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are private correspondence and not for publication” – ABC News Radio’s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

“What a haughty flapping half-arsed buffoon he [Henderson] is”

– Bob Ellis on his Table Talk blog, 8 May 2012 (before breakfast)

Stop Press: Mark Scott Crows for the ABC; Bob Katter’s Ahistorical History

The Guardian-on-the-Yarra : Not Featuring Dr Greer but Proudly Featuring the Most Boring Opinion Page for 2012

Robert Manne’s Full Letter to The Oz in Defence of Big Polluter La Trobe University : As Hacked by Nancy

Can You Bear It?  Mark Latham Now Condemns Voyeurism; Stamp-Aid Proposal for Bob Ellis;

Linda Mottram Has the Last Word; Rachael Brown Assesses Rebekah Brooks’ Clothes

● Nancy’s Pick-of-the-Week: Phil Kafcaloudes barracks for Labor/Green Alliance along with the Richmond Tigers

● Correspondence: Another “Occupy Ultimo” Proposal in Support of the False Prophet


● Nice Mr Scott’s Brilliant ABC Rationalisation – Or Was It?

As Nancy well knows, MWD goes to bed very late on Thursday evening and arises very early on Friday morning. Consequently, before the first cock crows are heard, Nancy’s co-owner can be somewhat confused.  Perhaps this is why he doubts that he heard nice Mr Scott, the managing director of the ABC, delivering a speech on ABC Radio in the early hours of the morning (was it News Radio or, perhaps, Radio National?) with a you-beaut justification for the taxpayer funding the public broadcaster.  Mark Scott’s speech, which was re-broadcast, went like this:

▪ The ABC was absolutely necessary when it was founded in 1932 because there was so little media around – and commercial outlets could not afford to invest in high quality material.

▪ The ABC is necessary in 2012 because there is so much media around – and commercial outlets cannot afford to invest in high quality material.

If this is what MWD heard, then this is the most brilliant rationalisation for the ABC managing director heading off to Canberra every three years to get a bucket load of taxpayers’ money.  Not enough media?  – fund the ABC.  Too much media? – fund the ABC. Brilliant.  No wonder nice Mr Scott gets paid as much as treasurer Wayne Swan and finance minister Penny Wong combined. He’s worth every penny.

But, then, maybe the alarms did not go off this morning.  And Nancy’s co-owner was just dreaming.  Just dreaming.

Media Alert – Bob Katter in Town : Historical Howlers Warning

Bob Katter is in Sydney and appearing at the Sydney Writers Festival this weekend – in discussion with Kevin Rudd.

The hatted-Bob is very assertive.  Which means it’s easy for him to prevail over journalists during his book tour promoting Bob Katter: An Incredible Race of People (Murdoch Books).

In recent media interviews Mr Katter was hopelessly wrong about the impact of the Great Depression on Australia, Britain and the United States.  This will be covered in a future “History Corner” segment.

Right now the task is to correct the succession of errors made by Bob Katter on Radio 702 this morning – which were allowed to go uncontested by presenter Adam Spencer:

Here we go:

Bob Katter : His [Ted Theodore]  famous claim to fame is that if we’d done what he said to do in the Depression, we’d have had no Depression in Australia…he was, he was ahead of [John Maynard] Keynes…. He and Chifley and Curtin all walked into their open graves. They knew if they stood for expanding money supply they’d all be killed. And they were all killed; they all lost their seats in Parliament.

What a load of tosh.  Here are the facts:

▪ Ted Theodore, who was treasurer for a time during the Scullin Labor government in 1930 and 1931, lost his seat in the November 1931 election.  Theodore was not defeated by a conservative but by a member of the Lang Labor Party who advocated not only big spending but also renouncing Australia’s overseas debts. For the record, Theodore himself supported the Premier’s plan in 1931 which involved expenditure cuts and wage reductions.

▪ John Curtin lost his seat of Fremantle during the anti-Labor swing in the 1931 election – but he returned in 1934 to become prime minister of Australia by 1941.

▪ Ben Chifley lost his seat of Bathurst in 1931 – but he returned to become prime minister by 1945.  Chifley died while Opposition leader in 1951.

Curtin and Chifley lost their seats in 1931 because they represented marginal electorates.  The Scullin government was discredited by 1931.  Moreover, as Anne Henderson documents in her book Lyons: The People’s Prime Minister, Australia and Britain recovered more rapidly from the Great Depression than did the United States where Keynes’ big spending theories were claimed to prevail.


