GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG – ISSUE NO. 254
23 JANUARY 2015


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.


NANCY’S BACK FROM W.E.B. – WITH A BUMPER ISSUE

Nancy's back

Media Watch Dog returns on the eve of the Australia Day (very) long weekend. Due to the overwhelming demand of MWD’s hundreds of thousands of avid readers – of course.

Nancy’s (male) co-owner has been busy writing his column in The Weekend Australian over the last couple of months. However, Hendo took what journalists like to call a Well-Earned-Break in so far as MWD was concerned. Due to MWD‘s W.E.B., some material from the past two months has been held over for future issues.

It should be pointed out, however, that MWD went on its W.E.B. after such programs on the tax payer funded broadcaster as Media Watch (presenter Paul Barry) and Q&A (presenter Tony Jones) – and it returns before both programs. How about that? Also, Morry Schwartz’s The Saturday Paper closed down before Christmas and will not reopen until tomorrow. It seems that the Melbourne based property developer regards his (boring) newspaper as if it were a building site which is closed down when the CFMEU comrades want to head to Port Phillip Bay for rest and recreation over the Christmas / New Year period. [I wonder if any of your avid readers saw young Erik Jensen snorkelling off Portsea Beach – his sandals on the sand protected by his towel? Ed]

It seems that ABC managing director Mark Scott has determined that Lateline’s W.E.B was so well earned that the program will not be returning to ABC1. How nice of Nice Mr Scott to ease the burden on Lateline presenters Tony Jones and Emma Alberici. From 2015 on, both can wear the same gear every night – sure in the knowledge that few will be watching when Lateline turns up on ABC News 24 – as it appears destined to do. This will ensure some much needed savings to the ABC’s bottom line, in reduced dry cleaning expenses, at the time of the Abbott Clerical Fascist Dictatorship.

Due to enormous popular demand from avid readers, MWD in 2015 will contain some brand new features plus some updated segments. Including “Media Fool of The Month” (which will become a regular feature that is certain to be heavily contested), “Legacy Issues” (thus including two clichéd words in one topic), “Nancy AC Answers Your Queries” (in which the Always Courteous blue healer and her (male) co-owner will give much needed advice on etiquette and all that.), along with “From the Nancy Archive”.

Needless to say, MWD‘s evident obsessions will continue as usual. [Why was this “needless to say”? Ed.]

Here we go.



STOP PRESS GRAPHIC

ALAN JONES’ SOFT INTERVIEW ON RADIO NATIONAL BREAKFAST

What’s what ABC journalists like to call a “right wing shock jock” – Alan Jones in fact – doing getting a soft interview on the taxpayer public broadcaster? Bagging Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and the Liberal National Party, of course.

On RN Summer Breakfast this morning, Hamish McDonald gave commercial broadcaster Alan Jones a free kick to bag the Queensland premier and his government. It is impossible to imagine Mr Jones receiving such friendly treatment on an ABC program if he were criticising asylum seekers, or Islamists, or climate change true believers.

This would be a matter for ABC editor-in-chief Mark Scott, if only he ever took editorial control of ABC content.


Deliberate-Mistake-Update

Many thanks to the hundreds of avid MWD who picked the deliberate mistake in the last edition as to the date on which Nancy would come out from her kennel in 2015.


Can you bear it graphic

DAVID MARR GIVES A NEW YORK CAFE TWO HATS

The evidence suggests that the New Year has commenced with lotsa members of the latte left competing for one or more citations (to be published?) in MWD.

Without question, the best pitch was by The Guardian Australia’s very own David Marr. You see, David (“My mother said I was a dreadful show-off”) Marr just happened to be in the Chelsea area of New York when – wait for it – Starbucks launched its flat white, which it happens to be called a flat top.

It so happened that Mr Marr was under the weather, literally, when – as he put it in The Guardian Australia on 7 January 2015 – he “was dragged out of a New York snowstorm” to preview the latest episode of American colonialism. Namely, the US multinational’s attempt to conquer and subjugate the famous Aussie flat white.

And what a penetrating review this was as your man Marr, replete with gorgeous (horizontally striped) scarf was photographed at Starbucks in Chelsea over the caption “David Marr enjoys his flat white”. Here is the thesis of the review:

And the taste? Well, it’s strong and milky and hot – and there is a lot of it. Even the small cup goes down for ever. But the biggest thing in the new coffee’s favour is simply this: it’s not the brown swill Americans drink by the gallon. For Australians who want to come to America and pretend they’ve never left home, Starbucks is offering a useful service. But will it catch on with the locals? The bar is low.

It is not clear whom David Marr has in mind for “Australians who want to come to America and pretend they’ve never left home”. Presumably, beer-for-breakfast drinkers who don’t read the loss-making Guardian.

In any event, this lot will be surely pleased that Starbucks’ Flat Top (aka flat white) is “not bad”. As The Guardian Australia’s headline read for this breaking (flat white) news: “I feared the worst, but Starbucks’ new flat white is actually not bad”. Thank God for this, actually. Can there be a worse “worst” than a disappointing flat white?

Meanwhile MWD is delighted to announce that it commissioned David Marr to review the Holy Water at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue. Here is his (exclusive) report:

When I was dragged out of a New York snowstorm for a task which only a Shore old-boy could perform objectively, I expected to be lashing Cardinal Timothy Dolan for not getting the New York holy water right. I had the rhetoric ready – a hopeless attempt by the American Catholic Hierarchy to exploit visiting Aussies and others in search of non-alcoholic liquid nourishment by dumbing down the holy water font.

But St Patrick’s Holy Water was OK. And the taste? Well, it’s recycled and had passed through quite a few humans before I blessed myself with it. But the biggest thing in its favour is simply this: it’s not blessed by the Rome-based Cardinal George Pell about whom I write obsessively and who is Tony Abbott’s confessor (this I believe).

For Australian Catholics or High Church Anglicans (like I once was) who want to come to Fifth Avenue and pretend they’ve never left home, St Patricks is offering a useful service.

According to reports, The Guardian Australia has now commissioned David Marr to also review one of the big issues of our time. Namely, the quality of Mariage Fréres tea on the Left Bank of Paris.

davidmarr

TAXPAYER FUNDED PUBLIC BROADCASTER TOPS WITH THE TOPLESS

The top news on ABC1’s News Breakfast last Wednesday was the BIG STORY that

Rupert Murdoch has decided to drop The Sun’s page 3 topless sheila photo. It is not clear if this (alleged) fact was fact-checked by Aunty’s very own Fact Checking Unit – and also it is not clear if the end of the topless sheila is at hand.

