Charles Sturt Provocations Series - A New History of Australian Political Thought (2023)


In our second Provocations Public Lecture Series, Professor and Researcher with the Charles Sturt Centre for Religion, Ethics and Society Professor Wayne Hudson shares his discoveries of Australia's political thought through the ages.

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Before I begin I'd like to acknowledge the Ngunnawal people as the traditional owners of the land on which we are meeting this evening and I'd like to recognize their unique contribution to our Environmental and Cultural Heritage past present and future and I extend our deep respect to all First Nations people in attendance.


This evening.

Well welcome to tonight's provocations, public lecture co-hosted by the Royal Society of New, South Wales and Charles Sturt University here in the wonderful surroundings of The Chapel at the Australian Centre for Christianity and culture.

My name's, Mark, Evans and I'm.

The deputy Vice Chancellor of Research I'm here at Charles, Sturt University and your Master of Ceremonies.

For this evening's event, Provocations is a series of public lectures, panel discussions and blogs written by prominent thinkers that seek to address some of the grand intellectual and Social Challenges confronting Australia and the world.

Our inaugural provocations.

Public lecture was delivered by Professor Sharon McLeod on the theme.

Children should be seen and heard the importance of communication, so children can thrive, and in this lecture this evening a new history of political thought, Professor Wayne Hudson, will discuss why there is no General history of Australian political thought and the research strategies that might enable such a history to be written.

He contends that Australians have underestimated the range of political ideas that came to Australia, that they've often misunderstood how these ideas were interpreted here and have been slow to grasp the originality of Australian political thought and Wayne is currently writing a book to remedy this.

It's a very Advanced stage, um a few words by way of introducing Wayne and I'm not going to go through Wayne's biography, because there wouldn't be any time for a lecture if I was to do that.

Um Wayne, Hudson, study, history and law at the University of Sydney and German philosophy at Oxford University, where he worked with the renowned polish Philosopher Leszek Kołakowski.

I, always pronounce that badly.

He works across the fields of philosophy, history, politics and religion, and his intellectual Journey has taken him to Oxford.

You tracked the College international, the philosophy in Paris McGill University in Canada, Beijing, Foreign, Studies, University, The, Institute of law of the Chinese Academy of social sciences and the Centre for advanced studies in the humanities at Griffith, University and he's now I mean we're delighted to actually say that he's a research Professor here at Charles, Sturt, University., Wayne's research, addresses connections between utopianism, heterodoxy and social reform, he's published 24 books and counting and 84 refereed articles and he's recently been elected to the Australian Academy of the humanities for his incredible contribution to the history of political thought in particular, here in Australia., Wayne's now completing three further monographs on contemporary Enlightenment and these works draw on his reinterpretation of shelling's Berlin lectures and on his work on Friedrich Hegel and Fred.


Now, Wayne and I are are office Buddies when I first came to work at Charles Sturt last year.

I would hear him through the walls.

Our walls are very thin, talking in the corridor outside my off my office, often with anybody to be honest, um and largely about the history of ideas.

So we've now got very well educated cleaning staff at, at the center, but I'm the the child of two professors of political Theory I should say that at Manchester, University, so I've been brought up right discussing these issues around the dinner table.

But even for me, I would I would stop what I was doing and just listen to his stream of thought and given my background in political science, I'm, not joking I've been stunned by not just his conceptual rigor, but actually the the practical application of that thinking to real world problems and I've been so lucky to engage with Wayne on a whole range of topics, and the great thing I can say about.

Wayne is I, always come away from those conversations feeling inspired and having learned something new and I.

Couldn't give anybody a greater tribute than that and he's just he's.

In my view, one of the last great polymaths and there's not many polymaths left and he's a Wonder to be around I'm, not joking, such a kind and generous colleague we couldn't wish for.

Ladies and gentlemen, Wayne Hudson.

[Applause] Well.

Thank you Mark, it's very hard to speak after that I, don't know what I could say to confirm it and I think anything I might say, might disconfirm it.

I also don't know how to fulfill my brief, because my brief is to be provocative, controversial and exciting and professorial and scholarly and dull I've had two goes of this before one at the ANU and one more proximate to this.

The first one succeeded, but the main Australian intellectuals didn't come.

The second one failed appallingly and so I sat down this afternoon and prepared you a type text.

I, rarely read a type text: I always bring one but I normally at the last minute, have Heavenly Revelations and say something else.

Well tonight, I'm going to break all the rules and read a type text and I can now thank you to the staff.

Read it I couldn't read it a quarter of an hour ago, but we can now read it.

I want to say, because it's very important I know nothing about Australia and nothing about Australian political thought.


That is a bit funny, I agree, but it implies that it's true I do know something about something else.

So what I'm able to do in the area of Australian history is not tell you about anything but related to things.

You probably don't know so.

I know more about China than Australia more about Germany than Australia more about Russia than Australia.

Certainly a lot more about Western Europe than Australia, so I'm, bringing the outsider's view I'm in interloper I'm to some extent of fraud.

Now, of course, I do write about Australia it'd, be wrong to say: I, don't I've done a book on Australian citizenship which had some influence I've recently done a book on Australian jurists and Christianity I once did three books on Australian republicanism.

So if you're interested in that I'm going to tell you about that, I did a book on creating the Australian nation and I did a book, and this is the best of the Australian books, uh Australian, religious thought, and in that book I created a lot of controversy by saying that this was a highly religious country.

The religious people here around churchy, they're disbelievers and this religious thought was of international importance when historians didn't think any of that was true.

Stuart McIntyre, the senior historian launched the book in Melbourne and said I'd.

Unfortunately, the Theses are totally wrong.

I can say and I'm very proud to say this- that in the last thing Stuart wrote before he died, which is in this book.

He Recaps and he says, I, don't like anything.

Wayne says that is right.

Well tonight, I'm gonna have a go at the same argument exactly for Australian political thought and as in the religious thought book I'm not coming as someone who knows I'm coming and someone who doesn't know, but for that very reason can shake the tree and so I'm shaking the tree and I'm saying something negative about Australia, which may offend everyone here and something very positive.

