20 APRIL 2012

“Media Watch Dog on Fridays…is a sort of popular read in the Crikey office”

Crikey’s Andrew Crook on ABC 2 News Breakfast, 24 September 2010.

“Gerard Henderson is big enough to take care of himself, but that doesn’t stop us worrying about him from time to time.

Lately it’s Hendo’s tendency to self-harm that has us losing sleep.

For example, peruse the correspondence he’s published in his latest Media Watch Dog blog…..There’s a part of us that just wants to ask:

“Hendo, are you OK?”

– James Jeffrey’s “Strewth!” column, The Australian, 8 November 2010. 

“I realise this makes me practically retarded, but until five minutes ago

I thought Nancy was Gerard Henderson”s wife, not his dog.”

– Byronbache via Twitter, Monday 7 February 2011

“Before going further can you write to confirm that these emails

are private correspondence and not for publication” – ABC News Radio’s

Marius Benson, 11 March 2011. He did go further – see MWD Issue 86.

Media Watch Dog – “disgraceful”, “sick”

– Professor Robert Manne, April Fool’s Day 2011.

“Go to the Sydney Institute Media Watch Dog website to marvel at [its] work”

– Mark Latham The Spectator Australia 11 June 2011.

“Henderson…What a pompous, pretentious turd you are.”

– Mike Carlton, Saturday 13 August 2011 (after lunch)

“We’d better be careful what we say, just in case Gerard’s offsider pooch Nancy is keeping an eye on us for his delightfully earnest Media Watch Dog”

– Tom Cowie of The Power Index, Crikey 20 January 2012

Stop Press : Phillip Adams Admits to LNL’s Intellectual Incest

Nancy’s Pick-of-the-Week: Laura Tingle Bags Hairdressers & Taxi Drivers

The Drum Editor Selection Criteria (As Hacked By Nancy)

On the Couch : Mark Latham, Andrew Crook and Ken Davidson Analysed

History Corner : Howlers & Exaggerations in Anne Delaney’s All The Way and Paul Ham’s Vietnam

Nancy’s Five Paws Award : Gongs for Eric Roozendaal on Lee Rhiannon & Max Markson on David Hicks

● Correspondence : Let’s Hear From ABC TV Supremo Kim Dalton



What a stunning performance by ABC Radio National’s house leftist Phillip Adams on Late Night Live last night.  MWD has always made fun of those typical ABC “discussions” where everyone agrees with everyone else and a fine (leftist) ideological time is had by all.

Last night on LNL, Phillip Adams interviewed novelist Elliot Perlman.  Perlman criticised the economic reform agenda of the Hawke and Keating Labor governments along with that of the Howard Coalition government.  Let’s go to the audio tape:

Elliot Perlman: You often hear about the two-speed economy but the first speed, the so-called successful speed, really only affects a tiny minority of Australians. I mean, this is obviously the beneficial effects of the minerals boom.  But how many people is that really helping? It shows up nicely on the balance sheet but, you know, when you have the vast bulk of the country being unaffected by it – except for attempts to tax the very, you know, super profits. And it only take $ 22 million dollars to unseat a prime minister by, you know, the mining lobby can advertise so effectively to give people –

Phillip Adams: That’s something you and I also agree on [laughter]. Many of the listeners do not. Look, one of the things that this little wireless program and your efforts as a novelist have in common is that we do very largely speak to people who agree with us. Are we wasting our time? Can your novels affect change?

So here we have the RN presenter admitting that he largely speaks to people who agree with him.  How generous of the Australian taxpayer to fund such self-indulgence. And how telling that Mr Adams is willing to bag the Australian mining industry – apparently unaware that the large taxes and royalties paid by mining companies help to fund his ABC salary and make it possible for him to “very largely speak to people” who agree with him – in a leftie-luvvie kind of way.


La Tingle Worries About Hair-Dressers & Taxi Drivers

Normally Waleed Aly hosts the RN Drive program.  However, he was otherwise engaged on Wednesday. [Don’t you mean that Mr Aly was having a well-earned break? – Ed] and Jonathan Green took over the microphone for the evening.

One of Nancy’s favourite media moments occurs on those occasions when the sassy Laura Tingle appears on the ABC1 Insiders program, after Mass on Sundays.  Nancy understands  the Insiders format and knows that La Tingle overnights in Melbourne. She then takes a taxi to the ABC Studio at Ultimo, goes into make-up which includes a hair job and then – hey presto – emerges on the Insiders set. Wow.

In view of this, Nancy was somewhat surprised to hear the following exchange between the Australian Financial Review’s political editor and Mr Green on RN Drive last Wednesday.  Let’s go to the audio tape where discussion in focused on the meeting between the Commonwealth and State and Territory governments:

Laura Tingle: In some ways the government, the Canberra government, had the States under –  in a fairly good position – on this because they’d also announced that they wanted to set up a fund that they’d jointly run with the business community to give out training dollars. So I think the States all knew that if they didn’t agree to this, they’d probably lose the money to the business based fund as well. But these are important things, everybody’s screaming about skills and the need to get the skills agenda up. And all of these reforms should help drive the dollars, the government subsidies and things to the areas of skills that are really needed in the economy. Rather than sort of the strange situations we’ve had in the past – where we’ve, um, we’re producing a nation of hairdressers and, um, and taxi drivers.