Reverting to a joke which is older than The Sun itself, the ABC’s Europe correspondent Mary Gearin [Just how many Europe correspondents does the ABC have? Ed] concluded her story as follows.

Thanks for the mammaries, but it’s time to turn the page.

Brilliant, don’t you think? However, it seems that the London based Ms Gearin did not watch last Monday’s self-indulgent ABC1 documentary Sounds Like Teen Spirit: Triple J at 40 about the ABC’s very own Triple J radio station. This documentary (producer/director Rebecca Baillie) showed several gratuitous shots of topless sheilas on a Sydney beach some three decades ago. The connection with Triple J was not evident.

Sounds Like Teen Spirit also portrayed a still photograph of the left nipple (circa

1975) of former Triple J presenter Gayle Austin who appeared on the program (fully clothed). On Monday night, ABC1’s The Drum also flashed the ancient photo of

Ms Austin sans top. Presenter Julia Baird indicated that this decision had been much discussed by The Drum’s staff collective. Radical, eh?

So on Wednesday morning the likes of Mary Gearin and News Breakfast co-presenters Beverley O’Connor and Paul Kennedy were busy castigating The Sun’s proprietor for having run topless sheilas on page 3. But on Monday, the ABC showed more topless sheilas than you would find in any edition of The Sun last week.

And to think that Nice Mr Scott privately used to mock SBS by calling it “See Breasts

Soon”. Can you bear it?

TRIPLE J – STARRING PETER GARRETT, TRACEE HUTCHISON, ADAM SPENCER, WIL ANDERSON AND DR KARL

While on the topic of Triple J, Sounds Like Teen Spirit was your typical ABC doco about the ABC. A bit like the ABC’s Media Watch documentary on ABC’s Media Watch of recent memory. There was lotsa praise for the ABC collective which has run the radio station over four decades and very little criticism. It was only towards the end of the film that some voices were heard criticising Triple J’s play-list.

Virtually all the various music presenters or current affairs reporters who were interviewed on Sounds like Teen Spirit were leftists of one kind or other. Providing more proof, if proof was needed, that the taxpayer funded public broadcaster is a Conservative Free Zone. Needless to say, ABC managing director Mark Scott made no reference to this self-evident fact when he spoke at the Triple J 40th Birthday party.

Highlights of the documentary included

the wonderful footage of Rudd/Gillard Labor minister Peter Garrett dancing from his Midnight Oil days. [Could Mr Garrett be the best dancer to graduate from Barker College after Mike (I’ll pour the gin”) Carlton? – Ed].

Sandal-wearing luvvie Tracee Hutchison supporting, at tedious philosophical length, Triple J’s decision sometime in the 20th Century to play F-ck the Police. Yawn.

Vision of the oh-so-daring Mikey Robins with what seemed to be a Nazi Swastika on his forehead (funny, eh?) and

the image of comedian Wil Anderson clapping himself [Did Wil give Wil a standing ovation? – Ed].

However, the star performer of the documentary was your man Dr Karl Kruszelnicki (for a doctor he keeps telling us mere mortals he certainly is).

Dr Karl was mightily impressed that one-time Triple J’s Adam Spencer kept saying “f-ck” on air. Really. Let’s go to the transcript:

Dr Karl: One thing that my colleague Adam Spencer is very proud of is that, in his time on the Triple J, he probably used the “The F Word” more than any other person in the history of the human race on any radio station anywhere in the planet. Unfortunately, we haven’t got the metric to see if this is a written record but anecdotally I think he’s probably right.

How about that? – and what an achievement. According to Dr Karl (as he likes to be called), Adam Spencer used “The F Word” more times than the likes of Lilly Allen or Lenny Bruce or Ricky Grevais or Howard Stern. Wow. F-ck me. Etcetera.

MWD has sought explanations for Mr Spencer’s bad language during his Triple J days. The following scenarios seems to be most plausible:

Adam Spencer likes to shock. [I’m shocked – Ed].

Adam Spencer, a self-declared maths geek, has a limited vocabulary.

Adam Spencer was educated at the Catholic private school St Aloysius College run by the Jesuits in Sydney.

Dr Karl is eminently suited for gigs on the ABC’s youth radio station Triple J. In his entry in Who’s Who in Australia, Kruszelnicki does not give his year of birth but does admit to settling in Australia in 1950. How youthful can you get? Oh, by the way, in his Who’s Who entry, Dr Karl says that he is “known as Dr Karl”. Well done.

The ABC pays good money to Dr Karl who, according to Sounds like Teen Spirit answers from callers such BIG QUESTIONS OF THE DAY as “Why do we piss more in the surf?” Good question, don’t you think?

Triple J presenter Zan Rowe got all excited when she told the documentary that Dr Karl gets the most amazing questions from listeners. Dr Karl himself then related his “most mind-blowing question ever”. Since MWD is a family-friendly blog, the question will not be repeated here. But it involved a sexual act which resulted in a woman going deaf temporarily. Fancy that. [Er, not really – Ed].

The self-declared geek Dr Karl seemed completely oblivious to the possibility that the anonymous female questioner might have been pulling his leg – or perhaps something else. Can you bear it?


From the Nancy Archive

THE 1960’S “SERENELY POISED” GILLIAN TRIGGS

Nancy’s (male) co-owner just loved Tim Elliott’s profile of the Australian Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Triggs – which was published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 1 August 2014. Mr Elliott commenced his analysis of Professor Triggs as follows:

A former professional ballerina and daughter of a British World War II tank commander, Gillian Triggs is an unusual blend of poise and power, as Immigration Minister Scott Morrison is discovering.

How about that? It turns out that Gillian Triggs’ blend of poise and power was never more evident than when she was chosen as Miss University at the University of Melbourne. This is what Mr Elliott had to say about the young Ms Triggs:

Triggs keeps her failures, if there are any, well hidden, and it seems all but impossible to find anyone willing to say a bad word about her. Her sister describes her as being “incredibly focussed”, “fashion conscious” to boot (she was Miss Melbourne University in 1965), and almost serenely poised.

It’s time to go to The (Nancy) Archive. Here is a photo of Miss University 1965 – published in Farrago, the Melbourne University student newspapers, on 24 May 1965.

Miss Melbourne Univeristy 196522012015

Alas, the Miss University in question, a certain Robyn Jewell, is not the serenely poised Gillian Triggs at all. How disappointing.

But, wait. It seems that young Miss Triggs was incredibly focused enough to take out this prized gong the following year. Here is a pic of Miss University 1966 – published in Farrago on 20 May 1966. The “J.C.H.” is a reference to the female residential college Janet Clarke Hall, presumably the abode of Miss Triggs.

