GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG – ISSUE NO. 245
3 OCTOBER 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.
“Good morning. All the gooder for being attacked (for thousandth time) by silly Gerard in the Oz”
– Phillip Adams via Twitter, 27 September 2014
* * * * *
It turned out that “silly” Gerard Henderson’s attack was merely a criticism of a Phillip Adams’ so-called debate on Late Night Live about national security. It was one of those familiar ABC occasions where everyone agreed with everyone else and a fine leftist ideological time was had by all.
- Stop Press: The Age & Waleed Aly in Headwear Confusion; Emma Alberici & Scott Ludlam; Fran Kelly & Anna Burke
- Germaine Greer on Kate; Paul Barry’s Lateness; The Age on Tony Abbott; Ben Grubb on the Terrorists’ (Alleged) Victory & Robert Manne on Paul Kelly
● THE AGE & WALEED ALY – A DOUBLE CONFUSION
Surely Some Confusion in today’s Age. The top of Page 1 carries this heading:
The only problem is that the woman in the photo is not in a burqa – but, rather, a niqab.
Turn to Radio National presenter Waleed Aly’s article in the Opinion Page titled “Burqa debate unveils the real Team Australia”. This is an angry piece complaining that most commentators don’t know the difference between the niqab and burqa. Mr Aly politely refuses to recognise that The Age made this very error yesterday. And it’s repeated it today.
However, Waleed Aly made a few howlers of his own. This is how he completed his column in today’s edition of “The-Guardian-of-the-Yarra” (which also appears in the Sydney Morning Herald) when discussing headwear worn by Muslim women. Aly started by looking back on a similar debate which took place in 2006:
…perhaps the sanest voice emerged in 2006 when the Howard government was in the midst of an anti-veiling frenzy. Out of the fray one Howard minister emerged to write in the Liberal Party’s journal that “ripping away Muslim girls’ scarves is not going to make them more ‘Australian’. If anything, it’s almost certain to make them feel more vulnerable and ‘different’”, and that “disparaging the religious symbols of Muslim Australians is at odds with our own best traditions”.
That minister was Tony Abbott. Perhaps the Prime Minister should listen to him.
Waleed Aly is hopelessly confused. In the current debate, no prominent member of the Liberal Party has called for “ripping away” of “Muslim girls’ scarves”. Tony Abbott has not made any recent comment on the Muslim scarf, or veil or hijab. So there is no reason whatsoever why Prime Minister Abbott in 2014 should listen to the Tony Abbott of 2006 – since there is absolutely no conflict between Mr Abbott’s comments today and his statements of eight years ago.
[Note that the Waleed Aly column in the print edition of The Age is different somewhat to that carried in the print edition of the SMH and on Fairfax Media’s online site.]
● EMMA ALBERICI LETS SENATOR LUDLAM OFF THE HOOK
MWD has come to the (instant) conclusion that some of the ABC’s top presenters do not listen to the answers of Greens or Labor parliamentarians who criticise the current or past Coalition governments. The alternative is just too difficult to contemplate – namely that some of the top ABC presenters did not correct howlers due to ignorance. Two examples come immediately to mind.
Greens Senator Scott Ludlam received a soft interview from Emma Alberici on Lateline last night concerning the Abbott governments’ new national security legislation – among other matters.
Scott Ludlam : …The penalty here in Australia for disclosing one of these SIOs [Special Intelligence Operation] isn’t seven years, it’s 10.
Emma Alberici : What sorts of stories? You mentioned the East Timorese issue. Can you envisage other stories that perhaps would have been gagged by these new laws?
Scott Ludlam : If they have been covered at the time by one of these SIOs, yes. They can’t be declared retrospectively, we understand. So we’re dealing in hypotheticals. But on ASIO’s advice – I don’t know if you recall this – in 2005, Australia deported a US peace activist, Scott Parkin, for having strong views about the operations of Halliburton. That’s one example. Mr Haneef, again, on ASIO’s advice. We’re not talking about espionage, we’re talking about public interest reporting of the operation of these agencies.
