GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG – ISSUE NO. 227
30 May 2014
The inaugural issue of “Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch” was published in April 1988 – over a year before the first edition of the ABC TV Media Watch program went to air. Since November 1997 “Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch” has been published as part of The Sydney Institute Quarterly. In 2009 Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch Dog blog commenced publication.
- Can You Bear It? Kerry-Anne Walsh, Eleanor Catton, Elizabeth Farrelly, Susan Wyndham, Alan Stokes & Hugh McDermott
- Correspondence: Troy Bramston & Gerard Henderson on Malcolm Fraser, Vietnam and the Australia US Alliance
HOW PRIME MINISTER MALCOLM FRASER OFFERED THE UNITED STATES A VASTLY IMPROVED DEAL ON PINE GAP
Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser claimed recently that he came to re-assess the value of the Australian-American Alliance in the late 1960s and early 1970s. See MWD Issues 225 and 226 and also this week’s Correspondence section featuring Troy Bramston and Gerard Henderson.
In his book Dangerous Allies (2014), Mr Fraser called for the US-Australian joint intelligence facility at Pine Gap to be closed within five years – i.e. by mid 2019.
Yet, once upon a time, Fraser was an enthusiastic supporter of Pine Gap, the Australia-US Alliance and all that. Many thanks to an avid MWD reader who has drawn attention to what Malcolm Fraser said about Pine Gap on Tuesday 27 July 1976 when he met President Gerald Ford and his Secretary of State Dr Henry Kissinger at The White House.
The meeting took place not long after Malcolm Fraser succeeded Gough Whitlam as prime minister on 11 November 1975 and went on to win a big victory at the December 1975 election. President Ford was pleased at the change of government in Australia and Malcolm Fraser declared that he wanted to “wash away a few vestiges of difference” which had occurred between Australia and the US during the period of the Whitlam Labor government. Let’s go to the transcript:
The President : I am delighted to have you here. Congratulations on your victory …..
Malcolm Fraser : Thank you very much, Mr. President. It is great to be here and I deeply appreciate the invitation during such a busy period…. We particularly wanted to visit in order to wash away a few vestiges of difference between our countries.
The President : I very much appreciate the change. There has been virtually complete change on the Indian Ocean and in general attitude on national security problems, like letting our nuclear warships into ports again. We are determined to maintain a role in the Indian Ocean, and we are working on the Congress to convince them of the need for Diego Garcia. I think we will make it. I want close cooperation with you. Perhaps we can cooperate with you on the flights and other aspects of an Indian Ocean military presence….
Malcolm Fraser : I understand our experts are working on renewal of Pine Gap. It had been on an annual basis, but I would propose renewal on a ten-year basis if you would find that useful.
The President: That would be very helpful.
Fraser: And I would welcome some sort of cooperative program on the P-3’s….
How about that? When Malcolm Fraser was prime minister he proposed that the Whitlam Labor government’s agreement with the United States concerning Pine Gap should be extended from the existing annual renewal to a ten-year renewal.
And now Fraser is not only declaring that Pine Gap should be dismantled but that he came to doubt the value of the Australia-US Alliance in the late 1960s/early 1970s – i.e. some years before he offered the Ford Administration a ten year renewal deal on Pine Gap. [Perhaps this should have featured in MWD’s oh-so-popular “Can you bear it?” feature. Just a thought – Ed]
ON THE PROPHECY FRONT WITH THE FITZ & THE SEER OF PALM BEACH
Nancy’s (male) co-owner was working on “The Prophecy Front” at midday with the assistance of a three year old grandchild. She looked down at this print out from the “Sneering Morning Herald” website and declared: “There’s a pirate.”