Age Star-Columnist Fails To Front Up

Last week MWD reported that The Age, Melbourne’s very own Guardian-on-the-Yarra, had appointed Guardian columnist Dr Germaine Greer (for a doctor she is) as a columnist for The Saturday Age.  The announcement ran across the top of the front page on Saturday 12 May 2012.

Dr Greer was photographed in a jacket.  The heading read: “Germaine Greer Joins The Saturday Age: Julia and those jackets.”

How appropriate that the leftist feminist Dr Germs should be commissioned by The Saturday Age to write about Julia Gillard’s jackets. This is, after all, THE BIG ISSUE OF OUR TIME. Clearly, Germs lived up to The Age’s expectations – especially when she wrote that the Prime Minister “looks as if she’s wearing clothes that don’t belong to her, like an organ-grinder’s monkey”. How clever is that?

Last Saturday, MWD rushed to look at The Age’s front page.  What important issue might Dr Greer be addressing this week?  Perhaps Ms Gillard’s red hair? Or, maybe, the prime ministerial handbag?  But, no.  There was no mention whatsoever about The Saturday Age’s brand new columnist.  So, in a frenzy MWD hurriedly turned to the backpage of The Saturday Age’s “Life & Style” section – where Germs’ column was supposed to appear.  It wasn’t there.  Instead the paper ran an incomprehensible piece by Kate Holden, which turns out to be her final column for the Saturday edition of The-Guardian-on-the-Yarra. This is how it ended.

Go on. And what’s that down the bottom?  “Next week: Germaine Greer.” A case of Greer interruptus this week, perhaps?  MWD cannot wait until tomorrow morning.

The Age’s Opinion Page – Boring For Melbourne

Certainly The Age’s “Comment & Debate” could do with a revamp. Take yesterday’s opinion page, for example. It should be on the short list for a Walkley Award – for the most boring opinion page in a calendar year. Here’s why.

▪ First up, The Age’s state political editor Josh Gordon wrote a piece in which he pretended that he was Victorian premier  Ted Baillieu in August 2014 looking back on his first term in office.  The column had more prophecies than can be found on Bob Ellis’ website.  Needless to say, Gordon was critical of the Victorian Coalition government.

▪ Then there was Mary Crooks, who was a member of the three person 1988 Brunswick-Richmond Independent Powerline Review Panel.  Wow. Ms Crooks wrote about a high voltage transmission line dispute in – wait for it – Brunswick East in 2012. The highlights of the inner-city focused column included this evocative sentence:

In June 2010, CitiPower and SP AusNet lodged a permit application with Moreland City Council for a major upgrade of the existing 220/22kV Brunswick Terminal Station by constructing a 66kV terminal at the site.

Got it?  Now repeat – “In June 2010 CitiPower…”. [That’s enough – Ed].

▪ Then the Cambridge University based international lawyer Jason Pobjoy (who, one day, will be a doctor) bagged Attorney-General Nicola Roxon for refusing to allow Stefan Nystrom, who is not an Australian citizen, to re-enter Australia.  He did not say that Nystrom is currently living in Sweden or that Nystrom’s convictions in Australia included aggravated rape of a child and armed robbery. In short, Pobjoy’s column was misleading. However, he accused the Gillard Government of “speaking with a forked tongue”.  This was once Communist Party language used to attack political enemies. Surely The Age can do better than this.

▪ Then there was the main opinion piece by Ronald Millar on the art of Fred Williams (1927-83). This was a response to a comment by the Age critic Robert Nelson on the Williams retrospective, which is currently on at Potter Centre in Melbourne.  Essentially, Millar disagreed with Nelson.  Okay – but why should this be the main opinion piece in a daily broadsheet?  Miller’s best point was this:  “Painters have parents”. Fancy that.

▪ Finally Martin McKenzie-Murray, who is described as a former Labor political speechwriter, wrote an incomprehensible column on communication.  It commenced : “My girlfriend didn’t believe me” – and didn’t get any better.   Indeed, it got worse – when the columnist detailed how he told his students that they “are born in a cage”.  Need we continue? [Please don’t – Ed].

So, that was it folks.  Clearly the most boring opinion page in the year so far.