Ms Alberici let Senator Ludlam off the hook on this one. In fact it was the Australian Federal Police (AFP) – not the Australian Intelligence Security Organisation (ASIO) – which believed that Dr Mohammed Haneef was a security risk in 2007. In fact, ASIO said at the time that there was no evidence that Dr Haneef had foreknowledge of, or participated in, the terrorist incidents in Britain which led to the AFP’s interest in him. This is made clear in the report by M J Clarke QC titled Report of the Inquiry into the Case of Dr Mohamed Haneef..
But Emma Alberici left Senator Ludlam get away with this howler.
● FRAN KELLY LETS ANNA BURKE OFF THE HOOK
Then on Radio National Breakfast Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly engaged in the following discussion with former Labor speaker Anna Burke concerning the proposal that people whose faces are covered should be confined to a special enclosure in the Public Gallery of Parliament House.
Fran Kelly: …. the President of the Senate was asked in the Senate and he gave some kind of an explanation. He said it’s primarily about identifying people who may be heckling or interjecting from the Public Gallery during Question Time. That if they’re dressed in a Niqab or a Burqa then they could be escorted out but they could come back in without [security] recognizing them.
Anna Burke: Well that’s just ludicrous. You know, if someone is heckling or interjecting during Question Time, they’re removed, they’re not allowed back in. And if there is a need for identification of a female, under a Hijab –because I’ve never seen anyone in a Burqa in the Parliament in my entire sixteen years there – you know that doesn’t say that they should be allowed but we actually haven’t had someone come in. But if they were in that situation then there are protocols around that Islamic women would allow a female security guard to check their identity.
Fran Kelly let Anna Burke get away with the suggestion that Muslim women wearing a hijab might require identification under the recently announced proposals by the Speaker of the President of the Senate. Not so. A hijab does not cover the face and is similar in effect to a head-gear worn by Christian nuns in Western societies half a century ago which never raised security concerns.
● GERMS GIVES ADVICE TO THE WINDSORS
Nancy’s (male) co-owner’s football coach in olden times used to bemoan the burden of life. Jock Plunkett was inclined to philosophise along these lines: “Life is a vale of tears. You’re either too young or you’re too old – you’re too early or you’re too late”. Quite so. He might have added: “too fat or too thin”.
It was not so long ago that feminist activist – and Star of the Sea, Gardenvale graduate – Germaine Greer went on to ABC 1 Q&A program and declared “You’ve got a big arse, Julia [Gillard], just get on with it.”
Now Dr Greer (for a doctor she is) is giving yet more gratuitous advice. GG’s been reported in Newsweek as declaring that the Duchess of Cambridge (aka Kate Middleton) is “too thin”. Oh yes, GG also reckons that the Duchess should not have any more children. What will Dr Greer pontificate on next? Can you bear it?
▪ PAUL BARRY – LAST WITH THE NEWS
Last Monday ABC 1 Media Watch led with coverage of The Age’s error in printing a wrong photo of a man it claimed to be Abdul Numan Haider, who was shot dead in Melbourne after attacking two policemen with a knife. This story broke on Thursday 25 September – over four days before Paul Barry commenced presenting Media Watch on 29 September.
According to MWD’s count, the taxpayer funded Media Watch has a production staff of around 30. Yet Mr Barry led last Monday’s program with news that was so old that if it were meat it would have been thrown out due to a failure to meet health standards. Can you bear it?
●THE AGE : IGNORANT ON NIQAB/BURQA/HIJAB DIFFERENCE
This is how The Age depicted the Prime Minister yesterday – under the heading “Abbott backs call for burqa ban in Parliament House”.
“The-Guardian-on-the-Yarra”’s report – by James Massola – contained no evidence that the Prime Minister had called for a burqa ban in Parliament House. It appears that The-Guardian-on-the-Yarra just made this up. In any event, The Age’s graphic was hopelessly wrong. It depicted the eyes of the Prime Minister behind the niqab – not a burqa. Talk about a lack of cultural sensitivity. Can you bear it?
● BEN GRUBB SCORES IT FOR THE TERRORISTS
Meanwhile The Age ran a piece by Ben Grubb next to its Abbott-the-burqa-wearer depiction. Titled “New spy laws make terrorist winners”, this is what Mr Grubb had to say:
Today, the terrorists have won. The rights and freedoms of Australian citizens have been sacrificed. And this has occurred for no good reason.
