

Like I said, good history is warts 'n all. Not sure why that makes some people so queasy, and there is not a hint of "browbeating" of today's Australians for the "sins" of the past. I fear you just can't stomach the search for the truth.

Here's a reading recommendation for you. A really excellent book about the work contemporary Australian historians are doing, written by a contemporary Australian historian. You may find it quite surprising.
 

Ron The Bear

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So many misconceptions in this post.

If you troubled to look deeper you'll find that nuance abounds in the amazing historical research being done. It's this kneejerk response that Australian history must never be disturbed is somehow set in stone (and happens to be unfailingly in favour of the status quo) that is so denying of the reality right outside your door.

Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

And history goes up to yesterday, after all. Forced removals were still going on in the 1970s. Archie Roach was taken from his parents. I had the great honour to meet this dignified proud Australian once. Adam Goodes' mum was taken from her parents for crying out loud.

So these are not events of a hundred and fifty years ago (which you seem so keen to leave unexamined) but real things that happended recently to real people who are still living among us and hurting. (And they have their genesis in bloody events that happened right up until the 1930s. It's quite possible that the child of someone who took part in the last aboriginal massacres as a young man, is still alive.)

"the perception promoted in our universities"

Well if it is promoted in our universities, it's not without the application of exceptional academic rigour. If someone's perception of the standards expected in a history department are what Andrew Bolt tells them, then they probably will toss out sweeping unsupportable claims like this.

Like I said, good history is warts 'n all. Not sure why that makes some people so queasy, and there is not a hint of "browbeating" of today's Australians for the "sins" of the past. I fear you just can't stomach the search for the truth.

Here's a reading recommendation for you. A really excellent book about the work contemporary Australian historians are doing, written by a contemporary Australian historian. You may find it quite surprising.
Now the activist in you comes out!

Yep, proper history is warts and all. What do you know of the wreck of the Maria?

It's no secret that the process of opening up the country for development involved a succession of tit-for-tat reprisals with varying levels of justification.

The letter screamed "fake" from the outset. All some have done is pointed out its flaws as a historical document.
 

SBD Gonzalez

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Kidding, right?
Now the activist in you comes out!

Yep, proper history is warts and all. What do you know of the wreck of the Maria?

It's no secret that the process of opening up the country for development involved a succession of tit-for-tat reprisals with varying levels of justification.

The letter screamed "fake" from the outset. All some have done is pointed out its flaws as a historical document.
And that's all the bloody ABC articles did!

If desiring that the full truth be told about a nation's history makes one an "activist" I guess then I'm an activist. But please inform us all why the whole truth is anything but an entirely good thing to strive for.

You're the "activist" that is intent on turning an interesting but highly-flawed historical discovery into a jeremiad against the ABC, which has assumed boogie-man proportions in your mind for reason unclear.

Seriously, read the Tom Griffiths book. It's a fabulous book. Your misunderstanding of modern historical process is seriously hamstringing your perceptions.

PS I know little of the wreck of the Maria. Happy to read up on it. What should I look out for?
 

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