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 – The Chaser “Boys” Return while Clarke & Dawe Bore On
  • Can You Bear It? Wendy Harmer, Jason Steger, Mark Latham & Brian Toohey
  • Nancy’s Five-Paws Award: Catherine Livingstone Triumphs for Answer on Q&A
  • MWD’s Poll about Peter FitzSimons’ (Republican) Headwear
  • “You Must Remember This” : Paul Sheehan’s Changed Position on Israel
  • The ABC’s Poor Journalism on Bishop Geoffrey Robinson’s Appearance at the Royal Commission with respect to Cardinal Pell
  • Correspondence: Mike Seccombe Helps Out while Adam Gartrell Declines to Defend his Editor-in-Chief



It was still Gin & Tonic Time down Whale Beach way on Wednesday night when your man Carlton sent out this tweet:

mc tweet vc

Asked by Nancy Media to respond to The Sage of Whale Beach’s most recent confused tweet, Hendo issued the following statement:

Turn it up.  If the Viet Cong shot at Mike Carlton all those years ago in South Vietnam, it can only have been a case of “friendly fire”. However, I suspect that the young Mike Carlton only heard the sounds of champagne corks passing his head in the Caravelle Hotel – where the Western journos hung out.

As to Mike Carlton’s claim that he has met me once, the fact is we have met on many occasions. Mike Carlton was wont to ask me on to his program at ABC Radio 702 and, later, Radio 2UE some years ago.  I accepted the latter invitation readily – since all guests received a bottle of wine. Obviously, Mike (“I’ll pour the gin”) Carlton has a poor memory these days.  How could this have come about? Will this do?

– Gerard Henderson (aka Nancy’s [male] co-owner).



Wasn’t it wonderful, just wonderful, to see Australia’s very own The Chaser Boys (average age 391/2) back on the taxpayer teat on ABC1 last night?  The occasion was the (much awaited) return of The Chaser’s Media Circus.

There the Boys were – Craig Reucassel, Andrew Hansen, Chas Licciardello and Julian Morrow – just as fresh as when they were undergraduates at the University of Sydney two decades ago.  Plus a few guests.  But with much the same undergraduate humour.

In MWD’s view, the best gag in last night’s The Chaser’s Media Circus occurred when the program focused on Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s (alleged) “woman problem”. This from the All-Blokes-Chaser-Boys who have no females at all in their cabinet.


The best that can be said for The Chaser Boys is that their format is not as old as that engaged in by Clarke and Dawe – now shown before the 7 pm News on Thursday and repeated the following morning on ABC1 News Breakfast program. The Clarke and Dawe Show commenced in 1989 and has been shown on the ABC for a quarter of a century.

This morning even News Breakfast presenters appeared to feign laughter as the ABC re-ran their clichéd interview routine where Mr Dawe (aka an interviewer) interviews Mr Clarke (aka anyone at all) about something or other.  The interviewee is usually presented as an idiot politician from the Coalition or Labor. Clarke and Dawe, inner-city leftists to a tee, invariably bag both the Coalition and Labor from the left.  The Greens are rarely, if ever, criticised.  How very ABC.

The subject of last night’s Clarke and Dawe was a Tony Abbott figure as an incompetent, aggressive, hopeless school boy who is being verbally disciplined by his teacher.  How funny can you get?  Why – a joke at Tony Abbott’s expense.  How fresh.

Clarke and Dawe suit the Green/Left agenda of a Conservative Free Zone.  So expect that they will be supported by the taxpayer funded broadcaster for at least another 25 years until they take a final curtain call around 2040.

Can you bear it graphic


What a stunning column in the Sydney Morning Herald last Saturday by Wendy Harmer, a well-known Abbott-hater, titled “POW! aims for Warringah’s absentee MP.”

Ms Harmer reported on the formation of the People of Warringah (POW) group designed to defeat Tony Abbott in his electorate on Sydney’s north shore.  Apparently it is now okay for Comrade Harmer and her mates to use the term “POW” for political effect.  It’s unclear what former prisoners-of-war think about this.