Sure, Ben Grubb does not like the new national security legislation, which is supported by the Coalition and Labor – he labels it a “disgrace”. But what evidence is there that terrorists want tough national security legislation enacted in Australia? You’ve guessed it – none at all. Ben Grubb just made this up. Can you bear it?
● ROBERT MANNE’S KELLY OBSESSION
What a stunning lead-article by Robert Manne in the October 2014 edition of Morry Schwartz’s left-wing house journal The Monthly.
Your man Manne used to be an admirer of The Australian’s Paul Kelly. Not any more, it seems. In his article, titled “Kelly Country”, Robert Manne:
▪ refers to Paul Kelly’s “instinct for hyperbole”.
▪ maintains that Paul Kelly “endlessly” repeats the “house view of his employer News Corp”.
▪ criticises Paul Kelly’s “specious pontification”.
▪ bags Paul Kelly’s “arrogant and foolish running commentary”.
▪ claims that Paul Kelly engages in “irrational pronouncements” and is guilty of “profound ignorance”.
▪ asserts that Paul Kelly embodies “the prejudices of the Anglophone right”.
▪ depicts The Australian as a “sheltered ideological workshop”.
▪ maintains that Paul Kelly is “blithely unconcerned about inequality” and
▪ asserts that Paul Kelly engages in “astonishingly dishonest pretence”.
Robert Manne is Emeritus Professor of Politics at La Trobe University – where, in days of old, students were taught the difference between criticism and abuse.
Now, alas, Professor Manne (for a professor he still is) reckons that it’s okay for La Trobe University academics to criticise works of contemporary history by depicting them as “foolish”, “irrational”, “prejudiced” and “dishonest” – and to bag The Australian as a “sheltered ideological workshop”. Can you bear it?
[No. Not really. Two questions here. What’s wrong with sheltered workshops? And has Robert Manne ever claimed the $7000 on offer from Nancy’s male co-owner if he can produce any evidence that in 1993 – or, perhaps it was 1995 – Gerard Henderson sent a fax to The Age demanding that he (Manne) be dismissed as a columnist. See MWD passim ad nauseam. As I recall, Manne said that the original of Hendo’s (alleged) fax went to The Age opinion page editor Paul Austin and that he (Manne) and Morag Fraser received copies. In view of Robert Manne’s inability to produce the (alleged) fax in question – could be that your man Manne has a “memory” of an event which never happened? And could such an experience be described as “foolish” or “irrational” or “prejudicial” or even “dishonest”? – Ed]
● MARGO KINGSTON SCORES GRANT TO WRITE THE WORLD’S FIRST COMBINED AUTOBIOGRAPHY/BIOGRAPHY
Daniel Meers reported in Wednesday’s Daily Telegraph that leftist journalist sandal-wearing blogger Margo Kingston has obtained a scholarship to undertake a Ph.D at Macquarie University in Sydney. Dr Kingston (for a doctor she soon will surely be) is enrolled in the wonderfully titled Creative Practice – or CP – stream. [Check this. Sure it’s not the Creative Research & Applied Practice – or CRAP – stream? – Ed]
Let Margo Kingston explain her own forthcoming opus magnum. Or is it magnum opus?
…[a] professional memoir which seeks to explain my journey from mainstream political journalist to Sydney Morning Herald political blogger and editor with Webdiary, website owner when I went independent in 2005, and my new project after a seven year break. No Fibs.
In other words, Margo Kingston will use her taxpayer subsidised Ph.D. scholarship to study a subject she knows best. Namely, HERSELF and her VERY OWN JOURNEY. What a hoot.
Meanwhile MWD is delighted to announce that Nancy has just received a bucket load of taxpayers’ funds to undertake Ph.D studies at the Canine Institute of Australia – or CIA. Dr Nancy’s topic (for a doctor she will surely become) is titled “Towards an understanding of Contemporary Victimhood: The alienating experiences of a deaf canine street-walker who has never been told of her hearing disability – some initial incoherent thoughts”. It should be a beauty – and should rival Dr Kingston’s very own journey. We’ll keep you posted.
