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About Quadrant Magazine


What is Quadrant?

Quadrant magazine is the leading general intellectual journal of ideas, literature, poetry and historical and political debate published in Australia. Its stance is often described as conservative, neo-conservative, or rightwing. In fact it is not necessarily any of these things, but maintains a sceptical approach to unthinking Leftism, or political correctness, and its "smelly little orthodoxies". Its pages are open to any well-written and thoughtful contribution regardless of political tendency, and while it has been at the forefront of debate on the shoddiness of much current historical and anthropological writing in Australia, particularly on issues of Aboriginal history, it has no preconceived policy positions regarding any interpretations. Unlike most intellectual journals it is open-minded on questions of religion and philosophy, judging material by the importance of ideas rather than requiring any agreement. It has no prejudices either for or against religion, and recognises that religion is an important intellectual and institutional part of society, whether or not it is "true". It is uncompromisingly in favour of freedom of thought and expression, while insisting on civilised discourse, and understands tolerance to mean the willingness to listen to unpopular or unorthodox views which are well argued, while in practice taking tolerance to mean the willingness to live and let live which is so typical of Australian life.

Quadrant was founded in 1956 as an initiative of the Australian Committee for Cultural Freedom, itself associated with the Congress for Cultural Freedom, and so was part of the defensive against Communist inspired, subsidised and/or influenced intellectual publications of the post-war era. Thus it remains the last survivor of the group of publications which included Encounter (UK), Preuves (France), Monat (Germany). It is alleged by its critics that Quadrant enjoyed some kind of funding through the CCF from the US Central Intelligence Agency; if so none of its editors ever knew of or were influenced in any way by such funding. It is hardly however shameful to have been indirectly in receipt of funds from the agency of a democratic government rather than the Communist dictatorships which subsidised the Leftist publications.

Quadrant's first editor was James McAuley, one of Australia's greatest poets (a convert to Catholicism), who was significant in the education of the post-war Australian administrators of Papua-New Guinea, and who was also co-author (with another poet, Harold Stewart) of the most celebrated hoax of Australian literary history, the invention of the fictitious poet Ern Malley and his poems, a spoof of meaningless modernist poetry.

Quadrant is published ten times a year (January-February and July-August being extended issues).



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