15 MAY 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.



Media Watch Dog went out – after lunch of course – last Friday at 3:27 pm. It soon obtained endorsements by two of Fairfax Media’s best and finest – the first at 3:33pm (can you believe it?)

  • This is what Adam Gartrell had to say in defence of his piss-poor “PM’s garden costs $200K a year” in The Sunday Age on 3 May 2015:

For more about Adam Gartrell’s view that Prime Minister Tony Abbott really cares about lawn clippings and carpets see the “Correspondence” segment.

  • And this is what Ben (‘Why don’t I ever get invited on to Q&A’) Pobjie had to say – in relation to nothing much at all – at 4.02 pm:

Ben Pobjie is Fairfax Media’s television critic. The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age – for which Mr Pobjie writes – regularly campaign against violence. Enough said. [Do you think you should take an apprehended violence order against Mr Pobjie? Or maybe – to thwart your man Pobjie – you should junk your umbrella and buy a raincoat at an op-shop in Paddington – Ed]

  • And this is what Guy Rundle had to say in Crikey on 14 May 2015:

[Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch Dog is] batshit mad.

Mr Rundle, who is an avid MWD reader, declared that anyone who reads MWD has “no life”. Fancy that. For more on MWD’s favourite Marxist comedian, see this week’s Exclusive.




What a wonderful end to Lateline last night – in a post-budget kind of way.

First up, intrepid reporter Steve Cannane reported that the Arts Collective was oh-so-upset that Arts Minister George Brandis announced at Budget time that the funding of the arts will change. You see, $105 million (or 15 per cent), which used to go to the Australia Council in the first instance for allocation to artists and artistes will now be allocated by the Ministry of the Arts. How shocking is that?

This led to predictable outrage by members of the Arts Collective interviewed by Lateline. Rodney Hall (a former Australia Council chairman) said the decision was a “risk”. Then Hilary McPhee (another former Australia Council chairman) said much the same thing. John Oster (of Regional Arts Australia) was unconcerned with Senator Brandis’ decision. Then it was time for theatre and film director Neil Armfield to be interviewed at length by Lateline presenter Tony Jones. Mr Armfield is also a critic of Senator Brandis’ decision.

[That’s fair enough. Three critics of an Abbott government decision to one supporter is as good a “balance” as can be achieved at the ABC under the management of Nice Mr Scott – Ed]

Here is Lateline’s most telling exchange between presenter Tony Jones and your man Armfield. Let’s go to the transcript:

Tony Jones: Senator Brandis does have a bit of a history of intervention with the Australia Council. Last year he wrote to the chair demanding it implement a policy to deny funding to any artist who refused to take private sector support. Now this came out of a controversy with the Biennale where funding was refused from the Transfield Corporation because they were involved in running offshore detention centres. I mean, is that the sort of thing that’s led to this, do you think?

Neil Armfield: Yes. I, I would imagine that would. Like, that was a really significant moment, I think, in the recent history of the relationship between the Arts Minister and, and the [Australia] Council. I don’t think that that resulted in a, in a change of policy from the Australia Council. I, ah, think it would be a very difficult thing to, uh, administer, a kind of notion that artists mustn’t, um, um, – must vet the, the money that they come – that comes to them from – you know, in – however – yeah – however they receive it. The issue of – of the funding of artists through – through sponsorship is really a very complex and delicate thing. And obviously, some of the artists who were coming into the Biennale, um, chose, chose to boycott. The Senator’s reaction was to go in in a rather punitive way, I thought, and -um – rather than acknowledging the complexity of this issue.

Well, that’s pretty clear then – in like a, um, you know, a complex kind of way. Thank you Neil Armfield AO, BA (Hons, Sydney), DLitt (honoris causa, Sydney), D.Litt (honoris causa, UNSW). Yeah.


Can you bear it graphic



What a wonderful lead-up to the Budget on Insiders last Sunday. Here’s hoping that Coalition and Labor politicians were listening as Lenore Taylor – who has never worked in politics – told them how to do their job. Let’s go to the transcript:

Chris Uhlmann: Lenore, do you think reform can be done as long as people make a decent argument for it?

