This page is part of the 2006 FESTIVAL ARCHIVE.
Visit the current Melbourne Writers Festival website for details of the next festival.
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Booking now available online through the Malthouse booking office;

or phone: 03 9685 5111 (bookings only, information about the classes, refer to MWF)

$32 or $25 concession. Discounts for groups are available (see booking form for details).

2006 The Last Word

Sunday, September 3 at the Storey Hall
To close the festival we have two debates, both going to the heart of matters in Australian public life, one on the domestic front, one on the international.

6 PM
Stolen Generations or hijacked history? - a debate

Over the last twenty years, the concept of the Stolen Generations, the abduction of thousands of Aboriginal children from their families by various state authorities up until the 1970s, has slowly gained acceptance. But did it happen at all? What is the evidence? Are we exaggerating a scant few cases into a long-term and widespread policy of destroying Aboriginal families?

This is a debate about history, truth and memory between Robert Manne and Andrew Bolt on the Stolen Generations. Professor of Politics at La Trobe University, Robert Manne has written extensively on the evidence for there being Stolen Generations and the attempt by others to down play it. A popular columnist with the Herald Sun, Andrew Bolt has consistently cast doubts on the idea, calling it a ‘myth’, a construction of certain ‘stolen generations activists’. The moderator will be historian John Hirst.


8 PM
Dealing with the devil - a debate

Are terrorists so unspeakable that they should never be spoken to? Or should we listen to their demands? The very last event of this year’s festival will be a debate on the contention that we should never negotiate with terrorists. This promises to be more than a dry dissection of hypothetical situations: two speakers, one on each side of the debate, have been held hostage by either insurgents or rogue governments. Supporting the proposition will be former aid-worker for Care, Steve Pratt who in 1999 was imprisoned with two others for spying in the former Yugoslavia. Debating against the proposition will be SBS journalist John Martinkus who was kidnapped in Iraq. Join chair Max Gillies, Thane Rosenbaum and Antony Loewenstein as they navigate the ethical maze.