16 NOVEMBER 2012

Jonathan Green: “Nancy, will be taking notes, I suspect”

Michael Rowland: “Nancy…yes.  We’ll get a nice write-up on Friday.  Good morning as well, Gerard. Thanks for watching, by the way.

– ABC 1 News Breakfast, 18 October 2012

“Gerard [Henderson] is a complete f-ckwit”

– Malcolm Farr, via Twitter, 29 June 2012 (circa pre-dinner drinks)

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

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

“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

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

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

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

– Mark Latham The Spectator Australia 11 June 2011.

Media Watch Dog – “disgraceful”, “sick”

– Professor Robert Manne, April Fool’s Day 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are private correspondence and not for publication” – ABC News Radio’s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.

“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

“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.

“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.

Stop Press: Phillip Adams AO & Geoffrey Robertson QC Plug Their Books Per Courtesy of the Taxpayer

Hyperbole of the Week: Michael Koziol Wins for the Aussie Speccie

● Nancy’s Pick-of-the-Week: Leigh Sales’ 7.30 Hatchet Job on George Pell

● Can You Bear It?  Double Standards On Jokes About Traditional Owners and on the Late Peter Roebuck; Plus When a Cardinal Became a Mr

● Waiting for Mark Latham : Some Abbottcentric Proposals

MWD Reflux Re Stephen K and Allan RMJ

● Correspondence: Peter Manning’s False Claims on Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard Documented



▪ Phillip Adams AO Plugs His Book on The Drum


It was great to see Phillip Adams, the hero of the leftist inner-city sandal wearing set, on The Drum on ABC News last night, plugging his new book Bedtime Stories: Tales from my 21 years at RN’s Late Night Live. Mr Adams’ latest tome has an enthusiastic endorsement by taxpayer subsidised academic Robert Manne and is published by the taxpayer subsidised ABC Books.  [Is this so?  If so, why could ABC Books not afford to publish an index?  Perhaps you should review this work in the future and see if it contains as many factual errors as Phillip Adams’ Backstage Politics: Fifty years of political memories – re which see MWD Issue 79 – Ed].

Last night on The Drum, Mr Adams decided to inject some Adams’ type LOL “humour” into the debate on child sexual assault.  His first substantial comment on the program came during a discussion on the decision to set up a Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse concerning the institutional responses of both religious and secular organisations. It went as follows:

Phillip Adams (Author : Bedtime Stories) : Steve, I’d like to really be helpful at this point.  I’ve got two suggestions to make. One of them is that it shouldn’t be called a Royal Commission.   We should go back into Vatican history and call it an Inquisition.  And the second thing is that I have a studio where for 22 [sic] years, I’ve invited people in to make confessions.  And they come in. And we broadcast the confessions. Now I suggest to George [Pell], wire up the confessionals and we all listen to everyone’s confessions.  I think that’d be terrific programming.

Funny, eh?  Well, Phillip Adams thought so.  It’s just that The Drum presenter Steve Cannane and Adams’ fellow panellists Pru Goward and Cassandra Wilkinson did not get “the joke” and  no one discussed the Adams’ “proposal”. Perhaps the likes of Cannane, Goward and Wilkinson do not regard child sex abuse as a suitable topic for humour.  Unlike Adams, for whom everything is a suitable target for humour – except, of course, himself.

The ABC seems to have a rule whereby ABC authors do not plug their own books on the ABC.  However, the public broadcaster’s Man-in-Black got around this provision recently.  On 6 November 2012, Phillip Adams invited his new bestie Kevin Rudd into the Late Night Live studio where the former Labor leader interviewed Adams about Bedtime Stories – thus getting around the ABC provision that bans authors publicising their own books.

Clever, don’t you think?  [Well, yes.  Mr Adams is a wealthy socialist who needs to sell his books. But I wonder what nice Mr Scott will think about this? – Ed].  Needless to say, it was a fawn-again interview where our Kevin fawned over our Phillip and our Phillip returned the compliment.

Geoffrey Robertson QC Plugs His Book on Lateline


Meanwhile author Geoffrey Robertson QC gave one of his books a plug on Lateline last night, even showing the opus magnum to the camera on one occasion.