But what I want you to do is see how they connect, not just that there's a negative bit, but that it's what's behind the positive and the two are connected in a new way.

I am going to read as far as I can, if I run out of time they'll, let me know and I'll go back to taking jokes in this lecture.

I have philosophically informed Global intellectual history methodology to Australian political thought, in contrast to the National intellectual history approach dominating these stereography.

This approach combines macro and micro history.

It looks wide to find the relevant data and it looks small to notice International influences material in other languages than English geography.

Context changes in the meaning of words to do so.

I can test the conceptuality which currently governs the field.

So that's what I'm doing I'm shaking the conceptuality that governs the field and I also introduce substantive new evidence, so two tricks first trick shake the conceptuality second trick new evidence little bit of new evidence, no several libraries full of new evidence.

That's the point in this lecture.

I take political thought to be about the delineation of demonization or political Concepts, and not the ideas of politicians, although the two May sometimes overlap I also take- and this is crucial- originality to mean socio-historical originality and not romantic originality.

So I'm not saying the original thinkers in Australia have no precedent anywhere on the earth.

I'm, not saying that I'm saying that they are putting forward ideas that add to the sum of human, cultural wealth and important and original way, so not romantic originality and also I.

Don't assume that originality is a good thing.

So some of my argument is that they're original in a bad way, I won't go into that too much.

But you see the point: I don't want originality to be a cheer word.

It has to have a scientific test that is tougher.

I should also emphasize that I'm only at the beginning of the research I haven't read all the Masters and PhD Theses and what I say tonight may need qualification over time.

I expect that it will so I've divided the lecture into parts to make it a bit easier and I'm going to suggest to you.

There was more Australian political thought than historians have imagined not just slightly more 100 times more, that much of it was original and that understanding this originality can help us to do two extremely important things.

The first one is to reform the national imagery now when I say that some people get very upset because they've forgotten the sociology of nationalism, the sociology of nationalism is that all nation states have delusional imaginaries.

So when I say the Australian National, imagine it's delusional it's only because that's true of every nation state, there's ever been think of Russia at the moment, and the second point is that understanding our political thought can help us play a better part in the New Asia and help our relationship with China.

The last thing we need to do with China is claim to be the most stupid people in the world.

Now I begin by offering a series of refinements- and some of them are a bit worrying, but some of them aren't in this literature.

You have to be very careful of the word Australian because it's often understood in a atavistic way as if people who get off the boat are Australian wherever they come from and they're not Australian.

If they get on a boat, the vet has catastrophic consequences.

Imagine writing about Irish literature and not allowing Joys to be mentioned or beckered to be mentioned because they went away from Ireland ridiculous, but we do that in Australian thought we don't include people who leave and once you get here, even if your career or you're from Zimbabwe you become an Australian.

Well, that's interesting! Isn't it, and so it means that vast numbers of Australian intellectuals who are highly original have been left out of the story.

If you leave you're not in the story, the literature also fails to account of the geography of the country.

Now this again is extremely worrying, so it's basically about Melbourne and Sydney, not much about South Australia, Western Australia, almost nothing about Tasmania or the Northern Territory, and until recently nothing about Queensland well put on and let alone, but what about? If the Australians aren't even on the land? What about if they're in New, Guinea or Chile, or southeast Asia or in the Pacific? Well, they won't go in.

Will they? And so you put all that together, you begin to see there's a huge problem, because you don't have the evidence analyzed, you don't have the evidence recorded, you don't have the evidence connected and when you suggest there's no original thought here.

Well, how do you know now a little bit more, unfortunately- and everyone here knows this, but I have to say it.

The literature in this field has not until recently included an indigenous thinkers women or think it's his first link.

Language was not English.

Most of the books and articles are about white Anglo-Saxon men.

Now that's justifiable in some context, because after all they were probably running the country, but as a general story it becomes catastrophic.

Now I'm not saying that what we've written about Australian political thought we have.

Two of the finest scholars in the country here tonight is not of enormous value.

I'm, not saying that, but I'm saying that we have to rethink it and put a new set of Concepts on it.

A simple way of saying that you will understand is australianism is essential, but it can't be one-sided.

So if you want to talk about birds in Australia, you're, going to say, they're, Australian birds, great, but most of the birds in Canberra are not from Australia and if you go to the local Wetlands, you'll find them from every country in the world, and it's the same in the intellectual history of the country.

Yes, there are important Australians and some of them were australianists, that's very fair, but an enormous number of people came here from other places as you know, and we can't leave them out of the story and we can't decide they're, not genuine Australians, because they can read books now, putting all that together in one last point before I move on a lot of the literature on Australian political thought has a gross secularist bias.

There's a story in this country that we started out with convicts and that our people have been anti-religious from the beginning.

This is all complete nonsense.

This is a very religious country and if you try to understand the political Australian political thought in Australia, it's over determined by Anglican, Protestant and Catholic thought and you've only got to read it to see.

That's true, but nobody notices what it means just take the Catholic case.

For example.

Well, every Catholic bishop was educated in Rome.

They all love them, so they come back with tons of church, Latin, very, very fluent Italian and a bit of French and a lot of them had some German as well.

Well, if you don't put that in the story, you get a very strange feeling about Australian country, towns, Charter's towers, for example, think about Charter Towers in Queensland, Australian historians, behaviors known everyone ever went there now I'm, not going to say something a bit different uh the literature on Australian political thought has a tendency to emphasize the cultural capital that came here from overseas and that's right and it is very, very important.

But we shouldn't assume that Australian political thought it's derivative, because it's influenced by Foreign sources.

Enormous amount of cultural capital came to Australia much more than historians have imagined, but it's essential to grasp that very much of it was not British or English or Irish or Scottish.

Australian historians tend not to recognize that because the only language they can think in is English, and if you want to be really nasty Australian English, they may speak other languages in the restaurant, but they don't read them in an intellectual sense, and this leads to a misunderstanding of even the English thought that came and I won't go into that in detail.

