Quadrant is an Australian literary and cultural journal. Quadrant reviews literature, as well as featuring essays on ideas and topics such as politics, history, universities, and the arts. It also publishes poetry and short stories.
The magazine was founded in Sydney in 1956 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.
It has had many notable contributors including Les Murray, who has been its literary editor since 1990,: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, Roger Sandall, Roger Scruton, 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.
|Order||Period||Editor||Background / comments|
|1.||1956–1967||James McAuley||Catholic poet|
|2.||1967–1988||Peter Coleman||Writer, journalist, and former New South Wales and Federal Liberal politician|
|3.||1988–1989||Roger Sandall||Writer, anthropologist, Senior Lecturer at University of Sydney|
|4.||1990–1997||Robert Manne||Lecturer at La Trobe University; resigned after repeated disputes with the magazine's editorial board|
|5.||1997–2007||Paddy McGuinness||Journalist and self-described contrarian|
|6.||2008–2015, 2017–||Keith Windschuttle||Writer and historian|
|7.||2015–2017||John O'Sullivan||Political advisor and editor|
Referring to the Manchester bombing and Monday night's Q&A television program, the article said, "Had there been a shred of justice, that blast would have detonated in an Ultimo TV studio" (it was later amended to, "What if that blast had detonated in an Ultimo TV studio?") and then continued, "Unlike those young girls in Manchester, their lives snuffed out before they could begin, none of the panel’s likely casualties would have represented the slightest reduction in humanity’s intelligence, decency, empathy or honesty."
The Q&A panel included guests Niki Savva, Lawrence Krauss, Mikhail Zygar, Mona Chalabi, and Paul Beatty. The show was moderated by regular host Tony Jones and there was a live studio audience. The article incorrectly referred to Lawrence Krauss as Richard Krauss, stating that, "as Krauss felt his body being penetrated by the Prophet’s shrapnel of nuts, bolts and nails, those goitered eyes might in their last glimmering have caught a glimpse of vindication."
ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie called the article a "vicious and offensive attack" and called for the article to "be removed and apologised for". The federal Minister for Communication, Senator Mitch Fifield, called the article "sick and unhinged", and media reports stated that the Australian Federal Police had been notified. Quadrant board member Nick Cater distanced himself from the article on the ABC's The Drum program on 24 May, suggesting that it was self-published and saying, "This was a despicable things [sic] to write." Columnist for The Australian Chris Kenny called the article "disgusting," "sick and reprehensible," and "a tasteless overreaction."
News Corp columnist and blogger Andrew Bolt initially praised the article, stating, "Roger Franklin is magnificent in his anger at this Q&A sophistry." Later, Bolt updated his comment: “My goodness. They took it seriously? They seriously believe someone will act on Franklin’s satire?” Later still, Bolt wrote, “I guess, on reflection, that Franklin should not have – satirically – said he wished the blast went off at Ultimo instead of Manchester. It is certainly not what I would have written." Finally, all Bolt’s comments were removed, but an earlier version of his blog post is still available on the Internet Archive.
When Quadrant editor-in-chief Keith Windschuttle was contacted by reporter Nick O'Malley from The Sydney Morning Herald to comment about the article, he said "You’re talking bullshit. Don’t call back." Windschuttle later sent Guthrie a letter of apology, stating, "I have instructed that the article and its comment should be withdrawn completely from our website. Even though I do not share all of the interpretations expressed in your letter, I accept your assurance about the offence it caused you and your staff. You have my unreserved apology for any concerns it might have given you." Although Windschuttle acknowledged that the article was "intemperate" and "a serious error of judgment", he apologised for the offence it had caused but not its content, and assured Guthrie that Franklin had been "counselled".