Jonathan Green: [laughs] That’s us then – a nation of hairdressers and taxi drivers. I can see the bumper sticker now. Laura Tingle, thank you so much.

This is all very well.  But what’s wrong with hair dressers and taxi-drivers? Jonathan Green may be a balding inner-city bicycle rider. However, the sassy La Tingle – who takes taxis and has her hair done by hairdressers – should know better.



As readers of MWD will know (see Issue 132), Jonathan Green – the former editor of The Drum – has taken a full time position at ABC Radio National as presenter of RN Sunday Extra.  He previously did both jobs.

There was no surprise when Mr Green was appointed by Mark Scott and his colleagues to oversee the taxpayer funded public broadcaster’s move into opinion – formerly the preserve of commercial newspapers and magazines.  After all, Jonathan Green was ideally suited for the gig.  He was, and remains, an inner-city Melbourne leftie who has a background at The Age. [Don’t you mean “The-Guardian-on-the-Yarra” – Ed] and the leftist online publication Crikey.  So his transition to join the inner-city sandal wearing luvvies at the ABC seems natural – and may even have been predestined.  This is how the Melbourne-based job is advertised on the ABC website:

The ABC requires an Editor to manage the successful online analysis and opinion portal The Drum. The Drum combines up to date analysis from expert ABC staff with quality contributions from opinion makers in the community.

We are looking for an experienced journalist whose job will be to set the agenda in Australia”s public discussion on major issues.  The Editor leads a small team of editors and web producers. He or she will also be expected to liaise with The Drum television program, and to further explore the potential of social media.

Ever busy in her hobby as a hacker, Nancy has come across the internal selection criteria which will be used by the ABC to decide Mr Green’s replacement. Here they are – published, of course, in the public interest.


1.    Work experience is essential for this position – provided the successful applicant has worked at The Age or Crikey or Green Left Weekly or the La Trobe University Politics Department and calls himself – or herself – friends of Eric Beecher or Phillip Adams or Margaret Simons or Robert Manne or Sophie Cunningham or Bruce Belsham or anyone at the taxpayer subsidised Grattan Institute or the taxpayer subsidised Wheeler Center or Andrew Jaspan’s taxpayer subsidised The Conversation. That’s all.

2.    The successful applicant will be able to set the agenda in the Australian public debate on major issues.  The experienced journalist should be aware that the “major issues” facing contemporary Australia are (i) gay marriage. (ii) gender re-assignment, (iii) sex discrimination in the Catholic Church, (iv) sex discrimination in the Anglican Church, (v) why Tony Abbott would be a dangerous prime minister , (vi) catastrophic human induced climate change and its potential disastrous impact on Fitzroy, Brunswick and Carlton, (vii) the paucity of funding for the ABC, literary festivals, universities, inner-city government schools and same sex marriage advocacy groups, (viii) the need for greater government expenditure on the public service, especially those areas researching the need for increasing funding for same sex marriage advocates and (ix) Rupert Murdoch’s Hate Media.

3.     The Drum is what ABC management terms an “opinion portal”. The successful applicant, if he or she is really in experienced journalist, should know that public sector portals are fact-free. Consequently, no track-record in fact-checking is required for this position.  Especially for copy contributed by Bob Ellis or Marieke Hardy or Robert Manne or Bruce Haigh.  The ABC is a modern organisation. So modern that it is really post-modern.

4.    The successful applicant should live within a five kilometre radius of Readings Bookshop in Lygon Street, Carlton but should be willing to ride his or her own bike to “foreign areas” – like St Kilda or even Kew.  Language skills are not required since it is not expected that the successful candidate will need to travel to Fountain Head (up Ringwood way) or Geelong.  This is the task of the ABC’s Foreign Correspondent unit, which has the assistance of taxpayer funded GPS gear and foreign language training.

5.    The successful applicant will be well read and should exhibit an awareness of the news sense of The Age, The Guardian and Green Left Weekly.  Any understanding of the editorial line of the Holy Name Monthly (RIP) should be regarded as a negative quality and should lead to the immediate termination of any interview.

6.    The successful editor should willingly publish anti-semitism  and false assertions on The Drum’s comment pages of the “Sarkozy is a Jew” genre which appeared on 26 March 2012 – and then willingly withdraw after the matter is drawn to the attention of nice Mr Scott.  In other words, the successful applicant should be both willing to “dare to lose” as well as “dare to win”.

7.     Generally, applicants should not be assessed on their spelling or expression.  However, they should be able to spell in such key terms as “Bob Brown”, “catastrophic climate change”, “gay marriage” and Leon Trotsky.  They should also be able to distinguish between Jonathan Green and other Greens.