But I'll give you two examples: you'll see it immediately all Australian political thought: people know about Thomas Hobbs, absolutely we already did University, but Harvest has 10 volumes in Latin and no Australian historians ever read those, and then they talk about John Locke huge influence in Australia John Locke.

Well, in a way yes, but in a way, no because Locke, of course was influenced by the Dutch, collegians and I.

Don't think any Australian historian actually knows anything about the Dutch, collegians or Dutch religious thought.

I do I lived there for seven years, so I do know something about it and then the argument continues and obviously American political thought was important.

Here too.

We all know that.

But what you may not know is the New South Wales may have supported the Confederacy during the Civil War, all right now, I'm going to leave all that out except the next bit out, except to say to you, the German and French and Italian and Russian political thought were all extremely important here.

If you want I can talk about each of them and what came here and what didn't and who they influenced would just give you one very simple example: there were several waves of wonderful Russian migration.

Communist party was sent out set out when it's over when the Soviet Union sent someone to set it up.

Of course, it was, and in Russia in Brisbane, which you all know is this intellectuals Australian intellectual Capital there were was a very vast Russian press and it's now been examined and it's full of amazing intellectual things and in Brisbane, as you may also know, there's a paper called The Courier mail, which is thought to be the worst paper in Australia.

Well, if you read it in 1900, it reviews all the theological controversies of Europe, Brisbane, Courier mail, 1900., so you're getting a bit of a picture that we've got the history of our country, significantly Wrong by underestimating our people by underestimating who came by underestimating what they thought when they came and by getting the idea that they're following foreign trends.

Thank you well, the next question I want to address is what kinds of political thought came to us.

Thank you, okay, what kinds of political thought came to Australia in the literature? There's some discussion of five to ten different strands: I've had a look, I haven't finished, looking I'm still working on it, I found 50.

So if there are 50 strands of political thought here, four to five of which have been largely ignored, you get a sense of the problem.

I'm addressing.

If we looked at them, we'd find an enormous amount.

Well, I go through in the larger version of the text.

I go through all of them, and I won't do that now.

I'll just mention indigenous political thought in the work of alien Martin Robinson.

If you don't know that you should buy it tomorrow, outstanding work by an Aboriginal scholar, I'll say something about legalism in Australia, which of course was extremely important and has not been understood because people who try to study it now don't have classical Greek.

But of course everyone in the 19th century had classical Greek and couldn't go to Sydney University without Latin and people had classical Greek, of course knew about India England sounds good.

All the early histories of India and English are written by British lawyers and then there's utilitarianism.

There's a thesis in the literature Benson is the real source of Australian institutions.

Bentham is the great influence here.

Well, yes, it's important in South Australia.

Yes, it's important in Tasmania, but the important influences in Bentham in Australia, it's male and although Australians were influenced by utilitarianism, they never understood the meta theoretical side.

So if you talk about mathematical logic and utilitarianism people doing Australian political thought go to sleep, then there's republicanism.

We all know that's very important here.

Yes, but you probably don't know that at the time of federation in the 18th century and in the 19th century, 90 of Australian Republicans were Civic Republicans and followers of the main British thinker, Harrington Harrington was the closest friend of Charles, the first and of outstanding Republican theorist and a monarchist until until Federation, most important Republicans in Australia were monarchists, and you might think well what about the Irish? What about people in the underground of Sydney and Melbourne? Well, there were a few of them.

Yes, but they're mainly just off the boat, whereas Wentworth founding the Australian political thought tradition is a passionate, Civic Republican.

There is literature on this, but it tells you an enormous amount that it's written by a Canadian.

Well, if we go a little bit further, we can go into the other.

Trends I won't go through all of them.

I'll mention environmental Theory, which is outstanding.

This country leads the world in that area.

I'll mention the important critical theory here.

People know about Australian critical theory, but they may have forgotten that it came from Budapest when Lucas's best students came to Australia and there's been a huge amount of written in Australia about French political thought by people.

Who's French is better than mine.

Well, all right! Well, how many political thought people were there in Australia I mean: have you got more than nine uh? Well, yes, I've got 200 and I won't go through them all, but you get the message immediately.

I have a long list and many people here will know all the people on the list, but it will never occurred to you that they all wrote important political thoughts and to make it worse.

I'm, looking very closely at 20 people and these people I'm saying- are original by World standards.

They're, not just original, in the sense that they wrote a couple of letters to the Sydney, Morning Herald or something they're people who have influenced the debate worldwide and we've got 20 of them and Australian historians haven't noticed more than four of them and they don't discuss them in their books on political thought.

The greatest political theorist in the world is an Australian living in Canberra.

Everybody knows that not ever mentioned in Australian political thought circles and there isn't a monograph.

There are the most important book in the southern hemisphere.

Political theory in the last 25 years was written by a well-known Australian.

Uh ran column column, who some people will know very very well, and then we've had the two best political theorists other than Judith Butler in feminist theory in the whole world, the two best people are Australian never mentioned.

Why? Why will they left the country? Didn't they I mean after all, going to, for instance, terrible and what about? If you went to Moscow and there one is Rosie bradotti who's, the world's leading theory of post-humanism, the University Utrecht and the other is Elizabeth Gross who went to America, both friends of mine, but you get depression and then I could go on and on and on.

Then there are Chinese people here.

What about her bagong you've never heard of Herbert gang.

Well, that's not your fault, but you should because it's someone who wrote about deliberately democracy, someone born in China, yes, but lived here most of his intellectual life cited throughout the world, but not in Australia.

Well, I can go on a bit more.

But surely surely this idea that Australian political thought is original? That's not new! Is it no? There was a version of this story in laborest, a nationalist claims in the past people said Australia was the social laboratory of the world and a version of it emerges as well by any comparison with the United States and if you know, American political thought, you know Australian political thoughts.

You'll see that the contrast is very, very strong.

Australia has no theological account of its exceptionalism.

It has no doctrine of manifest destiny.

