GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG – ISSUE NO. 264
10 APRIL 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.
- Stop Press: Vale Peter Walsh; Everyone Agrees with Everyone Else on Radio National’s Coverage of “Islamophobia”
- Can You Bear It? : Leo Schofield on Bitches and Bogans; Elizabeth Farrelly on Whatever; Benjamin Law on Trouser-Free Art Romp; Nicholas Reece on Himself
- History Corner: Phillip Adams and Brenda Niall on Daniel Mannix, B.A. Santmaria (but not Bert Evatt) and the Labor Split
- Correspondence: Knox Grammar Helps Out (Sort of); Emma Alberici Goes All Quiet on Knox Grammar and Nice Mr Scott
- VALE PETER WALSH (1935-2015)
- STOP PRESS MEETS MAURICE NEWMAN SEGMENT
- LEO SCHOFIELD LASHES OUT – OVER LUNCH, OF COURSE – AT “BITCHES” & “BOGANS”: BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
- DR FARRELLY’S PERCEPTUAL REPRESENTATION [HER WHAT? – ED]
- AN ARTISTIC FLASH: BENJAMIN LAW’S NAKED TOUR
- NICHOLAS REECE OUTS HIMSELF AS A SHORT BLACK KIND OF GUY
- KNOX GRAMMAR, MARK SCOTT & SIMON LONGSTAFF
- EMMA ALBERICI BAGS THE CATHOLIC CHURCH BUT IGNORES KNOX GRAMMAR & NICE MR SCOTT
MWD has learnt of the death of Peter Walsh, a key cabinet minister in the reforming Hawke Labor government. Peter Walsh was a genuine radical in the sense that he saw the necessity of economic reform and played an important part in implementing it during the time of the Hawke/Keating government. Peter Walsh also took a refreshingly sceptical attitude to the global warming preachers and was a leading critic of the lack of balance on the ABC.
Like a number of key figures in the Hawke/Keating government, Peter Walsh was motivated by determination that Labor would not repeat in the 1980s the errors which Gough Whitlam’s Labor government had made in the first half of the 1970s. Peter Walsh’s direct style is evident in this comment which he gave Gerard Henderson for publication in his book Australian Answers which was published in 1990:
When you looked at the leading lights in that government right up until 1975, including Big Gough, they behaved as if economic policy didn’t matter – there was “The Program” which had to be implemented and nothing could stand in the way of “The Program”. Jim Cairns (somewhat to my surprise) in the end turned out to be an economic crank. Frank Crean wasn’t an economic crank but he was ineffectual and obsolete. Tom Uren was an economic crank. Gordon Bryant was an economic crank. Rex Connor was an economic crank. Lionel Murphy was the biggest economic crank of all. And the only one left with any sort of rational view of the world was Bill Hayden and he couldn’t hold the line against the rest of the team.
Peter Walsh will be best remembered for the first sentence of his address to the ALP National Conference in July 1984 where he drew attention to the left-wing hero Jim Cairns’ double standards on uranium mining. It read as follows: “Just ten years ago Jim Cairns went to Iran to sell uranium to the Shah”. The Labor left got mightily upset but Peter Walsh got his message through – as was his way.
Peter Walsh was a good friend of The Sydney Institute and will be missed by all of us here.
AGREEMENT ALL AROUND AS ISLAMOPHOBIA DISCUSSED ON ABC
Nancy’s (male) co-owner goes to bed after the end of Late Night Live on Thursdays and gets up before the sparrows on Fridays. This morning at 3 am he turned on Radio National and happened to turn on a repeat of last night’s Big Ideas program titled “Islamophobia”. Suitable material for MWD’s highly popular Maurice Newman segment.
But first a reminder. 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 taxpayer funded public broadcaster. See MWD passim, ad nauseam.
This is how the “Islamophobia” program was advertised:
A new generation of visual artists, novelists and academics discuss creative responses in an era of suspicion and prejudice. In this panel discussion they confront cultural stereotypes and explore some of the issues and realities of Islamophobia in contemporary Australia.
And this was the talent:
Randa Abdel-Fattah: Award winning author, Doctoral student, Department of Sociology at Macquarie University
Dr Yassir Morsi: Post doctoral research fellow, University of South Australia.