Quite an apt description of the red bandannaed Peter FitzSimons, who had this to say in his Sun Herald column last Sunday:
The American expression is, “Will it play in Peoria?” turning on the notion that what the people of Peoria, Illinois think is a great indication of what Middle America thinks, so you need to frame your politics accordingly. Now, I am not saying that Mangrove Mountain is our Peoria, but I tell you what, it is wonderful heartland Australia, generally conservative, and as I grew up there – and have been up and down every highway and byway as a kid, helping Dad hand out How to Vote Liberal cards – I know it well. Mum was even a prime mover in getting the Mangrove Mountain Community News started in the early 1970s. And here’s my point. The last edition of that august journal carried this well-known joke [about Tony Abbott]….
Me? I say when the Mangrove Mountain Community News is carrying jokes like that, the Prime Minister has real problems in his heartland. I may be proven wrong, but I sense a real tidal shift. My missus’s co-host Karl Stefanovic even asked him on the Today Show on Thursday if he thought he would make it to the next election as leader, an unthinkable question just two months ago.
So Peter FitzSimons reckons that the Prime Minister’s leadership is in doubt – on the basis of a joke being told at Mangrove Mountain and what Karl Stefanovic asked Tony Abbott on Channel 9. Sufficient evidence to lead a column in the Sun-Herald, apparently.
Meanwhile thanks to James Jeffery of The Australian’s “Strewth!” column for reminding MWD that Bob Ellis is back looking into his crystal ball down Palm Beach way – which is somewhat north of Mangrove Mountain.
This is what the False Prophet of Palm Beach said on his Table Talk blog this morning:
MPs will be in their electorates today…They will know full well by noon that their seats are in danger and will be conspiring jadedly in phone hook-ups wondering who the f_ck to replace Abbott with and how fast. They will agree it will have to be done next week, and will move against him.
So according to Bob Ellis, Australia will have a new prime minister next week. And according to Peter FitzSimons, his wife’s co-host was the first to break the story.
We’ll keep you posted.
– STEP FORWARD PETER COLEMAN
On Richard Glover’s ABC 702 Drive program yesterday afternoon, discussion among several journalists turned on the strong anti-European Union vote in the recent EU elections.
David Marr expressed concern about the rise of the right in Europe:
David Marr : …they’re talking sovereign borders in Europe. And they’re talking about independence in their own country and they’re talking about race, race, race. They hate immigrants. I just think May/June 2014, centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, is not a great time to be romanticising the record of the sovereign nations of Europe.
To which Peter Coleman, with a real sense of what happened in 1914, responded:
Peter Coleman: Not a great time for England to be delivering powers to Germany too.
Peter Coleman – Five Paws
● KERRY-ANNE WALSH: HAS GONG BUT STILL NO EVIDENCE
What a wonderful night was had by all at last Friday’s Australian Book Industry Awards, which are produced by the Australian Book Publishers Association.
Nancy’s (male) co-owner was among the invited guests. He estimated that there were some 7 Coalition voters among the 430 strong audience. However, someone said that this was an exaggeration.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott delivered a brief speech to an essentially polite room full of Abbott-haters, only a few of whom turned their backs to the Prime Minister. When Mr Abbott left after the award ceremonies to catch a plane, the Master of Ceremonies Casey Bennetto (of Keating, The Musical fame) told the audience “He’s gone.” This announcement was greeted with evident relief.
The first-up award, for General Non-Fiction Book of the Year, went to Kerry-Anne Walsh for The Stalking of Julia Gillard. A remarkable decision, to be sure.
As avid MWD readers will be aware, early in her tome Ms Walsh claims that Prime Minister Julia Gillard qualified her 2010 promise “There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead” by stating that she would put a price on carbon. Jonathan Green makes a similar (undocumented) claim in his book The Year My Politics Broke”. Despite repeated requests, neither Ms Walsh nor Mr Green has been able to provide a source to validate their claim.
At least Jonathan Green’s allegation comes at Page 141 of The Year My Politics Broke.