● HAVE SURVEY – LOOKING FOR VICTIMS
Meanwhile lotsa thanks to the avid MWD reader who drew attention to this you-beaut media release from the University of Western Sydney titled “Researchers investigate the impacts of bushfire on the Blue Mountains LGBTI community”.
It seems that this research effort is being led by members of what Paul Keating was wont to call “the hyphenated name set”. Namely, Associate Professor Dale Dominey-Howes and Dr Andrew Gorman-Murray. [Well-fancy-that?. – Ed]
Associate Professor Dominey-Howes and Dr Gorman-Murray have a theory that members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) population maybe particularly vulnerable to natural disasters – such as the 2013 Blue Mountains bushfires. But they don’t know this. Consequently, the two academics will be conducting interviews in the Blue Mountains in coming months. And they’re hoping to locate participants from the Blue Mountains LGBTI community who are willing to share their experiences through an online survey.
MWD urges its tens of thousands of avid Blue Mountains readers to take part in this survey. Now. Otherwise Associate Professor Dominey-Howes and Dr Gorman-Murray will not be able to write a paper in a widely unread academic journal about a problem which may – or may not – exist.
By popular demand, due to the requests of hundreds of thousands of avid MWD readers, the Maurice Newman Segment returns this week – with something old, something new, plenty that is stolen and absolutely nothing blue.
As MWD readers will know, this (hugely popular) segment is devoted to former ABC chairman Maurice Newman’s suggestion that a certain “group think” might be prevalent at the ABC – and to ABC 1 former Media Watch presenter Jonathan Holmes’ certainty that no such phenomenon is extant within the public broadcaster. See MWD passim.
● THE DRUM PANEL : ALL AS ONE ON REFUGEES
What a wonderful ABC-style debate on The Drum last Monday. The topic turned on the Abbott government’s success in reaching an agreement with Cambodia to accept some refugees who had sought unsuccessfully to come to Australia.
Cassandra Wilkinson (Centre for Independent Studies) said that she believes that off-shore resettlement is less preferable to Australia taking in refugees. Sabine Wolff (JWS Research) then declared: “I agree with Cassandra whole-heartedly”. Then Simon Crerar (editor Buzzfeed) agreed with Ms Wolff as presenter Scott Bevan saw fit not to disturb the evident consensus as everyone agreed with everyone else. No other view was heard.
● LATE NIGHT LIVE PANEL : ALL AS ONE ON NATIONAL SECURITY
Flash back to 23 September – Late Night Live presenter Phillip Adams interviews Kieran Hardy (UNSW law research associate) and Dr Patrick Emerton (Monash University Law Faculty senior lecturer) about the Abbott government’s national security legislation. Phillip agrees with Kieran who agrees with Phillip who agrees with Patrick who agrees with Phillip who agrees with Patrick who agrees with Phillip who agrees with Patrick who agrees with Phillip who agrees with Kiernan who agrees with Phillip who agrees with Patrick who agrees with Phillip – and so on. Until the very end where Phillip agrees with HIMSELF.
And what did they all agree on? Well Phillip and Kiernan and Patrick and Phillip all agreed that the new national security legislation is wrong, wrong, wrong. No other view was heard.
● LATELINE PANEL : DITTO
Flashback to 19 September. Lateline presenter Steve Cannane interviews Greg Barns (Australia Lawyers Alliance) and Allan Behm (defence and security commentator) about the new national security legislation. Greg agrees with Allan who agrees with Greg who agrees with Allan that the new legislation goes too far. Steve does not disrupt that Greg-Allen unity ticket. No other view is heard.
Score Board: Grand Total
Maurice Newman: 5
● STEP FORWARD LEIGH SALES
Heard the one about the ABC presenter who asked a Greens leader a tough question? Well, it happened. No kidding. On 7.30 last Wednesday – as Leigh Sales interviewed Greens leader Christine Milne about Iraq, Syria and all that. Here are some of Ms Sales’ questions and some of Senator Milne’s answers:
Leigh Sales: Senator, the Greens have previously called for the Australian Navy to go to the Southern Ocean to stop the Japanese from whaling. So you don’t mind Australian military assets being used to protect animals but you don’t want them used to protect people?