Abdul Abdullah: Visual artist. His work is included in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, the University of Western Australia, and The Islamic Museum of Australia.
Moderator: Alana Lentin, Associate Professor, Cultural & Social Analysis, University of Western Sydney
Guess what? Randa agreed with Yassir who agreed with Abdul who agreed with Alana who agreed with Randa who agreed with herself that Islamophobia was rampant in Australia and that Muslim Australians had good reason to be angry, very angry. About almost everything. All per courtesy of the taxpayer funded public broadcaster.
Maurice Newman: 5
Jonathan Holmes: Zip
You wonder what fired up arts-peddler Leo Schofield during his lunch with Mark Dapin, which was chronicled in the Sydney Morning Herald last Saturday. In a remarkable spray, your man Schofield:
▪ described Tasmanians as “a bunch of bogans”.
▪ depicted the Mercy nuns, who taught him at primary schools without pay, as “poor bitches” who were “dragged out from some boondocks of Ireland and shipped out to the boondocks of Australia”. [God, Schofield is an appalling snob. – Ed]
▪ declared that his recent experiences in Tasmania knocked him about terribly – so much so that he “was drinking” and “taking a lot of tablets” and “stupidly driving” when he “was in no condition to drive”.
In a final outburst, your man Schofield asserted that the only people left in Tasmania are “the dregs, the bogans [and] the third-generation morons”. It seems that he was upset that the taxpayer subsidy for his Hobart Baroque Festival was to remain at a lousy $400,000. Fair dinkum.
For all that, MWD’s avid readers in Tasmania speak well of Leo Schofield. Perhaps it’s because he missed them when “driving stupidly” on Tasmanian roads. Can you bear it?
Elizabeth Farrelly was originally employed by Fairfax Media to write a column for the Sydney Morning Herald on architecture. In recent years, however, Dr Farrelly (for a doctor she is) has moved into psycho-babble of a kind which makes her outpourings almost incomprehensible.
Take, for example, EF’s column on 2 April headed: “Could Jesus have actually been a woman?” The answer is, er, yes. According to Dr Farrelly. There was some confusion as to whether this piece might have been an April Fools’ Day joke – published a day after this significant event. But no – it was just the learned doctor at her best. Or worst.
In recent times, EF ‘fessed up that she is surprised to hear that some readers don’t get to the end of her columns. [How about that? Do readers really commence ploughing through her literary sludge? – Ed]. But Nancy’s (male) co-owner is a dedicated Farrelly reader in his never-ending search for inner-city leftist tosh. Like this sentence which appeared in EF’s might-Jesus-have-been-a-sheila-in-male-clothing rant on 2 April. Over to Elizabeth Farrelly:
But if postmodernism has taught us anything, it’s that representation is perceptual.
Elizabeth Farrelly just loves taking on soft targets like Christian beliefs. However, she seems to have her boundaries with respect to Islam. Dr Farrelly would never write a column titled “Could Mohammed have actually been a woman” illustrated with a drawing of the Prophet as a barbie-doll without clothes, except for a crown-of-thorns. For Dr Farrelly, it’s okay to query the life of Christ – but not the life of Mohammed. Can you bear it?
While on the topic of Fairfax Media’s BIG STORIES, consider the prominent report in last Saturday’s Canberra Times of the Let’s-All-Get-Our-Gear-Off genre.
It so happened that the taxpayer subsidised National Gallery of Australia in Canberra (not to be confused with the National Gallery of Victoria in Hendo’s home town of Melbourne) recently provided an opportunity for art lovers to view its James Turrell: A Retrospective exhibition in the nude. Yes, completely STARKERS – as in “Look Mum – no knickers”. [How absolutely daring – Ed].
Jil Hogan’s story, titled “Viewing art as perhaps nature intended”, was accompanied by a Christo Crocker photograph which showed the butts of three art-loving sheilas dressed only in cloth slippers. Fancy that [Er, not really. – Ed].
As you might expect, Benjamin Law (who in the past has provided an endorsement for MWD) turned up for the occasion. And, as you might expect, your man Law spoke to the Canberra Times about his really and truly amazing artistic experience:
We all gathered in a room and we were given a 20 minute spiel about safety, protocol and hygiene. We all disrobed at exactly the same time and put our clothes in like a postpack bag that you get at the post office. And we labelled them and our clothes were taken away. As soon as the clothes came off everyone got very social and I think it has to do with the fact that we were forced to make eye contact – because you don’t want to look anywhere else.