There's no notion in Australia of the metaphysical importance of the sea, Australians believe the land is metaphysically, important and Indigenous agree with them, but Americans, as you know, from the literature have a profound sense of the metaphysical meaning of the sea, but no one Australia suggests whatever has suggested that our institutions should have a specific character.

There's also obvious contrast between the Australian sense of the duty of the government to help you and the American view that it shouldn't do that and I can go on a last example, maybe is Mexico very clear, American thought political thought is entirely principle-based talk about politics in America.

They start talking about principles.

No Australian has ever talked about principles.

In that sense, Australians don't deduce their political Theory from first principles.

They have a kind of fear of grand Theory, partly because when they tried to read it at Uni, they fell asleep.

Now I've admitted to you.

There are two versions of the originality of Australian political thoughts.

The first version, an old australianist version, which I think has great Merit, is that social situational analysis shows how original Australia is.


Think that's right and my version emphasizes creative intellectuals and what I want to say to you almost by finale, is that these two things come together.

It's the social situational reality that enables the people who come here from all over the world to think differently.

Thank you very much.

Some questions both online and from the audience as well.

Although can I can I begin with a clarification right, so so you refer to um two of the world leading uh political thinkers, but you didn't actually name who they were.

I gave two women as examples of that I think, but I can add more if you want men, no I'm, just interested singer.

After all, a pretty obvious case, Philip Pettit is the theorist of republicanism.

The best in the world and Peter Singer is also, of course, in Australian is also an outstanding person and I can add another age of 10.

This Headley bull who's, one of the most important people in international relations.

Theory of the 20th century, also Australian.

It's a long, long list yeah, but you you said at the beginning, though, that there needs to be a test, a criteria for the originality, yeah yeah.

So, for example, you know in my field, there's no doubt that uh, you know Bob goodin and John.

Yes, um lead the world, yes they're on the list in deliberative um Democratic thought, but they have much more limited impact on political practice in Australia than they do internationally.

Yes, that's fair and that's that's part of the dialectic I was getting to at the end that there's a disjunct in Australia between the people who become world famous for their original thought and the people who shaped the national institutions and that's because of a colonial and intellectualism.

Now everybody in Australia these days is trying to be post-colonial or decolonial.

But you have to understand that the anti-colonial thing is also a colonial product.

Nationalism in Australia was a heavily Colonial product.

If you know the people who wrote those books and you look at their photographs, you'll find they're, largely Edwardian Englishman.

Some of them have funny little shirts that go up and and of course they all speak French.

So even though they're banging in Australian National strum, they come to an amazing degree from the colonial side pattern and you, if you know the wonderful work of Sylvia Lawson, the bulletin was the main nationalist publication in Australia.

The person who ran into Archibald thought he was great and didn't just walk around Sydney dressed up in French clothes.

He really thought he was French.

So, there's a link between a certain kind of anti-intellectualism in Australia and colonialism, and that is not always seen the the other observation that I that we've talked about often on the corridors is the notion of Australian exceptionalism that there's there's a tendency for for many academics in this area to say that Australia is exceptional and that thwarts their ability to speak to a more Global audience.

What what's your your thinking around Australian, conceptually I, think Australia is exceptional, I think they're right about that, but they don't get the nature of the exceptionality clear and these days they think it's about the land and I brought that up in the paper see they never talk about the sea.

Well, that's not American at all.

There is a strong exceptionist thing, but it's also based on never looking at the comparison, so, for example, you're interested in Australian history and republicanism as I am well, you ought to be looking at Africana republicanism and asking was it any different in South, Africa they've never done.

One historian in Australia has looked at that.

Why did they do it? Well, they can't read Afrikaans okay, but is that acceptable? No of course it's not, and then you say what about Canada.

Well, there is a journal of Australian Canadian Scholars generation of Australians were educated in Canada, but none of them have decent French.

So imagine what version of Canada you get.

If you can talk in restaurants and can't really read alerts and that's the story, there are people in Australia with those languages and very high level.

They don't write Australian history, so the exceptionalism is true, but they've got the wrong version of it because they haven't looked at the comparison.

If you want to say that uh England isn't like Scotland.

Well, that's fine, that's true! Isn't it but you'd have to know about Scotland and they wouldn't you Australian historians know very little about countries other than here and not much about here.

Once you move out of Sydney and Melbourne try anyone you know on Darwin intellectual history, I can't do much I've been there and I noticed, of course, that it's part of Indonesia, which is the main thing you need to know, but there's nothing in the literature on Darwin intellectual track.

Charters Towers I mentioned that try cook them.

Henry Reynolds made a huge contribution to Australian history.

When he pointed out the northern Queensland, it's got nothing to do with Sydney or Melbourne.

It's Multicultural and multi-linguistic.

Japanese is widely spoken and so on, and so on.

Yes, well, the same thing is true in area after area we need in any science.

You have to look at the whole range of data and not just imagine studying bees and only looking at bees in Redford.

That would be ridiculous.

Well, there's a version of that in the Australian exceptions, I think so much Wayne um, so we're living with this delusional imaginary.

That's a result of a fragmented intellectual history of our place and colonialism, of course, and we're living in the year of the voice or through the year of the voice referendum.

What's the role of the modern or present Australian, intellectual and reimagining, or imagining a new, more coherent idea of Australia, given that our sense of our own history of our own intellectual history is so patched and and fragmented? Well, I think there are half a dozen answers to that, obviously could take two hours, but a crucial part of the answer to that is.

Who do you have to defend yourself to in colonial Australia? People are defending themselves to the governor or to the Colonial administrator of your indigenous.

They are defending themselves to have power over them, but modern Australia has to defend itself to China.

China is a very important country.

It's going to overtake the United States.

In my view, I go there.

Every year, I was trained by the red guards in the cultural revolution.

I do know something about China I can promise you and it's a very wonderful country, and you know the Chinese they leave.

They make people in our Parliament.

Look ridiculous when President XI not only knows about Gerta the greatest German poet, but he can recite the whole of good as fast in Chinese.

