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National Observer Home > No. 56 - Autumn 2003 > Book Reviews

Journal of the Victoria League (W.A.)

Perth (276 Onslow Road, Shenton Park, W.A.),
Quarterly, $22 per annum.

Amity is published by the Victoria League (Western Australia), and its editors are Dr. John Coe and Dr. Hal Colebatch.

The cost of subscription to Amity is small, and the journal is well-produced, containing a variety of articles that are often of general interest.

For example, the February 2003 issue contains a number of articles about (and some by) the late Professor Patrick O'Brien. Professor O'Brien was noted for his influential exposé of corruption in Western Australia in W.A. Inc. But his influence extended more generally into social and political debate in Australia.

An interesting example of his scholarship is seen in his research on Manning Clark, who is now understood to have been an active agent of influence for the Soviet Union, to the extent indeed that he was provided with a mistress by the Soviet Embassy in Canberra. Clark was a profoundly embittered and envious person, and his writings prompted Professor O'Brien to carry out extended research, some of which is reproduced in this issue of Amity. Clark's speech in 1970 when he received a Lenin Jubilee Medal is set out in full. It was a panegyric on Lenin himself, with Clark ending:

"He [Lenin] wanted a good life for everyone, as much, if you will allow me to give an example from my own country, for the Australian Aborigine as for the political commissar . . .

Lenin was convinced that this could only be attained when communism conquered the world. We are lucky to live in a time when this tenet is being verified by life.

Even those who don't share his belief feel that he was one of those mighty and great people, one of those giants, who are leading the world to creation and well-being."

These extraordinary statements - by an historian indeed - about one of the most vicious and murderous political leaders of the twentieth century, reveal much of the extent to which Clark's views were tainted by bitterness and hatred. It is interesting to reflect how Clark was venerated by the general run of academics until recently, when he became subject to accurate analysis.

Amity is recommended as a well-produced periodical that contains material of interest and importance.

R.M. Pearce


National Observer No. 56 - Autumn 2003