Lenore Taylor: Well I think it should be entirely possible. But we haven’t had a government for a long time that actually gave it a good shot and did it properly. I think it should be possible to say to people: “Here’s fair cuts to spending, and here’s fair ways to increase revenue.” You know, it’ll be a slow trajectory but we can get the budget back towards balance. It should be possible but I don’t see anyone doing it right now.

So there you have it. Tony Abbott, for example, should be able to say to people: “Here’s fair cuts to spending” and “Here’s fair ways to increase revenue”. But what if the people accept but there is still no Senate majority? Lenore Taylor did not say. Ms Taylor is a journalist. Can you bear it?


It was great to see the gorgeous Dee Madigan on Paul Murray Live last night spruiking the Labor cause in debate with Miranda (‘Tony Abbott won’t last the year’) Devine. Ms Madigan is the author of The Hard Sell: the tricks of political advertising

Let’s go to the transcript:

Paul Murray: Alright now, Bill Shorten’s budget in reply. Dee, look, there’s nothing on that shopping list anyone’s going to have a problem with in terms of its advocacy and its emotions and all the rest of it. But the fundamental question he has to deal with is – how do you pay for it?

Dee Madigan: Well, $14 billion from taxing rich superannuants, $7 billion from making multi-nationals pay their fair share. He’s also agreed to budget measures like taxing backpackers who work here, like removing tax breaks from FIFO [workers] with their remote locations. There are a lot of things in this. If you look at Tony Abbott’s budget, however, you’ve got something like $14.6 billion, I think, of new spending, $1.6 billion of tax cuts and $ 10.9 of savings. That doesn’t add up.

Paul Murray: Can I just say, the numbers that you just mentioned about multi-nationals. Is that in one year that that money comes out. Or over four? Or over ten?

Dee Madigan: Yes. No. I think it’s over the one [year]. I’d have to check that, though.

Yes. No. The Labor Party’s proposal to get multi-nationals to pay more tax in Australia is a proposal that runs over ten years. That averages out at under $1 billion a year – which is a long way south of $7 billion a year. Yes? No? Can you bear it?


Did anyone catch the interview between AM’s Michael Brissenden and Treasurer Joe Hockey yesterday? If so – here’s Nancy’s (male) co-owner’s favourite segment:

Michael Brissenden: So have you dumped plans for the enquiry into retirement incomes as reported today?

Joe Hockey: Well, well, no. What we said was we’ve got a tax enquiry at the moment. We’ve got also a federation inquiry. I think we’ve got our fill of inquiries. And I think Australians just want a period of stability and certainty. But we’re obviously, through Minister Morrison and indeed myself – always in contact with the various sectoral interests and we’re speaking with them. But we do want to provide stability and certainty.

Michael Brissenden: But isn’t it true that even your own White Paper warned that the tax-free status of super withdrawals was unsustainable?

Joe Hockey: Ur, well, we haven’t delivered a White Paper. Which White Paper are you referring to?

Michael Brissenden: Well, I mean, is it the case that the tax-free status of these is unsustainable?

Well, I mean. Why would a journalist correct his/her howler on live radio? Better to pretend that the error was never made in the first place by asking another question.




On Wednesday morning Andrew Jaspan, the failed former editor of The Age and founder and editor of The Conversation, appeared on ABC 702’s Mornings with Linda Mottram.

Mr Jaspan’s gripe? Well, it was the morning after the night before when the Budget papers revealed that the on-line publication The Conversation would no longer receive its $1 million yearly hand-out from the taxpayer. The Conversation has already received taxpayer subsidies totalling $5 million and your man Jaspan had his begging bowl out for more.

This is despite the fact that The Conversation already receives substantial taxpayer funds due to support from taxpayer subsidised universities and the taxpayer funded CSIRO. It’s just that Mr Jaspan wants yet more handouts – and Ms Mottram agreed that he was entitled to such largesse.

During the mutual whinge, Andrew Jaspan and Linda Mottram decided to criticise the Australian mining industry – despite the fact that this industry pays substantial company taxes and royalties which help pay the taxpayer subsidised salary of Mr Jaspan and the taxpayer funded salary of Ms Mottram.