Young Gillian Triggs23012015

All this brought to you by MWD’s “From the (Nancy) Archive”. Stay tuned for more.


DOCUMENTATION

HOW ABC NEWS BREAKFAST DISTANCED ITSELF FROM AUNTY’S SNEERER-IN-CHIEF

An avid reader has written to MWD requesting details about the correspondence which passed between Gerard Henderson and ABC News Breakfast last November. See MWD Issue 252 21 November 2014.

Here’s the background. On Thursday 20 November 2014, Jonathan (“Proudly the ABC’s Sneerer-in-Chief”) Green asserted during an appearance on the News Breakfast “Newspapers” segment that “Gerard Henderson wants a breakfast shift on the ABC.”

Mr Green just made this up. MWD Issue 252 indicated that a correction was made on air the morning after Jonathan Green’s conspiracy theory was aired. However, an avid reader has asked for a transcript of the correction, which was aired by co-presenters Michael Rowland, for the record. Here it is:

Michael Rowland: Just quickly before the papers. You may have watched Jonathan Green doing the [“Newspapers”] segment yesterday where he referred to our faithful viewer, one of our faithful viewers – Gerard Henderson watching us from Sydney – saying that Henderson was angling for a shift on this very show. He watches us every morning. Gerard has written in and we thank you for the correspondence. He says: “I’ve never desired – or been offered – a breakfast shift on the ABC. Mr Green who I barely know and with whom I have never had a personal conversation – he just made it up.” He goes on to say: “I have only been asked to appear on News Breakfast on one occasion in the last five years – I declined.”

We asked him as well yesterday, he said no as well. So, open invitation and Gerard – thank you very much for watching.


nancy's pick graphic

HOW JONATHAN GREEN GETS ALL HIS (WEATHER) NEWS FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE WEATHER WATCHERS

In a highly competitive field, Nancy chose the discussion between Jonathan (“Proudly the ABC’s Sneerer-in-Chief”) Green and historian David Day about the weather. Neither man has any training in science in general or weather in particular. So it made sense – sort of – that they hold forth about the weather on ABC Radio National Summer Breakfast. After all, David Day’s old man once worked for the Weather Bureau and Dr Day (for a doctor he is) is the author of The Weather Watchers: 100 Years of the Bureau of Meteorology. And it was the Silly Season – 29 December 2014 in fact.

Jonathan Green: 2014 in weather – some of it was hot, some of it was cold. There were rainy bits.

David Day: Yeah, much as it always is really. When I was doing the history of the Weather Bureau and I went through all their old newspaper cuttings and I was just struck by the incredible number of extreme weather events, you know, massive floods through Melbourne, massive bushfires that came into Melbourne. Melbourne being where I live. And this year was no exception.

Jonathan Green: So your sort of historical sense is that nothing has changed?

David Day: Well, you know, I think things are changing. You know I think the events are becoming more severe. I mean this year, at the beginning of the year the Weather Bureau suggested that it would be very unlikely if we had a category five cyclone, based on past events they thought that was very unlikely. In fact we had two. We had two.

So we had in April Cyclone Ita in North Queensland, it looked as though it was going to be terrible, and was terrible, in the Solomons. But then sort of thankfully weakened a bit before it hit landfall and hit landfall in North Queensland north of Cooktown where not many people live and there’s not much industry. Nevertheless you know, caused a billion dollars worth of damage. The other cyclone, Cyclone Jillian, also category 5, but didn’t cross the land.

Jonathan Green: Yes well these are severe events, as you say.

David Day: Yes, indeed. And Melbourne, of course, my home town. We had four days over 41 degrees in January which was the hottest for more than a century.

Jonathan Green: Can I tell you, that was a period in which my family and I were moving house. During that spell of 40 degree days.

David Day: And we were just very fortunate that that it didn’t turn into another Black Saturday. It had all the makings of it.

Jonathan Green: Well yes and even, even so. Even if it doesn’t have those elements which can lead to catastrophic bush fires, those events have a catastrophic effect none the less. There are fatalities caused by that sort of extremity of weather.

Go on. Alas, they did. David Day had no evidence of any kind to support his assertion that extreme weather events in Melbourne are becoming more severe. In fact, his research for his book revealed that “there were an incredible number of extreme weather events” in Melbourne in the past.

Meanwhile Green’s evidence turned on the fact that it was frightfully hot when he moved house from fashionable Hawthorn to his inner-city terrace in Fitzroy – not far by bicycle from the ABC’s Melbourne headquarters at Southbank.

Dr Day and Mr Green seem to have forgotten that Melbourne summers can be very hot. Moreover, the worst Victorian bushfires occurred in 1851, 1939, 1983 as well as 2009.

David Day went on to assert that “you can tell that we’re under the influence of another El Nino” which was “going to mean a very dry summer”. In fact, the 2014-15 summer has been reasonably wet in large areas of Australia.

And so the discussion went on – as the ignorant conversed with the ignorant. Here’s a highlight.

Jonathan Green: And that El Nino that you mentioned, for this year, for 2015. What’s that going to mean for Australian conditions?

David Day: It’s going to mean a very dry summer. It’s going to mean the possibility of pretty bad bushfires, whether they’re catastrophic level or not is in the lap of the gods. But, you know, I’d be brushing off my bushfire preparations, certainly.

Jonathan Green: And that means a continuation of those areas that are currently suffering drought; that nothing clearly is going to change there.

David Day: Yeah, well – that’s right.

Er, no. That’s wrong. Hopelessly wrong. There was a bushfire in South Australia – the worst since 1983. However, since then, South Australia has received extremely summer heavy downfalls. And large parts of Queensland and New South Wales have also experienced rain over the summer period and some parts of Australia have been cooler than usual.

Nancy’s (male) co-owner is an expert in all of the above because i) he had a father in the Navy and an aunt in the waxworks and ii) he knows a leftie luvvie who moved house a couple of weeks ago from fashionable Elizabeth Bay to inner-city Ultimo and had to wear gumboots over his sandals.


Legacy Issues

DAVID DAY STILL YET TO PRODUCE HIS EVIDENCE ON MENZIES AND CHURCHILL

Perhaps David Day would have been well advised not to go on Radio National during the silly season to talk about the weather. And devoted time instead to finding evidence in support of his work in Australian history.