Because everyone was in this strange, funny, completely surreal experience people bonded really quickly. What was funny was all the staff and security remained clothed so talking to a lot of them, they felt far more awkward than they imagined we were feeling because we were the majority. As we were experiencing some of the art and you look around and see people in their naked forms, they do look like they’re part of the art. The art is a recurring motif in the art history and there was something sculptural about the way some of the people looked in the works.
What a load of tosh. Your man Law reckons that he only looked in his fellow art-lovers’ eyes. But he went on to concede that he saw people in their naked form. And Mr Law reckons the National Gallery staff felt awkward because they were, er, dressed. Perhaps Mr Law might insist on a nude dinkus to accompany his unreadable – and, thankfully, occasional – columns in the Good Weekend. Can you bear it?
It’s a competitive field. But, on present indications, the University of Melbourne’s Nicholas Reece is emerging as a favourite for MWD’s proposed “Academic Media Tart of the Year” gong.
Nancy’s (male) co-owner tends to lose count of how many times your man Reece – a one-time Julia Gillard staffer – goes into the ABC or Sky News studios in Melbourne to bang on about this or that. Since he doesn’t have much to say, one Reece interview tends to fade into another. A bit like a wave which never quite makes it to shore. NR gets paid for his Sky News gigs but does the breakfast shift on the ABC every now and then for nothing. Likewise with The Drum in the late afternoon. You wonder if the ABC and Sky News could fill all those hours of rolling commentary without media tarts like NR.
As far as Hendo can recall, Nicholas Reece was on Paul Murray Live on Monday and then bobbed up on ABC News Breakfast on Tuesday and was on Paul Murray Live last night. Or was it The Drum? – which goes to air at gin-and-tonic time, Mondays to Fridays.
Your man’s so talented that he can run the Labor line without the use of crib-sheets. [Quite remarkable. Is Dee Madigan jealous? – Ed]
The Melbourne University academic’s performance on Tuesday was, well, remarkable. It started with a comment on that inner-city obsession of coffee. Let’s go to the transcript:
Virginia Trioli: Let’s take a look at today’s newspapers now. We’re joined by public policy fellow at the University of Melbourne Nicholas Reece to take a look at today’s newspapers. Nicholas, good morning.
Nicholas Reece: Good morning. Good to be with you. I’ve got a theory on coffee as well, by the way. I think the further you get away from the central city, the more milk you have in your coffee.
Michael Rowland: Yeah, that’s true.
Virginia Trioli: And the less it matters as a kind of cultural signifier.
Nicholas Reece: Yes – although I think in recent years, I think, you know – the suburbs of Australia have embraced coffee very much. Once upon a time I used to think of myself as an inner-city latte sipper. But nowadays everybody’s drinking lattes and I have to drink a short black living as close to the city as I do.
Michael Rowland: Although we’ve had this discussion recently on Breakfast, there’s a difference between lattes and flat whites.
Virginia Trioli: Oh yes….
Nicholas Reece: And the flat whites also becoming Australia’s great export industry. Go to New York and all these Melbourne/Sydney cafes are opening.
And so it went on. And on. And on. Yawn. Further “highlights” included:
▪ NR’s claim that “Australia seems to have lost its reform mojo”. He did not mention the fact that so many of the Abbott government’s proposed reforms have been blocked by a combination of Labor, the Greens and the crossbench senators. In fact. Mr Reece did not mention the Senate at all. Remarkable, even for an academic.
▪ NR praised New Zealand Prime Minister John Keys’ success in bringing about reform – without mentioning that New Zealand does not have an upper house and no one can block Mr Key’s legislative agenda. Again, remarkable.
▪ NR suggested that one of New Zealand’s reform measures is that “they’re even having a referendum on their flag”. An unusual economic reform, to be sure.
At this time Nancy’s (male) co-owner plus Nancy, plus a cat called Albus, all fell asleep. All commenced dreaming about Mr Reece’s column – published in The Age on the day after April Fools’ Day. Here he suggested that Australia’s budget problems might be solved by citizen juries. Presumably hyped-up to stay awake on an inner-city short-black. Can you bear it?