This is how Andrew Jaspan bagged the mining industry while praising his on-line publication The Conversation:

Andrew Jaspan: We’re good at more than just having, you know, scooping up coal and iron ore and putting it on boats to China and Japan and India. You know, we should be more than that and we should be leading you know ideas in terms of supporting a knowledge economy which will position Australia both in the region, in our sort of Asian region but also globally as a smart and clever country. And that’s really the positioning statement that we [The Conversation] put to the government. And, for whatever reason, they chose not to support it any further.

Needless to say, Linda Mottram agreed 100 per cent with the founder of The Conversation – as she concluded the oh-so-soft interview:

Linda Mottram: Andrew Jaspan the founder and editor of The Conversation. Well worth a look, really leading out there with Australian ideas. As Andrew said, showcasing them, and putting Australia up as an ideas hub – rather than just a, you know, “dig it out of the ground” hub.

Talk about ignorance. Jaspan and Mottram seem unaware that Australia’s mining industry is a world leader in applied science and engineering.

Verily, a Linda Mottram Moment.


Can you bear it graphic



When MWD came out last Friday (after lunch, of course) the results in the British general election were not yet final. However, it was evident that the Conservative Party, led by David Cameron, had won a convincing victory – despite the opinion polls and all that.

It may well be that electors in England were reluctant to tell pollsters that they intended to vote for such unfashionable parties as the Tories and the United Kingdom Independent Party (UKIP). In the end, the Conservatives and UKIIP got close to 50 per cent of the total vote in Britain between them. A similar situation took place in Australia between the mid-1950s and early 1970s when voters were reluctant to tell pollsters of their intention to vote for the anti-communist Democratic Labor Party which was passing its preferences to the Coalition.

The Conservatives were always confident of winning. It’s just that many of the pollsters and commentators did not give them a chance. Antony Green, for example.

Antony Green, the ABC’s election analyst, appeared on Insiders on the Sunday before the election (3 May) from London. Your man Green was into “will” – not “may” – mode. Let’s go to the transcript:

Antony Green: What we’re seeing is the last election produced a hung parliament and the coalition government. Since the last election, the Conservative vote has fallen – so they will lose seats at this election. The Lib Dems, the coalition partner, will be devastated in this election and that will result in Labour gaining lots of seats. And Labour would probably be close to forming majority government after this election, except for what’s happening in Scotland.

In fact, the Conservative vote increased, Labour lost seats and the combined number of seats which Labor and the Scottish National Party won (288) was significantly lower than the number of seats won by the Conservative Party (331).

Antony Green, who was interviewed by Philip Williams, also predicted that Labour leader Ed Miliband would become prime minister this week:

Antony Green: The Conservatives will have more seats than Labour. But the Conservatives will not have a coalition partner that gets them to majority government. It seems most likely that Ed Miliband and the Labour Party, if they are the second placed party, are best placed to form government.

Your man Green is regarded as Australia’ top psephologist. Yet his prediction about the 2015 British general election was no better informed than that of Bob Ellis, the False Prophet of Palm Beach. After carefully examining his crystal ball, the Prophet Ellis wrote this on his Table Talk blog on 30 April:

A Prediction

Polling shows UK Labour winning 290 or 300 seats, the Tories 270 or 280, the Scottish Nationals 48 or 52, the Welsh Nationals one or two, the Greens one, UKIP four or six, and the LDP 25 or 30 on May the 7th. This means David Cameron cannot form a government, and Ed Miliband can and will.

This means that Antony Green (from London) was just as wrong as your man Ellis (from Palm Beach). Which reminds MWD of the old joke. It’s foolish to make predictions, especially about the future. Can you bear it?

Bob Ellis Sandals


And then there was James Hanning, deputy editor of The Independent on Sunday, who received a soft interview from Lateline presenter Emma Alberici on Tuesday 5 May and got it hopelessly wrong. Mr Hanning even said that Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, had had a “good campaign”. The Lib Dems lost 49 out of their 57 seats so it is difficult to imagine what a bad Liberal Democrats campaign might have looked like. MWD just loved your man Hanning’s conclusion:

James Hanning: We are in new territory here. We could get – well get – well – we could get a repeat of what we have now, which is the Tories and the Lib Dems in bed together. We could get Lib Dem and Labour in bed together. And then you have the question of whether the Scottish nationalists would support such a government or would support a Labour minority government. It all depends on the figures. There are a few small parties around, the Greens, UKIP, Plaid Cymru, who – and the DUP in Northern Ireland, who could be asked to come and help shore up a government and get them over the line. But it – whatever happens – it’s going to be pretty unstable, I would have thought.