No one in the federal Parliament could recite it in English or German the idea that they would be able to understand it in Chinese.

It's ridiculous.

So we've got to present ourselves to people.

We need to defend ourselves with, and it's not an anti-chinese speech this in any way.

But in order to present to China we have to claim to be good neighbors.

We have to obtain to be very clever people.

We have to claim to be slightly dangerous people and we have to claim to be people who can help China and I'd say a couple more things than that and you'll see the answer.

Jack um Australians, don't know the importance of their political theory in the rest of the world.

Take an example.

What about our importance of our political thought in China? Well, no ground in Australian.

History really knows there was any importance in China, but modern Chinese thought was all, but essentially child came to Australia.

He learned about citizenship in Australia and Chinese.

Theories of citizenship now are influenced by what length Liang chicha learned in Australia.

We should know that, and we should say that to our Chinese friends and it's not the only example.

The whole of the 20th century Chinese political development was influenced by a Newcastle journalist called Donald, who didn't speak a word of Chinese.

But of course, was the governor between the major Warlords.

Now I can go on and on.

I won't go anymore, but you get the point.

We need to be able to present ourselves to powerful friends, including the United States Australia projects very badly into America.

We have a chair of Australian studies at Harvard.

Someone goes every year.

Nobody goes to their classes.

Why didn't they go to the classes? Well, because they're very boring, because they don't engage with America's Main thinkers? Why not well? Because they haven't studied them if I bring up Charles Sanders first, the greatest American philosopher, there's ever been most Australian historians do not even know who he was.

If I ask you to discuss his existential graphs, his main contribution, the history of mathematics, they've, never looked at it.

Well, that's not acceptable.

If you want to be taken seriously in the serious world, you have to come over as dangerous and strong and a very good person to have as a friend.

So it's not a critical point, but it is a somewhat military point.

Questions observation.

Just on that American point I, just I thought um occurred to me so um Maryland Lakes book on Australian and American progressivism and at the turn of the 20th century she talks quite a bit about the relationship say between Alfred Deacon and Josiah Royce, the greater American idealist philosopher, um I, just wonder what you make of her um analysis or her idea of the influence of Australian thinking on American progressivism at that time.

Well, I can say two things about it, because I've known Marilyn for about 35 years, she's right, the Americans get a lot of their key ideas from the Australians and they come to Australia to learn from the Australians.

It's a brilliant example of what I'm saying, but the crucial point to know is that Marilyn wrote the book at Harvard.

She was the professor of Australian studies at Harvard and when she was in Melbourne, she wasn't so keen on foreign influence in Australia I had a number of tense conversations with her, but when she got to America she realized that knowing about foreign things wasn't anti-australia it's how you showed how original the Australians were.

So she actually demonstrates my claim in Spades I think.

So how would you do you think that the liberal tradition has been ascendant here here? Well, uh, the first thing: okay, the main thing to know about the liberal tradition in Australia, as opposed to Mill? Yes, well, what you have to know about it is that most of the people who write about it, uh politically committed, and it's equally true.

On the labor side.

You know, people who write about laborers in Australia are very likely to like the Australian labor party and are probably members, and most of them are not members of the Communist party.

Some of them once were, but on the whole they're not, and if you ask them about Albania in the Communist period, they won't be able to talk about that and they won't be able to talk about communist Vietnam either, but very clearly, they'll have been there, but they don't rush and the key language Hanoi is not Vietnamese.

It's Russian in the same sort of way.

Uh the people have written about liberalism.

There are about four of them: they're all heavily committed.

David Kemp is the son of the main liberal Economist in Melbourne, and of course, was the advisor to phrase them and his books are extremely prejudiced on the liberal side.

Greg Miller Lewis is not a liberal he's.

A conservative he's my cousin he's an outstanding Australian historian, but Greg wouldn't be offended if I said that he's very strongly committed to a certain view.

Other people have written other books.

The whole of the literature in the field, I think, is odd.

Why do I think it's odd because none of them analyze all liberalism throughout the world and if you said to any of them, give me a lecture on.

Tell me about your chair, they're, going to say who what's your children with the most important Russian liberals, and if you know about your chair, you know that he was when I say he's a liberal.

His politics are like Putin's, basically, but he's radically liberal in the Russian context.

The Australian conduit they've, never heard of most liberals in South America and the knowledge of Italian and French liberalism is also weak.

I I think I said in the election.

Influence of French thought it's very great here, but it's not so great.

On the Australian historians Manning had quite a lot of French wrote a great book on talk, feel but there's no real evidence of him understanding, French philosophies.

If you said to him, Descartes was an augustinian I.

Don't think he knew what that meant, and that may sound unkind, but I was asked my man and Clyde to come to the Anu.

I was supposed to ride my Doctrine today with Manning I, I didn't know.

Manny Manning was wonderful, but I wouldn't have said that he had a deep knowledge of French liberalism.

I do know something about it, because AGL Shaw, a very famous Australian historian, told me at City University.

But what did he teach me- and this is the colonial thing in Spades again well, I learned from political thought from him and I was also told by John Ward, another very famous Australian historian.

What does he teach? Well, he taught me a lot.

What did he teach me? He never mentioned Australia.

He never mentioned Australia once and I spent my honeymoon in his house.

What he talked to me about was the Caribbean and he made me write.

An essay and I did write an essay on the British Empire in 1712 and I said there wasn't any and John Ward took his hearing aid out and burst out laughing and said you could be a notorious.

So it's not that the liberal tradition wasn't important here.

It was important, but you've got to sort out which bits and where Queensland didn't have liberalism in the same sense as Victoria or New South Wales liberalism in the west has a different color again.

The liberal ideas that come here are always received.

I mean it's a famous concept, of course, in the literature, but Australian historians don't tend to quote it.

It's called misrecognition and it's about how the ideas become are interpreted locally and also about which ideas don't come in Australia.

Enormous amount of stuff did not come I'll.