However, Kerry-Anne Walsh’s allegation is central to the thesis of her book, namely that Julia Gillard was treated unfairly – stalked in fact – by the media in general and members of the Canberra Press Gallery in particular. Twice in the first section of The Stalking of Julia Gillard, the author asserts that the former prime minister qualified her “no carbon tax” promise and that this was ignored by the Coalition and journalists alike – presumably because both were in stalking mode.
Kerry-Anne Walsh has time to go on Sky News’ PM Agenda and to travel to Sydney to receive an Australian Book Industry award. Yet she has not had time to either produce the documentary evidence to support her claim or to withdraw the allegation. Can you bear it? [You must keep on banging away about this one. I’m sure avid readers share your obsession – Ed].
● ELEANOR CATTON’S RUDE, ACTUALLY
While on the topic of the 2014 Australian Book Industry Awards, this is what writer Eleanor Catton had to say – speaking not long after Prime Minister Abbott had left the function at Doltone House for Sydney Airport:
This is the first time a prime minister has left the room before I spoke. I hope it won’t be the last, actually.
How good is this? – “actually”. Can you bear it?, “actually”.
● ELIZABETH FARRELLY LINKS TONY ABBOTT TO MASS MURDER AND THE END OF THE WORLD
Fairfax Media’s obsession with Tony Abbott continues apace. How else to explain Sydney Morning Herald columnist Elizabeth Farrelly’s two references to the Prime Minster in her piece yesterday? Oh, by the way, her topic covered such matters the misogynist mass murderer Elliot Rodger, the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram’s abduction of school girls in Nigeria, two Sydney murders where men threw their current or former female partners to their death and “Tony Abbott’s viral, smirking wink”. Yes that wink. As bad as the deeds of a serial murderer or a rapist, apparently. Perhaps the cliché “a wink is as good as a nod to a blind horse” – should become “a wink is as good as a killing to an Abbott-hater”.
Dr Farrelly (for a doctor she is) continued with reference to such matters as Islamist terrorism, acid attacks on women, the stoning of rape victims and, yes, Tony Abbott. This is how the learned doctor concluded her column:
He [Tony Abbott] may not oppose educating women. But the wink! So much callow unthought in a single gesture; so much of the unearned superiority that brought the planet to its knees in the first place and could still send us to a fiery climate-change hell. Feminism, the radical view that women are people, threatens no one. If it can find its true heart, it’ll more likely save us all, and the planet. But it won’t be Abbott leading that charge.
So, according to the Sydney Morning Herald’’s leading columnist, there is a causal link between Tony Abbott’s wink and humanity’s (alleged) march “to a fiery climate change hell”. Can you bear it?
● SUSAN WYNDHAM’S LOUISE ADLER CONFUSION
While on the topic of the Sydney Morning Herald, how about the comment by literary editor Susan Wyndham in last weekend’s Sun-Herald that Louise Adler – who has been appointed as chair of the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards for Fiction and Poetry – holds similar views to Tony Abbott. In Wyndham’s terminology, Mr Abbott and Ms Adler are “like-minded”.
In fact, Louise Adler is something of an inner-city leftie-luvvie. She published Tony Abbott’s Battlelines and treats him professionally. But this does not make the two “like-minded”. Clearly, the Sydney Morning Herald’s literary editor does not know what she is talking about. Can you bear it?
● ALAN STOKES – ON RUGBY LEAGUE & BEARDS
While on the topic of Sydney Morning Herald journalists without a real topic, how is Alan Stokes going? As MWD reported last week, after returning from what journalists like to call a well-earned break, your man Stokes resumed his weekly Herald column. He devoted the whole piece to writing about how he had grown a beard. Wow. Hold the front page. And so on.