James Hanning was right about only one thing. Yep – the election results really do depend on the figures. Yet Ms Alberici took his prophecies seriously and with considerable reverence. Can you bear it?


And then there was David Marr. As MWD documented last week, The Guardian Australia’s Mr Marr appeared on The Drum from London on 7 May and declared that “it’s much more than likely that Ed Miliband will be prime minister next week”. He predicted that the Conservatives could not win more than 290 seats – they won 331 seats.

On Friday evening, your man Marr wrote an analysis of the British election for The Guardian Australia. It included the following comment:

Could the universal catastrophe of the polling of the last weeks also be put down to pranksters? To the inner mischief of the British people? Did they become so tired of the phonecalls from Ipsos Mori and YouGov that they invented the logjam scenario of the last weeks just to amuse themselves?

The loss of face for the opinion polls is not the least dramatic outcome of the 2015 election. Perhaps there was a last-minute change of heart across the country that yielded such a strong result for the Conservatives. Perhaps the polls were just wrong. They may never be trusted again, as they were until polling day.

Pundits are nervously checking their columns to make sure they left a little wiggle room in their predictions. The polls were saying the same thing for so many weeks even the most careful commentators began to drop the usual warnings that the figures may change before the contest was finished.

However, David Marr did not ‘fess up to his own hopelessly, but oh-so-confident, false prophecy on The Drum the previous evening. He said nothing. Absolutely nothing. Can you bear it?


And then there was Guy Rundle, the former editor of the Marxist journal of opinion Arena Magazine and MWD’s favourite continuing Marxist comedian. From his London base, Crikey’s writer-at-large looked at the British General Election and saw – wait for it – a manifestation of the Marxist concept of dialectical materialism [The what? – Ed]. Karl Marx used to bang on about the dialectic and his followers added the materialism bit. [As in: “I’m a (dialectical) material guy”? – Ed].

This is what Guy Rundle had to say in Crikey on 24 April 2015:

There is disorder under heaven and the situation stinks, as the Chairman did not say. But it’s a widespread sentiment among Conservatives, 16 days out from the election, as the polls refuse to lift. If the current going-in-all-directions-at-once strategy is a dialectical one to express a deeper unity, it is very dialectical indeed. Dialectical for Murder. Dialectical for Election. Dialectical for Lynton [Crosby].

What a load of absolute tosh. It got worse with our man Rundle boasting that, among his Marxist mates, “gloating recounting” of the opinion polls “appears to have taken up all our time”. It’s just that, come election day, the opinion polls were wrong. How dialectical can you get? Can you bear it?

[Er, no. Could this be the very same Guy Rundle, late of Brighton Grammar School, who invited you to coffee at the Sofitel Wentworth in Sydney some years ago, only to turn up late and leave you with the bill? Tell me it ain’t so – or that courtesy is not taught at Brighton Grammar – Ed].


And then there was Philip (“Call me Phil”) Williams, the ABC’s man in London. On 4 May on 7.30, your man Williams interviewed (among others) the hopeless Australian-born leader of the UK Greens – a certain Natalie Bennett. Williams predicted that, after the election, the UK Greens “may end up having an influence they never could have hoped to have in previous elections”. Let’s go to the transcript:

Philip Williams: This election provides an opportunity for the smaller parties to have influence they’ve never exerted before. Even the Greens, with just one member. Well, of course they hope to have many more after this election – but they may end up having an influence they could never have hoped to have in previous elections.

Natalie Bennett: All the pollsters are saying that we’re unlikely to see either of the major parties having a majority. We’ve set out very clearly that we would in no way at all support a Tory government, hold up a Tory government. We’d look to working with Labour on a vote-by-vote and issue-by-issue basis.