Just give you one example: I was once invited to the Anu to discuss polish republicanism with the world's leading historian of Poland, and of course, he told me and I didn't know that the polls had a wonderful Republican based on Nobles and they had a key well I didn't know.

So the point is that we can't do the history of liberalism without knowing more about it.

One of the best books is written by a very wonderful Australian historian, Tim Ross, but it's heavily indebted to the Australian reception of ultrasound.

Well, I, don't know whether people know, but I've said anymore.

He was very important.

He once he murdered his wife and once he murdered his wife.

No one ever mentioned him again, so liberalism is crucial here, but there are many sorts lots of liberal ideas.

Don't come here and the ideas that do come here are given a strange twist and you can see that if you go to Washington of course, because once you say you're, a liberal in America people are inclined to say Oh, you mean you're a communist.

Well, that's not the Australian election uh! Thank you! Wayne I've, um I have a question.

Wayne I wanted to go back to what you were saying about utilitarianism and um, as you know, there's a sort of a cardinal Doctrine in Australian history that we are a benthamite society and I've been skeptical of that for a long time and I was pleased to hear that you had some objections to sort of the notion that we are utilitarian or we are just a benthamite society.

I was hoping after you just talk a bit more about that I mean what are the issues that you have with with that thesis because it's so prevalent well, the the issue is the people who write about it.

Don't know anything about the utilitarians, because there are about seven utilitarians they're rather complicated people.

Mill is the editor of the Westminster review.

Well, Mill could talk about any country in the world and the reception here is not of his enormous knowledge, not even of his knowledge of India, there's very little reception of That So.

When you say utilitarians, you really mean a couple of simple principles: well, yes, they came to Australia, yes in Tasmania the prison that Port Arthur does show bentham's Perception of criminality.

That's true! It's true that mechanically in Tasmania was a utilitarian.

That's true! It's true that South Australia was a utilitarian project.

So there's plenty of evidence for utilitarian influence here, but it's always mixed with other influences and what's wrong with the famous utilitarian thesis.

Is they don't look at anyone else? It's like the English, English and Scottish are important here.

Well, yes right, but which people and what did they know and what didn't they know and who had the opportunity? Let me just give one very similar example.

The most important philosophy of the last 50 years in Australia was John Anderson and John.

Anderson was a kind of crazy, atheist Theologian and he was a wonderful genius and his students dominated the politics of New, South Wales and the legal profession.

I was taught by about seven of them and they all had teeth, fall out in the air fall out.

But John Anderson was a wonderful man, but there was no reception in Australia of his actual philosophy and in his very last lecture he gets up and tells his students who've all decided, of course, that he's a rationalist and a positivist and somebody who doesn't pay any attention to our deals.

That is in the last lecture, Anderson says: I'm a follower of Hegel and Plato.

Well, I didn't understand so I think.

The answer is that the reception was partial involved, an element of misrecognition and went with other things.

So yes, of course, I mean I've, read the utilitarians.

Of course everybody in this room, who's done political thought has done some reading of the utilitarians.

That's absolutely fair, but we haven't read other people that were enormously important and the example I might throw in there is take the Italian influence.

If you say Italian uh political thought was very important in Australia.

Well, Australian historians don't really say that, but we now know that when marcini died, thousands and thousands of people marched in Sydney, not five people, maybe fifty thousand marched because martsini had died and who else read? Matthew well, English clerk, who wrote section 116, as you know, is the most important Australian non-citic Republic English clerk had Martini's photo in five of his rooms.

So the idea that a terribility thought didn't come.

He was insane if you talk about fascists, thought.

Well, obviously, Santa Maria read his thesis on Italian fascism.

The Catholic clergy were heavily informed about Spanish, Italian and French Ventures.

There was great enthusiasm for Vichy on the Catholic side in Australia.

Belock, as you know, was immensely influential.

He 'll hear so: yes they're important utilitarians, but they come up with about eight others, and then you have to see how they interact, because, although I found 40 or 50 strands, I didn't say and I should have probably said they weave, do you take Australian marks? If everyone knows the Communist party was important here, one time it was the biggest communist part of the English-speaking world, but people who were Communists in Australia had a very strange selection of knowledges, none of them until 1970 had enough German to understand Karl Marx.

There was it's true, a great genius in Sydney, a friend of mine, and he spent his whole life in Moscow translating to the Russians, but he was in Moscow, not in Sydney.

When I was a student at Sydney University, nobody gave electoral maps that showed any understanding of months at all and the same with Hager.

It all changed, of course, when they came from Lucas's people around suddenly there were people Budapest and of course they could understand Marx and they could speak French and they had Russian as well.

They could do it all, but before then in Australia the Communists had a very strange view of the world.

You may know that men and Clark went to Russia and couldn't decide whether Lenin or Christ was the Savior to follow, and he sat for days and days in Manor Cathedral up the road trying to work out whether he believed in God, and he was buried as a non-catholic for Monica Cathedral as a man of uh of no belief good, great faith.

So we need to put these things into interaction, they're, not separated and people who know about One know about others.

I might just conclude that card with it.

I have an obvious, but very clear example.

When I was a young student, I was invited to meet the leaders of the Communist Party in Australia for an Australian Christian dialogue, and we met Roger gorodi.

Who was the leading French communist of the time? And we had about four hours of intimate conversation in that Center of Australian labor is the most.

So that's where the Communist Party were living, and we had this wonderful meeting there with this great French Marxist.

Philosopher, two weeks later he became a Muslim, but it was interesting and what I discovered, of course, is the people who were communist intellectuals, and they were very fine.

Communist intellectuals were really wanting to talk about God and really wanted to read theology, so that tells you that these strands interact and in ways you couldn't predict and just to end it with a bang both of the errands will change in China.

Their Marxism was based on what they learned in China and China.

Didn't even translate much trainer got two volumes by Stalin, historical materialism and dialectical materialism, and only translated the dialectical.

So imagine what nonsense.

The Aaron Brothers learned in Beijing, so on the labor side, um I'll come I'll, come down on the labor side, um I've, often sort of reflected on how little influence, for example, the webs Lasky um, the fabians, have had on Australian labor movements and when you go, for example, to the Museum of Australian democracy, um, it's a testimony to to liberalism rather than a social history.