It seems that Alan Stokes is still coming off his well-earned break. On Wednesday, he wrote about the New South Wales v Queensland State of Origin Rugby League game to be held that evening. This is how the column commenced:
When faith lets you down for eight straight years, there’s always science. So as NSW prays for strength ahead of Wednesday night’s rugby league State of Origin opener, there’s bad news and there’s good news. First, the bad news. Latest scientific research proves Origin is rigged for the Queenslanders. Here’s how…
The column went on and on and on about how Queensland would win the match and concluded with an insightful comment. On beards, of course:
Conclusion: If NSW players want to win, they have to ditch the razor, sleep more, forget soccer, find God, get a tan and rip those rotten Maroon jerseys off those arrogant Queenslanders. Such is life –
The NSW team defeated Queensland – without adopting any of Alan Stokes’ advice. Such is journalistic tosh.
● HUGH McDERMOTT’S (CONSPIRATORIAL) NIGHT OUT
Hugh McDermott is President of the NSW Society of Labor lawyers. Here is what he had to say on Sky News’ Paul Murray Live on Wednesday following the beat-up which suggested that the Abbott government was intent on cutting funds to the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse.
Hugh McDermott: Don’t paint this picture that the Abbott Opposition was fully supportive of this royal commission getting set up. It wasn’t. There was a lot of opposition in the beginning. There is [sic] still members of the government – they oppose this royal commission even if they don’t come out openly. So it is a concern.
I mean, and, of course, there’s still the conspiracy thoughts to do with the Catholicism side of things – with Pell and others like that – something I don’t buy into. But the reality is that there is still a major concern – especially by a lot of the victim rights’ groups – that this Royal Commission will be downgraded. And, so, yes I think it is a very serious concern and it should be aired.
So there you have it. Your man McDermott does not really believe that there is a conspiracy – featuring the Catholic Church in general and the Vatican based Cardinal George Pell in particular – to close down the Royal Commission or curtail its work.
There is no evidence whatsoever that Cardinal Pell has sought to restrict the Royal Commission. On the contrary, the hearings so far have vindicated his claim that the Catholic Church was not the only cab on the rank in so far as child sexual abuse is concerned. The hearings have provided evidence of such serious crimes with institutions run by other religious orders along with government departments and entities.
Yet Dr McDermott (for a doctor he is) suggests a conspiracy despite the fact that he claims he does not believe such a conspiracy exists. McDermott is a lawyer. Can you bear it?
NICE MR SCOTT GOES TO CANBERRA (AGAIN)
What a stunning performance by ABC managing director and (alleged) editor-in-chief Mark Scott at the Senate Estimates in Canberra last Wednesday. It was here that Nice Mr Scott suggested that the 1 per cent reduction in ABC funding, laid down by the 2014 budget, could lead to the taxpayer funded public broadcaster having to drop Peppa Pig – which is purchased from the BBC for about $200,000 a year. ABC News regarded this comment as news. Really. This is how it broke Nice Mr Scott’s big story at 2.52 pm on Twitter on Wednesday 28 May:
Brilliant, don’t you think? Yet apparently it only took the ABC’s bloated media department 81/2 weeks to come up with this idea. If asked, Nancy’s (male) co-owner could have done a better job for no fee at all in 81/2 minutes. He would have suggested that Nice Mr Scott could have threatened to junk the ABC’s emergency reporting on fire and floods or chop the filming of Question Time.
The Hansard’s record of Mark (“I may have to garrotte Peppa Pig”) Scott’s appearance at Senate Estimates has yet to be published. So MWD has had to rely on Crikey’s report of the occasion which featured the following comment:
Asked about criticisms from the Sydney Institute’s Gerard Henderson, of Media Watch Dog fame, that the ABC does not employ a single conservative in a prominent position, Scott said he wasn’t in the business of running Fox News. “I do not agree with the analysis of Henderson and others who seem to want to put a label or badge on everyone. The test is not how people vote, but how they do their job, and how they exercise their responsibility as a journalist. If they can’t, we have independent review mechanisms to check that …”
But Scott’s protestations aside, questions of the ABC’s supposed left-wing, or, indeed, anti-government bias dominated the last few hours of the hearing, with [Senator Zed] Seselja leading the charge.