As avid MWD readers will be aware, Dr Day declared on 7 August 2014 that he was “flat out like a lizard drinking”. Too busy, apparently, to provide evidence to support the claim in his 1986 book Menzies & Churchill at War that in 1941 there was a serious move in Britain to replace Winston Churchill as prime minister with Australia’s very own Robert Menzies. Moreover, Day asserted that Menzies wanted to become British prime minister and went along with the proposal in the hope of taking over at 10 Downing Street.

David Day made his academic reputation on the basis of Menzies & Churchill at War. The only problem is that there is no evidence for this assertion about Menzies and Churchill.

On 4 August 2014, Gerard Henderson wrote to David Day asking him to provide the name of one biographer of Churchill or one serious historian of Britain in the 20th Century who wrote or said that there was a move to replace Churchill with Menzies in 1941. Hendo also asked Dr Day to provide any source to support his claim that Menzies encouraged such a proposal.

Alas, David Day declared that he was too busy to provide even one source for each of his assertions. Even though he has been banging on about this issue for nearly three decades.

Here’s hoping that David Day can come up with some evidence during 2015 to support his (undocumented) assertion. In the meantime, here are some visuals to illustrate the dispute between Dr Day and Nancy’s (female) co-owner concerning this issue.

Two-menzies-books-final

And here’s a reminder of David (“I’m just too busy to provide evidence”) Day in Flat-Out-Like-A-Lizard-Drinking mode.

Flatlizarddrinking


MWD EXCLUSIVE THE 2014 PRIME MINISTER’S LITERARY AWARDS

The full correspondence between Gerard Henderson & Ann Moyal concerning the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards

For the first time in eons, the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards attracted wide scale media attention in 2014 – both when the judges were named and when the winners were announced. As avid MWD readers will be aware, some of the controversy surrounding the appointment of Gerard Henderson as chairman of the PMLA for Australian History and Non-fiction was covered in this very blog last year. See MWD Issue 233.

Following the announcement of the PMLA prizes in December 2014, two of the judges went public.

The poet Les Murray objected to the fact that the Prime Minister had overruled the judges’ recommendation in the Fiction category – despite the fact that he was entitled to do under the PMLA guidelines. Tony Abbott determined that Richard Flanagan should share the fiction award with Steven Caroll. A majority of the judges – not including chairman Louise Adler – had recommended that Steven Caroll be the sole winner. There was no disagreement about the shortlist.

Also, Ann Moyal declared that she had disagreed with her four co-judges on the Australian History award. She did not believe that Hal G. P. Colebatch should have shared the Australian History prize with Joan Beaumont. There was no disagreement about the shortlist.

Since matters relating to such controversies are invariably revealed following a Freedom of Information Request, Gerard Henderson has made the unilateral decision to publish his post-PLMA prize announcements correspondence with Ann Moyal. In the public interest, of course, and in accordance with what Nice Mister Scott once-upon-a-time declared was part of the citizenry’s Right-To-Know. Here we go.

ANN MOYAL AND GERARD HENDERSON

Gerard Henderson to Ann Moyal – 1 January 2015

Dear Ann

Recently, I returned from an overseas visit. I was in London when the winners of the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards were announced and followed some of the subsequent coverage there and later in Jerusalem. I caught up with the rest of the coverage over the last few days.

I note that you were quoted as making comments about the decisions in the PMLA’s categories for Australian History in The Australian, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Saturday Paper. No journalist contacted me about the PMLA prizes and I have not spoken to the media about this matter.

I response to your own reported comments about your involvement with the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, I make the following comments.

You were reported by Mike Seccombe inThe Saturday Paper saying that you “never knew” how you “got on to the [judges’] committee”. In fact, in a phone conversation, I told you that I recommended you to Senator George Brandis (in my capacity as chairman of the PMLA awards for Non-fiction and Australian History) on account of your work in Australian history, biography and science. The Attorney General, in his capacity as Arts Minister, accepted my recommendation. Clearly you have forgotten our conversation.

You were reported by Susan Wyndham in theSydney Moring Herald as saying that “there was a clear disposition of the other members of the panel to work as a team”. The implication of your comment was that Peter Coleman, Ross Fitzgerald, Ida Lichter and I worked “as a team” to the exclusion of you.

In fact, as you are aware, all five members of the panel reached unanimous agreement as to the short lists in both categories. So there is no evidence of a 4:1 divide with reference to the short lists.

It’s true that your inability to attend any of the meetings in Sydney meant that the four of us had to communicate with you by means of a phone hook-up. Even so, your positions were noted and you had as much impact on the ultimate decisions as the other four judges. It’s just that on two matters we did not all agree.

You were reported by Susan Wyndham as saying that Hal G. P. Colebatch’sAustralia’s Secret War – which shared the Australian History prize with Joan Beaumont’s Broken Nation – was “a poorly constructed and poorly written book”. If you were reported accurately, this is a surprising assessment. Why would you recommend Hal Colebatch’s book for inclusion in a short story list of five if you considered it to be both poorly written and poorly constructed?

I note that a similar problem arose with reference to the PMLA prize for Fiction. Les Murray supported Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North for inclusion in the short list of five. However, when the Prime Minister decided that the award should be shared between Steven Carroll (the judges’ recommendation) and Richard Flanagan, Les Murray described The Narrow Road to the Deep North as “superficial, showy and pretentious” and added that he “disdained it”. Yet he supported its inclusion on the short list. Strange behaviour.

It is true that Australia’s Secret War was criticized after the announcement of the PMLA’s winners by Mike Carlton, Peter Stanley and Stuart Macintyre and journalists Helen Razer and Mike Seccombe. However, Carlton and Stanley backed away from their initial criticisms to some extent. For the record, neither Seccombe nor Razer have published in history although Ms Razer has written books.

Interviewed by Mark Colvin on PM (11 December 2014), Mr Carlton conceded that waterside workers did engage in “bad behaviour” during the Second World War and “there were strikes that should not have happened”. He also conceded that “there was a fair bit of pilfering … on the wharves” and that officers of the Royal Australian Navy considered the waterside workers to be obstructive. Mike Carlton also acknowledged that “some dodgy things happened” at the time of the Nazi-Soviet Pact (from August 1939 to June 1941) when the Communist Party of Australia – which had considerable influence within the Australian trade union movement – attempted to sabotage the war effort.

In his comments on The Drum’s website, Peter Stanley conceded that he had not checked Hal Colebatch’s work. Also, Dr Stanley acknowledged that “the Army and the wharfies” had “very different work cultures”. The point is that the Australian Army was defending Australia; the wharfies were defending their work conditions – which is the thesis of Colebatch’s book.

