Robert Manne

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Robert Manne

Robert Manne 2001.jpg
Manne in a 2001 interview on ABC TV
Born (1947-10-31) 31 October 1947 (age 75)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Alma mater
Occupation(s)Academic; political lecturer
Years active1970s–2012
(m. 1983)
Children2, including Kate Manne

Robert Michael Manne AO (born 31 October 1947) is an Emeritus Professor of politics and Vice-Chancellor's Fellow at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. He is a leading Australian public intellectual.


Robert Manne was born in Melbourne to parents who were Jewish refugees from Europe. His earliest political consciousness was shaped by this fact and that both sets of grandparents were victims of The Holocaust. He was educated at the University of Melbourne (1966–69) (BA) (Honours thesis 1969, "George Orwell: Socialist Pamphleteer") and the University of Oxford (BPhil). He joined La Trobe University in Melbourne in its early years. He served there as a professor in politics and culture until retirement in 2012. He is Vice-Chancellor's Fellow and Convenor of the Ideas & Society Program at La Trobe.

Since 1983, he has been married to journalist and social philosopher Anne Manne (née Robinson).[1][2][3] He has two daughters, including Kate Manne, a philosopher and an associate professor at Cornell University.


Manne's broad interests include 20th-century European politics (including the Holocaust), Communism, and Australian politics. He has undertaken research in areas such as censorship, antisemitism, asylum seekers and mandatory detention, Australia's involvement in the Iraq War, the Stolen Generations, and the "history wars" of the 1990s.[citation needed]

Manne has aligned at various times within the Australian political scene from left to right, then back to left again; he titled a compendium of his political essays Left, Right, Left. Between 1989 and 1997 Manne edited the conservative magazine Quadrant, resigning when his editorial policies diverged from the views of the magazine's management committee. He had originally been appointed based on his previous anti-communist publications and his reputation as a conservative. Some people[who?] associated with Quadrant during his editorship believed that he was trying to push the magazine to the left. Since leaving the magazine, Manne has criticised it and the editors who came before—Peter Coleman and Roger Sandall, and after him—P. P. McGuinness and Keith Windschuttle.[citation needed]

In 1996 he published The Culture of Forgetting, which explored the controversy surrounding Helen Demidenko's 1994 Miles Franklin Award-winning novel about the Holocaust, The Hand that Signed the Paper. His book was widely discussed and cited.[citation needed][why?]

Among Manne's other books are The New Conservatism in Australia (1982), In Denial: The Stolen Generations and the Right (2001), and Do Not Disturb (2005). He edited the 2003 anthology, Whitewash: On Keith Windschuttle's Fabrication of Aboriginal History, as a rebuttal[4] to Keith Windschuttle's claims disputing there was genocide against Indigenous Australians and guerrilla warfare against British settlement on the continent. Contributors included Henry A. Reynolds, who writes on frontier conflict; and Lyndall Ryan, whose book The Aboriginal Tasmanians is one of the main targets of Windschuttle's work.[citation needed]

Manne was Chairman of the editorial board of The Monthly, a national magazine of politics, society and the arts, from February 2006 until his resignation on 18 August 2011. He wanted to focus on his writing, "including a new blog to be published on The Monthly's website."[5] Manne's departure as chairman resulted in the editorial board's dissolution, with Monthly editor Ben Naparstek announcing, "We're not going to have one any more."[5] Manne's blog, entitled Left, Right, Left, had its first post on 12 September.[6]

Manne is[when?] also Chair of the Australian Book Review, a board member of The Brisbane Institute, and a member of the board of the Stolen Generations Taskforce in Victoria.[citation needed]


Over the years, Manne has claimed a range of political, economic, philosophical, and academic figures as influences from across the political spectrum. These have included Primo Levi, Václav Havel, George Orwell, Richard Pipes, Sven Lindqvist, Friedrich Hayek, Eric Hobsbawm, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Joseph Stiglitz.[citation needed]