Liberal Senator Anne Rushton wanted to know if the ABC thought it appropriate that he go on the Australia Network the day after the budget and give an interview criticising the government for cutting the network. Scott said the Australia Network has always been about allowing public debate, with no one expecting it to be a government mouthpiece; “this is a contentious decision”. Rushton said she got that, but that the Australia Network has a specific purpose: to present Australia in a favourable light to its neighbours. “You went on there and had a whinge about it,” she said, asking again whether Scott thought it was appropriate. “I didn’t [have a whinge],” he responded. “I explained the background to the decision, explained the reasons for its termination, and said as CEO I was disappointed by that and I didn’t think it was consistent with what was happening around international broadcasting [in other countries].”
In view of the fact that MWD along with Nancy’s (male) co-owner were cited by Nice Mr Scott in the Senate on Wednesday, the following responses are appropriate:
▪ No one has asked Mark Scott to run the ABC the way Roger Ailes runs Fox News in the United States. In any event, Nice Mr Scott could learn from Nasty Mr Ailes. The ABC does not have one conservative presenter or producer or editor for any of its prominent television or radio or on-line outlets.
On the other hand, Fox News distinguishes between news and commentary. The former is fair and balanced – as the Fox logo implies. Some of the commentary programs have right-of-centre presenters – for example Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly, Sean Hannity. However, Fox employs such left-of-centre paid regular political commentators as Bob Beckel, Kirsten Powers, Geraldo Rivera, Alan Colmes, Joe Trippi and James Carville.
The ABC, on the other hand, employs no conservative paid weekly commentators of a right-of-centre or conservative bent on any of its main programs.
▪ Nice Mr Scott seems to believe that ABC presenters only exhibit a political preference when they vote on election day. This is a ridiculous proposition. The fact is that, irrespective of how they vote, there is a tendency among ABC presenters, producers and editors to criticise both the Coalition and Labor from the left. The ABC is more pro-Green Left than Fox News is pro-Republican Party.
▪ There was no “debate” on ABC outlets concerning the Coalition’s decision to dump the Australia Network. Rather, Nice Mr Scott received soft interviews on ABC 1 News Breakfast (per Virginia Trioli), ABC Radio National Breakfast (per Ellen Fanning) and the Australia Network (per Jim Middleton). The ABC managing director did not “debate” anyone on this issue – he just presented the ABC’s line on the ABC to an ABC presenter who went along with what he had to say. No other view was heard on these programs.
▪ Nice Mr Scott was a player in the 2014’s Budget decision on the Australia Network. It was not the role of the ABC’s managing director to “explain” the background of the Abbott government’s decision. That should be the role of the Abbott government.
MWD will keep readers posted if any further developments occur after Nice Mr Scott’s Canberra visit.
This hugely popular segment of MWD usually works like this. Someone or other thinks it would be a you-beaut idea to write to Nancy’s (male) co-owner. And Hendo, being a well brought up kind of guy, does the courtesy of responding. Then, hey presto, the correspondence is published in MWD – much to the delight of MWD’s hundreds of thousands of avid readers.
MALCOLM FRASER, VIETNAM AND THE AUSTRALIAN AMERICAN ALLIANCE
In the “Documentation” section of last week’s MWD, Gerard Henderson analysed Malcolm Fraser’s u-turns on both Israel and Australia’s Vietnam commitment. With respect to the latter topic, Hendo mentioned an article by Troy Bramston. This led to your man Bramston sending off an email last Friday afternoon to which he received a response. Here we go:
Troy Bramston to Gerard Henderson – 23 May 2014
I think it is unfair that you dismiss my interview with Fraser as complete “tosh” when there is evidence to support his claims about Vietnam provided by Australia’s official historian of the war. Fraser was at the forefront of pushing internally within government for a troop withdrawal. Peter Edwards makes that clear. So do the cabinet papers. I am afraid we disagree on this.