Stuart Macintyre, a one-time member of the Communist Party, told the Daily Review that Australia’s Secret War is “moonshine”. He mockingly identified himself as a “left-wing” academic who is “obsessed with ‘facts’”. As I recall, in his The Oxford History of Australia: 1901-1942, Professor Macintyre managed to write a chapter on the early years of World War II without mentioning the Nazi-Soviet Pact. Fancy that.

None of the initial and somewhat emotive criticisms made by Mike Carlton, Peter Stanley or Stuart Macintyre convince me that the majority of the judges’ decision to split the Australian History prize between Joan Beaumont and Hal G P Colebatch was incorrect. It should be remembered that Peter Coleman, Ross Fitzgerald and myself have all previously written about Australia during the Second World War.

As you will recall, all the judges agreed that the criteria for assessing the Australian History prize should be as follows:

The Panel gave priority to well written and well researched books of high literary quality which covered new areas or which contained fresh insights into established areas of study and contributed to the nation’s cultural and intellectual life.

All of us agreed that Joan Beaumont’s A Broken Nation contained such “fresh insights”. You wanted her to share the prize with Michael Pembroke. The rest of us recommended that Dr Beaumont share the prize with Hal G P Colebatch.

It was my idea to provide for majority and minority reports where such was necessary – an idea which you initially opposed.

The decision to allow for majority and minority reports accommodated your disagreement with the rest of the judges about two decisions. In my view, the fact that the five of us reached a consensus on so many issues was quite an achievement. Yet, your reported comments indicate otherwise.

According to Susan Wyndham, you were “responsible for putting” the works of Joan Beaumont and Clare Wright on the Australian History short list. If you had been present at the board room meetings, you would have been aware thatall the judges supported Joan Beaumont’s book and that Ida Lichter was an early strong advocate of Claire Wright’s The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka. Ms Wyndham’s report on this instance is simply misleading.

The fact is, as you acknowledged in the first two phone hook-ups, you had a lot of influence on the final decisions. The fact is that all of the judges made concessions – as would be expected when five opinionated and well qualified people, who are published authors, have to assess short-lists and winners among a high-quality field of entrants. Four of the panel decided to keep our personal views private. If the reports are correct, you decided to make a public issue out of our few disagreements.

Mike Seccombe, to whom you apparently spoke, wrote that Hal G P Colebatch’s book “came in after the deadline for entries” but “was nonetheless accepted by panel chairman Henderson”.

As a member of the judges’ panel, you should be aware that, under the PMLA rules, the judges are entitled to accept books which missed the submission deadline but which were otherwise eligible for entry. In 2014, the panel accepted three late submissions – one of which was Australia’s Secret War. Not one member of the judges panel, yourself included, objected to this decision. I assume that all panel members held the view that an author should not be penalised due to the oversight of a publisher. In short, Mr Seccombe’s assertion was intellectually dishonest. If he had asked me about the reason for my decision, I would have explained that this was the approach of all panel members – Mr Coleman, Dr Fitzgerald, Dr Henderson, Dr Lichter along with yourself.

I am not fussed by the controversy over the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards for 2014. As far as I am aware, the function has never received such publicity before. Partly this was due to Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s presence and speech at the occasion. And partly due to the controversy about the shared awards in the categories of Australian History and Fiction.

As Stephen Romei wrote in The Weekend Australian (13-14 December 2014):

For the first time in their seven year history, people were talking about the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, which had failed to gain traction despite being at $600,000 in total prize money, among the world’s most lucrative book prizes … The awards night itself was the most successful yet, boosted by live television coverage hosted by Ray Martin, the reading of a jovial letter from Clive James and the Prime Minister’s engaged presence.

Conclusion

I would not have volunteered to become one of the PMLA judges in 2014. However, I have a policy of agreeing to do tasks if asked by a prime minister or a premier.

I enjoyed our three meetings and believe that we all made a positive contribution to the success of the awards this year.

I understand that you have decided not to continue as a PMLA judge in 2015. So it is appropriate that I formally thank you for your role in the judges panel’s deliberations which decided the PMLA short-lists and forwarded recommendations to the Prime Minister as to winners in the categories of Australian History and Non-fiction.

I am writing this letter to correct the record – and do not expect a reply.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

Cc Peter Coleman

Ross Fitzgerald

Ida Lichter

Susan Rogers

Aeshe Bennett

Sarah Hill

Ann Moyal to Gerard Henderson – 1 January 2015

Dear Gerald,

I have just had a telephone call from Joe Kelly of the Press Gallery for The Australian’ to say he has seen a “copy” of an email from you to me of today’s date and wanted me to discuss it for “a media story” I have not received an email from you so can’t imagine where he has picked it up!

I have no desire for any more discussion with The Australian but thought I should let you know that the email hasn’t reached me. I have received an email this morning from another source so I assume my email is working!

Gerard Henderson to Ann Moyal – 1 January 2015

Dear Ann

Apologies for the delay in replying – I have returned from 3 hours at the beach with the grandchildren.

Apologies also that you did not receive my letter this morning-I mistakenly added an “au” to your address. I have just re -sent it.

I copied a number of people. It seems that The Australian has obtained a copy.

Best wishes

Gerard

Ann Moyal to Gerard Henderson – 3 January 2015

Dear Gerard,

I was very surprised to learn that your email addressed to me (while not reaching me as yet as incorrectly addressed) was in the hands of a journalist at The Australian, Joe Kelly, which he said he had received “from a friend”. I take this to mean one of the four members of the Judging panel team to whom you copied it, along with the bureaucrats engaged with the PM’s Literary Prizes.

Several points within the email require correction. It was entirely obscure to me why I was chosen to join the panel when telephoned by a representative of the Arts Ministry until you later told me that you had selected me notably as a historian of science to deal with “science entries”. You also added that Ida Lichter – with her background in biology – had also been chosen in part as a reinforcement here. In the event only one book that ­­- – – in a total of 148 books was directed to science.

On the point of late arrivals, of which there were three (two of which found a place on the Short Lists), the decision to receive them was made explicitly by you as Chairman; it was not a consultative matter as how would one know the Chairman’s rights!

You may have noted that I had no further correspondence with you after you emailed me the document covering the Short Lists of both Prizes and the proposed Prize Winners which you were submitting to the Prime Minister. In this you set down specifically how the panel members had voted and in my judgment this was not an appropriate way of conveying the final recommendations. Certainly I stood out as one who voted outside the other four members of what I have come to allude to as “the team”. I did not approve of this detailed mode of referencing the judgments.

