Quadrant (magazine)

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Quadrant cover Nov 2014.png
Cover of November 2014 issue
TypeMonthly journal
Owner(s)Quadrant Magazine Ltd.
EditorKeith Windschuttle
Founded1956; 63 years ago (1956)
Political alignmentConservative

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[1][2] 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.[3]

It has had many notable contributors including Les Murray, who was its literary editor from 1990 to 2019,[4]: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, Pierre Ryckmans, 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.

After the publication of the 1997 Bringing Them Home report about the Stolen Generations, Quadrant published a number of articles critical of the report's methodology and conclusions. Professor Robert Manne, who edited the magazine from 1990 to 1997, claimed that the Howard Government's response to Bringing Them Home was influenced by and "collusive with" Quadrant's position.[5]

In the immediate aftermath of the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing Quadrant's online editor Roger Franklin wrote an article titled "The Manchester Bomber's ABC Pals"[6] 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."[7][8] ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie called the article a "vicious and offensive attack" and called for the article to "be removed and apologised for".[9] Quadrant editor-in-chief Keith Windschuttle eventually acknowledged that the article was "intemperate" and "a serious error of judgment", and he apologised for the offence it had caused.[10] The article was removed from the Quadrant website on 25 May 2017.

Stance and values[edit]

The magazine generally holds a conservative stance on political and social issues.[3]

In October 1992, Dame Leonie Kramer, then the Chairman of the magazine's Board of Directors, discussed the "deep values" of Quadrant:

  1. "the intrinsic value of cultural and intellectual freedom and of inquiry..."
  2. "cultural and intellectual freedoms, indeed negative liberties generally, depend upon an abundance of autonomous institutions and an open society..."
  3. "political democracy... support of particular democratic institutions, and a culture that accepts peaceful and democratic modes of government and change of government..."
  4. "liberal democracy, that is democracy that respects individual liberty... insists that government be limited: by other holders of political and economic resources, by legally protected private property, by free media, and most of all by the rule of law, that is the restraint and channelling of power by law..."
  5. "the virtues, and commonly the wisdom, borne by traditions in social and moral life... It has not pretended that traditions have all the answers or should be treated with uncritical reverence... It has, however, recommended that... long established moral and social practices be treated with respect and caution."
  6. "an economic order in which markets are allowed to work - within the rule of law (and the framework of property rights) - as sources of information, as ingredients and supporters of liberty and as facilitators of competitive private enterprise and individual choice..."[11]

In 2007, Quadrant's mission was described by its editor as:

To defend the great tradition of free and open debate, to make possible dissent, while at the same time insisting on both civilised discourse and rational argument. This mission is not the same as at Quadrant's founding, but it is not dissimilar. For while the communist dictatorship is no more, the love of anti-democratic dictators still survives among many intellectuals, as does their determination to impose their own strange beliefs on the population as a whole.[12]

In March 2008, the magazine was describing itself as sceptical of "unthinking Leftism, or political correctness, and its 'smelly little orthodoxies'".[3]


Order Period Editor Background / comments
1. 1956–1967 James McAuley Catholic poet
2. 1964–1966 Donald Horne Writer
3. 1967–1988 Peter Coleman Writer, journalist, and former New South Wales and Federal Liberal politician
4. 1988–1989 Roger Sandall Writer, anthropologist, Senior Lecturer at University of Sydney
5. 1990–1997 Robert Manne Lecturer at La Trobe University; resigned after repeated disputes with the magazine's editorial board[13]
6. 1997–2007 Paddy McGuinness Journalist and self-described contrarian
7. 2008–2015, 2017– Keith Windschuttle[14] Writer and historian
8. 2015–2017 John O'Sullivan[15] Political advisor and editor

Management structure[edit]

Editorial staff[edit]

  • Editor Quadrant magazine: Keith Windschuttle[15]
  • Editor, International, Quadrant magazine: John O'Sullivan[15]
  • Editor, Quadrant Online: Roger Franklin
  • Literary Editor: Barry Spurr[16]
  • Deputy Editor: George Thomas

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Australian Magazines of the Twentieth Century". Austlit. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  2. ^ Laurie Clancy (2004). Culture and Customs of Australia. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 125. ISBN 978-0-313-32169-6. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "About Us". Quadrant. Quadrant Magazine Ltd.
  4. ^ Alexander, Peter F. Les Murray: a Life in Progress. Oxford University Press UK, 2000
  5. ^ Manne, Robert, "In Denial: the Stolen Generations and the Right", Quarterly Essay 1, April 2001.
  6. ^ The Manchester Bomber's ABC Pals, May 23rd 2017
  7. ^ "Quadrant apologises to ABC boss over 'vicious' bombing article". ABC News. 24 May 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  8. ^ O'Malley, Nick (24 May 2017). "Quadrant editor issues 'unreserved' apology to the ABC over 'sick and unhinged' Manchester blast article". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  9. ^ Response from ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie to Quadrant editors, ABC, Wednesday 24 May 2017
  10. ^ The standards that ‘Quadrant’ seeks to uphold, The Monthly, Robert Manne, May 2017
  11. ^ Dame Leonie Kramer, "The Values of Quadrant", in:Quadrant, No. 290, Vol. XXXVI, No. 10, October 1992, p. 2.
  12. ^ Krygier, Martin, "The usual suspects," The Monthly, December 2006-January 2007.
  13. ^ "Australian literary magazines". Department of Culture and Recreation. Commonwealth of Australia. Archived from the original on 8 December 2010. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
  14. ^ Cubby, Ben (24 October 2007). "Windschuttle to edit Quadrant". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 15 June 2008.
  15. ^ a b c "Notes from the editor", Quadrant, March 2017, p. 4.
  16. ^ "Barry Spurr appointed Quadrant's new Literary Editor", Quadrant, March 2019, p. 3.

External links[edit]