In any event, Ms Harmer reported that the People of Warringah organisation had held its inaugural meeting at The Oaks Hotel in trendy Neutral Bay – which happens to be in the electorate of North Sydney (not Warringah). [Fair go. It’s a nice hotel – Ed].  Believe it or not, the roll-up was a staggering 25 souls – it is not clear how many were drunk.  The guest speaker was former Independent MP Dr Peter Macdonald. [Gosh. Is he still around?  As I recall, he ran against (and was defeated by) Tony Abbott in Warringah as long ago as 2001.]

Wendy Harmer covered the possible challenges to Tony Abbott in Warringah at the next election including Louise Hislop (Australian Progressives) and Clara Williams-Roldan (Greens). Clearly Ms Williams-Roldan is a fully financial member of what Paul Keating, when prime minister, was wont to call the “Hyphenated Name Set”.

Any others?  Well not, apparently, at this stage.  Buried at paragraph 16 of Wendy Harmer’s column was the following comment:

After saying he’d consider running against Abbott, entrepreneur Dick Smith has apparently ruled himself out with the protestation “it was just a throw-away line”.

Talk about burying the lead.  This is the same Sydney Morning Herald which, as recently as 8 June 2015, ran a story by Dan Harrison headed “Dick Smith v Tony Abbott: multimillionaire businessman to contest PM’s seat” (see below).  Here’s how Dan Harrison’s beat-up commenced:

Multimillionaire businessman and pilot Dick Smith says he will stand for Tony Abbott’s seat in Parliament in a bid to improve aviation safety, but he hopes he won’t win. The former chairman of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, who was made a Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia on Monday, said he would contest Mr Abbott’s seat of Warringah, on Sydney’s north shore and northern beaches, to pressure the Coalition to make the airspace around regional airports safer….

Mr Smith, a resident of the neighbouring electorate of Mackellar which is held by Speaker Bronwyn Bishop, said he would not spend any of the fortune he made from selling electronics on his campaign. He said he did not want to win, but hoped instead to generate enough publicity to force the Coalition to implement the change.

“I’m 71, I’m too old to be a politician,” he said. “I won’t be spending any money but I will stand in his seat and I will communicate that this government has a policy that it doesn’t fulfil. It’s so frustrating that I have to do that, it’s unbelievably frustrating. And it’s pathetic that I have to go and stand in Tony Abbott’s seat just to create publicity. I really like Tony Abbott, but for some reason he can’t get the Aviation Minister to follow the policy.”

So in June 2015 the Sydney Morning Herald regarded Dick Smith’s announcement that he would contest Warringah against Tony Abbott as BIG NEWS.  But when Mr Smith threw in the towel before the fight began, Darren Goodsir’s team at the SMH buried the news in paragraph 16 of Wendy Harmer’s column on Page 42. Can you bear it?

Dick Smith

 [I note that the SMH is now stating that former Independent MP (and Abbott-hater) Tony Windsor will run against Barnaby Joyce in New England in the 2016 election.  On 3 September, the SMH ran a Page 1 dinkus titled “Tony Windsor eyes Barnaby Joyce’s seat”.  There followed a story by Heath Aston titled “Tony Windsor’s comeback is likely to pressure Joyce”.

The problem with the story is that it did not match the headlines.  Heath Aston’s report stated that Tony Windsor was “more likely than not to mount a comeback”.  It turns out that Mr Windsor said he has a “better than 50 per cent” chance of running and that he was “thinking about” being a candidate.  Meanwhile Mrs (Lyn) Windsor is reported to be “encouraging her husband to run”. Er, that’s all – Ed].


It’s not so long ago that Jason Steger, The Age’s literary editor, was a winner in MWD’s “Media Fool of the Week” competition.  A well-deserved victor to be sure.

On that occasion, Mr Steger made it possible for leftist Ray Cassin (he has not written a book) to write a book review which implied that Melbourne University Press had let down its author Gerard Henderson.  Mr Cassin’s allegation was that in Santamaria: A Most Unusual Man (MUP), Cardinal Norman Gilroy is referred to as “Normal” Gilroy.  Ray Cassin implied that this was a serious error, not a typo.