Interviewed by Lateline presenter Emma Alberici on Geoffrey Robertson QC and related matters, Geoffrey Robertson QC held his book The Case of the Popein front of the ABC TV cameras and gave it a plug.  Needless to say, the book contains a dreadful howler on the status of Canon Law in Western democracies.   But nobody seems to know this.  Certainly not Ms Alberici.

[It’s good to know that Geoffrey Robertson QC, who was born in the Sydney suburb of Epping, still retains his Epping accent which was in action last night.  For first-time MWD readers, an Epping accent can be found among Aussies in fashionable London who do not want any Brits to know that they were born in Epping, Sydney.  They attempt to disguise the circumstances of their birth by speaking with a mouth full of marbles – Ed].






Luke and Leia rise very early on Friday morning and just can’t wait for the arrival of The Spectator Australia.  Today’s edition did not disappoint.

Michael Koziol, who is described as “an editor of Honi Soit, the student newspaper at the University of Sydney”, has the cover story.  His article says that Queensland mining magnate Clive Palmer should certainly lead the Liberal National Party in Queensland and probably the Federal Liberal Party. Really. This is the same Mr Palmer who appears to have trouble distinguishing between contemporary Australia on the one hand and Nazi Germany and/or Stalin’s Soviet Union on the other.

Come to think of it, it was only last year (5 June 2011, in fact) that The Spectator Australia gave its cover story to Bob Ellis.  The (False) Prophet of Palm Beach used the occasion to suggest that the Liberal Party frontbencher Malcolm Turnbull would join the ALP and become Labor leader in time.

Is there no escape from such hyperbole and false prophecy?  Luke and Leia wonder out loud.






What a wonderful portrait of 7.30 presenter Leigh Sales by Craig Mathieson in The Sydney Morning Herald last Monday.  Titled “How 7.30 got its mojo back”, Mr Mathieson described how “the TV comeback of the year belongs to the ABC’s flagship current affairs show, 7.30”.  He described how the program has been revamped under new executive producer Sally Neighbour and praised the fact that in 2012 Leigh Sales “has been placed en pointe as the show’s primary interviewer”. Declared Craig Mathieson:

Sales now bristles with energy – she’s focused, tenacious and even enjoying herself. Her skilful pursuit and eventual prosecution of Tony Abbott in August was a breakout effort, but hardly a one-off. Sales looks in command, which has even made sense of her vast desk.

Interesting.  Once upon a time, interviewers were expected to – well – interview.  Not any more, apparently.  Now the likes of Ms Sales are expected to prosecute the likes of the Liberal Party leader. If this is the case, then Mr Abbott would be well advised not to appear on 7.30 in the future – in order to avoid being subjected to the enquiries of Sales for the Prosecution.

That was the 7.30 That Was

Certainly Craig Mathieson’s depiction of Leigh Sales as prosecutor-in-chief is consistent with the way 7.30 has handled allegations of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.  Take this week, for example.

Monday 12 November

Leigh Sales introduces 7.30 as follows:

Leigh Sales : “These are insidious evil acts, to which no child should be subject”. With those words, Prime Minister Julia Gillard tonight announced a Royal commission into the sexual abuse of children in institutions.  It follows weeks of terrible allegations of endemic sexual assault within the Catholic Church. Both victims and police say it’s been systematically covered up for decades. The abuse has led to scores of suicides, hundreds of survivors receiving compensation – usually in secret settlements – and untold numbers of young lives devastated.

There followed a report by Tracey Bowden. She interviewed Stephen Woods (a victim of child abuse by a Catholic priest), Helen Last (a victim’s advocate) and Wayne Chamley (a researcher for the victims’ support group Broken Rites).  The views of Graham Ashton (deputy commissioner, Victorian Police), Peter Fox (chief inspector, NSW Police, who is currently on sick leave), Independent Senator Nick Xenophon, Labor Senator Doug Cameron, Greens leader Senator Christine Milne and Independent MP Tony Windsor were also heard.  All nine interviewees are current critics of the way the Catholic Church has handled sex abuse cases. No other view was reported. Nor did Ms Sales make it clear that Prime Minister Gillard had indicated that the Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse will cover institutional responses to allegations of child sexual assault in Australia with respect to both religious and secular institutions.