Gerard Henderson to Troy Bramston – 27 May 2014
I refer to your email of Friday evening concerning the segment “Documentation – Malcolm Fraser: The Very Latest” in MWD Issue 226.
Contrary to the implication in your letter, I did not refer to your interview with Malcolm Fraser (published in The Weekend Australian on 10-11 May 2014) as “tosh”. This description was directed to Mr Fraser’s comments on the Vietnam War as reported by you.
You write that “there is evidence to support his [Fraser’s] claims about Vietnam provided by Australia’s official historian of the war” – Peter Edwards. You also claim that “Fraser was at the forefront of pushing internally within government for a troop withdrawal” and added : “Peter Edwards makes that clear; so do the cabinet papers”.
In fact, you have seriously misinterpreted Peter Edwards’ recent book Australia and the Vietnam War …. For example, it was incorrect of you to imply that Edwards opposes the Vietnam commitment. As I pointed out in my review in The Spectator Australia, Edwards still supports the commitment – but he believes that Australia should have negotiated an exit strategy along the lines achieved by John Howard with respect to the invasion of Iraq.
As Malcolm Fraser acknowledged in Malcolm Fraser: The Political Memoirs, his memory is “notoriously fallible”. In view of this, it is unwise for you – or any other historian – to accept what Mr Fraser says today without checking the contemporaneous record.
The fact is that, before his interview with you, Malcolm Fraser never claimed that his current opposition to the Vietnam War and to the Australia-US alliance began during the time of Australia’s Vietnam commitment – i.e. between 1962 and 1975. This claim is not made by Philip Ayers in Malcolm Fraser: A Biography – the author was given unrestricted access to Fraser’s papers. Fraser himself did not make this claim in his 2010 book Malcolm Fraser: The Political Memoirs (which was co-authored with Margaret Simons). Moreover, Fraser does not make this claim in his 2014 book Dangerous Allies (which was written with Cain Roberts).
This is what Malcolm Fraser had to say in Dangerous Allies:
In the environment of the time, with the knowledge I then had, I fully supported the commitment to Vietnam. As was common in the West, I believed that communism was monolithic, that it was outward-thrusting, aggressive and a danger to democratic states. The major decisions concerning force composition were made before I joined the government, but I was given the job of administering and overseeing the operation.
Fraser was appointed Minister for the Army on 26 January 1966, a position he held until 28 February 1968. During this two year period, Australia’s Vietnam commitment was substantially increased. It is possible that Fraser was not involved with major decisions concerning force composition. But, as Fraser admitted in Dangerous Allies, he “fully supported” these decisions.
However, in his interview with you, Fraser modified his position – as the following extract from your article demonstrates:
At the height of the Vietnam War, when Australia had about 8000 troops engaged in that ultimately doomed conflict, Fraser was army minister and later defence minister. He viewed the maintenance of the US alliance as essential in the fight against communism. But as the prospects for victory in Vietnam looked increasingly grim, Fraser’s views began to change. Like John Gorton and Billy McMahon, he advocated a phased withdrawal of Australian troops.
Although Fraser’s book contains several revealing anecdotes about his involvement in making foreign policy as a minister and prime minister, it does not deal at length with the catalyst for his journey from ANZUS enthusiast to ANZUS critic. But interviewing Fraser for this article, coupled with insights from his book, it is clear that the seeds of his contemporary views were sown during the searing experience of prosecuting the Vietnam War.
In fact, there is no evidence to support Malcolm Fraser’s recent claim – as told to you – that his contemporary views on the Vietnam War and the Australia-US Alliance “were sown during the searing experience of prosecuting the Vietnam War”. Not in Malcolm Fraser: The Political Memoirs or in Dangerous Allies or in Philip Ayers’ biography. Nor is there any such evidence in the official historian Peter Edwards’ books on the Vietnam War – Crises and Commitments (1992), A Nation at War (1997) and Australia and the Vietnam War (2014).