  • Manne, Robert, ed. (1983). The New Conservatism in Australia. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
  • — (1987). The Petrov Affair: Politics and Espionage. Sydney: Pergamon Press.
  • — (1989). Agent of Influence: The Life and Times of Wilfred Burchett. Mackenzie Institute for the Study of Terrorism, Revolution and Propaganda.
  • Manne, Robert & J. Carroll, eds. (1992). Shutdown: The Failure of Economic Rationalism and How to Rescue Australia. Melbourne: Text Inc.
  • Manne, R. (1994). The Shadow of 1917: Cold War Conflict in Australia. Text Pub. Co. ISBN 1-875847-03-0.
  • Manne, R. (1996). The Culture of Forgetting: Helen Demidenko and the Holocaust. Melbourne: Text Inc. ISBN 1-875847-26-X.
  • Manne, R. (1998). The Way We Live Now: Controversies of the 90's. Melbourne: Text Publishing.
  • Manne, R., ed. (1999). The Australian Century: Political Struggle in the Building of a Nation. Melbourne: Text Publishing. ISBN 1-875847-21-9.
  • Manne, R. (2001). The barren years: John Howard and Australian political culture. Melbourne: Text Publishing.
  • Manne, R., ed. (2003). Whitewash. On Keith Windschuttle's Fabrication of Aboriginal History. Melbourne: Black Inc. Agenda. ISBN 0-9750769-0-6.
  • Manne, R., ed. (2004). The Howard Years. Melbourne: Black Inc. / Schwartz Publishing.
  • Manne, R., ed. (2005). Do Not Disturb: Is the Media Failing Australia?. Schwartz Publishing. ISBN 0-9750769-4-9.
  • Manne, R. (2005). Left, Right, Left: Political Essays 1977–2005. Schwartz Publishing. ISBN 1-86395-142-3.
  • Manne, R.; Beilharz, P., eds. (2006). Reflected Light: La Trobe Essays. Melbourne: Black Inc.
  • Manne, R., ed. (2009). W. E. H. Stanner, The Dreaming and Other Essays. Melbourne: Black Inc. Agenda.
  • Manne, R., ed. (2008). Dear Mr Rudd: Ideas for a Better Australia. Melbourne: Black Inc.
  • Manne, R.; McKnight, D., eds. (2010). Goodbye to All That? On the Failure of Neo-Liberalism and the Urgency of Change. Melbourne: Black Inc. Agenda.
  • Manne, R. (2011). Making Trouble: Essays Against the New Australian Complacency. Melbourne: Black Inc.
  • Manne, R.; Feik, C., eds. (2012). The Words that Made Australia: How a Nation Came to Know Itself. Melbourne: Black Inc.
  • Manne, R., ed. (2013). The Best Australian Essays 2013. Melbourne: Black Inc.
  • Manne, R., ed. (2014). The Best Australian Essays 2014. Melbourne: Black Inc.
  • Manne, R. (2015). Cypherpunk Revolutionary: On Julian Assange. Melbourne: Black Inc.
  • Manne, R. (2016). The Mind of the Islamic State: Milestones Along the Road to Hell. Melbourne: Black Inc.
  • Manne, R. (2018). On Borrowed Time. Melbourne: Black Inc.
Quarterly Essays

Essays and reporting[edit]

Quadrant editorials[edit]

  • Manne, Robert (July–August 1995). "Life and death on the slippery slope". Quadrant. 39 (7–8): 2–3.
  • — (October 1995). "Whatever it takes". Quadrant. 39 (10): 2–3.
  • — (May 1996). "The Keating collapse". Quadrant. 40 (5): 2–3.

Book reviews[edit]

Date Review article Work(s) reviewed
1995 Manne, Robert (December 1995). "November 1975 : character and crisis". Books. Quadrant. 39 (12): 83–86. Kelly, Paul (1995). November 1975 : the inside story of Australia's greatest political crisis. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin.


  1. ^ Marks, Suzanne (4 October 2018). "ROBERT MANNE: On Borrowed Time". The Newtown Review of Books. Retrieved 11 August 2022.
  2. ^ Ravlich, Robyn (15 October 2018). "'I felt certain I would speak again': How Robert Manne stared down the threat of a silent future". ABC News. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  3. ^ Manne, Anne (2009). So This Is Life: Scenes from a Country Childhood. Melbourne University Publishing. p. 70. ISBN 9780522855210.
  4. ^ [1] Archived 15 April 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b Overington, Caroline; Romei, Stephen (19 August 2011). "Robert Manne of The Monthly no longer". The Australian. News Corp Australia.
  6. ^ "Robert Manne - The Monthly Blogs | The Monthly". Archived from the original on 26 September 2011.
  7. ^ "Staff profile: Robert Manne". School of Humanities and Social Sciences, La Trobe University. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  8. ^ Visontay, Michael (12 March 2005). "Australia's top 100 public intellectuals". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  9. ^ "Australian Public Intellectual [API] Network".
  10. ^ "Emeritus Professor Robert Michael Manne". It's an Honour. Retrieved 26 January 2023.

External links[edit]