Leigh Sales then interviewed the former Catholic Bishop of Toowoomba, Bill Morris.  Bishop Morris was recently forced to retire by the Vatican. He provided a broadly balanced view. However, in response to Leigh Sales’ leading questions about George Pell, Bishop Morris criticised the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney. As you do –  on Prosecutor Sales’ 7.30 program.

Tuesday 13 November

7.30 leads with a report of Cardinal George Pell’s media conference held earlier that day.  It turned out that, in full prosecutorial mode, Leigh Sales not only presented the segment. She also filled the role as Pell’s interviewer – since 7.30 attended the media conference, which was held at Pell’s office, with two cameras.  One focused on Leigh Sales’ questions; the other focused on George Pell’s answers. There were many journalists at the media conference. However, 7.30 only covered Sales’ questions to Pell.

In her role as presenter, Sales proceeded to do a hatchet job on Pell – focusing on the fact that he had accompanied Gerald Ridsdale, a priest who was convicted of paedophilia, to court in Victoria in 1993.  Pell, who is on record as describing this action as a mistake, has always said that in 1993 he did not know of the enormity of Ridsdale’s crimes – they were revealed in full at the time of his conviction and after.

Sales then cut to sexual abuse victim Stephen Woods, who had appeared on 7.30 the previous night.  Not surprisingly, Woods declared : “I think Cardinal Pell needs to resign.” No contrary view was heard.

Sales then went on to refer to the Melbourne Response, which George Pell set up in 1996 when he was Archbishop of Melbourne. This was one of the first procedures established by the Catholic Church in Australia to handle clergy sexual abuse cases.  This is what Ms Sales had to say:

Leigh Sales: At an earlier press conference in 1996, George Pell announced the so-called “Melbourne Response” to handle victims’ complaints and compensation claims. The Towards Healing process, set up the following year, handles complaints in the rest of the country. In Victoria alone, more than 600 cases of criminal child abuse have been upheld in the past 16 years. Not one of them was referred to police.

Note that Ms Sales, in full prosecutorial mode, referred to “the so-called Melbourne Response”.  It was not the “so-called Melbourne Response”. Just the Melbourne Response.  The Towards Healing protocol, which created basic procedures and principles for responding to allegations of sexual assault, was set up by the Catholic Church in Sydney in late 1996, following an earlier procedure established in 1992.

Leigh Sales’ claim that not one of the 600 cases of child criminal abuses upheld in Victoria in the past 16 years was referred to police, is misleading.  She neglected to mention that in these cases either the complainants did not want the matters referred by the Catholic Church to the Police or the matters had already been dealt with by Police.

7.30 then interviewed two critics of Cardinal Pell. Namely Helen Last (victims’ advocate) and Andrew Morrison (Australian Lawyers Alliance).  No other view was heard. The program continued:

Leigh Sales as presenter: Today Cardinal Pell was continuing to deny the Church has been involved in any sort of cover-up.

Leigh Sales as interviewer of George Pell: How about the case of Father F who testified in court under oath that he had abused boys, and that he had told three priests about that in the early 90s, yet he remained a priest until 2005?

In fact, Fr. F was sacked as a priest in 1992.  Ms Sales and Ms Neighbour should know this, since it is on the public record.  Moreover, both should be aware that the Church’s handling of the Father F case is the subject of an independent inquiry by former judge Antony Whitlam, who is not a Catholic. 7.30 should not be in the business of anticipating the outcome of a properly constituted legal enquiry.

Finally, Prosecutor Sales declared:

Leigh Sales: Today, Cardinal Pell said priests who confessed child sex abuse to other priests were still entitled to the seal of the confession box – a comment that met with disapproval.

Leigh Sales failed to mention that the Catholic Church’s teaching on the confessional was in existence before George Pell was born and he has no authority to overturn it.  As the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Pell reports to the Vatican.  Moreover, there is no evidence that paedophile priests and brothers confess child sexual abuse in the confessional.