In earlier correspondence last Friday, you wrote:
Malcolm Fraser was, as I wrote, once a cold war warrior. But I do accept that his views began to change about the US alliance during the Vietnam War. He told me of a few instances when he became concerned about the US strategy and cooperation during the Vietnam War and he communicated this to his colleagues. I did not have space to include this in my recent essay. Obviously he could not make these views public at the time as Army or Defence minister. I may write about this at another time.
…There is evidence to suggest that Fraser was uneasy about the Vietnam War at the time and pressed for an early withdrawal of troops. The cabinet papers demonstrate this. If you have a look at Peter Edwards’ impressive book, Australia and the Vietnam War, on pages 219-22, you can see evidence of Fraser’s stance at the time. Edwards is the official historian of the Vietnam War. Edwards writes: ‘While he (Fraser) was one of the few ministers willing and able to give a strong and well-argued defence of the Vietnam commitment, he liked to emphasise those aspects that were more acceptable to the electorate.”
Moreover, Edwards writes that Fraser was a persistent and early advocate of withdrawing troops, indeed as early as late 1969. He writes: “Fraser, supported by civilian officials in Defence and External Affairs, pressed his military advisers to end their opposition to the withdrawal of one of the three battalions in the task force.” He was met with opposition to this advocacy. But eventually, as Edwards writes, Fraser’s “graduated withdrawal” approach prevailed and was adopted by cabinet.
As explained, your interpretation of Edwards’ book is incorrect. Moreover, in view of Malcolm Fraser’s self-confessed “notoriously fallible” memory, it is unwise for you to accept Fraser’s memory in 2014 of what he (allegedly) told his colleagues over four decades ago without citing a contemporaneous document such as a letter, a minute or a Cabinet paper.
In any event, at Page 219 of Australia and the Vietnam War, Peter Edwards maintains that Malcolm Fraser, when Minister for Defence (i.e. between 12 November 1969 and 8 March 1971), “was one of the few ministers willing and able to give a strong defence of the Vietnam commitment” (emphasis added). In other words, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Malcolm Fraser wanted to defend Australia’s commitment to Vietnam.
As you know, soon after Richard Nixon became president in January 1969, the US began the withdrawal of some troops from Vietnam. As Minister for the Army in late 1969, Fraser accepted the advice of officials in the departments of Defence and External Affairs that Australian forces should be withdrawn from Vietnam gradually. The alternative was the one out/all out approach adopted by Australia’s military – in particular General John Wilton and General Thomas Daly. As Minister for the Army, then ranked 9th in Cabinet seniority, Malcolm Fraser acted in accordance with the decisions of Prime Minister John Gorton and the Cabinet.
In any event, in supporting the partial withdrawal of Australian troops in late 1969, Malcolm Fraser was following the policy of the Nixon administration. Clearly such a position does not lend any weight to your claim that circa 1969 Malcolm Fraser was beginning to change his views about the Australia-US Alliance.
There is no evidence in (i) the Cabinet papers, (ii) Malcolm Fraser’s own writings or (iii) the work of the official historian Dr Peter Edwards to support Malcolm Fraser’s current view that the seeds of his contemporary position on the Vietnam War and the Australia-US Alliance “were sown during the searing experience of prosecuting the Vietnam war in the late 1960s and early 1970s”.
Unless and until you can stump up some evidence, Malcolm Fraser’s self-serving allegation is simply tosh.
[Editor’s Note: Earlier today Troy Bramston forwarded a long letter to MWD. This will be published next Friday along with any other correspondence which takes place.]
Until next time – keep morale high.
On boyfriend’s insistence, watching the notorious Gerard Henderson/@Kate_McClymont Lateline segment. GH: What an odd, angry gnome of a man.