You know you have to go to the Eureka Museum, the kind of a social history um.

Why is it that um those influences that were hugely influential in the UK? You know the birth, the birth of the London School of Economics, for example, was a sort of a the living embodiment of the influence of our thinking.

Why did that not have the same impact here? I think it's a matter of social class.

The fabians were very important in Australia, particularly in Melbourne, but most people with Octavian were not working class people intended to be lower middle class people or even higher.

They were often very well educated people and when they looked out on the world, they tried to find people with benevolent social ideas, and they didn't know about the webs and they did know about Alaska I wrote about University.

This stuff was received, but it didn't have an immediate impact on policy in Australia didn't solve any problem.

Australia had that's the way it put it so part of what we're talking about tonight, of course, is the mismatch between the ideas that come from other countries and our problems.

Sometimes they help.

But very often we have problems that they didn't have elsewhere, I've written last year about child strong, who was a very important person in Melbourne, one of the founders of Australia, aggressive institutions, Fair wage all kinds of things, and he was a Scottish clergyman from Scotland.

But I can show you that, although he was very important in Melbourne and although he did study all kinds of ideas in Scotland, he didn't bring the Scottish ideas really here at all.

That's not right and what he did do in Melbourne was in response to Australian conditions, depression and War.

So I think that those people were influential at an intellectual level in certain class strata, but I, don't think they went to policy and I also think.

Perhaps the last Point Australians didn't have much sense of how they worked into the British system.

So, for example, the webs of course were very accomplished and cultivated people and young Winston Churchill.

As a uh.

You might say an arch conservative person goes to see them and he goes to Germany with their help and in Germany he studies the German welfare system, and he comes back to Britain and says we need this, so that is the policy impact in Britain through the winds.

But when you went to the webs, of course, the servants would serve the tea well, there would have been some of that in Melbourne to be fair, but that's not really.

The Australian Stars I mean how many times have you had tea served by servants in.

Thank you very much for your talk, I.

Just wonder what are your thoughts about? The fact that you stayed in is a continent in which mass extinction has reached the maximum more than other continents.

This Australia is a country which has conducted genocide against the original population.

The aboriginals has conducted a semi-genocide against the Chinese and is now serving the military purposes of great Empires.

Well, I I agree with all that, except for the noun because it isn't Australia that does it.

We have to be very precise about who does what.

So, in the case of the male treatment of indigenous people, that's very clear in Australia- and it's there fairly early on it's heavily the work of settlers.

It's not fair entirely to Bremen on London, because London, at least on paper, doesn't support this kind of thing.

Whether they didn't practice is a bit more subtle, but it's very much Australian settlers who do that and then, of course, in Queensland, where there's shocking genocide, you couldn't be more right, but you have to remember it's black Troopers who are shooting the blacks White Chicks.

So this is a complicated story and yes, there's very strong evidence of genocide throughout the country.

That's fair! The Chinese thing is also.

You may have seen the TV programs on that there's plenty of evidence of harsh treatment of the Chinese and again it is complicated, because the people who hated the Chinese in Australia were the working class and the labor party was the racist party Australia.

Why? Because these people were working for for almost no wages and getting taking money from Australian workers, and that's why there was such hatred of the Chinese in Melbourne uh? If you want to know about that, there's a Chinese scholar in Australia died, Europe and she's.

Just written a brilliant, brilliant essay on the representation of indigenous in the Chinese press in 1900., and so even in 1900s Chinese are trying to argue indigenous should be treated more fair.

So this is not an end of Chinese point I'm making.

But there are many sources of this violence and you have to remember it's not just the nasty cases.

After all, we have Anzac day as a national celebration, but what are we celebrating Australian kids, going to delivery, to kill Turkish children and for one reason to please Winston Church? Who is the author of horrendous development? Why would we fight in Turkey? We had no possible reason to fight turkey, okay, they're allowed to Germany during the war.

That is fair, it's extraordinary and then, of course, we went to South Africa to Sudan and we fought in the Boer War people in my family were brought in the Bible.

What were they doing, they're going to celebrity to kill afrikanas? Why? Because London asked them to so we mustn't blame just one or two people and we mustn't make Australia the demon that the land didn't do this obviously, and there isn't the unity across the country Behind, These defenses.

There are many of them and you could add more I mean it's.

Not the war in Iraq is more evidence you can find stuff in Afghanistan and Vietnam is not happy either, as you would also know, um any other questions or observations.

No there's two quick questions.

I want to support, so you, so you refer to the to the impact of the German.

Philosophers really go into much detail in relation to that.

Well, I'm, particularly interested in the Sumter observations, is that in relation to the workfair State ideas, uh two things are crucial in Australia.

It is not well known because the historians generally in Australia don't have gender.

Some do Mark McKenna does, for example, but they don't have intellectual journal and they can again talk in the restaurant, but that's different from Reading major philosophers.

Uh The crucial factor is David's time.

David Simon is the father of protection in Victoria.

He edits the age he's a crucial factor in Australian, conservative politics.

David's time was educated in Germany and Heidelberg and he studied Victor and the account of the state he promotes in Victoria is based on the political philosopher of Victor and Australians.

Don't say that because they don't know about the policy.

I, don't know whether anyone in this room has read the vison charts later it's available in 27 different versions.

It's a nightmare, but Victor is one of the most important philosophers, of course, in the 19th century and his impact here is you but his second example is political economy.

Thinking about state and government The crucial figure, there is not Adam.

Smith has a huge impact.

Yes again, Germans, and let me just take a more practical down to earth example, because you'll see how my argument begins to come together.

Australians are radically proud of their institutional Innovations.

Well, one of our best institutional Innovations is torren's title and it's been copied in virtually every country in the world.

It's a huge breakthrough and shows what a practical, sensible people we are.

Yes, but where does it come from? Oh well, there was a man called Torrance and he lived in Adelaide.