What Ray Cassin did not tell Fairfax Media readers was that there are some 20 references to “Norman” Gilroy in the book – and only one reference to “Normal” Gilroy at page 352 of a 500 page book. Obviously a misprint.

Well, what does the British-born Jason Steger know about cardinals of the Catholic Church in Australia? Not much, it seems.  Thanks to the avid reader who drew MWD’s attention to Mr Steger’s article in The Age (2 September 2015) where he referred to the published work of Brenda Niall whose most recent book is titled Mannix.  Wrote your man Steger:

[Brenda] Niall is an award-winning biographer of, among others, Martin Boyd and Cardinal [sic] Mannix.

If Jason Steger knew anything about Daniel Mannix (the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne 1917-1963), he would know that Dr Mannix was never made a “cardinal” by the Pope.

Daniel Mannix did not much like the Holy See – and clashed with Vatican officials over conscription during the First World War, Ireland at the time of what the Irish call “The Troubles” in the period 1916 to 1930s and the role of B.A. Santamaria’s Catholic Social Studies Movement (The Movement) in the 1950s.

Norman Gilroy was made a cardinal in February 1946. Daniel Mannix never received such a red hat from the Vatican.  Jason Steger allows his reviewers to complain about the small typos of others but allows his own historical howlers to be published in The Age. Can you bear it?


Nancy’s (male) co-owner has always had a soft spot for failed former Labor leader Mark Latham.  After all, these days the Lair of Liverpool has to get by on a taxpayer subsidised superannuation handout of a mere $79,000 a year (fully indexed). MWD’s not sure how the House Husband of Mount Hunter puts bread on the table, as the saying goes. Especially in view of the fact that he no longer has a column in the Australian Financial Review.

So MWD was intrigued to read in the Daily Telegraph (5 September 2015) that Mr Latham has commissioned Max Markson – of Markson Sparks! fame – to get him media gigs.  Mr Markson’s friends/clients include/have included colourful Melbourne identity Mick Gatto, former heavyweight boxer Joe Bugner, world boxing champion Floyd Mayweather and 2009 Biggest loser Ajay Rochester.

In view of Mark Latham’s past round-or-two-for-a-pound-or-two rumble with a Sydney taxi-driver of recent memory, MWD reckons that the Lair of Liverpool will make an important addition to the Markson Sparks! stable.  According to reports, Mark Latham is about to do a pilot with Channel 9.

This is the very same Mark Latham who in The Latham Diaries (2002) expressed contempt for the media and condemned the “cult of celebrity that now documents much of our public culture, through commercial television, talkback radio, tabloid newspapers and the Internet”.  Now the Lair of Liverpool has signed up with celebrity-focused Markson Sparks!.  Can you bear it?


What a sight to see Brian Toohey (2015 version) channelling Comrade Toohey commander of The National Times soviet (circa 1975) on the Insiders couch last Sunday.

MWD loved your man Toohey’s decision to give alienation a chance with this observation at the end of the program:

Brian Toohey: Australia should take some responsibility for creating the violence in the Middle East which is causing such a huge refugee problem with the invasion of Iraq and the – before the invasion of Iraq in 2003 there were no terrorists in Iraq. They’ve sprung up when Saddam Hussein, in that strange and brilliant move to get rid of a secular dictator led to the explosion of Al Qaeda first and then ISIS in Iraq.

Now here are the facts.

Saddam Hussein launched a near decade long war with Iran in 1980 in which around one million died.

Saddam Hussein launched an invasion of Kuwait in 1990 – an initiative which commenced the First Gulf War in which the United States, with the sanction of the United Nations, led the Operation Desert Storm forces which drove Iraq out of Kuwait.

During the First Gulf War, Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship launched terror attacks on Israel (which was not directly involved in the conflict) by firing missiles at Israeli civilian populations.

In 1990 Saddam Hussein dropped chemical weapons on the Iraqi Kurds in Halabja.