– Benjamin Law, via Twitter, Thursday 17 Apr 2014, 11:21 pm
Can’t believe I just spent my Thursday evening with a video recap of Gerard Henderson. I’m a f-cking moron.
– Benjamin Law, via Twitter, Thursday 17 Apr 2014, 11:23 pm
“[Gerard Henderson is an] unhinged crank”
– Mike Carlton, via Twitter, Saturday 29 March 2014, 4.34 pm
Complete stranger comes up to me: that Gerard Henderson’s a xxxxxx.
– Jonathan Green via Twitter, 8 February 2014
“[Gerard Henderson is] a sclerotic warhorse, unhelpful to debate, unwilling to think…a wonderful study in delusion…ideologically-constipated.”
– Erik Jensen, editor of Morry Schwartz’s The Saturday Paper [forthcoming], 23 November 2013
“The last time Gerard Henderson smiled was in 1978, when he saw a university student being mauled by a pitbull.”
– Ben Pobjie, via Twitter, 13 October 2013 [Editor’s Note: Mr “Why Can’t I Score an
Invite on Q&A?” Pobjie is wrong. In fact, the year was 1977 and the dog was a blue-heeler – like Nancy]
“I think Henderson is seriously ill. There’s enough there for an entire convention of psychiatrists.”
– Mike (“I’ll pour the gin”) Carlton (after Pre-Dinner Drinks tweet to Jeff Sparrow), 8 October 2013
“Wrong, you got caught out, off to Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch Dog for you!”
– Tim Wilson tweet to Jonathan Green and Virginia Trioli, 8 October 2013.
“Nancy as ever will be the judge”
– Jonathan Green to Tim Wilson and Virginia Trioli (conceding to the arbitral authority of Nancy), 8 October 2013
[Gerard Henderson’s analysis of the ABC] is absolutely simplistic.”
– ABC managing director Mark Scott talking to ABC presenter Jonathan Green on ABC Radio National Drive, 2 May 2013.
“Oh my God; you’re as bad as Gerard Henderson.”
– Dr Peter Van Onselen (for a doctor he is), The Contrarians, Sky News, 20 September 2013.
“The nation mourns Gerard Henderson. He’s in perfect health.”
– Phillip Adams, via Twitter, 2 July 2013 (favourited by Virginia Trioli)
“Old Australian saying. ‘He wouldn’t know a tram was up him unless the bell rang’. Wholly appropriate to Gerard Henderson”
– Phillip Adams, via Twitter, 7 May 2013
“I said publicly once that I thought that Gerard’s views on the ABC came not from his brain but from his spinal cord”
– Tim Bowden as told to Phillip (“I was a teenage Stalinist”) Adams, Late Night Live, 11 June 2013 – Queen’s Birthday Public Holiday.
“Gerard Henderson is a crank”
– David Marr at the 2013 Sydney Writers’ Festival (as reported by Mike Carlton)
“The great Australian media nutter Gerard [Henderson is an] ungrateful bastard”.
– Mark Latham, Q&A, 10 June 2013.
“[Gerard Henderson] is a moral dwarf …Gerard, pull your head in”
– Professor Sinclair Davidson, 24 April 2013.
“[Henderson] You are mad. In the 18th century you would have been caged, with the mob invited to poke you with sticks.”
– Mike Carlton, 5.23 pm (Gin & Tonic Time) 25 March 2013
“I like to think of Gerard [Henderson] as the Inspector Clouseau of forensic journalism”
– David Marr, ABC News 24 The Drum, 21 March 2013.
“[Media Watch Dog is] not a moan, more of a miserable dribble”
– Peter Munro, 21 March 2013
“You are a fool, Henderson, a malicious and mendacious piece of shit… Now F_ck off”
– Mike Carlton, 11 March 2013 (Hangover Time).
“[Gerard Henderson is] an internet pest”
– Dr (for a doctor he is) Jeff Sparrow, 26 February 2013.
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.