IN WHICH MS MOTTRAM MENTIONS THE “M” (MOMENT) WORD
Here’s how ABC Radio 702 Mornings with Linda Mottram presenter Linda Mottram commenced her program after 9 am on April Fools’ Day. At least Ms Mottram and her producers were on to the big issues of our time. Namely, what to do with a difficult bra strap.
Linda Mottram: If you’ve done something that, so for me this morning, I hate to mention this, but it was the bra strap. It was all tangled – and I dunno, blokes probably don’t know about this. But often enough a bra strap kind of gets tangled and you just kind of pull at it a bit and it just kind of goes back to where it’s supposed to be.
But me, in my stupor this morning at 4 o’clock, thought: “Oh no, something more fundamental has happened, the washing machine has totally chewed the way that the bra strap is threaded through that little metal thing – what’s the name of that little metal thing? And I’m going to have to perform an amazing feat of twisting it back on itself.”
And I stood there for about 3 or 4 minutes, which seemed like an eternity, trying to get this piece of strap to twist in the little metal thread that it goes through, and failing. And it kept pinging back at me and pinging back. And, finally, I kept trying and kept trying and finally it pinged in such a way that the whole thing just untangled itself. It was nothing more than the usual tangle but I just thought it was way worse than it was. And it just felt like one of those moments when you thought – I really need the weekend, actually I really need two weeks, off.
What’s it been for you, what’s the oops for you, in the early hours of the morning or when you’re in desperate need of a holiday or a weekend, the oops that has just left you shaking your head at yourself? 130022702. Please sympathise with Emma and me – please let us know that we’re not the only ones out there.
And so it came to pass that the oh-so-twee listeners who tune into 702 phoned in with their various “oops” moments of recent memory. No-one, but no one, experienced the trauma sustained by Linda Mottram with her “My bra strap won’t fit through that little metal thread thingy” moment. Within a couple of days, Ms Mottram headed off for a two-week-long WELL EARNED BREAK.
Verily, a Linda Mottram Moment.
JON FAINE LIGHTS RACHEL GRIFFITHS’ FIRE
What a stunning performance by artiste Rachel Griffiths on ABC Radio 774 Mornings with Jon Faine on Monday 30 March. As avid MWD readers will be aware, Ms Griffiths was educated at Star of the Sea down prosperous Gardenvale way south east of the Melbourne CBD. Fellow graduates include Germaine Greer and Sophie Black. Nancy’s (male) co-owner is an admirer of Star of the Sea types – and the Presentation nuns who once taught them. See MWD passim.
Rachel Griffiths was interviewed by Jon Faine following the destruction – possibly by an act of arson – of the historic St James Church in nearby Brighton. The site was the setting for criminal acts by the paedophile Catholic priest Ronald Pickering in the 1970s and 1980s – i.e. three to four decades ago. Pickering died in Britain in 2009.
This is what Rachel Griffiths told Jon Faine about her response to the destruction of the heritage listed St James Church:
I think I was quite elated, like many of my generation, when I heard the news this morning. It’s always been a difficult building for us to drive past because there’s been so much, you know, tragedy and complicated feelings, I guess.
We’ve all attended many funerals of boys that we now know were abused by Pickering….at the actual church that it occurred in. We’ve all avoided being married here and found other churches and it’s kind of been a bit of a thorn, I think, to see it standing – you know.
Later Rachel Griffiths declared that she could not relate to callers who rang into 774 to express their sorrow at the destruction of the 1880s church. She expressed her “relief” at the apparent arson of what she described as “the haunted house on the hill”. Jon Faine asked Ms Griffiths as to whether she was a “progressive Catholic” but did not contest her position that the destruction of St James was a reason for elation.
It’s not clear whether Ms Griffiths will express “relief” if other historic churches, schools along with government buildings and Salvation Army buildings – where acts of paedophilia took place – are consumed by fire. Including the BBC in London – the scene of Jimmy Saville’s many crimes against children.