Philip Williams: And being an Australian, is that a disadvantage or an advantage?

Natalie Bennett: Well first of all, it’s worth putting on the record that I’ve chosen to be British. I am a British citizen. And I think one of the things about an Australian accent is, it’s absolutely classless.

Yeah, go on. And how did this “absolutely classless” Aussie sheila go on 7 May? Er, not too well at all. The Green Party won just one seat – and ended up having as little influence after the election as it had before the election – despite Phil Williams’ boost and all that. Can you bear it?



In Fairfax Media newspapers last Saturday, Mark Kenny reported that HarperCollins had apologised to Paul Keating and agreed to pulp unsold copies of David Day’s Paul Keating: The Biography. The author also apologised.

As MWD readers will be aware, Dr Day (for a doctor he is) has a propensity to make things up – and to develop theories for which there is no evidence. In this instance, Paul Keating objected to Day’s (undocumented) assertion that he concealed a dyslexic condition since childhood and that this (alleged) condition had rendered him unable to undertake some of the core tasks required as treasurer and a prime minister.

According to Mark Kenny’s report, David Day has conceded that all this was his deduction. The theory was never put to Paul Keating himself by Dr Day. The former treasurer and prime minister told Mark Kenny that David Day never met him before writing Paul Keating: The Biography and had no personal experience of the years of the Hawke/Keating government. Paul Keating has commented:

I read and understood everything that mattered. We find there are no sources [in Day’s book] because the claim is fundamentally false and untrue…its sole insight is this great lie.

Mark Kenny’s report in Fairfax Media newspapers last weekend concluded as follows:

In email correspondence dated February 2, just days after Fairfax Media reported on the biography’s publication, Dr Day writes “It was good to speak to you. I am sorry that I was unable to change your view of the book … it will reinforce your reputation rather than erode it.”

“It was not good speaking to you. You are a humbug,” Mr Keating wrote in his uncompromising same-day response. Your text in the bottom half of page 369 paints me as some sort of Reagan figure, who can’t read a brief to save himself but needed to be alerted by a departmental official to anything the official believed the Prime Minister should know. The worst of it is you have not a shred of credible evidence for the claims you have made … the book puts you in the ‘also-ran’ category, where you well and truly belong.”

As avid MWD readers will be aware, David Day also has no evidence for the assertion in his 1986 book Menzies & Churchill at War – which claims that there was a serious move to replace Winston Churchill with Robert Menzies as prime minister of Britain in 1941 and that Menzies went along with the proposal. Dr Day has not been able to produce the name of one Churchill biographer or one historian of Britain in the 20th Century who supports this theory. Not one. Nor has Day been able to produce one source to back his claim that Menzies thought he could become prime minister of Britain in 1941. Not one.

As with the David Day failed Paul Keating biography, the Churchill/Menzies theory is just what David Day calls a “deduction” – that is, a theory constructed without evidence. [Surely it’s time to provide an update on your “Waiting for David” Scoreboard – Ed]

Avid MWD fans who want to read, or re-read Anne Henderson’s Quadrant article can do so here.

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Believe it or not, a couple of weeks ago all Fairfax Media newspapers came to the view that the Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees Association (SDA) is just so important that it deserved Page One coverage on Saturday 2 May 2015. But The Age (Saturday 2 May 2015) and the Sunday Age (3 May 2015) outdid their Fairfax Media stable-mates in reporting on the trade union, which is affiliated with the Australian Labor Party.

On 2 May, The Saturday Age led with an “Exclusive” story by Ben Schneiders and Royce Millar titled “Union secret power play”. This spilled to Page 4 with the heading “Power play: members’ dues paid to employers”. This is how The Age’s EXCLUSIVE commenced:

Australia’s biggest private-sector union pays major employers including Coles and Woolworths up to $5 million a year in commissions that help maintain its large membership, and influence in the Labor Party. The ALP’s largest union affiliate, the Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees Association (SDA) plays a significant role in social policy debates, its influence viewed as pivotal to marriage equality in Australia.

Fairfax Media has investigated the political, industrial and social clout wielded by the SDA, and its close relationship with employers, including payments to retailers of as much as $40 million over the past decade as “commission” for the employers deducting union fees from members’ pay packets. The Catholic-led union has been a stumbling block for same sex marriage legislation, and could be again when the issue returns to Parliament later this year.

