Keith Windschuttle has been in the news again lately, making claims of inaccuracy against the film ‘Rabbit Proof Fence’ which were then roundly refuted by the filmmakers, pointing to documentary evidence apparently undiscovered by the ace historian. When even the Oz describes Windy as having been ‘dispatched to the fence’ he clearly has a problem. Having claimed that the girls in the film were removed from their families because they were having sex with white men, he now says his case is unaffected by the discovery that they were actually removed because they were promised as brides for black men. WIndschuttle describes this as “standing by” his statements, a locution I also heard recently from the Queensland government after the economists statement demolishing their case for asset sales. Apparently it means “while I have no credible response to make, I’m not going to retract, let alone change my mind”.
What’s really interesting to me is that all this publicity is in aid of the forthcoming Volume 3 of Windschuttle’s Fabrication of Australian History which caused such a stir when Volume 1 was released in 2002. Three volumes in nearly a decade looks like slow, but steady work, the kind of history Windschuttle supports.
That is, of course, except for the minor detail that there is no Volume 2. Originally Volume 2, due in 2003, was supposed to be the big one, which would refute Henry Reynolds claims about violence on the Queensland frontier, while volume 3, promised for 2004, was going to be about WA. Although promises kept being made, Vol 2 never came out, and in 2008, the “stolen generations” book was announce as Volume 2. It seemed that the Queensland and WA projects had been abandoned.
The new numbering scheme, eccentric as it is, at least implies a promise of a Volume 2 in which Windschuttle will finally put up or be morally obliged to shut up (not that he will of course).