About Mark Latham’s “In-The-Post” Gift

Nancy Asks: My co-owner is having trouble sleeping at night – and it’s nothing to do with my fleas.  You see, in The Spectator Australia on 21 January 2012, Mark Latham wrote: “When I was at university a girlfriend gave me a prescient book, Tamara Deutscher’s Not By Politics Alone (1973). I have now posted a copy to Hendo.  Gerard needs to read this book.”

As you will recall, I have raised this matter with you before (Issue 123).  But the promised book still has not arrived and Australia Post has assured my co-owner that the book was never posted by Mark Latham in the first place.  As Mr Latham said, “Gerard needs to read this book”. But he cannot lay his hands on a copy.  This is increasing tension in our household. What should I do?

Inky Responds: This is a tricky question.  There are two possible scenarios.  First, Mark Latham is into what we psychologists call “prescience-tease”. You promise to give a prescient book to someone because they need to read it – but you never send it.  They lie awake at night in a prescience-deprived state.  Clever, eh?

Second, it’s possible that Mr Latham genuinely intended to post Not by Politics Alone to your co-owner but couldn’t afford the postage.  You see, your man Latham is trying to eke out an existence in Western Sydney on a lousy $75,000 a year (indexed for life) which the taxpayers hand out to sustain his life-style.  You can’t afford to post many books on a lousy taxpayer funded superannuation package of a lousy $75,000 a year (fully indexed for life) and perhaps Mark Latham’s evident broken promise is due to his financial embarrassment.

Don’t worry.  My professional opinion is that, eventually, the book will arrive – maybe Tommie Switzer will buy a copy out of his editorial stipend.  Recently on the Sky News Australian Agenda program, Mr Latham called Julia Gillard a “liar” for breaking her promise on the carbon tax.  I don’t believe your man Latham will want to be branded a liar for breaking his promise to post Not By Politics Alone for your prescience-lite co-owner.  Let me know the outcome.

About Andrew Crook’s Estimation Of John Quiggin

Nancy Asks: I am always told that journalists are a sceptical lot – even cynical at times.  But on Meet the Press recently, Paul Bongiorno referred to “the venerable Laurie Oakes” (See Issue 125). And in Crikey on 3 April, Andrew Crook referred to one-time AFR columnist John Quiggin as “a hallowed University of Queensland professor” What’s going on?

Inky Responds: Yes, journalists are invariably sceptical – even cynical.  But not when dealing with colleagues they admire.  In this instance John Quiggin is hallowed because he is a university professor who rails against economic reform and who literally hates Rupert Murdoch’s Hate Media. Don’t fear.  There’s sure to be a slot for Professor Quiggin as a columnist in the Green Left Weekly where he will be both hallowed and venerated.  More probably, his views will find their way into The Drum and be disseminated per courtesy of the Australian taxpayer.

About Kenneth Davidson Of Carlton (No Less)

Nancy Asks: As far as I can work it out, the venerable/esteemed Age economics commentator Kenneth Davidson has been writing much the same column for “The-Guardian-on-the-Yarra” since Moses was a boy.  As I understand it, Mr Davidson has opposed every economic reform introduced by Labor or the Coalition at either the Commonwealth or State level of government since 1901.  The venerable/hallowed one’s views have not changed.  However, his by-line has. It now reads “Senior columnist Kenneth Davidson lives in Carlton”.  What’s going on?

Inky Responds: Kenneth Davidson lived in Canberra for eons – from whence he pontificated about what Victorian politicians should do. When Mr Davidson’s abode was Canberra, The Age said nothing.  But now he has re-aboded to Melbourne, The Age is proud to state that he lives in inner-city Carlton, within a green-zone of extant Age readers.  As a (dissident) Age journalist recently said privately – if a large bomb went off between Readings’ Book Shop and Jimmy Watson’s wine saloon on Lygon Street, it would wipe out the remaining Age readership.  Please don’t act on this (professional) advice.


Myths and Mythology In Anne Delaney’s Film All The Way based on Paul Ham’s Book Vietnam: The Australian Story

The enormously popular History Corner segment returns to MWD for 2012. [Good show – Ed].

This week’s Correspondence segment carries email exchanges between Kim Dalton (the ABC’s Director of Television) and Gerard Henderson concerning the Screen Australia documentary All The Way, which aired on ABC 1 on Thursday 12 April 2012.  Gerard Henderson criticised aspects of All The Way in his Sydney Morning Herald column on 17 April 2012 see here.

All The Way was presented by Paul Ham and based on his book Vietnam: The Australian War (HarperCollins, 2007). All The Way was directed and produced by Anne Delaney and written by Anne Delaney, Paul Ham and Toby Creswell.

In view of the interest in All The Way, MWD presents an analysis of some significant errors and exaggerations in both the film and the book on which it is based.

Howlers and Clangers In The ABC’s All The Way

▪  According to All The Way, Australia’s prime minister “Robert Menzies claimed the double Red/Yellow peril was on our doorstep”.