Comrade Toohey reckons that Saddam Hussein was just another “secular dictator” ruling a country in which “there were no terrorists”. This overlooks the fact that Saddam conducted terrorist attacks on his own citizens and paid the families of Islamist homicide/suicide bombers who murdered Israeli citizens in Gaza, on the West Bank and in Israel itself.  Can you bear it?

five paws graphic 


Due to enormous popular demand – and a deserving winner – Nancy’s Five Paws Award returns this week.  As avid MWD readers are aware, this is one of the world’s most prestigious gongs – trailing only the Nobel Prize and the Oscar Awards. [Um, have you forgotten Pope Francis’ Order of Pius – Knights Grand Cross gong? – Ed]

And this week’s winner is:

Catherine Livingstone (Business Council of Australia president) who, on Q&A last Monday, admitted that she was not an expert on a matter. Let’s go to the transcript:

Tony Jones: Catherine Livingstone, Tony Abbott hinted quite strongly today that bombing ISIS in Syria is on his agenda. Should it be?

Catherine Livingstone: Tony, I am absolutely no expert in military matters, I don’t think I’m in any way qualified to comment on whether we should be taking that sort of action. I think Chris [Bowen] has really covered the issues in terms of the questions we need to ask.  So, really, I think it would be inappropriate of me to comment.

Tony Jones: Well, I will go to Geoffrey Robertson on that because the question of the legal basis for doing this –

Needless to say, Geoffrey Robertson QC went on and on and on in his answer – which, believe it or not, included a reference to the German Air Force’s attack on Britain in 1940. Yawn. [I note that Geoffrey Robertson QC was into his “Epping Accent” again on Monday night. As you know, your basic “Epping Accent” is found among Australians sucking up to the British establishment in London – all the while pretending that they were not brought up in Epping, Sydney. – Ed]

It’s a rare guest on Q&A who has the intellectual honesty to say that he or she is not an expert on something.

Catherine Livingstone: Five Paws



Gerard Henderson is a committed republican – and has been for many decades.  However, Nancy’s male co-owner is not too sure as to whether Peter FitzSimons’ ascendancy to president of the Australian Republican Movement will be helpful to the cause anytime this century. Hendo is not of the view that the long-march to an Australian Head of State will be achieved by a red-bandannaed, sandal-wearing leftie with lotsa money and who happens to live in Mosman in Sydney’s North Shore and who specialises in mocking believers – particularly of Christian disposition.

Your man FitzSimons took his red head gear off for his recent appearance at the National Press Club in Canberra – see The Australian’s photograph of the occasion below – which was his inaugural public appearance as ARM president.

Fitz Without Bandana

But Fitz put his red look-at-me gear on again for the missive which he emailed to all Australian Republican Movement members yesterday.  Here it is – it so happens that the photograph of your man FitzSimons took up more space than his (republican) urgings.

Fitz with bandana

MWD is now conducting a poll as to how Peter FitzSimons should dress when urging those who voted “No” in 1999 to come across and support a “Yes” cause within about a decade.

These are the questions, drawn up by the polling specialists at Nancy Media:

⃣   I like Fitz with his head draped in red.

⃣   I like Fitz with his head draped in Fitz.

⃣   I don’t give a stuff about Fitz’s head-gear but I would like to know why boring born-again atheists like Fitz send their children to expensive, Christian private schools.

All responses to:

“Head Wear or Head Bare or Neither?”

C/- Nancy Media

Nancy’s (Occasional) Kennel

41 Phillip Street

Sydney NSW 2000

remember this graphic


As avid readers will be aware, MWD’s “You Must Remember This” segment is based on the chorus line in the song As Time Goes By which was popularised by the film Casablanca. It is devoted to reminding the usual suspects of what they – and/or those they supported – once wrote or said before they changed their minds.

The Australian Jewish News (24 August 2015) reported that Sydney Morning Herald  columnist Paul Sheehan “pulled no punches” in a recent address to the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies.

Mr Sheehan criticised the left’s domination of the social science departments in contemporary Western universities, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel and more besides – as the following extracts indicate:

I never thought that in the span of my own life I would see our universities become places that are the least free of thought, the most dangerous places for what is deemed to be heterodoxy. The social sciences of the Western universities have become a place where anti-Semitism [is] rebadged – old-fashioned Jew baiting, ancient anti-Semitism – rebadged under the BDS movement, under the badge of solidarity with the Palestinians.