On the matter of Mr Colebatch’s Australia Secret War, I agreed to its presence on the Australian History Shortlist for the one reason that it was bringing forward new historical material little known but with the caveat that even the author acknowledged that it was provisional, often with evidence at third hand and hence a work in progress. I strongly dissented from its being put forward as the shared History Prize Winner.

I certainly believe that I did have a significant influence on the choice of some four of the books (Beaumont, Carlton, Pembroke and Wright) that appeared on the Australian History Prize and, importantly, one – Michael Fullilove – on the Non Fiction List. So, happily, a lot of hard work and extensive reading was not in vain. Indeed it seemed a pity, with all the critical attention focussed by the media on the choice of Australia’s Secret War, that the value of these shortlisted books was obscured.

In declining the Ministry’s offer to serve as a judge for another two years, I offered my recommendation that, in the important matter of the Australian History Prize, it could be timely were a new panel made up of some younger members known for their work in Australian history might be considered.

I have always appreciated your courtesy at all times in dealing with me by telephone.

Sincerely,

Ann Moyal

Gerard Henderson to Ann Moyal – 6 January 2015

Dear Ann

I refer to your most recent email which I received on Saturday. Your note implies that you had not received my original email by then – but the content of what you wrote indicated that you did receive it (after I sent it again with the correct address).

In response, I make the following comments. In view of the fact that your email covers the decisions of the judges’ panel, I have forwarded a copy of your email along with my response to the other judges and to the relevant members of the Ministry for the Arts.

      1. I have not spoken to, nor communicated with, any journalists concerning the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. However, I note that both Susan Wyndham and Mike Seccombe quoted your criticisms of the judges’ decision and the judging process. My note to you, whichThe Australianhas apparently obtained, merely sought to correct comments already made by you on the public record.
      2. At the time I made recommendations about the composition of the judges’ panel, I was not aware of how many science-based books would be entered for the PMLA 2014. In any event, I believe that the panel was well balanced to cover all the entries. As it turned out, there were few science-based books submitted for entry in the PMLA in 2014 – there may be more next year.
      3. The judges’ panel agreed with my recommendation that any late entrants should be accepted – in accordance with the PMLA rules. It’s possible that you missed one of these discussions, on account of the fact that you were not able to attend the meetings in Sydney, since it could have happened that the discussion took place before a conference-call commenced. In any event, this is a “black letter” point. As previously mentioned, I do not see why an author should be punished due to the oversight of a publisher. Do you? I should also point out that you agreed to accept for consideration one book (not by Hal G. P. Colebatch) which was submitted after the judges’ inaugural meeting. So I do not understand the point which you made to Mike Seccombe about this issue.
      4. At our final judges’ panel meeting, which you participated in by means of a conference-call, all members accepted my proposal that there should be majority and minority reports – if required. It is true that you initially disagreed with my proposal, but you changed your mind.

As you are aware, I sent out the final document titled 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards – Australian History & Non-fiction: Judges’ Panel Report to all judges for checking. You did not object to the final draft.

      1. I do not understand the problem you have with the process that was agreed to. In fact – after the awards were announced – you outed yourself as disagreeing with the other members of the panel as to with whom Joan Beaumont should have shared the Australian History award.

Since you were happy to publicly announce your disagreements, I fail to understand why you now object to having had your disagreements recorded in what was – and remains – a private document.

You seem somewhat self-absorbed about the judging process. The fact is that all judges made compromises in getting agreement about the short-list. What was surprising turned not on individual disagreements but rather on how a broad consensus quickly developed concerning the short-lists for both Australian History and Non-fiction.

      1. You regret the “critical attention focused by the media on the choice ofAustralia’s Secret War”which you maintain had the effect of obscuring the value of the works of Joan Beaumont, Mike Carlton, Michael Pembroke, Claire Wright and Michael Fullilove. However, your public criticisms – along with those of Mike Carlton – substantially contributed to the media focusing its coverage on Hal G. P. Colebatch in so far as the Australian History and Non-fiction awards were concerned. Les Murray’s public criticisms had a similar effect with respect to the Fiction award. In other words, you are objecting to the unintended consequence of your own actions.
      2. You write in your email that the Arts Minister should appoint other judges’ “known for their work in Australian History”. This follows our phone discussion some months ago where you suggested that Ross Fitzgerald and yourself were the only “real historians” on the panel.

The fact is that the panel was required to make decisions with respect to two areas, only one of which was Australian History. In any event, with his extensive work in Australian history and biography as well as his experience as a magazine and journal editor, Peter Coleman is extremely well qualified to judge Australian History in addition to Non-fiction.

So it appears that your criticism is directed at me. I am not in the business of defending my academic record. However, in view of my respect for you, I feel required to make the following points:

I have a Ph.D. in Australian History which was accepted with acclaim and without revision. The key examiner was Patrick O’Farrell, who was one of Australia’s leading historians. Professor O’Farrell later described my Ph.D. thesis, which was subsequently published as Mr Santamaria and the Bishops, as one of the best three books on religion and politics published in Australia in the 1980s. Mr Santamaria and the Bishops was praised by a diverse group of reviewers including Alan Reid, Edmund Campion, Richard Hall, James Jupp, Frank Knopfelmacher, Henry Mayer, Kate White, Allan Martin, Colin Hughes, Michael McKernan and Michael Sexton.

My book Menzies Child: The Liberal Party of Australia was also favourably reviewed by a diverse group of historians and commentators – including Professor Geoffrey Blainey, Barry O. Jones, John Howard, Ross Fitzgerald, Michelle Grattan and Laurie Oakes. Menzies Child received positive reviews in both the Times Literary Supplement and The Economist – an unusual feat for a work on Australian History.

In view of the above, I believe I was well qualified to be a judge in the 2014 PMLA’s Australian History and Non-fiction awards – as were my fellow judges, yourself included.

* * * *

Irrespective of your views on me as an historian, I admire your long-term contribution to intellectual life in Australia and elsewhere. Moreover, I valued your contribution to the judges’ panel.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

Ann Moyal to Gerard Henderson – 7 January 2015

Thanks Gerard,

Regards,

Ann

Gerard Henderson to Ann Moyal – 7 January 2015

Thanks

Best wishes

Gerard


correspondence header caps

This overwhelmingly popular segment of Media Watch Dog usually works like this. Someone or other thinks it would be a you-beaut idea to write to Nancy’s (male) co-owner about something or other. And Hendo, being a courteous and well-brought up kind of guy, replies. Then, hey presto, the correspondence is published in MWD – much to the delight of its hundreds of thousands of readers.