Christine Milne : Leigh, the question here is whether Australia should follow the US blindly into another open-ended war in Iraq. And that is precisely what is going on and the Greens do not believe that another war in Iraq is going to make Australia any safer.
Leigh Sales: Well three years ago, the Greens called for a no-fly zone to be enforced over Libya, so you supported military intervention there. Why did the Greens consider that a case for a military response and not this one?
Christine Milne: Leigh, I think what we have to actually look at is what the Abbott Government is committing to. There is mission creep …
Leigh Sales: Actually, I’d like to look at that – I’d like to – because you’re the leader of the Greens, I’d like to explore the Greens’ policy position on this. So, what I’d like to get to the bottom of is what principles guide your decisions as to when military intervention is appropriate? So why did you support it in the case of Libya and not the case here?
Christine Milne: Leigh, the issue for me is whether this intervention by Tony Abbott to send our young men and women into another war in Iraq is going to make Australia safer….
Leigh Sales: Okay, well let me pick up on your question of: is it worth it? The Greens’ own security policy states that: “Military action can be justified to avert a major violation of human rights”. The UNHCR says, “IS [Islamic State] is involved in widespread ethnic and religious cleansing and in the cold-blooded, systematic killing of civilians”. Surely that meets the standard of the Greens’ official policy.
Christine Milne : Well certainly it’s true that ISIL [Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant] is engaged in cold-blooded killings and humanitarian atrocities. There’s no doubt about that.
Leigh Sales: So the Greens’ own policy says that in those cases you support military intervention.
And so it went on. The interview was made all the better by virtue of the fact that Leigh Sales allowed Christine Milne to respond at length without interruption – unlike many ABC presenters when they interview Coalition or Labor leaders.
Senator Milne could not explain – and did not answer questions on – the Greens’ policy on military intervention. Moreover, Senator Milne could not support her assertion that the current focus on national security is starting to tear apart the fabric of Australian society.
Leigh Sales: Five Paws.
● AND STEP FORWARD PETER WATERHOUSE [PETER WHO? – ED]
Thanks to Peter Waterhouse of Craigieburn, Victoria who had the following letter concerning another ABC presenter published yesterday in The Age’s Green Guide:
MIND YOUR Qs AND As
When did ABC presenter Guy Stayner start mysteriously channelling former 7.30 host Sarah Ferguson? His interview with Dr Denis Napthine on September 26 was both excruciating and exhausting to watch, as he allowed the Victorian Premier about three seconds of utterance time, before curtly interrupting him time and time again with clarifying questions.
On the level of basic human politeness, if you ask a question, at least be willing to listen to the answer, even if you aren’t satisfied with it. This type of abrupt and abrasive journalism will not exactly repudiate the accusation of political bias within the current affairs studios at the national broadcaster.
– Peter Waterhouse, Craigieburn
MARY ELIZABETH CALWELL’S HOWLERS CONCERNING HER OLD MAN ARTHUR CALWELL
Next Sunday (i.e. 5 October 2014) is the 60th Anniversary of Bert Evatt’s public attack on the Victorian ALP State Executive which commenced the Labor Split. This formally took place at the Federal and Victorian levels in 1955 – and in Queensland two years later. Bert Evatt was Opposition Leader at the time and Arthur Augustus Calwell (1896-1973) was his deputy. Dr Evatt (for a doctor he was) led Labor to a “hat-trick” of defeats at the 1954, 1955 and 1958 elections. Calwell then stepped up and led Labor to another “hat-trick”, losing elections in 1961, 1963 and 1966. No other Australian political leader has achieved such failure. Well done, Bert. Well done, Arthur.
There was an enormous response to the comment in last week’s MWD that a future issue would analyse the howlers in the chapter by Mary Elizabeth Calwell (A.A. Calwell’s daughter) in the edited collection What Did You Do in the Cold War, Daddy? : Personal Stories From A Troubled Time (Newsouth, 2014). The book is edited by academics Ann Curthoys and Joy Damousi.