I happen to believe that we live in a world where universities now sanction, tolerate and in some ways promote anti-Semitism – you now have to be very careful what you say about Israel, you have to be very careful … if you represent yourself as a nationalistic, passionate Jewish person if you’re at university – these supposed enlightened beacons of thought….

Outside of these narrow universities and some elements of the media, I’m hoping that people are cottoning on to a very successful nation, a successful people, up against a very menacing, dysfunctional and malevolent trend in society. [I hope] that you will be the beneficiaries – finally – of common sense coming back into society and realising what an enormous contribution Israel is making to the security of the world, and that the Jewish community disproportionately has made to every society in which it has been there in numbers.

Hear, hear.  Fair enough. Good show – and so on.  But can this be the very same Paul Sheehan who had this to say about Israel in a column in the Sydney Morning Herald on 10 July 2006? – see below.

This column commenced by describing the Islamisation of the Jordan-born Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi and continued:

How many more Zarqawis are incubating in the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank, and Jordan, and beyond, as Israel imposes a new level of humiliation and rejectionism on the Palestinians? As one elected Hamas MP told the Herald’s Middle East correspondent on Friday: “All these Israeli attacks and killings are good for us. They make us strong and they unite us with the Arab world and the Muslim world.” True.

The calculus of violence and reprisal is chilling in its implications: one Israeli soldier is abducted, so 1.5 million Palestinians must be thrown into darkness, elected officials must be rounded up and taken into custody, and the democratic process in the Palestinian territories treated with contempt.

Israel, preoccupied by the battle for its own survival, is hurling fire accelerants into the passions of millions of young Muslims in need of a cause that can give meaning to their lives. It is a phenomenon not confined to the Middle East. One of the focus points for global jihad is Britain, home to 1.6 million Muslims….

The moral legacy of the Holocaust has now passed into history. It can no longer be leveraged, in any way, in contemporary politics. The idea that members of the Jewish Diaspora can only be the victims of racism, rather than the practitioners of racism, like every other group, is now a dead letter and untenable.

I write this as someone who has given support to Israel, and taken a hard line against Muslim racism, but can no longer draw any other conclusion than that the combustible policies of the Israeli Government have become a danger to Australia and to Australians everywhere.

The answer to the query as to whether Paul Sheehan wrote the SMH column in 2006 is – YES.  In June 2006, Paul Sheehan declared that Israel was “a danger to Australia” and international security. However, in September 2015 Paul Sheehan (correctly) referred to the “enormous contribution Israel is making to the security of the world”.  Needless to say, Paul Sheehan has declined to explain his 180 degree on Israel.  But MWD remembers his anti-Israel (2006) and pro-Israel (post 2015) positions – as MWD’s avid readers would expect.



The ABC was quite excited on the morning of retired Bishop Geoffrey Robinson’s appearance before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse – Tuesday 25 August 2015.

Fr Robinson is a long-time critic of Cardinal George Pell – both before and after Pell became the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney. Some ABC producersdecided to preview Geoffrey Robinson’s appearance before the Royal Commission – focusing on what the retired bishop might say about Cardinal Pell.

On Radio National Breakfast, Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly interviewed Francis Sullivan from the Truth, Justice and Healing Council.  Mr Sullivan is a public critic of George Pell.  Needless to say, it was not long before the Cardinal was introduced into the discussion.  Let’s go to the transcript:

Fran Kelly: Bishop Robinson has said that he will “be telling the commission the story of what I know of the Catholic Church’s response; the good and the bad”. Will this be another uncomfortable day for the Church, do you think, in the Commission?

Francis Sullivan: Well it’s probably going to be difficult because the truth always hurts. But it’s important that Bishop Robinson, like the other bishops, like the Cardinal, all need to explain themselves and their role in the development of processes and how the Church handled this issue.

Fran Kelly: So the good and the bad, it’s hard right now thinking about it with everything we’ve heard in the Royal Commission to see what the good is.

Francis Sullivan: Well one thing’s for sure, that by the late 80’s into the 90’s, the Catholic Church did make a paradigm shift. And Bishop Robinson particularly led that change. Away from a legalistic, institutionally protective strategy, into a more engaged victim first approach. And that become the Towards Healing program.

