Dec 9, 2014

Mike Carlton: the shoddy, anti-union fiction that won the PM’s top history award

Australia's Secret War, which won the PM's literary award for history, is a badly written, badly researched work of fiction, opines Mike Carlton, former ABC war correspondent and naval historian.

The infamous culture wars sank to a sorry new low last night. At the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, handed out in Melbourne, the prize for history went to a right-wing rant against Australian trade unions, an ideological tract that includes errors, hearsay, exaggeration and in some cases, sheer fiction and fantasy. History it is not.

The book is Australia’s Secret War, subtitled How Unionists Sabotaged Our Troops in World War II, by Western Australian writer Hal G.P. Colebatch and published — no surprise here — by the right-wing Quadrant magazine. It was a joint winner of the history award with Broken Nation, Professor Joan Beaumont’s splendid book about Australia in World War I. Prize: $40,000 each.

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49 thoughts on “Mike Carlton: the shoddy, anti-union fiction that won the PM’s top history award

  1. Kevin Herbert

    More of the same tosh from an irrelevant old man of the Right…….zzzzzzzzzz.

  2. Edwin York

    I have always wondered about the intellectual depth of the far right.

  3. Venise Alstergren

    Don’t people research books before recommending them? Surely Abbott’s minders knows someone who knows something about the topic? No?

    Someone should scuttle Windschuttle, and Rupert Murdoch probably owns Quadrant.

  4. wayne robinson

    Thanks for reminding me of your book. I’d looked at buying the Kindle version when it was first released, but I seem to remember it was too expensive. Today, the price looks more reasonable. Bought. Should be an interesting read.

  5. MJPC

    Thank you for that, that’s one book I will pass on. There is nothing worse than a badly written book, and that’s one that pupports to tell the truth in fact telling a lie.
    Reference the V. Vengeance, the aircraft was such a dog the US military did not take it up so it went to the RAF and RAAF in the Pacific theatre, now the only one surviving example is in Australia and worth a fortune to collectors.
    Also, who proof reads these books! Surely the radar stations missing valves would have been noticed when the operators tested the radar prior to entering its first use. Sometimes stories in history are so fantastic to be almost unbelievable, this sounds just unbelievable!

  6. John Taylor

    Highly likely you will be accused of sour grapes Mike – the hard right always say ‘sour grapes’ in such circumstances largely because they would not have a have a schmick of an idea what the phrase actually means. This is because none of them would ever have heard of Aesops Fable about the fox and the grapes, much less read it and understood it.

  7. extra

    Given the extent of the Prime Minister’s commitment to truth (at least, to not lying), and his flexibility with facts, why is anyone surprised that this book won his Literature Prize?

  8. thelorikeet

    Poor old Hal, the company he keeps (Keith Windshuttle et al)
    Even his poetry leans right

  9. Heather Macauley

    Clearly, either of those involved in this right wing imbroglio have ever heard of Slander and Libel law suits!

    Clearly redefining history for their own iteration is what passes for membership of the Liberals these days, tawdry at best.

  10. Steven Johnston

    No surprises that an ex employee of the IPA’s predecessor the “Australian Institute for Public Policy” is given an award by the IPA and right wingers

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