Fact:  Robert Menzies never used the term “Yellow Peril”. All The Way simply made this up. The Menzies Government committed the Australian Defence Force to Korea, the Malayan Emergency, Indonesia’s Confrontation of Malaysia and Vietnam.   Australia’s role in all conflicts involved ADF personnel supporting Asians against Asian communist regimes/movements (i.e. Korean War, the Malayan Emergency, the Vietnam War) or nationalist regimes (Confrontation).  To claim that Australia’s involvement in these wars was motivated by race ignores one central point.  Why would Australia support one group of Asians against another group of Asians if Australia’s leaders at the time were truly racist?

▪ According to All The Way, “[South Vietnam president Ngo Dinh] Diem and his family were orthodox Catholics…Diem was greatly admired by Ted Serong and Australia’s powerful conservative Catholic leaders; they saw the war in Vietnam as a defence of a Catholic outpost in a sea of communism.”

Fact : The full documentation concerning Australia’s Vietnam commitment is covered in the official history Crises and Commitments: The Politics and Diplomacy of Australia’s Involvement in Southeast Asian Conflicts 1948-1966 which was written by Peter Edwards with the assistance of Gregory Pemberton.

As the official history reveals, Australia’s Vietnam commitment had nothing – absolutely nothing – to do with defending Vietnam as a Catholic outpost.  In any event, Vietnam was predominantly a Buddhist society.  Moreover, the key Australian politicians who committed Australian troops to Vietnam were Robert Menzies, Harold Holt and Jack McEwen.  Not one of this group was a Catholic.

The evidence suggests that All The Way just made up the Catholic link.  Anti-Catholic sectarianism is somewhat intellectually fashionable these days.

▪ According to All The Way, President Lyndon B. Johnson “asked Prime Minister Menzies to put Australian troops on the ground in Vietnam” and “Menzies was happy to oblige”.

Fact: This is a significant over-simplification. Australia committed forces to Vietnam before a definite request had been made by the Johnson administration.  The Cabinet records of the day make it clear that the Menzies Government was motivated by the perceived need to keep the United States engaged in South East Asia.  It did not need a request to commit forces in support of the US in Vietnam.

▪ According to All The Way, by around May 1966 when the Australian Army moved into Phuoc Tuy province “more men were needed to take control of an entire Vietnamese province, so Menzies resorted to conscription; the Americans applauded the move – they’d been pushing for conscription”.

Fact:  This is wilfully false.  The background to the implementation of national service (conscription) can be found in Peter Edwards’ Crises and Commitments and in his other official history titled A Nation at War: Australian Politics, Soviet and Diplomacy during the Vietnam War 1965-1975.

Robert Menzies announced the introduction of conscription on 10 November 1964 – in doing so he expressed concern about the Sukarno regime in Indonesia.  At the time, members of the Menzies Government believed that Australia might need to assist Britain in defending Malaysia from an attack by Indonesia.  The first national service ballot was conducted on 10 March 1965.  The Menzies Government decided to commit troops to Vietnam on 7 April 1965.

All The Way just made up its claim that Menzies introduced conscription around May 1966 to provide troops to support the US in Vietnam.  In fact, the decision was made some 18 months previously and in relation to a quite different conflict.

▪ According to All The Way, “by 1970 the [Vietnam] War was on the nose and anti-American sentiment was running high” in Australia.

Fact:  There is only one valid way to gauge public opinion – by an opinion poll or, preferably, an election.  A half Senate election was held on 21 November 1970 – the results can be compared with the half Senate election held on 25 November 1967 when even Anne Delaney and Paul Ham would concede that the Vietnam commitment was popular.

The Coalition won around 38 per cent  of the primary vote in 1970 compared with about 43 per cent in 1967. Labor’s vote was 42 per cent in 1970 as against 45 per cent in 1967. The real “star” of the 1970 Senate election was the Democratic Labor Party – it won over 11 per cent of the primary vote and Senate seats in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales.

By 1970 the DLP was the political party most supportive of Australia’s Vietnam commitment.  Taken together, in November 1970 the Coalition and the DLP won around 49 per cent of the primary vote compared with Labor’s 42 per cent.  All The Way just made up the claim that by 1970 the Vietnam War was “on the nose” – judged by the extant empirical evidence.

Howlers and Clangers in Paul Ham’s Vietnam: The Australian War

Paul Ham’s book Vietnam: The Australian War is much better than All The Way.  While acknowledging the failure of the Coalition to adequately explain the Vietnam commitment, it does recognise that North Vietnam always controlled the southern based Viet Cong and National Liberation Front. This was denied at the time by the leading opponents of Australia’s Vietnam commitment – including the Labor left-winger Dr Jim Cairns.  Also, All The Way acknowledges that Jim Cairns and the Australian left supported North Vietnam, the Viet Cong and the NLF to win – in other words, they wanted a communist victory in Vietnam.  Both themes are omitted from All The Way.