The segment concluded as follows – with Ms Sales showing footage of the media conference where she queried Pell:

Leigh Sales: Will you lift confidentiality agreements with people who have already struck settlements with the Catholic Church so they can testify?

George Pell: I’m not sure how many of those exist in this part of the world at all. People are free to say what they want. That’s the way – [interruption].

Leigh Sales:So people aren’t bound by confidentiality agreements that they’ve signed in the past?

George Pell: I don’t know anything, I, if it’s – As far as I was concerned there would be no problem with me. If there are with other people they will have to answer.

The fact is that the Cardinal Archbishop of Sydney has no authority with respect to any confidentiality agreements signed by any Church leaders in the rest of Australia.  Once again, Ms Sales and Ms Neighbour should know this.

▪ Wednesday 14 November


Leigh Sales commenced the program as follows:

Leigh Sales: Two days after the Government announced its Royal commission into child sex abuse, the Catholic Church is preparing for an inquiry that will probably last years and uncover countless more cases of suffering at the hands of paedophile priests. There are questions though about how the Church can emerge from the crisis that engulfs it and whether the current Catholic leadership is up to the task of rebuilding – in particular the Sydney Archbishop, Cardinal George Pell. Political editor Chris Uhlmann has this report.

Leigh Sales neglected to mention that all religions – Catholic, other Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist – as well as secular institutions will be covered by the Royal Commission.  The Royal Commission may, or may not, uncover more cases of suffering at the hands of paedophile Catholic priests and brothers. Also, the Royal Commission may – or may not – uncover paedophilia in other religious and secular (including government run) institutions.

Leigh Sales gave the false impression that the Royal Commission will deal exclusively with the affairs of the Catholic Church in general or the role of Cardinal Pell in particular.  Ms Sales and Ms Neighbour should know that this is not the case.

In his report, Chris Uhlmann ran the 7.30 line which had prevailed all week.  He interviewed Peter Wilkinson (Catholics for Renewal), Clare Jurd (whose son, a victim of clerical sexual abuse, committed suicide after the case against the abuser was dismissed by a magistrate), Fr Kevin Dillon (a Catholic priest who maintains that the extent of the problem in the Church cannot be exaggerated) and Bishop Geoffrey Robinson (a retired Catholic bishop who is a known critic of Cardinal Pell).  No other view was heard. Once again, 7.30 could find no one who would support George Pell’s view on any issue.  Not one.

Thursday 15 November


For the first time in a week of programming, 7.30 did not cover the issue of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.  And, for the first time in a week of programming, 7.30 did cover the Independent Commission of Inquiry (ICAC) hearings currently under way.  So far, the ICAC has heard extraordinary allegations of corruption concerning two one-time ministers in the former NSW State Labor government.

In spite of the extraordinary claims of corruption heard at the ICAC inquiry which commenced last Monday, 7.30 did not bother to cover the story until last night.  However, Cardinal George Pell did get a brief mention. He was the subject of the applied humour of comedians John Clarke and Brian Dawe in their end of week comedy slot on 7.30. The segment finished with a “How depressing” punch line directed at George Pell.  [How boring. Don’t tell me that 7.30 is still running this tired segment, which hasn’t exhibited much humour since Methuselah was a boy. Are you sure that 7.30 has got its mojo back? – Ed].

Leigh Sales – Once a Doubter

How times change. Today Leigh Sales is absolutely certain about the Catholic Church, George Pell and all that.  Yet in 2009 she wrote a booklet On Doubt in which she proclaimed the virtue of doubt.  In those days of not so long ago, Ms Sales was anything but a prosecutor.