Fancy that. It only took The Age’s intrepid reporters a few paragraphs to raise the issue of Catholicism, same sex marriage and all that. For the record, many of the SDA’s elected leaders are Catholic – but this does not make the union “Catholic led”. It would be a bit like saying that the Labor Party was “atheist-led” when Julia Gillard was prime minister.

The Age made much of the fact that SDA pays a commission to employers of its members to collect membership fees. In fact, the payment of a commission for the collection of union fees is a standard practice in the trade union movement which has existed for decades – and has been used by right-wing and left-wing unions alike.

Turn to The Saturday Age’s “Insight” section. The first page contains only the following words:


Why is the union that represents

supermarket workers and other

shop assistants stopping gay marriage?

Royce Millar and Ben Schneiders report

Page 30

Turn to Pages 30 and 31. Another article by Royce Millar and Ben Schneiders – this one titled “Morality mandate holds sway”. There is a sub-title which asks the oh-so-clever question: “Like the Dutch boy and the dyke, might Joe de Bruyn be holding back the inevitable”. Mr de Bruyn was born in Holland of Dutch parents. To The Age, the 66 year old former SDA national secretary (now SDA chairman) and ACTU senior vice-president is just a “Dutch boy”. A racist reference, don’t you think?

There is a large colour photo of de Bruyn plus small pictures of his SDA fellow officials under the heading “The Catholic connection”. The photo at the top left is of former SDA official and now Labor Senator for Western Australia Joe Bullock. One problem here – Senator Bullock is not – and has never been – a Catholic. Still (falsely) depicting Joe Bullock as a Catholic fits The Age’s conspiracy theory. A number of other politicians are listed as part of “The Catholic connection” – despite the fact that they are not Catholics.

The “Insight” piece commenced as follows:

Marriage started with Adam and Eve,” says Joe de Bruyn, earnest and straight-faced. It is an “objective” truth, he says, that same-sex couples cannot marry.

In an austere central Melbourne office, the Dutch-born de Bruyn is reflecting on four decades with the Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees’ Association (SDA), the “shoppies”, the last bastion of conservative Catholicism in the Australian labour movement and the largest union affiliated to Labor.

He says he wants to talk industrial relations, not sex and morality. But there is no unpicking the workplace from homosexuality, IVF, and stem cell research for the man Gough Whitlam famously dubbed “a Dutchman who hates dykes”.

The father of four answers questions about pay and working conditions by highlighting their importance to family – husband, wife and children, that is. “Marriage is between a man and a woman; always was, always will be. It is based on what is innate in human nature.”

Get it? Messrs Schneiders and Millar reckon that anyone who believes that marriage is a union between a man and a woman which may produce children is a nut-case who hates gays and lesbians. How very Guardian-on-the-Yarra-ish.

The Age interviewed only critics of de Bruyn and the SDA. Namely, academic John Warhurst and – wait for it – failed former Labor leader Mark Latham. Despite the fact that retail employee wages and conditions in Australia are among the highest in the world – Schneiders and Millar suggested that “the SDA procures only modest wages rises for its members”. This is hopelessly wrong – as anyone who has done any research would know.

The Age also compared the SDA with the extremist Construction, Forestry, Mining and Construction Union (CFMEU) and suggested that the high vote which some SDA officials achieve in supervised trade union elections is “Soviet-like”. Really.

Then, the following day, the Sunday Age (3 May 2015) continued its attack on private – and, in particular, Catholic – schools. Again, Royce Millar and Ben Schneiders were the reporters. They maintained that Catholics have too much influence on the Andrews Labor government in Victoria. There was reference to “the influence of the Catholic Education Office and the conservative shop assistants union (SDA)”. The SDA was described, once again, as “Catholic-led”.

The sources for the Schneiders/Millar scoop consisted of Trevor Cobbold of the leftist Save Our Schools government schools lobby which opposes private schools and one anonymous member of the Victorian Labor Party’s education policy committee. Just one. Er, that was it.