However, there were some errors concerning Australian politics in Paul Ham’s Vietnam: The Australian War.  This should have alerted the producers, directors and writers of All The Way to engage a fact-checker for a film which was based on his book.  Here are some of the errors in Paul Ham’s 2007 book.

▪ At Page 57 Paul Ham wrote:

No country rewarded the dictator [President Diem] as lavishly as Australia.  During his visit on 2-9 September 1957, Diem received “more ceremony and pageantry” than the Queen’s visit of 1954. “Everywhere he was feted as a man of courage, faith and vision.”18

Fact : The footnote reference is to pages 194-195 of Peter Edwards” official history Crises and Commitments. But Dr Edwards did not say what Ham claimed. Edwards wrote that “as the first foreign head of state to come to Australia, he [Diem] was received with more ceremony and pageantry than had been seen since the Queen’s visit in 1954”.  [Emphasis added.]  Edwards clearly wrote that Diem experienced more ceremony than any visiting head of state had experienced since the Queen in 1954. There has never been more ceremony in Australian history than that experienced by Elizabeth II in 1954. Edwards did not write that Diem in 1957 was more celebrated than the Queen three years earlier. This is either a deliberate distortion or intellectually sloppy.

▪ Page 80.  According to Paul Ham, “the Australian government and most ALP ministers [sic] firmly backed the [1964] air strikes, notably Gough Whitlam…”.

Fact: It’s true that Gough Whitlam and Labor supported US air raids on North Vietnam in 1964.  However, Labor was in Opposition at the time. Presumably Ham meant to write “shadow ministers” – even though the term was not widely used in the 1960s.

▪ Page 435. According to Paul Ham, former Australian prime minister John Gorton “was shot down over Singapore during World War II”.

Fact: Gorton crashed planes on several occasions during the Pacific War.  He was never shot down by enemy forces.

▪ Page 457.  According to Paul Ham, the criticism by some Anglican bishops – led by Bishop John Moyes of Armidale – to Menzies’ decision to send combat forces to Vietnam was unprecedented in Australian history.  Ham wrote that “never had such high ranking churchmen publicly opposed a government”.

Fact:  Paul Ham seems blissfully unaware of the conscription debates during the First World War in 1916 and 1917.  Dr Daniel Mannix, the Irish-born Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, played a prominent role in opposing Prime Minister Billy Hughes’ (unsuccessful) attempt to introduce conscription for overseas service – especially in the lead-up to the 1917 plebiscite.  In 1917 Archbishop Mannix had a higher ranking than Bishop Moyes in 1965.  Moreover, Dr Mannix’s row with Mr Hughes was much more bitter – and much more prolonged – than Bishop Moyes’ row with Mr Menzies.

▪ Page 598. According to Paul Ham, in April 1975 Malcolm Fraser was a “restless backbencher”.

Fact:  Fraser became leader of the Opposition in March 1975. Malcolm Fraser may have been restless in April 1975 – but he was not a backbencher.

* * * * *

Watching All The Way and re-reading Vietnam: The Australian War suggests that Paul Ham has a dislike of, and exhibits distrust towards, Catholics. In a forthcoming issue, MWD will examine Ham’s case against the Catholic Brigadier Ted Serong – who is depicted in All The Way as a war-criminal and will also examine Ham’s evident hostility to some Catholics.


This week’s prestigious award is shared by New South Wales Labor MLC and celebrated celebrity Max Markson.

● Eric Roozendaal on Lee Rhiannon – Ex Stalinist

In the NSW Parliament on 4 April 2012, Eric Roozendaal had this to say about Senator Lee Rhiannon (nee Brown and formally O’Gorman re which see MWD passim). Here we go:

The Hon. ERIC ROOZENDAAL [3.53 p.m.]: As part of our open and democratic society we have seen thousands of documents released by ASIO from its archives. They make for interesting reading. Some people have a few pages in their file; others have hundreds of pages. One particular person came to the attention of ASIO at the age of 19 because of her activities in the 1970s. So concerned was ASIO that it notified British intelligence services, MI5, of her arrival in the United Kingdom and requested that she be monitored when she went to the United Kingdom. The reason for ASIO”s concern was because it had intercepted a call from the Soviet embassy to the home of this person arranging for her to meet Ivan Stenin, who had been identified by MI5 and ASIO as a senior KGB officer. The Australian of 28 January this year named the person who made the call from the Soviet embassy as Vladimir Alekseev. He is described as the “KGB rezident”, the most senior Soviet KGB operative in Australia at that time. The Australian reports an ASIO figure from that time as saying:

Anyone who was messing around with that pair—

the two Soviets I just mentioned—

you”d have to look at very carefully, because they were agent running officers of the KGB.