Mary Elizabeth Calwell’s chapter is titled “How we survived The Movement”. The reference is to the relationship between the Calwell family and “The Movement” (i.e. the Catholic Social Studies Movement) which was established by B.A. (“Call me Bob”) Santamaria circa 1940. At the time of the Labor Split, Santamaria supported the breakaway Australian Labor Party (Anti-Communist) which subsequently became the Democratic Labor Party. Most of the members who were expelled from, or left, the ALP at the time of the Labor Split were Catholic – but only a few were members of The Movement. A.A. Calwell was one of the Catholics who remained in the Victorian ALP at the time of the Labor Split.
Here are the errors/howlers/misjudgements in Mary Elizabeth Calwell’s (MEC) chapter – which runs from Page 202 to Page 223.
Page 203. MEC writes that Arthur Calwell “knew little about The Movement or its sinister activities” until about 1970. However, at Page 205 MEC writes that in 1949 “Calwell learnt that owing to The Movement’s influences, he would be opposed for re-election to the ALP Victorian Central Executive for the first time in twenty-three years”. So, according to MEC, Calwell knew a fair bit about The Movement at least as early as 1949 but knew little about The Movement two decades later. How about that?
Page 210. MEC claims that the Australian Labor Party (Anti-Communist) was renamed the Democratic Labor Party in 1957. The correct year is 1956 – which is acknowledged at Page 217.
Page 214. In her rambling essay, MEC claims that “Calwell said he would not exploit Mannix’s illness” presumably in the late 1950s. Like so many comments in her essay, there is no background to this statement. There is no evidence that Daniel Mannix (1864-1963) suffered any serious illness before his final days – and there is no reference to any such illness on his death certificate.
Page 214. In an effort to promote Calwell’s standing in the mid-1950s, MEC takes comfort in the fact that his performance was praised in Rockhampton’s The Morning Bulletin in May 1955. Wow. [That settles the matter, surely – Ed].
Page 222. MEC writes: “In 1965, my father refused suggestions by [Gough] Whitlam, [Nick] McKenna and [Patrick] Kennelly to meet Santamaria with whom they had discussions” concerning a settlement between the ALP and DLP. Wrong. Gough Whitlam never met B.A. Santamaria.
Page 223. MEC writes: “We visited Europe, including the USSR, in 1967 where my father had interesting discussions”. MEC does not bother to point out that in 1967 the Soviet Union was a communist dictatorship presided over by the oppressive Leonid Brezhnev. In a book devoted to what fathers of the contributors did during the Cold War, MEC neglects to mention that in 1970 Arthur Calwell contributed to a pamphlet titled Lenin – Through Australian Eyes: An Australian Contribution to the Lenin Centenary 1870-1970. This was published by the Novisti Press Agency in Sydney. Enough said.
Calwell’s essay – which praised the founder of the communist totalitarian state – was titled “ A Great Russian Patriot”. Among others praising Vladimir Lenin in his pamphlet were such Stalinists as Katharine Susannah Prichard, Pat Clancy, Ralph Gibson and W.J. Brown. [Interesting – W.J. (“Call me Bill) Brown is Lee Rhiannon’s old man – Ed].
In his piss-poor essay, Arthur Calwell maintained that “Britain, France and the USA must accept a tremendous amount of blame” for the Second World War. Calwell did not suggest that the Soviet Union was in any way responsible for World War II – despite the fact that the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939 made it possible for Germany to invade Poland, which commenced the hostilities.
In this essay, Calwell made the false statement that, circa 1970, there was “certainly more religious freedom in Russia under Communism than there was under the Czar”. He also ignored the Brezhnev regime’s anti-semitism.
Page 223. MEC concludes her essay as follows:
The Cold War would have been insignificant in Australia without the activities of the Movement. Many families, friends and communities were estranged for life. Some DLP supporters were accepted into the Liberal Party. My father’s informed religious and political convictions sustained him and encouraged others during the anti-communist fear campaigns from the 1940s to the 1970s. He emphasised loyalty, unity and discipline within the ALP and feared the consequences of fragmentation following “intervention” in Victoria in 1970. Without the cataclysmic event caused by the split in 1955, the ALP would not have lost some of the dynamism that sustained it.