Sure, On  Doubt exhibited gross historical ignorance when its author asserted that Martin Luther the instigator of the Protestant Reformation, was into self-doubt.  He wasn’t.  Luther’s doubts about the teachings of the Catholic Church (to which he once belonged) were replaced by absolute certainty concerning what became known as Lutherism. But, howlers aside, in On Doubt Sales advanced the case for doubt.  As Leigh Sales wrote:

When politicians or journalists or commentators make doubt seem like heresy or stupidity, whether the issue is climate change or anything else, it sends a message to us all. It says: if you experience second thoughts or feel less than certain and confident in your own opinions at all times, you are weak.  It encourages a culture of dishonesty in which we feel scared to show our humanity for fear of derision…

I look at people who are particularly self-assured or laid-back or passionate and I envy them.  But if I had the opportunity to trade in my personality and rid myself of doubt, I don’t think I would.  I like the ability to question myself and everything else. I feel that without a doubtful mind, I wouldn’t learn as much or have as much fun. But I could be wrong.

Leigh Sales – Now a Believer

That was 2009.  That was then.  Now, in 2012, Leigh Sales has become a prosecutor for 7.30. As such, she exhibits no doubts whatsoever.  As was evident when Sales for the Prosecution exhibited no doubt whatsoever about sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and Cardinal George Pell – and confidently predicted the outcome of the Royal Commission with respect to the Catholic Church.



▪ Laughing at the Traditional Custodians – Sometimes Funny/Sometimes Not So Funny At All


Here’s how intrepid reporter Eamonn Duff reported the latest scandal at the oh-so-undergraduate St John’s College, a Catholic residential institution associated with the University of Sydney, last Sunday:

A leading Sydney barrister and senior counsel at the trouble-plagued St John’s College has sparked outrage after mocking the Aboriginal community at an official dinner at the University of Sydney. Jeffrey Phillips, SC, stood in the college’s 150-year-old Great Hall and, in front of more than 250 staff, students and guests, paid tribute to the ”traditional custodians of this place” whom he identified as being the ”Benedictines who came from the great English nation”.

The comment was made in the presence of several indigenous students, one of whom has lodged a formal complaint and, according to senior staff, remains ”deeply traumatised”. Mark Spinks, a respected member of Sydney’s Aboriginal community and chairman of the Aboriginal men’s group Babana, said: ”How disgusting, how disgraceful, how disrespectful are those comments. I am outraged and I am disturbed. For that to have been said at the university, in a room full of students, I am almost speechless.” The sociologist Eva Cox said: ”It’s totally unacceptable but what he’s saying is acceptable, or has been deemed acceptable within the culture of the college. It’s just an indication of how deep the rot goes.”

So much so that Eva Cox is really upset. Well, fancy that.  Mr Phillips’ comments may have been in bad taste.  But no more so than those made by Julian Morrow – one of the Chaser “Boys”, average age 37.5 years – at the commencement of the ABC’s very own Andrew Olle Lecture in 2009. Spoke Mr Morrow:

In this most esteemed forum of the Australian media, I would like to begin by acknowledging the traditional owners: the Murdoch people of the Delaware incorporation.

So there you have it.  If Mr Phillips comments about the Benedictine Catholic priests being traditional owners of the land at the Sydney University, this is a NATIONAL SCANDAL which deserves the condemnation of Eva Cox.  However, if ABC star Julian Morrow jokes about the Murdoch family being traditional owners of the land in the Sydney CBD, this is JUST A REALLY FUNNY JOKE and the essentially ABC audience goes into LOL mode.

Can you bear it?

Jim Maxwell and the Humanity of a Deceased Sex Predator


Also in The Sun-Herald last Sunday, Daniel Lewis wrote a profile titled: “At Home With….Jim Maxwell”.  Jim Maxwell is the ABC’s cricket broadcaster who has covered some 252 Test matches since beginning as an ABC trainee in 1973. The Lewis piece concluded as follows:

For Maxwell, the subject of who is the best commentator he has shared the microphone with is still an emotional one: it is Peter Roebuck, not just a colleague but also a close friend who died in suspicious circumstances a year ago while covering Australia’s tour of South Africa. He loved Roebuck’s ”penetrating mind, his extraordinary ability to analyse, his clarity. He brought a humanity to the broadcast that perhaps others couldn’t do. He was unique, but he’s no longer with us.”

How about that?  The evidence does not suggest that Peter Roebuck “died of suspicious circumstances” in November last year.  No. The evidence suggests that the late Peter Roebuck (1956-2011) committed suicide when he leapt out of a hotel window in Cape Town South Africa after being interviewed by South African police concerning the alleged sexual assault of a young black African man.