I emphasise that they were agent-running officers of the KGB. So here we have an Australian girl rubbing shoulders with suspected KGB agents, and even meeting one of them on a Soviet cruise ship. This person came from a well-known Communist Soviet-supporting family. Interestingly, this person with an ASIO file that runs to 800 pages has never denied the serious implications in the ASIO files. When the Communist Party of Australia split with the Soviet Union, because of the brutal 1968 crushing of the Prague Spring, this person and her family stayed loyal to Moscow. Indeed, they later joined the pro-Soviet and Soviet-funded Socialist Party of Australia, which was formed in 1971. Mark Aarons recounts that this young girl became a senior office-bearer. He said:

She became a senior office-bearer of the youth wing, serving on the central committee”s youth subcommittee; attended Australia-Soviet Friendship Society meetings; and developed close relations with Soviet, Czechoslovak and East German communist youth groups.

This person worried ASIO because she led a Socialist Party of Australia delegation to Moscow in 1977 and attended the Lenin Institute, which is by invitation only and the person must be a true communist traveller. This person edited the pro-Soviet and Soviet-supported monthly magazine Survey, following in her father”s footsteps, even after the fall of the Berlin wall. Of course, we can all change over time and this young girl left the Communist Party of Australia and joined The Greens; indeed, she ended up as a member of Parliament. Unfortunately, she has never recanted her support for the Soviets – not after they invaded Afghanistan, not after they intervened in Poland to suppress Solidarity, not at a time when they were persecuting Soviet Jews or involved in massive repression of dissidents and intellectuals in the Soviet Union. Indeed, when given a chance to respond under parliamentary privilege, she did not recant or deny the substantive issue of her pro-Soviet activities and her very close association with known KGB agents.

This person is, of course, Senator Lee Rhiannon, now known as the head of the watermelons – green on the outside and red on the inside. She leads a group known as the “eastern bloc” in New South Wales because they all live in the eastern suburbs and all agree with her extreme views. It comes as no surprise that her two closest supporters are Dr John Kaye and Mr David Shoebridge. Senator Rhiannon”s case is that she did not grow up as a wild student radical but was a dedicated member of the pro-Soviet Communist Party. When the Communist Party tried to free itself from Stalinism, she joined the breakaway pro-Soviet Socialist Party. She loyally supported all the crimes of the Soviet Union during that time. This was not a passing phase for her; she remained a senior and active member of the Socialist Party until well into her 30s. She only abandoned communism when it had visibly failed as a useful vehicle for far-left politics. She then joined The Greens, which is now the main vehicle for those kinds of politics in Australia.

On 16 March 2010, in this House Lee Rhiannon promised to publish a full response to the ASIO files on her website. More than two years later we are still waiting for her response to the 800-page ASIO file. The question is: Why did she have such a close association with well-known KGB operatives? Over many years she had numerous visits to the Soviet Union and spent a lot of time at the Lenin Institute. I believe that Lee Rhiannon needs to come clean and renounce her pro-Soviet feelings and apologise for supporting the Soviet Union through a period of oppression.

Eric Roozendaal – Five Paws.

Max Markson on David Hicks – Ex Taliban

Interviewed for “The Media’s” Ten Question series in The Australian on 2 April 2012 celebrity agent Max Markson was asked about David Hicks:

Interviewer : Is there a client you would draw the line at representing? Is there a potential client you have knocked back?

Max Markson : Yes. David Hicks. Never liked him. Wasn”t offered him but wouldn”t have represented him for 100 per cent of the money. He was fighting against our soldiers in Afghanistan, I”m Australian. He”s anti-Semitic, I”m Jewish. If it was me, I”d have left him in Guantanamo.

Max Markson – Five Paws


History Corner covers the film All The Way which screened on ABC TV on 19 April.  On Tuesday 17 April Gerard Henderson criticised the ABC’s Vietnam War documentary in his Sydney Morning Herald column.  This led to correspondence between Kim Dalton (Director of Television, ABC Television) and Gerard Henderson.  The email exchange is published below in the public interest. [Shouldn’t you add that the ABC is a signatory to the Right To Know Coalition? – Ed].


Dear Gerard,

My apologies for using this generic email address. I don”t seem to still have your personal one.

As you know from experience I am a poor correspondent when it comes to debating issues around ABC programs. However, having read your article this morning and knowing your concern for accuracy, I feel I must comment on a couple of points you make.

Firstly, Ann Delaney is not an “ABC staffer”. She was an independent filmmaker at the time the program was made and I understand she now works for Screen Australia.

Secondly, I must dispute, at least as far as ABC TV is concerned, your statement that “ABC TV and/or radio invariably obliges with a documentary overwhelmingly critical of Australia”s involvement in one or more military commitments.” I must say this reads as a cheap shot and could be seen to reflect an ideological disposition towards the ABC rather than having any factual basis. For your information ABC TV”s documentary contribution to ANZAC Day in recent years has been as follows:


Girls Own War Stories (1 hour)

The intimate recollections of ten young women; how the Second World War changed their lives and their country forever.


KOKODA (2 x 1 hour)

A detailed investigation of the almost unimaginable pressures on both sides of the battlelines in PNG as well as Australian society and politics at this crucial turning point in World War 2.