What a load of tosh. The Cold War also had an impact on such similar nations as Britain, Canada and the United States – none of which had an anti-communist Catholic organisation like The Movement.
Also, MEC’s comment on the “anti-communist fear campaigns” from the 1940s to the 1970s overlooks the fact that the Communist Party, funded by the Soviet Union, was active both in the trade union movement and in the ALP. Some Labor MPs were secret members of the Communist Party of Australia. Also, some CPA members and supporters spied for the Soviet Union.
In the period of the late 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s, Arthur Calwell failed Australia. He lacked the courage to make a serious attempt at winning the Labor leadership in the early 1950s – despite the fact that Bert Evatt was exhibiting clear symptoms of long-term mental illness. Moreover, despite Calwell’s anti-communist pretensions in the decade after the end of the Second World War, he failed to provide leadership to the anti-communist forces within the labour movement in general and the ALP in particular. If Calwell had led the anti-communist forces within the ALP, it is unlikely that the Split would have occurred. It was Labor’s abysmal leadership under Evatt which was primarily responsible for the Labor Split – and Calwell failed in his duty as Labor’s deputy leader to handle Evatt.
Mary Elizabeth Calwell has spent much of her adult life singing the praises of her late father. Like most politicians, Arthur Augustus Calwell was associated with some good causes. He supported post-war immigration. That’s a plus. But he was a life-time supporter of the White Australia Policy. That’s a minus.
Also, Arthur Calwell behaved abysmally during the Second World War when he did his best to undermine Labor prime minister John Curtin’s attempt to introduce conscription for overseas service in a limited area of the South West Pacific. At the time, Australia’s security was threatened by Japan. Even so, Calwell could not junk his anti-conscription obsession which was a product of his experiences during the First World War. Along with the destructive Eddie Ward, Calwell put enormous pressure on John Curtin for no good reason.
Arthur Calwell was wrong about the Pacific War. And he was wrong about the Cold War. Mary Elizabeth Calwell’s essay avoids the question posed by the book. The answer to the query: “What did you do in the Cold War, Daddy (Calwell)?” should be – “Nothing useful”.
Until next time – keep morale high.
“What troubles me most is that he [Gerard Henderson] shows such low journalistic standards, yet he is politically quite influential. He is often on Insiders. It’s hard to see why: he comes across as a crank.”
– Kate Durham as told to Crikey, 16 September 2014
“The unhinged but well spoken Gerard Henderson….”
– Bob Ellis, Table Talk blog, 10 August 2014
“Gerard Henderson and Nancy are awful human beings.”
– Alexander White, Twitter, 25 July 2014
“This is my regularly scheduled “Oh Gerard” tweet for every time he appears on #insiders”
– Josh Taylor, senior journalist for ZDNet, Twitter, 20 July 2014
“…that fu-kwitted Gerard “Gollum” Henderson….”
– Mike (“I’ll pour the gin”) Carlton, via Twitter, 12 July 2014
“[Gerard Henderson is a] silly prick”
– Mike (“I’ll pour the gin”) Carlton – tweeted Saturday 27 June 2014 at 4.15 pm, i.e. after lunch
“If Gerard Henderson had run Beria’s public relations Stalin’s death would have been hidden for a year and Nikita [Khrushchev] and co would have been shot”
– Laurie Ferguson via Twitter – 22 June 2014 [By-line: Mr Ferguson is a member of the House of Representatives who speaks in riddles.]
“[Gerard Henderson] is the Eeyore of Australian public life”
– Mike Seccombe in The [Boring] Saturday Paper – 21 June 2014
“Without in any way wanting to breach anyone’s human rights or free speech – why do people write emails to Gerard Henderson?”
– Katharine Murphy, Twitter, Friday 6 June 2014
“[Gerard Henderson is] an unhinged prick”
– Mike Carlton, Twitter, Thursday 12 June 2014
“There’s no sense that Gerard Henderson has any literary credentials at all.”
– Anonymous comment quoted, highlighted and presumably endorsed by Jason (“I’m a left-leaning luvvie”) Steger, The Age, 31 May 2014
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.