Ms Kelly soon concluded the interview with a short editorial-style comment:

Fran Kelly: Is it [the Catholic Church] ready to confront some of the biggest obstacles as Geoffrey Robinson has identified them in the first place? Papal infallibility, obligatory celibacy, professional priestly caste, the absence of the feminine throughout the Church? Is it ready for those kind of big discussions?

At around the same time on ABC 1’s News Breakfast program, ABC presenter Kumi Taguci interviewed ABC journalist Philippa McDonald. Needless to say, it was not long before Ms McDonald turned a discussion about what Bishop Robinson might tell the Royal Commissioner into a character assessment of Cardinal Pell.

Philippa McDonald: He [Robinson] was very critical three years ago of Cardinal Pell. He [Robinson] said that Cardinal Pell – while he might have inner compassion, it wasn’t showing outwardly. Bishop Geoffrey Robinson has said that Cardinal Pell does not speak for the broader Catholic Church in Australia, does not speak on behalf of the bishops, has never been a team player, never will, so he’s out of step.

Soon after, Ms McDonald predicted what she believed the retired bishop might tell the Royal Commission:

Philippa McDonald: Now what Bishop Geoffrey Robinson has been saying, over the past decade where he’s been speaking out, is that the Vatican has quite a lot of power when it comes to dealing with cases even in Australia. So he‘ll be talking about discussions he’s had with the Papal Nuncio, a very senior ambassador in Canberra who represents the Pope. And those discussions, they’re never spoken about, there have only been vague references in the Royal Commission and other enquiries so far. I think everyone’s wanting to know, what’s been happening, what discussions have been happening behind closed doors just in the offices of St Mary’s Cathedral. Not far from where I’m standing.

Kumi Taguchi: Philippa McDonald, thanks so much.

Yes, thanks a lot and so on.  The problem was that Fran Kelly and Philippa McDonald readily predicted what Bishop Robinson might tell the Royal Commission – but failed to report subsequently on what he actually did say.

The transcript of Geoffrey Robinson’s day-long appearance before the Royal Commission is available on the Royal Commission’s website. Contrary to the predictions aired on the ABC, this is what did – and did not – happen.

Beyond re-stating his well-known hostility toward George Pell, Geoffrey Robinson did not provide one scrap of evidence which even implied that, when Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Pell mishandled cases of child sexual assault committed by priests and brothers.

Robinson’s essential criticism of Pell was that, when Archbishop of Melbourne, George Pell set up the Melbourne Response (to handle clerical abuse) before Robinson and his colleagues set up Towards Healing (to handle clerical abuse).  Robinson acknowledged that Pell moved ahead of his fellow archbishops and bishops under pressure from (then) Victorian premier Jeff Kennett. Robinson criticised Pell’s pre-emptive action but did not say what he would have done in such a circumstance.

Fr. Robinson’s testimony discredited Francis Sullivan’s claim on Radio National Breakfast that “Bishop Robinson led the charge” to deal with clerical child abuse in the Catholic Church.  Pell acted before his colleagues – within a hundred days of being appointed Archbishop of Melbourne. Towards Healing was set up after the commencement of the Melbourne Response.

Geoffrey Robinson did speak to the Royal Commission about infallibility (but he conceded that this was rarely invoked by a Pope), obligatory celibacy and the male- centred nature of the Church but established no causal link between such matters and paedophilia.

This makes sense since the evidence presented before the Royal Commission this week concerning Geelong Grammar School demonstrates that child sexual abuse takes places in institutions where celibacy – obligatory or otherwise – is not a factor and when papal infallibility is of no moment.

The matter of George Pell’s role in the Catholic Church in Australia was not raised in Geoffrey Robinson’s testimony.  Philippa McDonald may be ignorant of this matter – but in Australia George Pell only ever had responsibility for the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne (1996-2001) and the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney (2001-2014). George Pell has never claimed to speak on behalf of the Australian Hierarchy.

Contrary to McDonald’s prediction, Geoffrey Robinson had nothing to say about discussions with the Papal Nuncio in Australia concerning clerical child abuse – in Canberra or at St Mary’s Cathedral.  However, Fr Robinson did describe talking about this matter with a senior Vatican official in Rome in 2001 – but did not tell the Royal Commission why he had not disclosed the conversation previously.