In Which The Professor Defends La Trobe Uni’s “Big Polluter” Status

In last week’s “On the Couch” segment, Nancy sought advice from Inky about the fact that La Trobe University has been listed as one of Australia’s top 500 big polluters – and, as such, will pay the carbon tax from 1 July 2012.  Nancy was concerned that, while Robert Manne has had a taxpayer subsidised job at La Trobe since 1975 and in recent years has used this platform to campaign for a carbon pollution reduction scheme/carbon tax/emissions trading scheme – La Trobe University remains one Australia’s biggest polluters. How can this be? – Nancy queried.

Inky, as is her wont, responded with stress-reducing advice to Nancy along with some practical solutions.  The Weekend Australian last Saturday, in its “Cut & Paste” section, attributed the comment to an entity known as “Gerard (and Nancy) Henderson”.

In spite of this, the oh-so-serious Robert Manne took the “Cut & Paste” reference oh-so-seriously and wrote a letter to The Australian which was published on Tuesday.

MWD understands that Professor Manne’s epistle to The Australian was cut for space reasons. Fortunately, Nancy successfully hacked into Robert Manne’s natural gas-powered computer and found his original draft – which is printed below:

Dear Hate Media C/- The Weekend Australian

Using Gerard Henderson as its source, “Cut & Paste” (12-13/5) suggests that I should be ashamed that I am employed at a university that is 131st on the list of the nation’s top 500 carbon polluters.

This is the kind of outright lie which I would expect to find in Rupert Murdoch’s Hate Media – to borrow my friend, and fellow Earthian, Bob Brown’s terminology.

La Trobe is on the big polluters list because it produces its own energy from natural gas, a cleaner energy source than other fossil fuels.  Our co-generation plant, which has operated since 1993, is twice as efficient as the brown coal that supplies the rest of Victoria. Including my home at Cottlesbridge, the computer of my very best friend Rai Gaita and the buildings constructed by my favourite greenie multi-millionaire property developer Morry Schwartz, who is The Monthly’s proprietor.

I don’t know where Gerard Henderson is coming from.  I can only assume that he has lost his mind doing far too much pooper-scooping while walking his mutt Nancy.  You should not have to be a taxpayer subsidised academic in permanent employment at La Trobe University to understand that it makes sense to label an institution which produces the cleanest energy in Victoria as a “big polluter”.

It’s called the climate dialectic – to borrow a phrase from my new best friend, and fellow other-Earthian, Karl Marx. I’m back to channelling Mr Marx since I moved back from my right-wing phase to my left-wing phase.  I am now on the left foot of my left/right/left weltanschauung.

Although I had no role in the 1993 decision to ensure that La Trobe University is powered by the cleanest burning fossil fuel – thus qualifying La Trobe to be assessed as a big polluter – I am not ashamed. Nor am I ashamed that La Trobe is not into solar power or wind energy or sandal-wearing pedal power.

However, I am proud that – while on the staff at La Trobe since Moses was a boy –  I have used the university’s clean energy/big polluter facilities to advance several causes. It is said that I am losing my memory. But I do recall the following instances where I fired off my polemics:

▪ opposition to, and then support for, the republic.

▪ voting for John Howard (in 1996) and voting against John Howard (in 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2007).

▪ praising, dismissing, then praising Paul Keating.

▪ condemning, and later advocating, a tough approach to asylum seekers.

▪ opposing economic reform in the late 1980s and early 1990s and then changing my mind.

▪ opposition to, and then support for, multiculturalism.

Without the support of the clean energy/big polluter La Trobe, I would not have been able to spend around two decades engaged in polemics. On the contrary, I would have had to undertake some serious and peer-reviewed writing. Fortunately, I have not had to do any scholarly writing since circa 1985.

Yours in weltanschauung

Robert Manne

Professor of Personal Polemics

La Trobe University (proudly number 131 on Australia’s Top 500 Big Polluters’ List)

Bundoora VIC 3083


▪ Mark “Media Tart” Latham Condemns the Voyeurism (Of Others)

What a stunning performance by Mark Latham on last Monday’s Paul Murray Live show on Sky News.  The failed Labor leader – and admirer of three times Labor loser the late Bert (“call me Doctor”) Evatt – has taken on a weekly gig on Sky News, which is part-owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Limited.