In the days after Roebuck’s death, it became evident that he was a serial sexual predator of young black males – to whom he had access by providing accommodation at his home in South Africa.  This should have come as no surprise. In 2001 Peter Roebuck pleaded guilty to common assault in Britain. He had caned, with a cricket bat, the bare buttocks of three young black male South Africans to whom he had offered cricket coaching, some two years earlier.

Peter Roebuck’s involvement with the ABC as a cricket commentator increased after his conviction for assault.  Following his death, Roebuck was the recipient of much praise – particularly by the ABC and The Age. See MWD Issue 121 and MWD Issue 123.

Even now, on the anniversary of his death, Jim Maxwell is still banging on about Roebuck’s “humanity”.  It’s impossible that Mr Maxwell and his mates at the ABC would have celebrated the “humanity” of, say, a recently departed Anglican bishop who just loved to exert discipline by caning the bare buttocks of young black men with a crucifix – and insisted on personally inspecting their welts after the event.

Can you bear it?

When Cardinal Pell Became “Mr Pell”

Cardinal George Pell, the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, does not have many friends in the journalistic profession. Even so, he is entitled to be referred to professionally.

On Lateline on Monday 12 November, presenter Emma Alberici said nothing when Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox (who is currently on sick leave from the NSW Police Force) referred to a “Mr Pell” on two occasions.  Then on Radio National Breakfast on Tuesday 13 November, presenter Fran Kelly said nothing when Peter Fox referred to Cardinal Pell as “Mr Pell” on two occasions.  Later that day, in the Sydney Morning Herald online, Josephine Toovey twice referred to “Mr Pell”.

Can you bear it?


Nancy is eagerly awaiting Mark Latham’s next column for the Australian Financial Review scheduled for next Thursday.  Nancy’s equine contacts on the track have advised that the failed Labor leader was recently seen at the Spring Carnival at Flemington.  Perhaps this explains why Latham’s most recent AFR column, published on 8 November 2012, was on horse-breeding and why he failed to enter the barrier in Sydney for the Paul Murray Live stakes on Melbourne Cup eve.  It seems that your man was in Melbourne, perhaps with his born-again friend Paul Howes. See MWD Issue 140.

Before this, Mr Latham had written four articles in a row on Tony Abbott. In case Mr Latham is looking for a fresh approach along similar lines next  Thursday, Nancy has a few modest proposals.  The suggested Abbott-friendly topics include (i) Abbott, Bud and Costello, Lou (of Hollywood fame); (ii) Abbottabad (site of Osama bin Laden’s last stand); (iii) Abbotsleigh (where some of Nancy’s human relatives were educated), (iv) Abbots Bromley Horn Dance (a European animal jig for Morris dancers) or, perhaps, (v) the abbacomes (laymen who want to be real abbotts but who do not have an abbey).

Just a thought – to be helpful. Nancy does not want Mark Latham to quit the AFR (for want of a suitable column topic) so soon after spitting the dummy at The Spectator Australia. See MWD Issue 162.  If your man Latham is driven to write on an Abbott-selected topic, the above suggestions should assist.



There has been enormous, absolutely enormous, feed-back to last Friday’s MWD.


Jason (“My CV is bigger than your CV”) Koukoulas made an appearance on Sky News maintaining that he is always right, or left or something.  And Alan R.M. Jones advises that he did work for one Liberal Party minister in the Howard government.  We’ll follow up next week – space and time and God permitting. Meanwhile Nancy’s co-owner will attempt to return SK’s phone call. Who knows? – he might even advise that he attended Trinity College, Dublin every Thursday – if only to deliver the meat.



Peter Manning has held some of the most important positions in Australian journalism – including stints as executive producer of such ABC TV programs as Four Corners, Lateline and Foreign Correspondent.  In recent years, as a university academic, Manning has become an advocate of the Palestinian cause.