Geoffrey Robinson did have some interesting things to say at the Royal Commission.  It’s just that, contrary to the anticipation on the ABC, he did not land any blows on his long-term antagonist George Pell.  Alas, neither Radio National Breakfast nor News Breakfast reported this to ABC listeners/viewers.

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 tens of millions 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 MWD 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.


In his column in The Weekend Australian last Saturday (see here), Gerard Henderson commented on Mike Seccombe’s Page One article titled “Abbott and the Christian right” in The Saturday Paper of 29 August 2015. Hendo also mentioned in passing Matt Wade’s article in the Sydney Morning Herald on 24 August 2015 titled “The Sydney schools becoming Anglo ghettos”.

Saturday passed.  And then Sunday.  Then came Monday and with it an email from the Sneering Secularist himself.  Hooray.  Great, there will be another “Correspondence” segment this week.  And so on.

As it turned out Mike Seccombe’s missive came not to defend himself but in defence of Mr Wade. Even so, Mr Seccombe’s email demonstrated, once again, his sneering secularism.  Here we go:

Mike Seccombe to Gerard Henderson – 7 September 2015

Just FYI, Mat Wade is a good friend of mine, and also deeply religious chap whose faith manifests in doing aid work with Christian organisations in India, among other things.

Gerard Henderson to Mike Seccombe – 7 September 2015


Thanks for your email.

How wonderful to hear from you. And, how frightfully interesting to learn – from you – that Matt Wade is a “deeply religious chap whose faith manifests itself with Christian organisations in India, among other things”.

I assume that this is a reference to the fact that I quoted – along with you – Matt Wade in myWeekend Australian column on Saturday.

For the record, I made no comment about Mr Wade’s faith – or lack of same. This is a matter concerning which I have no knowledge. What I wrote was that Matt Wade is obsessed with the fact that leaders of the Coalition who happen to be Catholic (Tony Abbott, Barnaby Joyce) went to St Ignatius College Riverview. Matt Wade did not choose to tell Sydney Morning Herald readers that quite a few leaders of the Labor Party went to Catholic schools. As, indeed, did the two most recent leaders of the Greens (Christine Milne, Richard Di Natale).

Matt Wade described such schools as Riverview as “Anglo-Australian ghettos”. This is just hyperbole. Also, he seems totally ignorant of the influence of the Irish-Australian members of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) on schools like Riverview.

The thesis of Mr Wade’s article is that the likes of Tony Abbott are out of touch because they were educated at schools like Riverview. Yet Mr Abbott’s background – whose post-school experience includes stints as a university student at Sydney and Oxford, a seminarian, work in the private sector and in a not-for-profit organisation plus some two decades as a parliamentarian – is much more diverse than that of a journalist like your good self or your good friend Matt Wade.

If, as you say, Matt Wade works with Christian organisations in India, then he should be aware that Riverview raises substantial money annually for the Australian Jesuit Mission in India. Also, as I understand it, Riverview provides scholarships for both refugees and Indigenous Australians – which are subsidised by the parents who send their sons to what Mr Wade regards as an Anglo-Australian “ghetto”.

It is my experience that Christian organisations are more likely to support charitable works than, say, the secularist Fabian Society or the secularist Rationalist Society.

Keep Morale High

Gerard Henderson

Mike Seccombe to Gerard Henderson – 7 September 2015

Quite. And there are Christians who act in accordance with the best tenets of their faith, and there are “christian” obscurantists. Your obscure rant only underlines my point.

Gerard Henderson to Mike Seccombe – 8 September 2015


You started this correspondence concerning your “bestie” Matt Wade.  Alas, I have not heard from Mr Wade himself.  I can only assume that you are offended on his behalf. How nice.

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

▪ I note that you have now set yourself up as judge and jury with respect to how Christians should “act in accordance with the best tenets of their faith”.  This seems somewhat gratuitous advice. But, then, you are a lifelong journalist.