This means that Mark Latham now has three regular paid media slots – as a commentator on Sky News and as a columnist for both the Australian Financial Review and The Spectator Australia. [What are you trying to get at?  Your man Latham cannot be expected to fund his lifestyle on a lousy taxpayer funded parliamentary superannuation – it’s only $75,000 (fully indexed) a year – Ed].

How times change.  The final entry, dated 18 January 2005, in The Latham Diaries deals with the media. Mark Latham declared his intention to “ignore” the media in the future:

I’m stepping off the television screen and leaving it all behind.

That was then – January 2005.  This is now – May 2012.  And Mark Latham has stepped back onto the television screen with a weekly spot on the Paul Murray Live show and now has entered the profession of Laurie Oakes and Michelle Grattan.

On Monday Mark Latham addressed the controversy surrounding former Labor, now Independent, MP Craig Thomson on Paul Murray Live.  Early in the panel discussion, Latham expressed compassion for Mr Thomson’s plight.

The Parliament’s going to deal with it and the best thing then would be for Thompson to find the time, the space, the deliberation to work out that it’s all turned to seed and at some stage he needs to make, as best he can, a dignified exit from politics. And, in his circumstances – young children – possibly a dignified exit from the country. Because he will be living with this for the rest of his days. And the saddest thing is that his children will live with the – you know, I sort of know about departures in politics and young families. And, unfortunately, his children will live with this for a good part of their lives. So, he’s got all that to work out. And if we can show some element of consideration in these horrible circumstances, then I think we should.

Later discussion turned to the (false) rumours surrounding Bill Shorten’s private life.  Latham was particularly critical of the fact that Derryn Hinch, without naming Shorten himself, had given air-play to the rumours on Radio 3AW in Melbourne.  Latham bagged Derryn Hinch and called for media regulation to control such broadcasting.

…there should be consequences for Hinch. Because you can’t go into the media making those claims, or alluding to those claims, without at some stage having to back them up….  If what you’re saying about Hinch is correct, why aren’t there consequences for Hinch?  If a person in public life, a politician, makes claims that aren’t true – there are logical consequences.

…there should be consequences for people who do this. The defamation laws don’t cover it; Hinch knows that, he’s been around a long while. But that sort of tactic is reprehensible and there should be consequences in media regulation for a dog who does that. …And, you know, it’s not just the media, of course. It’s the consumers and the voyeuristic nature of our society that sustains a lot of this garbage.  …This is just voyeuristic, scandalistic, media tactic to try and attract commercial ratings. That’s all he’s doing, that’s all he’s doing.  And I say it’s reprehensible!  It’s wrong, it’s wrong!

So, how about that?  Today Mark Latham is advocating the right of privacy, calling on society to consider individuals who are criticised along with their children and railing against the “voyeuristic nature of our society”.

That’s today.  How different from 2005 when Mark Latham’s The Latham Diaries was published by Melbourne University Press.  The Latham Diaries paid no heed to the privacy of others. Indeed it was more “voyeuristic” and “scandalistic” than The News of the World on a bad day.

In The Latham Diaries, Mark Latham:

▪ Named a married male Labor MP (with a child) and a female lobbyist – whom he asserted had a “long-running relationship”. This claim was false.

▪ Named a female journalist with whom “he once had a fling”.

▪ Named a former senior Labor staffer who had an affair with the wife of a senior ALP operative, who was also named.

▪ Referred to his first wife, whom he named, as “the witch”.  In follow-up publicity for The Latham Diaries, Mark Latham told journalist Bernard Lagan that his ex-wife was a lesbian. Latham just made this up.

So, in 2005 Mark Latham was willing to engage in unsubstantiated, voyeuristic and scandalistic claims – without any consideration about the impact of such assertions on the individuals named and/or their children.  And now he is going on Paul Murray Live and condemning the likes of Derryn Hinch.

Also , these days Mark Latham writes self-righteous columns in the AFR and The Spectator Australia calling for privacy and bangs on about the necessity that his children be protected from publicity.  When Latham became Labor leader in December 2004, he brought his young children to Canberra and paraded them in front of the media.  Can you bear it? [Er, no. By the way you seem to have forgotten Mark Latham’s attack on a certain taxi driver and his subsequent use of parliamentary privilege to declare that the driver – whom he named and who had children – always wanted to be on worker’s compensation.  See MWD Issue 99 – Ed].