Alas, Jon Faine did not ask the actor if she would feel “elated” if, say, historic Knox Grammar in Sydney was burnt to the ground. It would be interesting to see how ABC managing director Mark Scott would have responded to such a question by Mr Faine. Mr Scott is a member of the Knox Grammar School Council. There was a nest of paedophiles at Knox Grammar in the period between circa 1970 and circa 2010. See recent issues of MWD and this issue’s “Correspondence” section.
GEORGE MEGALOGENIS’ MALCOLM FRASER HOWLER ANALYSED
There was enormous reader interest in the revelation in MWD Issue 263 that the late Malcolm Fraser had incorrectly claimed that a cable critical about his actions in the lead-up to the Dismissal of 11 November 1975 was written by United States diplomat Marshal Green. George Megalogenis agreed with Mr Fraser’s theory – without checking.
This despite the fact that the cable in question was signed “Percival” – not Green. An avid MWD reader has determined that this was a reference to Roy Percival, who was deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Canberra in the mid-1970s.
One problem with the ABC TV documentary Malcolm Fraser: Life Wasn’t Meant To Be Easy turned on the fact that Fraser wanted to believe that Green wrote the cable and Megalogenis wanted to believe Fraser. MWD is just so pleased to be able to correct their howler. The full cable can be read here.
PHILLP ADAMS & BRENDA NIALL REMEMBER DANIEL MANNIX AND B.A. SANTAMARIA BUT FORGET BERT EVATT
On MWD’s count there have been four books published on Daniel Mannix (the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne 1917-1963) in the past year. Last Wednesday Phillip Adams interviewed Brenda Niall, author of the latest tome on Mannix – titled Mannix (Text Publishing), on ABC Radio National’s Late Night Live.
MWD may well analyse the Adams/Niall exchange in detail at a later date [I can barely wait – Ed.] In the meantime, the following corrections are proffered – in the public interest of course.
▪ There is no evidence to support Phillip Adams’ claim that Mannix ordered that all his papers be burnt on his death. This is pure mythology. B.A. Santamaria acquired Mannix’s extant papers before the Archbishop’s death and used them extensively in his book Daniel Mannix: The Quality of Leadership which was published in 1984.
▪ Adams claimed that Mannix had progressed from “peat bogs” in Ireland to the Raheen mansion in Melbourne. In fact, Mannix’s family was relatively well-off in Ireland as anyone who has done any research would know.
▪ Brenda Niall presented Santamaria as the person primarily responsible for the Labor Split of the mid-1950s. In fact, Labor leader Bert Evatt was primarily responsible for the Labor Split. Evatt was not mentioned by either Adams or Niall on LNL.
▪ Niall accused Mannix of having ruined Arthur Calwell’s career. Calwell ruined his own career by lacking the courage to stand up to Evatt in the 1950s – by which time the Labor leader was clearly suffering from a serious mental illness. Evatt led Labor to defeats in 1954, 1955 and 1958. Calwell never made a serious challenge to displace him as Labor leader.
Most contemporary Labor historians acknowledge Evatt’s responsibility for the Split and concede that Santamaria was but one player in the events that divided the ALP some six decades ago. However on Late Night Live last Wednesday, Phillip Adams and Brenda Niall just regurgitated much of the left-wing mythology about the (alleged) role of Mannix and Santamaria in the Labor Split.
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.
There has been enormous reader interest in the correspondence between Gerard Henderson and Peter A. Roach (Chairman, The Council of Knox Grammar School) concerning instances of child sexual abuse by Knox Grammar teachers in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s and how this was handled by the school’s authorities. As avid MWD readers are aware, such high profile Australians as ABC managing director and editor-in-chief Mark Scott and St James Ethics Centre executive director Simon Longstaff are currently members of the Knox Grammar School Council.
In Issue 26, MWD published the correspondence between Gerard Henderson and Peter A. Roach as a link. MWD advised that if there were any further developments, readers would be advised. There have been. And here they are:
Peter Roach to Gerard Henderson – 31 March 2015
Dear Mr Henderson
I have already provided you with a comprehensive response to your questions.
In relation to your assertion that Dr Longstaff has refused to answer any of your questions this has been at my request. I addressed these questions in my recent response to you on behalf of Knox Grammar School.
I am confident that the School and the Council acted appropriately at all times during the period to which you refer.