2009 (1 hour)


Ninety years after the last shots were fired, two young Australian historians embark on an emotional journey to the First World War battlefields on the infamous Western Front where 20,000 Australians went missing.  The archaeological discovery of the bodies of five Australian soldiers sparks a unique investigation, bringing science and military history together in a gripping forensic detective story that involves the use of DNA testing for the first time on World War One remains.

2008 (1 hour)


In September 2007, a group of Australian and Turkish scientists and naval historians undertake an unprecedented scientific expedition to determine if one of our maritime history”s most important submarines, the AE2, can be salvaged 92 years after being sunk in Turkish waters.  Gallipoli Submarine tells the story of this international expedition and the nail-biting drama of the AE2″s perilous journey through the Dardanelles in 1915.

If you missed any of these diverse and engaging programs and you would like to see them please let me know and I will send you copies.

Best wishes,


Kim Dalton

Director of Television

ABC Television


Dear Kim

It was interesting to hear from you again – your email sent at 7.45 pm yesterday refers.  In your letter you accused me of taking a “cheap shot” at the documentary All The Way which aired on ABC 1 last Thursday. Moreover, you asserted that I had an “ideological disposition” towards the ABC which had no “factual basis”.

Factual Errors and Lack of Balance in All The Way

I will deal with the points you made concerning my Sydney Morning Herald column of Tuesday 17 April  re All The Way. Before doing so, I wish to make a couple of comments:

▪ In your email you make no reference to that part of my SMH column which dealt with serious factual errors in All The Way. As the ABC’s Director of Television you, ultimately, are responsible for the content of the taxpayer funded documentaries which appear on ABC TV.  For example, it was simply wrong for Paul Ham and Anne Delaney to assert that conscription was introduced by Robert Menzies at the urging of the United States in order to increase Australian troops in Vietnam.  In fact, national service was announced some six months before the Menzies Government decided to send troops to Vietnam – following explicit concern about nationalist forces in Indonesia and not the communist regime in North Vietnam.

▪ In your email you do not address the evident lack of balance in All The Way.  As you are no doubt aware, Australia’s Vietnam commitment was, and still is, widely debated.  Yet, in a 60 minutes documentary, All The Way did not present the view of even one person who currently supports the decision of the Menzies Government in 1965 to deploy the Australian Defence Force to Vietnam.  Not one.  Only the critics got a run – in particular former Gough Whitlam adviser John Menadue (who celebrated the 1975 communist victory in Vietnam) and former Liberal Party Army Minister Malcolm Fraser (whose position on Vietnam completely changed sometime after he retired from politics).

▪ In my SMH column, I had only 800 words to cover Paul Ham’s film, which he co-wrote with Anne Delaney and Toby Creswell.  Indeed, in the credits the writers are listed in the following order – Anne Delaney, Paul Ham, Toby Creswell.  This suggests that Ms Delaney was the lead writer.

In view of word constraints, I did not have space to discuss the film’s extraordinary assertion that there was a causal relationship between the Catholic Church and Australia’s Vietnam commitment.  Nor was there the opportunity to contest the undocumented assertion in All The Way that the Australian Colonel Ted Serong was something of a war criminal – this was a highly damaging allegation about a deceased soldier whose family are Australians.  I intend to cover such matters in a forthcoming issue of my Media Watch Dog blog.

Your Claims About My SMH Column On All The Way

In relation to the allegations about factual errors in my SMH column, I make the following responses:

▪ I concede that I should not have described Anne Delaney as an “ABC staffer”.  The term should have been “former ABC staffer”.

As you are aware, Ms Delaney has a long background in the ABC – having worked in such areas as ABC Radio National, ABC Radio and ABC TV – including such programs as Background Briefing, AM/PM, 7.30 Report, Four Corners and Media Watch. These days, as a documentary producer and director, she sells some films to the ABC – for example, All The Way.

In view of Ms Delaney’s long and continuing association with the ABC, it is somewhat disingenuous for you to imply that she is merely an independent filmmaker who now works for Screen Australia.

▪ Writing a weekly column entails, on occasions, the need to be provocative. However, I believe that my comment that invariably around Anzac Day “ABC TV and/or radio obliges with a documentary critical of Australia’s involvement in one or more military commitments” is true.

This is an accurate statement concerning ABC TV and ABC Radio over the past half century.  In view of your interest in this matter and your access to the ABC’s extensive library facilities, I ask this question: “Can you name any documentary aired on ABC TV or ABC Radio since 1962 which unequivocally supported the involvement of the Australian Defence Force in (i) the First World War, (ii) the Second World War prior to the outbreak of the Pacific War, (iii) the Korean War, (iv) the Malayan Emergency, (v) Confrontation, (vi) the Vietnam War, (vii) the First Gulf War and (viii) the second Gulf War, including the invasion of Iraq by the Coalition of the Willing?  Just the titles of any such programs will do.