Ellis Beware – Possible New Health Services Union Scam

An entry on Bob Ellis’ Table Talk blog – insensitively titled “Craig’s Numbers (2) : The Final Solution” – is the False Prophet’s latest gesture in support of former Labor MP, now Independent, Craig Thomson concerning allegations of misspending at the Health Services Union.  It reads as follows:

Since the maximum amount of HSU funds Craig might have spent dodgily was half a million dollars, and since there are eighty-five thousand members of the union, and since the money he cost each member, if he did it, was six dollars, no more than six dollars, six dollars only, I will make the following offer. Any union member who wants his six dollars back, will he write to me, including a photo of his union card and a stamped addressed envelope, and I will send it to him.

Mr Ellis’ apparent misogyny is all very well. However, he seems unaware that around half of all HSU members are women.

Since Mr Ellis has a record of settling his accounts over a ten-year period [see MWD passim] – and since the False Prophet is constantly saying that he is 70 years old and infirm – could this be a trick to get 85,000 stamps at 60 cents a stamp?  A cool $51,000 in stamp aid for potential use in the Palm Beach area for around a decade.  Can you bear it?

▪ A Linda Mottram Moment

On Wednesday, NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli was a guest on ABC Radio’s 702 “Mornings with Linda Mottram” program.

As is the case with such interviewers as Fran Kelly (ABC Radio National) and Andrew Bolt (The Bolt Report), Ms Mottram likes to make the final point.  This is how she wrapped up the interview with Mr Piccoli on 16 May – who was not offered a final right-of-reply:

Linda Mottram : Andre says “Please point out to the minister that he’s not being honest;  he just said that most principals want this but in reality they are blocking principals out of the planning process”.  Which is what the Teachers’ Federation, of course, are saying about this.  Five to nine.

Of course.  So the Minister gave up his time for an interview with Linda Mottram.  However, she had the last word by reading out a Teachers’ Federation text message which told Mr Piccoli that he was dishonest yet he was given no opportunity to defend himself. Can you bear it?

Ms Brown Comments On Ms Brooks’ Long-Sleeved Dress

This is how ABC London based reporter Rachael Brown commenced her report on AM last Saturday concerning Rebekah Brooks’ appearance at the Levenson Enquiry in London:

Rachael Brown: Rupert Murdoch’s former right-hand woman arrived for her long-awaited appearance in a demure, long sleeved, black dress, with a white collar.

Where are all the feminists when you need them?  It’s impossible to imagine that Ms Brown would have commented on the attire – demure or otherwise – of one of the News Limited blokes. Can you bear it?



Most of the opinion polls, published since the budget , have not been good for Gillard Labor. This is so with the AC Nielsen Poll published in Fairfax Media newspapers on Saturday and the Essential Media poll.  The same is true for yesterday’s Roy Morgan Poll.  However, there was a glimmer of hope for the Prime Minister and the Labor Party in last Tuesday’s Newspoll in The Australian – which saw the ALP’s primary vote increase from 27 per cent to 30 per cent and the Coalition’s two-party preferred lead reduced to a margin of 55 per cent to 45 per cent.

This certainly excited ABC Radio Australia presenter Phil Kafcaloudes when he appeared on the “Newspapers” segment of the ABC TV News Breakfast program on Tuesday.  Let’s go to the video tape where a hyped up Mr Kafcaloudes had to be restrained by the well-mannered young presenters Michael Rowland and Karina Carvalho.

Phil Kafcaloudes : We’ve had a budget. And, how many times have we heard about post-budget bounces? – and that’s what government always hopes for. They never exist, they never happen. We know they don’t happen. It’s happened. [Laughing].  And this is such an extraordinary thing. You know, on two-party preferred, Julia Gillard has gone from absolutely dismal to – or at least Labor has – to now within striking distance. It’s 55 to 45. What happened here?

Michael Rowland : They’re not in exactly striking distance. But they’re certainly closer than what it was.

Phil Kafcaloudes : Well, certainly before it was a nightmare. And now, you know, just a couple more per cent and that’s exactly where they want to be, you know…. I made a point of saying a few months ago here that I think Julia Gillard could win the next election. And then, over what’s happened over the last five or six weeks, where she had a bounce, at the beginning of the year, you know.  The Labor Party was getting up. They were like, 47 to 53. It looked like they were in a good position. And then we had all the other things happening. We’ve still got Craig Thomson and we’ve still got the possibility of things happening with Peter Slipper there. So she may have government taken away from her – despite what could happen. But there are some real problems. But, ALP – that’s all they want is to get into a reachable position.  And they’re almost there again.