Peter A. Roach
Gerard Henderson to Peter Roach – 10 April 2015
Dear Mr Roach
Thank you for your letter of 31 March 2015 in reply to my letter of 26 March 2015. In response, I make the following comments:
In your letter of 31 March 2015, you assert that you have provided me with “a comprehensive response” to my questions concerning the past sexual abuse of Knox Grammar students by Knox Grammar teachers. This, manifestly, is not the case. I have set out below the questions you, in your capacity as chairman of the Knox Grammar School Council, have declined to answer.
Unanswered Questions Concerning Knox Grammar and the Knox Grammar School Council
▪ Did the authorities at Knox Grammar refer to the child abuse cases which occurred during the early 2000s in the school’s Annual Report? If so, in which years or years? If not, why not?
▪ In the “Mea Culpa” which you state was read at “each of the speech days” by Mr Robert Wannan, reference was made to child sexual abuse which took place at Knox Grammar “some decades ago”. You have declined to provide any dates when the “Mea Culpa” was read on Speech Day – I understand it was delivered on a number of occasions in 2009. I understand that there was an instance of child sexual abuse at Knox Grammar in 2003 – a few years, not “some decades”, before the “Mea Culpa” was delivered by Mr Wannan. Why was such an incorrect statement made in the “Mea Culpa”? Is there any intention to amend this incorrect statement?
▪ In view of the fact that Knox Grammar School Council was aware of cases of child sexual abuse by at least 2003-04, why did it take the Knox Grammar half a decade to issue a formal apology? Especially in view of the fact that George Pell – much criticised on the ABC, of which Mark Scott is editor-in-chief, set up the Melbourne Response into child sexual abuse in 1996 only a few months after becoming the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne. This was over decade before Knox Grammar publicly recognised the existence of, and publicly apologised for, instances of child sexual abuse by its teachers.
Unanswered Questions Concerning Mark Scott
Mark Scott AO has been a member of the Knox Grammar School Council since late-2007 and vice chairman since mid-2013. Did Mr Scott call for an audit of child sex abuse at Knox Grammar on, or shortly after, joining the Council in 2007? If not, why not?
This question is relevant in view of the demand for transparency which the ABC has made with respect to child abuse within Church and government institutions. As ABC managing director and editor-in-chief, Mark Scott has set an extremely high standard for others. However, you have declined to provide any evidence that Mr Scott lived up to such a high standard while a member of the Knox Grammar School Council in the period before the public apology was made in 2009. Note that the ABC did not mention that Mr Scott is deputy chairman of the KGSC when reporting the coverage of Knox Grammar at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Assault.
Unanswered Questions Concerning Simon Longstaff
Simon Longstaff refuses to even state when he joined the Knox Grammar School Council – and you have declined to provide this information. I understand from my research that the year was 2002. Did Dr Longstaff call for an audit of child sex abuse at Knox Grammar on, or shortly after, joining the Council? If not, why not?
The question is relevant in view of the demand for transparency which Dr Longstaff and the St James Ethics Centre have made with respect to others. In recent times, the Centre has even issued The Politician’s Pledge which calls for holders of public office to “advance the public interest before any sectional or partisan interest”.
I note your assurance that “the School and the Council acted appropriately at all times” during the first decade of the 21st Century with respect to child sexual abuse. I also note that you have declined to provide comprehensive evidence to support your contention. I doubt that Mr Scott or Dr Longstaff would regard your response to me concerning Knox Grammar as adequate with respect to any other school or institution which was a base for a nest of pedophiles over many decades.
cc: Mark Scott AO
Simon Longstaff AO
In an interview with Dr Peter Young (the former director of mental health services for International Health and Mental Services) last Thursday, Lateline co-presenter Emma Alberici introduced the subject of the Catholic Church. The topic was alleged instances of child sexual abuse at the Nauru Detention Centre – in which the Catholic Church has no involvement.
