Saturday, April 24, 2004

Latham - a voracious reader 

The erstwhile Clinton-imitator, the Labor opposition leader Mark Latham, is at it again, according to this morning's claim by an Australian academic, that Mark had lifted a lot of ideas about multiculturalism from the said academic's new book, without acknowledging the source of his inspiration.

Melbourne University professor Brian Galligan claims that "several elements of Mr Latham's speech appeared common to the book. They include the idea that Australia has moved on from multiculturalism, that there is no point celebrating difference for its own sake, that multiculturalism is not an adequate description of what now exists in Australia but rather that there is a unifying national identity that brings together all the people and underlies citizenship, and that the English language has a homogenising effect."

Mark, of course, denies any wrong-doing, but the Prof thinks it's rather suspicious that after the leader of the opposition is sent an advanced copy of the book, a few weeks later the book's key ideas turn up in Mark's speech.

Not wanting to defend Mark, but Professor Galligan is hardly the first or the only person to claim that multiculturalism is not all that hot - conservatives have been saying that for decades. That celebrating diversity for its own sake may be pointless, and that the common Australian identity is important, might be a shattering - and controversial - revelation among the ivory towers dwellers, but it's hardly news for the majority of Australians.

Still, if Mark is now plagiarising conservative ideas, can anyone send him a "post advance" copy of "The Case for Iraq" by Kegan and Kristol?


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