This focus was prefigured in Howard's fourth Headland speech as Opposition leader in December 1995. According to Professor O'Farrell, as reported by Mark Uhlmann, 'there should be no apologising for murder or mistreatment, but even in such cases a historian has an obligation, using the tools and intellectual rigour of his trade, to understand why things happened.
Some historians have even become national figures. The multicultural folk busily preached their message that until they arrived much of Australian history was a disgrace. We are witnessing a deliberate attack on our values, a deliberate attack on those who wish to promote merit and excellence, a deliberate attack on our heritage and our past. All history is useful.
Now we are ready to face the truth about our past, to acknowledge that the coming of the British was the occasion of three great evils: Exerting control over a nation's fables therefore is an attempt to control its fate. Why do Ruling Classes fear History? As far back as 1888 Henry Parkes quipped in the NSW Parliament that the government should not organise centenary celebrations for the Aborigines because it would only remind them that they had been robbed.
Blainey alleged that the Labor Party was the captive of the 'multi-cultural industry' which had 'little respect for the history of Australia'.
History, in other words, is a battleground for national identity how else to explain the anger behind each shot fired in public debate?
In Henderson's words, this lack of hard evidence makes Blainey's claims of a black armband school of thought 'vague' and a 'bit thin'. There are two features of this representation worth noting.
Prime Minister Howard has accused some school curricula of teaching Australian students that they have 'a racist and bigoted past'. License this article. Of course taking this stance suited Keating's broader agenda of cultural and political transformation. The Black Armband view of history might well represent the swing of the pendulum from a position that had been too favourable, too self congratulatory, to an opposite extreme that is even more unreal and decidedly jaundiced'.
This story not only allows Howard to present his government as the defender of venerable Australian virtues, it allows him to wage a war on policies that threaten to alter his idealised image of Australia.
To the Aborigines who are proud of their heritage it is indeed a day of mourning; we mourn the death of the many thousands of Aborigines who were brutally murdered; we mourn the loss of our land and the rape of our women by the white invaders. By the end of Mr Howard's first nine months as Prime Minister, it was clear that the desire to project a largely proud, heroic and benign version of Australian history was at the heart of his government's political philosophy and possibly its electoral strategy.
Labor were Manning Clark's 'enlargers of life'-the party with reform initiative, whereas the conservatives were 'straighteners'-mere agents of 'resistance'.