Quadrant is a conservative Australian literary, cultural, and political journal, which publishes both online and printed editions. As of 2019, Quadrant mainly publishes commentary, essays and opinion pieces on cultural, political and historical issues, although it also reviews literature and publishes poetry and fiction in the print edition. Its editorial line is self-described “bias towards cultural freedom, anti-totalitarianism and classical liberalism”.
The magazine was founded in Sydney in 1956 by Richard Krygier, a Polish–Jewish refugee who had been active in social-democrat politics in Europe and James McAuley, a Catholic poet, known for the anti-modernist Ern Malley hoax. It was originally an initiative of the Australian Committee for Cultural Freedom, the Australian arm of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, an anti-communist advocacy group funded by the CIA.
The name Quadrant was suggested by the publisher Alec Bolton, husband of the poet Rosemary Dobson (she had declined to join the editorial board of Quadrant, not wanting to be seen as “part of the right”).
It has had many notable contributors, including Les Murray, who was its literary editor from 1990 to 2019,: 240 Peter Ryan, who wrote a column from 1994 to 2015, Heinz Arndt, Sir Garfield Barwick, Frank Brennan, Ian Callinan, Hal Colebatch, Peter Coleman, Sir Zelman Cowen, Anthony Daniels, Joe Dolce, David Flint, Lord Harris of High Cross, Paul Hasluck, Dyson Heydon, Sidney Hook, A. D. Hope, Barry Humphries, Clive James, John Kerr, Michael Kirby, Frank Knopfelmacher, Peter Kocan, Christopher Koch, Andrew Lansdown, John Latham, Douglas Murray, Patrick O’Brien, Sharon Olds, George Pell, Pierre Ryckmans, Roger Sandall, Roger Scruton, Clement Semmler, Greg Sheridan, James Spigelman, Sir Ninian Stephen, Tom Switzer and Alexander Voltz, as well as several Labor and Liberal political figures, including Bob Hawke, John Howard, Tony Abbott, Mark Latham and John Wheeldon.
After the publication of the 1997 Bringing Them Home report about the Stolen Generations, Quadrant published a number of articles critical of the report’s methodology and conclusions. Professor Robert Manne, who edited the magazine from 1990 to 1997, claimed that the Howard government’s response to Bringing Them Home was influenced by and “collusive with” Quadrant’s position.
In the week following the Manchester Arena bombing, Quadrant’s online editor Roger Franklin wrote an article titled “The Manchester Bomber’s ABC Pals”, referring to the ABC’s Q&A TV program. In it he wrote, “Had there been a shred of justice, that blast would have detonated in an Ultimo TV studio” and “…none of the panel’s likely casualties would have represented the slightest reduction in humanity’s intelligence, decency, empathy or honesty”.
ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie called for the article to “be removed and apologised for”. Quadrant editor-in-chief Keith Windschuttle acknowledged that the article was “intemperate” and “a serious error of judgment” and apologised for the offence it had caused, and the article was removed from the website.