There are occasions, however, when Nancy’s (male) co-owner decides to write a polite note to someone or other – who, in turn, believes that a reply is in order. Publication in MWD invariably follows. There are, alas, some occasions where Hendo sends a polite missive but does not receive the courtesy of a reply. Nevertheless, publication of this one-sided correspondence still takes place. For the record and in the public interest, of course.

As hundreds of thousands of avid readers are aware, The Guardian Australia’s deputy editor Katharine Murphy put out the following tweet on 6 June 2014 at 4.33 pm – when that issue of MWD was “hot off the press”. Here is Ms Murphy’s tweet: “Without in any way wanting to breach anyone’s human rights or free speech – why do people write emails to Gerard Henderson?” It’s a very good question. Thankfully, not everyone follows Katharine Murphy’s wise counsel.

THE CANBERRA TIMES’ PAUL MALONE – ON PALESTINE, ISRAEL, IRELAND & HIMSELF

Gerard Henderson column – titled “There is no war between Israel and a nonexistent nation” – was published in The Weekend Australian on 3-4 January 2015 see here.

It enticed the following correspondence from the one-time Fairfax Media journalist Paul Malone – who writes a weekly column in the Sunday Canberra Times. Your man Malone was particularly upset with Hendo’s comment that there had never been such an entity as the State of Palestine. Here we go.

Paul Malone to Gerard Henderson – 5 January 2015

No Palestine, Gerard??? (Oz Jan 3-4)

More like No Israel?

Funny that you pick on 1948 to 1967 to look at the region.

My great uncle was in the Palestine Police Force (British) and my father was posted to Palestine (yes that’s what they called it) as a member of the British army during WWII. At that time there was no Israel. In the 1920s there was the British Mandate of Palestine. And before that time the region known as Palestine was under Ottoman rule.

By some accounts there were only 80,000 Jewish people in Palestine in 1922

Cheers

Paul

Gerard Henderson to Paul Malone – 7 January 2015

Paul

How wonderful to hear from you – after all these years.

I was surprised by your suggestion that there is – or should be – “No Israel.” This seems somewhat over the top – even for one of Fairfax Media’s many house-leftists.

Certainly there was an area once called Palestine at the time of the British Mandate between 1922 and 1948, i.e. after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. But there was no State of Palestine then or earlier – and one has not been created since. However, the State of Israel was formally established in 1948 with the approval of the United Nations. This is what I wrote in The Weekend Australian last Saturday.

I would hope that a Palestinian state will be created next to Israel – consisting of both much of the West Bank and all of the Gaza Strip – with possibly a dedicated tunnel connecting the two regions. As I argued in my column, the establishment of a Palestinian state would require negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

It was interesting to learn about the relationship of your great uncle and your father to the region. However, your great uncle served with the Palestine police force (under the British Mandate) some eight decades ago and your father served in the British Army in the region of Palestine over seven decades ago. This is interesting family history – but no more than that.

The fact is that there has never been a Palestine State – although one may be created some time in the future. However, there has been an Israeli State since 1948 – i.e. nearly seventy years ago.

Your email querying the very legitimacy of the State of Israel underlines the reason why so many Israelis believe that their critics (like you) do not support the right of Israel to exist within secure borders.

Please pass on my regards to your fellow comrades at The Canberra Times (which I buy every day).

Gerard

Paul Malone to Gerard Henderson – 7 January 2015

Dear Gerard

Why do you choose to misrepresent me by saying that I think there should be no Israel? I was clearly talking about the situation 70-80 year. Clearly today there is an Israel.

You actually say in your article “Nor has such an entity as Palestine ever existed” You do not say “state” I was merely using the examples from my family history to show that an entity clearly did exist! It existed at a time when there was no Israel.

I support a two state solution. I only wish that the Government of Israel did too.

For decades I have followed the debate (and visited the region a couple of times too) and sadly I find that the Government of Israel today has no inclination to support a two state solution.

I repeat: I do NOT believe that there should be no Israel. It’s there and its people are there.

I read your column every week in the Oz. As you would suspect, I disagree with a lot of it but I like the fact that you deal seriously with issues and quote your sources. I wouldn’t want you to misquote me.

Cheers

Paul

Gerard Henderson to Paul Malone – 7 January 2015

Dear Paul

There’s some confusion, surely.

This is the extract from my column in The Weekend Australian last Saturday to which you took exception, viz:

… it came as some surprise when ABC News Breakfast presenter Beverley O’Connor introduced a segment on the Middle East on Thursday with a reference to what she termed the “Israeli-Palestinian war”. O’Connor later referred to the “very costly and brutal conflict between Israel and Palestine that seems to have no end”.

Contrary to O’Connor’s editorialising, there is no war between Israel and Palestine. Nor has such an entity as Palestine ever existed. Jordan was in control of the area between Israel and the Jordan River between the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 and the 1967 war, which saw Israel occupy the area. In almost two decades Jordan did not establish a state of Palestine.

As the context makes clear, I was writing about the contemporary situation in the Middle East – and making the point that there is no such entity as the State of Palestine.

Your comment about my column commenced:

No Palestine, Gerard??? (Oz Jan 3-4)

More like No Israel?

It’s true that there was “no Israel” during the time of the Ottoman Empire or the British Mandate. But I made this point in my column where I referred to “the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.”

Like you, I support a two-state solution which would see the establishment of a Palestinian state next to Israel. However, unlike you, I do not place all the blame for the failed negotiations (so far) on Israel.

I refer you to two recent articles on this issue from the New York Times – one by Roger Cohen [23 December 2014], the other by Dennis B. Ross [4 January 2015] Neither man is an uncritical barracker for Israel. But both point to the current reluctance of the Palestinian Authority to engage in genuine negotiations.

I’m pleased that you read my columns. I read yours.

Best wishes

Gerard

Paul Malone to Gerard Henderson – 8 January 2015

Dear Gerard

Why don’t you admit it, you were clearly writing about the history of the region. And you said no “entity” of Palestine ever existed. Clearly a Palestinian entity did exist, as you acknowledged in reply to my first email.

It may have been just a case of imprecise writing — you may have meant “state of Palestine” — but that is not what you said.

As to your comment that I place “all the blame” on failed negotiations on Israel, that is nonsense. There are (at least) two parties to the negotiations. Some on the Palestinian side have failed. Lest you misrepresent me again let me also say that I am firmly opposed to the rocket attacks launched from Gaza which are both wrong and stupid. They are wrong because they kill and maim innocent people and they are stupid because they achieve no positive end.