I acknowledge that  ABC documentaries  have been generally supportive of Australian’s involvement in the Pacific War.   However, this is the exception which demonstrates the point.  Invariably, the ABC shows documentaries which run a line about the futility of war or allege that the fallen died in vain or assert that traditionally Australia has fought other people’s wars.  As indicated, if you can disprove this – let me know.

▪ I also acknowledge that, in recent years, ABC TV has run some documentaries around Anzac Day on aspects of Australia’s military commitments which were, say, “neutral” in their depictions of the conflict.  This is the case with Girls Own War Stories, Lost in Flanders and Gallipoli Submarine.  In relation to the last documentary, I played a small part in obtaining finance for the inaugural dive in search of the AE2 in the Sea of Marmara, so I know a bit about it.

The point is that none of the three documentaries mentioned above covered the big issue of Australia’s military involvement  in any particular conflict.  All The Way did – and it concluded with Paul Ham doing a left-wing rant to camera in which he comprehensively bagged not only the Coalition’s past commitment of troops to Vietnam but also Labor’s current commitment of troops to Afghanistan. As far as political parties go, only the Greens would have been happy with the theme of All The Way.


You may recall that when you kindly invited me to lunch in June 2006, I offered to fact-check any ABC TV documentaries before they went to air.  The proposal was not taken up.  If, as Director of Television, you continue to preside over such  politically one-sided and occasionally inaccurate films as All The Way and Menzies & Churchill At War – you should expect that they will be criticised.  With an annual budget of around $1 billion, the ABC should be able to do better.

I conclude with one (gratuitous) point.  I believe that your time would be better served checking out the howlers and lack of balance in programs like All The Way rather than writing to me about one partial error in my SMH column and accusing me of exhibiting an “ideological dimension”.  Even so, I enjoyed receiving your missive.

The Sydney Institute’s program is balanced.  So far, as Director Television, you have not been able to achieve balance with respect to some key taxpayer funded documentaries which aired on the public broadcaster.

Here’s hoping we can catch up for lunch again some time soon.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

cc:      Mark Scott

Jim Spigelman



Thanks for the quick and fulsome response.

I appreciate your acknowledgement that Ann Delaney was not at the time of making the film and is not now an “ABC staffer”.

The other point I contacted you about was your statement that ABC TV (and/or Radio) regularly “obliges with a documentary critical of Australia’s involvement in one or more military commitments” in and around ANZAC Day. This statement is simply not supported by the documentaries we have screened over the last few years.



Kim Dalton

Director of Television

ABC Television



I refer to your note received yesterday afternoon in which you say that you appreciate my acknowledgement “that Ann Delaney was not at the time of making the film and is not now an ‘ABC staffer’”.  By the way, her name is spelt “Anne”.  As previously indicated, I should have written that Anne Delaney is a former ABC staffer.

I have a policy of acknowledging and correcting errors.  How about you?  What do you propose to do about the errors in All The Way which aired on ABC1 last Thursday?

I did a further check last night. National service was announced by Robert Menzies on 10 November 1964. In his speech, Menzies expressed concern about the designs of the Sukarno regime in Indonesia.  The inaugural ballot was conducted on 10 March 1965.  The Australian Government made a sudden decision to send combat troops to South Vietnam on 7 April 1965. And yet All The Way alleges that conscription was introduced at the demand of the United States in order to increase the number of Australian forces in Vietnam.

This claim by Anne Delaney and presenter Paul Ham in All The Way is demonstrably false. Yet our correspondence suggests that you are untroubled by a major error in an important ABC TV documentary – while being pedantic about a minor error in my Sydney Morning Herald column.

When Mark Scott was appointed as ABC managing director he said that there should be a diversity of views on the public broadcaster.

In recent years, on your watch as Director Television, the ABC has run three significant documentaries which run a left-wing interpretation of Australian history. Namely, John Moore’s Menzies & Churchill at War (2009), Peter Butt’s I Spry (2010) on ASIO and Anne Delaney’s All The Way. Moreover, all three films are littered with factual errors and/or exaggerations – as I have documented elsewhere.  As previously suggested, there should be money within the public broadcaster’s $1 billion annual budget to employ a fact-checker for the documentaries which the ABC runs.  As you know, I have offered to do the job pro-bono.

I note that you continue to object to the comment in my SMH column that “close to Anzac Day, ABC TV and/or radio invariably obliges with a documentary critical of Australia’s involvement in one or more military commitments”. As you know, I was referring to ABC TV and ABC Radio.  Well, All the Way certainly fits my description for 2012 – in so far as ABC TV is concerned.  I wrote “invariably” – not always.  And I stand by this claim.

On 19 April 2012 Paul Ham concluded All The Way with a left-wing rant against virtually all of Australia’s military commitments in the 20th and 21st centuries.  Anzac Day is next week. Enough said.

Best wishes – as always.


cc:      Mark Scott

Jim Spigelman

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MWD will let you know if there is any additional correspondence from Mr Dalton.

Until next time – when some material intended for this issue will be published.