The ANU Reporter’s Jane O’Dwyer has had a look at the heated parliamentary debates of 1946 surrounding the foundation of Canberra’s Australian National University.
The concerns of Adair “Chill” Blain, Member for the Northern Territory, seem particularly far sighted:
- He also feared the rise of ‘rat-bag’ views would infest the University though the inclusion of the Research School of Social Sciences. “No doubt, provision of such a school has been inserted in the Bill as a result of the influence exerted on the Government by the ‘rat-bags’ who attend the meeting of the Summer School of Political Science. In 1937 I attended the sessions of that school in Albert Hall, Canberra and was amazed at the ‘rat-bag’ theories advanced by some of the speakers. Yet some of them are now senior officers of the Commonwealth Public Service.”
Worth a read. Aside from the White Australia Policy you can almost hear the voices of the MPs of today.