Stand by for more Catholic conspiracies to be discovered by The Age and the Sunday Age any time soon.




On Monday the Crikey newsletter carried a piece by Guy Rundle in its “Media Briefs” section titled “Where’s Gerard?”

MWD’s favourite Marxist comedian claimed that he had driven Hendo into “silence”. The argument was that Gerard Henderson had to abandon his “fatwa against Tom Uren” because it had been revealed that in the early 1980s the Fraser government had refused to recognise the government which the communist regime in Vietnam had imposed following its defeat of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime. Apparently Hendo was supposed to be worried about this so-called revelation and went under the bed, so to speak.

MWD’s coverage of former Labor Party leader Tom Uren’s support for Pol Pot can be read here. The Rundle/Henderson correspondence in Crikey can be read here.

Crikey editor Marni Cordell printed all of Gerard Henderson’s response to Rundle on Wednesday – except for this section in the third paragraph, (marked in red as follows):

The fact is that the likes of [Tom] Uren and [Jim] Cairns – along with the collective at Arena magazine (which Rundle later came to edit) – supported Pol Pot’s victory in 1975 and continued to support his regime up to the time when Vietnam invaded Cambodia in December 1978. As Milton Osborne documented in a recent speech to The Sydney Institute, the Khmer Rouge atrocities were known the West as early as July 1975. Uren, Cairns and [Gough] Whitlam – among others – were in denial. Rundle is still in denial today.

How about that? Crikey cut out Hendo’s reference that Guy Rundle became editor of Arena Magazine – a Marxist journal of opinion which had supported the Khmer Rouge revolution in April 1975 and which continued to barrack for the communist dictator Pol Pot until the communist dictatorship in Hanoi invaded Cambodia in late 1978.

The Crikey cut amounted to a mere 13 words – so it could not have been made for reasons of space. Clearly, the Crikey team is embarrassed that “Crikey’s writer-at-large” once edited a magazine whose former editors had been Khmer Rouge barrackers and whose pasts involved supporting Joe Stalin’s communist dictatorship.

In view of Guy Rundle’s interest, in future weeks/months/years MWD will continue to focus on members of the Australian left – including Guy Rundle’s erstwhile editorial comrades at Arena Magazine – who supported Pol Pot when the Khmer Rouge’s killing fields in Cambodia were literally choked with corpses. Stay tuned.


correspondence header caps

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.


Many ABC and Fairfax Media journos are suffering from the condition classified as Abbottphobia. This presents as an obsession with Tony Abbott and a propensity to blame the Prime Minister for everything.

A recent outbreak of Abbottphobia occurred when Adam Gartrell (he of The Sunday Age and the Sun-Herald) alleged that Tony Abbott had personally overseen the awarding of a gardening contract at Kirribilli House along with the decision to purchase a rug. When MWD pointed out last week that Mr Gartrell’s piece was absolute tosh – there was a tweet, followed by an email and an acknowledgement. Here we go.

Adam Gartrell to Everyone – 8 May 2015, 3.33 pm

It’s a glorious day when Gerard Henderson has a go at you.

Gerard Henderson to Adam Gartrell – 11 May 2015


Thanks for your tweet last Friday following the (after lunch) release of my Media Watch Dog blog.

It’s interesting that you stand by your “PM’s garden costs $200K a year” piece in The Sunday Age on 3 May 2013 – which commenced as follows:

How much is too much to pay the gardener? $200,000 a year? Not according to Tony Abbott.

This is absolute nonsense. I doubt that the Prime Minister would have expressed a view about how much to pay the person whom you (mockingly) refer to as “the gardener” at Kirribilli House. Likewise with the comment near the end of your piece where you wrote:

Last year it was revealed Mr Abbott had spent more than $120,000 overhauling Kirribilli House in his first few months as Prime Minister. This included $13,000 on a new family room rug.

This is absurd – even for the journalist Abbott-haters at Fairfax Media. The maintenance of Australia’s official residences – The Lodge and Kirribilli House – is the responsibility of the Prime Minister’s Department. I doubt that Tony Abbott would give a toss about rugs at Kirribilli House or anywhere else. I understand that before he moved into Kirribilli House (for security reasons) he did not have a garden at his house – only a deck.