Michael Rowland :  It’s just – it’s going to be very interesting and very instructive to see what the next couple of Newspolls and Nielsen polls show. Whether this is a trend as opposed to a one-off post-budget blip.

Karina Carvalho : Because that’s really the key, isn’t it? Whether they can sustain these numbers and continue to improve.

Phil Kafcaloudes : It’s sort of like the Richmond Football Club, you know.  Go Tiges. But, you know, hey. [The Richmond Football Club – for which PK barracks – is called the Tigers or the Tiges].

Er, yep.  That’s the point. One poll does not a summer make – even if it makes Mr Kafcaloudes slightly warmer.  Moreover, ABC journalists are not expected to barrack for political parties the way they barrack for football clubs.

Soon the discussion turned on the subject the Radio Australia presenter knows best.  Himself, of course.  Mr Kafcaloudes told viewers what his “partner” thought about something or other. [Is he in business with this (unnamed) person? – Ed].  And then he said he was off to Greece, no less. [Could this be for what journalists call a well-earned break? – Ed].  And then Mr K said that he was going to sign a book contract in Athens.  And, thank God, it was time for some sport followed by the weather.  Go the Tiges. Go the Labor/Green alliance.



Bob Ellis – The False Prophet of Palm Beach – is invariably calling for people to debate him.  However, the False Prophet does not have an email address or even a fax and he does not open his letters. [That’s fair enough, correspondence often contains bills – Ed].

At 3.25 pm on 16 May, Gerard Henderson posted the following letter on Bob Ellis’ Table Talk website and a letter version of the missive was dispatched by low-flying pigeons to Palm Beach.

Gerard Henderson to Bob Ellis – 15 May 2012

Dear False Prophet

I was disturbed, deeply disturbed, to read on your Table Talk blog yesterday that The Drum Unleashed – now called The Drum Opinion – “no longer prints” your “pieces” and you “don’t get invited on The Drum any more let alone Q&A” .

This is tantamount to a national disaster.  As someone who has to fill a Media Watch Dog blog each Friday, I need your contributions.  I look back in appreciation on your pieces in The Drum where you:

▪ referred to Liberal MP Jillian Skinner as “like a long-detested nagging landlady with four dead husbands and hairy shoulders” and

▪ described Julia Gillard as “short, crow-voiced, intermittently bulbous and living in sin with an affable barber”.

Nancy and the team at MWD need copy like this.  Desperately. So I propose to unleash another OCCUPY ULTIMO campaign – this one aimed at restoring your rightful place in The Drum Opinion, on The Drum and on Q&A.  I’m working on a campaign strategy – but, right now, I’m inclined to go with “Bring Back the False Prophet of Palm Beach – Bang The Drum for Bob Ellis”.

I still remember your proposal on Q&A in 21 May 2009 that the only way to solve Brisbane’s water crisis was to build a “bloody great pipe” from the Fly River in New Guinea to Southern Queensland.  At the time we were on different sides of the river, so to speak.  I argued, then, that Brisbane’s drought would be resolved by, yes, rain. Whereas you – believing in the end of the world, as we know it, was nigh – maintained that there would never be substantial rain in Southern Queensland again. However, I did love your contribution to the debate to get Brisbane’s water from the Fly River – and it got a run in MWD. Hence my OCCUPY ULTIMO plan.

One final point.  In your blog yesterday you wrote that, in 1998, I “wanted” the ABC privatised.  I have never advocated this.  To use an Ellis-ism, prove that I lie.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

[It’s worth a try, I suppose.  Yet your first “Occupy Ultimo” cunning plan failed when Deborah Cameron was not reinstated as the presenter of ABC 702 Mornings program.  Someone told me that she has put out her shingle as a PR professional.  This is hard to believe, since the sandal-wearing Ms Cameron was invariably dismissive of commercial types going into bat for business.  Make sure you keep me posted – or, perhaps, pigeoned – on your latest “Occupy Ultimo” campaign. – Ed].

* * * *

Until next time.