Well, yes, that's very true, but he knew a German and that German had been bismarcks Germany and he told them how Germans did it Torrance developed it here.

So all through the Australian story, there is practicality, but it's secretly linked I, think to intellectuals.

We've forgot and they are secretly linked to a whole variety of influences, not only from Europe, also from the Pacific.

Also from Latin America people have forgotten that Hobart and Chile had an enormous trade in the whaling industry.

People have forgotten that, of course, we were the colonial power in New.

Guinea they've also forgotten the John John bolang who's, the hero of Republican thinking in Australia, John Romer Lang wanted to set up an Empire based on slaves all over Asia.

So we need to look at the international side to get the national side right.

I'm not suggesting you ignore the people who wrote in the Australian towns and go off to Iceland, but often you'll find there are hidden connections, because people who are creative of course, have a funny habit of looking at the map.

So I'm going to ask you a final question: if nobody else has got any questions or observations, and it's a very um, oh good Ness! Well, we haven't I, haven't finished it yet I'm only starting it.

It will.

Oh, the books are all available.

Well, I can't give you the copies tonight, but from honest publishing and Melbourne University press and various other presses America yeah.

You can go to direct if you Google his name directly, it will trigger into Amazon Etc, but look the final question.

I was going to ask you and it's a very unkind question um, but in the same way that um as a consequence of covid-19 economists, have had to completely rethink some of their fundamental assumptions, particularly in relation to formal modeling.

How do political theorists need to make sense of a post-covered world? Are you starting to see the development of I don't know, could be um the reinvention of old ideas.

So, for example, we know that there's been an upsurge of interest in participatory, yes, yes, um design, for example in politics.

Yes, um, are you seeing some new trends emerging in political thoughts? I? Think the the key problem is that Australians, like other Europeans, went into disciplinary apartheid in the 19th century, and so we had people who did economics and people who did politics and people who did philosophy and people who did history and so on and so on and so forth.

They weren't in the same department.

They didn't always have tea together and they didn't read each other's books and that's had a colossally negative effect, because when you're trying to understand a real problem, you don't have to go very far before you find that the economics and the politics and the sociology are all interconnected.

And so, if you go to a party, you end up with a situation.

Australian economics and Australia actually had some of the most original economists in the world.

I didn't say that tonight, but we're quite famous for the quality of our economics until about 1970 and after that it drops off because we are married.

So instead of having General intellectuals who are Australian, who write books that the whole world reads, we begin to get people to write 20 articles a year in the American journals and they repeat the American Doctrine.

They repeat all the things coming from Milton Friedman, the Anu turns in into a Powerhouse of this, and there are a few people in South, Australia, Jeffrey Harcourt, for example, on another story.

But essentially our economic thought ceases to be original because we're colonized and we keep the apartheid now in order to go to your post-covered world, we're going to have to develop people who can think across those boundaries and, of course, before this happened.

People could do that if you look in even in the 19th century.

Certainly in the 18th century, a major intellectual in the 18th century probably doesn't have a university job and they're not sitting there saying I'm, an economist and they're, certainly not saying I'm in politics.

No, no, no think about the French think about dealer is, of course, one of the great figures of the 18th century, but he runs physics and political, Theory and literature and plays, and it goes on and on and on so once we had a transversality across all the disciplines.

And now we have a party- and it's particularly extreme- and this is your economics point in the case of mathematics, of course, because people who know a lot about mathematics don't become economists.

People who do economics have middle level math, but people who are professors of pure maths, don't read economics and don't use that sort of math.

Now, if we had trans move it across the disciplines, we would undermine that.

You see because then you'd have economists who were able to talk to people in these other areas and integrate the ideas and that's where we have to go.

I think I, don't think, particularly with AI I took that to know, but I don't think we can stay in the 19th century boxes, I, don't think so.

Obviously, a lot of people are arguing now that we're moving to a completely different pop.

We're moving out of that neoliberal Paradigm that that covid-19 has demonstrated to people the importance of government, but also the importance of balanced social and economic development and the social equality agenda.

As a consequence, do you expect to see more Progressive social movement activity merging over the next period? Well, it depends on which country in the world we want to talk about.

It won't be this workout contentment dominating our political life.


Think Australia is having huge problems at the moment with understanding what's happening in the world.

The key idea you need to know and have is the civilization States.

The major countries in the world have gone back to the pre-modern civilizational state.

So turkey is not just turkey, as you know, it's the whole Ottoman Empire rebuilt right across those stands.

All of them have gone back to the Autumn model.

What about Russia will Russia's gone back to azarist civilization or model? It's not pretending to be a democracy.

It's certainly not pretending to be a socialist country or a left-wing country.

India you've seen has revived a Hindu civilizational model.

Uh Modi is not only bad religious math into religious marriage, but is now trying to get rid of English.

China has returned to the civilizational model of 19th century China.

Its foreign policy is very similar to that of the Chinese areas in the 19th century.

This argument goes on and on so what is happening in different parts of the world is quite different, but the civilization state is the important one, because it shows you that the modern institutional system won't meet all of the challenges.

If you're an old country, if you're a new country, it's quite different to new countries, I'm not sure what new countries are doing, we're a new country in that sense, but I, don't think we'll survive without a reform of democratic process.

I know Mark's worked on that in many countries in the world and without that I don't think we'll survive, I, don't think we'll survive.

Unless we can say what we've done with indigenous people and give a proper account with this gentleman's totally right, I, don't think we'll survive.

If we can't project effectively into the United States I go to America every year, I have American Family on both sides of my family I've just published a book with two big chapters on the Mormons it'll be wrong to think I'm anti-American, although I do attack American like my thoughts, I'm, actually a pretty American Australian, but we're not projecting effectively into the United States, because look who we send imagine sending Joe hockey to persuade America that Australia will stay the way we've we've reached the end of our our time together.

Thank you so much for a thought-provoking hour and I invite everybody now to to join us for a drink and answer, and thank you all for coming the ladies and gentlemen Wayne Hudson.

Thank you.


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