But the current Israeli government has much to answer for too. I believe that it will be seen in time to have done a huge dis-service to Israel. Currently Israel has few friends in the world. If, as could happen in the future, the United States abandons Israel, because the country is not seen as seriously trying to achieve a two-state solution, Israel will be in grave danger. It will not be able to survive on its own. The western countries that are abandoning Israel are doing so despite the turmoil in the Muslim and Arab worlds and the terrorist attacks around the world. (By the way I agree with you about Muslims killing Muslims — there are many questions to be put to Muslims about this. I have sent off emails to Muslim reps about this but so far have received no reply)

I don’t know if you talked to any of the Israeli settlers on your recent visit but I did on my visits. These people were every bit as fanatical as any Muslim extremist. They claimed God on their side and claimed they were reclaiming territory under his authority. They spoke of Palestinians as vermin etc. Netanyahu relies on coalitions with these fanatics’ representatives to form government, resulting in the extreme positions he has taken,

Regards

Paul

Gerard Henderson to Paul Malone – 9 January 2015

Dear Paul

In my article I make it clear that I was stating that there had never been such an entity as Palestine – meaning that there had not been a Palestinian State ruled by a Palestinian government. Clearly there was an area of land described as Palestine – but that does not make a state or an entity.

Since you want to believe what you want to believe, I don’t expect you to change your mind.

In your earlier email you did comment that you wished that “the government of Israel” supported a “two state solution”. You made no such criticism of the Palestinian Authority or Hamas.

I have spoken to settlers in the territories – just as I have spoken to individuals in the Gaza Strip and Ramallah.

I also happen to know that Israel withdrew all settlers and all military from Sinai (in 1982) and Gaza (in 2005). The former brought peace, the latter did not.

Your criticism of Benjamin Netanyahu overlooks the fact that no government of Israel is going to do a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority without a security guarantee. The Israelis have learnt from the Gaza experience.

You are quite mistaken in apparently believing that Benjamin Netanyahu is some kind of extremist. In current Israeli politics, he is close to the centre.

I doubt that the United States will abandon Israel. However, in my view, Israel would be foolish to change course because of the views of Europe and the United Nations.

Cheers

Gerard

Paul Malone to Gerard Henderson – 9 January 2015

Gerard

Entity means something having a distinct existence. Palestine clearly had a distinct existence. That is why it is referred to in, for example, the Balfour Declaration which states “His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine….” Clearly people knew what was being talked about when Palestine was named. Sadly, Gerard you swallow the propaganda that tries to write the Palestinians out of existence. People who say: they’re Jordanians, they can go and live in Jordan, or they’re Arabs, they can go and live in Iraq or Egypt.

(as an aside I’m currently reading Philip Jenkins’ The Great and Holy War and I happened to notice, because of our debate, that he mentions Palestine without a second thought.)

The right to a Palestinian state is based on the fact that these people were minding their olive groves and orange trees on their land in Palestine, not elsewhere.

Since you now ask me about the Palestinian Authority or Hamas let me say that I believe they must also accept a two state solution. Please stop assuming what I think. If you want to know my opinion ask and I will tell you.

We might leave it there, as I am sure you are busy.

cheers

Paul

Paul Malone to Gerard Henderson – 9 January 2015

Dear Gerard

I had one further thought. There was no state of Ireland in 1914.

Would you then say there was no such entity as Ireland?

And no such people as the Irish?

cheers

Paul (who still considers himself part-Irish and can’t help but support Ireland when we play the Wallabies)

Gerard Henderson to Paul Malone – 23 January 2015

Paul

I refer to your emails of Friday 9 January. The first one suggested that we “might” cease the correspondence. However, the second one asked me two questions.

In view of the fact that I am a courteous kind of guy, I thought it appropriate to respond to your queries. I agree that there is little point in continuing the correspondence beyond this exchange.

In response to your two latest emails, I make the following comments:

  • I note that in your initial email you selectively quoted from the Balfour Declaration. The full quote is as follows:

His Majesty’s Government viewed with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people [emphasis added]

You deleted the italicised section of the sentence. Convenient, eh? Clearly the Balfour Declaration envisaged the establishment of a Jewish State in the area known as Palestine. It did not refer to a Palestinian state or Palestinian entity.

  • Contrary to your assertion, I have never attempted “to write the Palestinians out of existence”. You are just verballing me. As you are aware, I favour a two-state solution in the region – one of which would be a Palestinian state.
  • My statement that you have not criticised the Palestinian Authority and/or Hamas in our correspondence is not an “assumption” about what you think. It’s just a statement of fact.
  • I have not made any assumptions about how you think. How could I – since your thinking seems somewhat confused. I am still trying to get over the astounding naivety in your thought. For example, this comment which you made on 8 January 2015:

I agree with you about Muslims killing Muslims – there are many questions to be put to Muslims about this. I have sent off emails to Muslim reps about this but so far have received no reply.

How naive can you get? In the civil war in Syria, some 200,000 Muslims have been killed by other Muslims. And your response is to ask “Muslim reps” about this – who don’t bother to respond. You seem unaware of the long conflict between the Sunni and Shia brands of Islam. And you are a senior columnist at the Canberra Times. I can’t bear it – as the saying goes.

  • In your final email you wrote:

There was no state of Ireland in 1914. Would you then say that there was no such entity as Ireland? And no such people as the Irish?

Once again this is stunningly naive – even for a left-wing Fairfax Media journalist.

As you should know, in 1914 Ireland was part of Great Britain – and the Irish were British citizens. There was the Easter Uprising of 1916 and the War of Independence, between the Irish Republican Army and the British authorities based at Dublin Castle, which ran from 1919 to 1921. The subsequent Anglo-Irish Treaty of January 1922, negotiated between the British and the Irish, established an independent nation titled the Irish Free State – comprising 26 of the 32 counties of the land commonly known as “the island of Ireland”. In other words, the Irish Free State was established by mutual agreement in 1922. The fact is that there was no state of Ireland in 1914 – nor was there any such entity. Since you consider yourself part-Irish, you should know this.

By the way, I had an Irish born maternal grandmother – but I have always regarded myself as Australian.

Best wishes
Gerard Henderson


Until next time – keep morale high.


 

Oh Gerard. You total clown.”

– Jonathan (“Proudly the ABC’s Sneerer-in-Chief”) Green on Twitter, Friday 3 October 2014, 4.31 pm [Mr Green must be an obsessive avid reader to respond so soon. – Ed]

“Good morning. All the gooder for being attacked (for thousandth time) by silly Gerard in the Oz”

– Phillip Adams via Twitter,  27 September 2014

“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 TwitterSaturday 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


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