I have known all the prime ministers since Harold Holt’s demise. I do not believe that any one of them gave any specific attention to official residences. If you had ever worked in government at a senior level, you would understand that prime ministers and ministers have more important matters on their minds than shrubs and carpets.

The fact is that your piece on what you (falsely) called Tony Abbott’s “garden” was ABSOLUTE TOSH.

Lotsa love

Gerard Henderson

Adam Gartrell to Gerard Henderson – 11 May 2015

Thanks Gerard – it’s always great to hear from a fan.

Keep fighting the good fight.



There has been enormous interest among MWD’s hundreds of thousands of avid and fashion conscious readers about what Hendo might wear if he accepts an invitation to appear at the 2015 Melbourne Writers’ Festival. This is the plan right now – see below. It is aimed to appeal to the leftist sandal-wearing Che Guevara admirers who flock from Melbourne’s inner-city to the city of Melbourne and assemble at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival Soviet.

However, one avid reader – a certain Bryan Nugent from Brisbane – has challenged Hendo’s fashion sense in this instance. Here’s what Mr Nugent had to say – and here is Hendo’s response:

Bryan Nugent to Gerard Henderson – 12 May 2015

Dear Gerard,

May I contribute a little to your intended kit should a possible invite eventuate?

Whilst no fashion icon or guru of such matters myself, I do feel you are at risk of being, shall we say, “over-Che’d” with your present ensemble.

I applaud the pants, as necessary commodity in polite society. One needs a place to store the bike clips, hemp hankie and the “mightier than the sword object”. The Jesus style sandals are a clear fit with the Sandalista set, evocative of pedestrian activities, or perhaps even control of the inner-city vehicle of choice, the Tim Flannery approved Toyota Prius hybrid. But I do feel it requires a little more work when it comes to the shirt.

In keeping with the trend setting, modern progressive, I recommend a torso garment with more colour and movement. Che Guevara worn above the hair singlet may now be considered as somewhat passé. Not a Malcolm Farr variety either as my observations conclude you do not possess the required abundant waistline for appropriate display. Something like the Karl Kruszelnicki apparel might elicit some interest for those wearing sunglasses – but it’s his brand so I would not venture there.

May I suggest instead a cunning strategy? – a colourful elephant shirt, available from the land of Mao in peasant wove cotton, for around $15 bucks. It will provide you with two powerful opportunities to blend in with the crowd and work the room:

▪ identify you immediately as an admirer and protector of our four footed friends, aka Nancy and her cohorts. This is guaranteed to net you warm solicitudes from the greener festival attendees.

▪ you will be the surreptitious “elephant in the room” man and garner much attention from those eager to discover your hidden agenda – possibilities abound to penetrate the complex, somewhat confused, realm of the socialist democrat.

Best regards from one of your avid readers,

Bryan Nugent


Elephant Shirt

Gerard Henderson to Bryan Nugent – 15 May 2015

Dear Bryan

Thanks for your fashion advice. I’m pleased you like the Che Guevara pants and “Jesus-style” sandals. And I assume you are happy with the beret.

However, I regret you do not like the shirt – and regard it as somewhat passé. It’s just that The-Elephant-in-the-Room has become something of a cliché. Even if the Elephant Shirt is worn outside – if you get where I’m coming from, or perhaps going to.

Please provide a second opinion. For the first time, all my Che Guevara kit is pictured below – it includes a new (second-hand) jacket. Note that you can see the tee-shirt in context, I’ll hope that you’d change your mind. Let me know.

Gerard Henderson

che g compilation

Until next time – keep morale high.

[Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch Dog is] batshit mad.

– Guy Rundle in Crikey, 14 May 2015:

I’m in the sort of mood that if I saw Gerard Henderson in the street I’d hit him with his own umbrella

– Ben Pobjie, via Twitter, 8 May 2015

It’s a glorious day when Gerard Henderson has a go at you

– Adam Gartrell, via Twitter, 8 May 2015

Meeting of Gerard Henderson Appreciation Society tonight Sydney Opera House phone booth

– Phillip Adams, via Twitter, 28 April 2015, 1.36 pm (after lunch).

“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 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