Hendo emailed La Alberici concerning her gratuitous reference to the Catholic Church. He asked why Ms Alberici did not raise the issue of, say, Knox Grammar instead. Initially, the Lateline co-presenter threw the switch to denial. Following which there has been silence, absolute silence – a surprising (non) response by the usually feisty Lateline co-presenter. Here is the correspondence – in its entirety. We’ll let you know if there are any new developments:
Gerard Henderson to Emma Alberici – 9 April 2015
Good morning Emma
I was fascinated by your interview with Dr Peter Young on Tuesday. As you will recall, before going on air, you and Dr Young discussed parallels between alleged sexual abuse at the Nauru Detention Centre and past practices in the Catholic Church. As you will recall, the specifics of the discussion turned on how both the Catholic Church and the authorities with respect to the Nauru Detention Centre wanted “to deal with things internally”.
I wonder why the planned reference was to the Catholic Church. And not, say, to Knox Grammar. As you will be aware from the hearings from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, there was a nest of male pedophile teachers at Knox Grammar who abused young male students for around four decades from circa 1970 to circa 2010. Evidence presented to the Royal Commission clearly indicated that people at Knox wanted to deal with things internally.
The Knox Grammar example is much more current than most examples within institutions of the Catholic Church – since it appears that there was a case of child sex abuse at Knox Grammar early in the 21st century which was handled internally.
If you’d wanted any details about the situation at Knox, you could have checked upstairs with Mark Scott, who has been on the Knox Grammar School Council since 2007 and deputy chairman of the Council since 2013. I assume you are aware of Mr Scott’s relationship with Knox Grammar for around a decade – even though, as I understand it, the ABC has chosen not to draw attention to this matter.
Looking forward to a response.
Emma Alberici to Gerard Henderson – 9 April 2015
Thanks for your note. The conversation I had with Dr Young before we went to air involved Dr Young making the parallel between the Catholic Church and Detention Centres. It was Dr Young who made the comment, not me. I agree with you that other parallels could also be drawn involving the choice to “deal with things internally”.
Gerard Henderson to Emma Alberici – 9 April 2015
A Modest (Lateline) Proposal re Knox Grammar
Thanks for your prompt reply. The problem is that what you are saying today is not consistent with the transcript of the program last Tuesday which reads as follows:
Emma Alberici : Before we came on air, you were mentioning the Catholic Church: that you saw parallels there. Can you explain what you meant when you said that?
Peter Young : These institutions in which abuses occur: they in one way or another – that the closed nature of the institution, that the institution serves itself, that people want to deal with things internally, that they don’t want external scrutiny: these are always the characteristics in an institution that allow abuse. And this is what’s happened in the Catholic Church and we see those things, only in a more exaggerated fashion, particularly in Nauru.
Clearly you introduced the topic of the Catholic Church during the interview – following what Dr Young had said to you before the program went to air. You could well have said something like the following:
Before we came on air, you were mentioning the Catholic Church: that you saw parallels there. Can you explain what you meant when you said that? And would you make a similar comment with respect to an institution like Knox Grammar which has been in the news of late concerning child sexual abuse?
Alas, as the transcript demonstrates, you initially brought up the Catholic Church during the interview and Dr Young responded. No doubt, you believe that other parallels could also be drawn – but the fact is that neither you nor Dr Young did so on this occasion.
In view of the high profile which the ABC has taken on this matter under Mark Scott’s position as editor-in-chief, wouldn’t it be a good idea to interview Mr Scott in his role as deputy-chairman of Knox Grammar School Council? As you know, at Knox Grammar there was a nest of male pedophiles and there is significant evidence that school authorities dealt initially with matters internally rather than going to the NSW Police. No public apology was made by Knox Grammar until December 2009 – by which time criminal charges had been laid by NSW Police.
In view of the aggressive stance which you took in regards to Cardinal George Pell (who never held a senior position at a school in the 21st Century which provided a base for pedophiles), it would make a fascinating interview. It would also amount to the first occasion on which the ABC has publicly referred to Mr Scott’s role on the Knox Grammar School Council since 2007.
Over to you.
Until next time – keep morale high.
“Gerard’s condescension levels high on #insiders this morning”
– Lenore Taylor, via Twitter, 22 February 2015
“Gerard Henderson and David Marr are on #Insiders this week. Like a political Felix and Oscar.”
– Mark Scott via Twitter 19 February 2015 at 1.10 pm
“I once called Gerard Henderson `a complete f%^wit’. I deeply regret that. I was being much too harsh on f%^wits.”
– Malcolm Farr via Twitter 14 February 2015 at 10:14 am
“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 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