At a panel discussion in the New South Wales Parliament on Thursday 1 November 2012, Peter Manning claimed that both the Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the Opposition leader Tony Abbott had told Muslim Australians to go back to where they came from.  This comment was challenged by Gerard Henderson who queried whether either politician had made this claim.  Some two weeks after the conference, the following correspondence took place:

Gerard Henderson to Peter Manning – 14 November 2012



It was good to catch up at the Fair Australia conference in New South Wales Parliament House on 1 November. As you will recall, during the panel discussion you said that both Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott had told Muslim Australians that they could go home to where they came from – or words to that effect.

When I challenged you to provide evidence to back up your assertions, you said that you did not have the quotes with you.  When I said that you could provide the evidence after the event, you promised to do so. It’s now almost two weeks later and I am not aware that you have produced the promised evidence.  So I ask you:

▪ Where is the evidence to support your assertion that the Prime Minister has called on Muslim Australians to go home to where they came from?

▪ Where is the evidence to support your assertion that the Opposition leader has called on Muslim Australians to go home to where they came from?

Over to you.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson


Peter Manning to Gerard Henderson – 14 November 2012



I do not intend to continue the debate we were having on a public forum into the personal sphere over emails. And I have no intention of answering to you about facts, meaning and context which this discussion is about.

There is a long list of Australia political leaders who have told members of the Muslim community over the past decade to “go back to where you came from” and done it in all sorts of different ways. Since I am working on my own research projects, I will not be diverted by this silly personal witch hunt of yours.

If in the future i write up the ways in which Muslims here have been verbally denied the full value of their Australian citizenship, you can have a read and critique it them.

Meanwhile, have a good day.



Gerard Henderson to Peter Manning – 15 November 2012



Thanks for your email which was sent at 10.25 pm last night.  I was particularly taken by your wish that I should “have a good day”. In the remaining time available, I did precisely this.

Pleasantries – or are they hypocrisies? – aside, your email of 14 November 2012 was disturbingly unprofessional.

When we addressed the Fair Australia panel tilted “Future Directions: Islam, Leadership and the Media” on 1 November 2012, you were introduced as “a former journalist and lecturer at UTS and author of Us and Them”.  In other words, you paraded your academic status at the University of Technology, Sydney   At the conference you were referred to by the title “Professor” and reference was made to your forthcoming Ph.D. thesis.

Academics, including professors, are expected to support their claims with evidence.  In other words, they are not supposed to make things up to advance an argument.

At the Fair Australia conference, you said that both Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott had told Muslim Australians that they should go home to where they came from – or words to that effect.

When I challenged this statement during the panel discussion, you said that both the Prime Minister and the Opposition leader had said this.  When I asked you to cite the evidence, you replied that you did not have it with you.  When I proposed that you should provide the evidence after the event and I would place this on my blog, you gave the impression to me and the audience that you would support your assertions with facts as soon as you could locate the relevant material.

Now, however, you have done a runner. You obviously cannot support your assertions with respect to Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott because neither ever said what you claim they said.  So, instead, you accuse me of commencing a “silly personal witch-hunt”.

I am not in the business of hunting witches – whatever that cliché might mean in this context.  Rather, I am in the business of fact-checking.

You, on the other hand, exhibit disdain for facts – while parading your academic title at the UTS, along with your former roles at the ABC and Channel 7.

It is grossly irresponsible for you to tell a group of influential young Muslim Australians that both the Prime Minister and the alternative prime minister have told Muslims to go back to where they came from.  As you know, there is no evidence that either Julia Gillard or Tony Abbott ever said what you claim they said.  You just invented quotes to support your case – an act of disturbing intellectual dishonesty.

There is a more serious issue here. Your false claims with respect to Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott are capable of arousing animosity within the Muslim community with respect to our political leaders.  As you know, the panel discussion was filmed and it was on-the-record.

Rather than accusing me of initiating a witch-hunt, you should contact all those present at the conference and withdraw your false claims with respect to the Prime Minister and the Opposition leader in order to mitigate any damage done as a result of your false statement.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

cc:  – Kuranda Seyit, Executive Director, Fair Australia


Peter Manning to Gerard Henderson – 15 November 2012



I don’t need any lectures from you, thanks.

This correspondnence[sic] on this issue is closed.


* * * *

Until next time.