▪ You should be able to do better than abuse – your reference to “`christian’ [sic] obscurantists” refers.  I have no idea which Christians you are referring to and how such unidentified individuals may be engaging in obscurantism.  Apart, obviously, from the fact that they do not agree with you.

▪ Anyone who looks dispassionately at this correspondence will note that – contrary to your undocumented assertion – I did not engage in a “rant”.  Nor were my views in any sense obscure.  Rather my comments were considered – and courteous.

▪ When Julia Gillard told Australians that she was a committed atheist, I was not at all fussed.  I wondered about the political wisdom of her declaration but admired her intellectual conviction. However, when Andrew Hastie told the Western Australian Liberal Party that he was a committed Christian, you decided that this was a reason for a sneering piece on Page One of The Saturday Paper.  The essential problem with sneering secularists like you turns on your evident intolerance.

Lotsa love

Gerard Henderson AC (aka Always Courteous)


Nancy’s (male) co-owner just loves how, in recent weeks, Sydney Morning Herald journalists have been appearing in the media – primarily the ABC and (yes) Fairfax Media – defending the SMHagainst the allegation that it is campaigning against Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his Coalition government.

On Sunday the SMH’s Mark Kenny appeared on Insiders and declared that it was “nonsense” to allege that the SMH was against the Coalition.  And Adam Gartrell said much the same via a tweet on 1 September 2015.  Neither Mr Kenny nor Mr Gartrell mentioned that the fact that the Federal Court of Australia has found that SMH editor-in-chief Darren Goodsir showed “malice” towards Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey.

Gerard Henderson, being a courteous kind of guy, wrote to Adam Gartrell about his apparent inability to speak his boss’s name when declaring that the SMH was a bias-free-zone.  Not being so courteous, Adam Goodsir told the Twittersphere about his email from Hendo but still has yet to answer Nancy’s (male) co-owner’s question.  Here we go:

Gerard Henderson to Adam Gartrell – 8 September 2015


I loved – just loved – this tweet you sent out last week:

adam gartrell tweet

However, I am wondering whether you believe the same would be the case with respect to Sydney Morning Herald editor-in-chief Darren Goodsir.  Your boss, that is.

As you will be aware, Mr Goodsir has been found by Justice White in the Federal Court as having had an “animus” towards Joe Hockey which led him to act with malice towards the Treasurer.

If Mr Goodsir considered all the evidence, do you believe that he could clear himself of bias with respect to Mr Hockey?

Over to you.


adam gartrell tweet 2

If Adam Gartrell has the intellectual courage to respond to Hendo’s query, avid MWD readers will be the first to know.  You betcha. [Do you mean “intellectual capacity”? – Ed].

In the meantime, MWD offers some new design work which embellishes Sydney Morning Herald‘s (existing) “Independent. Always.” Slogan.  Here it is:


And here is some design work on a possible new MWD slogan.

smh MWD

Until next time.

Gerard. You are an idiot #insiders

Bevan Shields via Twitter, 9:46 AM, 23 August 2015

“[Gerard Henderson is a] professional filing cabinet”

– Leftist scribbler Jeff Sparrow, Crikey, 13 August 2015

Leaving the house to avoid listening to GHenderson on @774melbourne

– Jonathan Green via Twitter, 31 July 2015

“gerard henderson trending on twitter, omg [looks out window, where the sun is eclipsed and the sky blood-red] oh yeah that makes sense”

– Adam Brereton via Twitter, 31 July 2015

Gerard Henderson on @891adelaide right now & I find myself shouting at my radio. What a morning”

– Louise Pascale via Twitter, 31 July 2015

“oh hell why is Gerard Henderson trending? Has boredom become the new black.”

– MNihilon via Twitter, 31 July 2015

Told I made the late Gerard Henderson’s little blog today. Read it. What a rancorous, nauseating, humourless little turd he is.

– Mike Carlton via Twitter during Gin & Tonic Time on 12 June 2015.

“On Sunday before Insiders…I was giving you a rich and full account of what a weird shit I think you are…”

– David Marr to Gerard Henderson, 1 June 2015

To #swf2015 this morning. Sunlit harbour, fabulous crowds radiating civility. And no Gerard Henderson ! It doesn’t get any better.

– Mike Carlton, via Twitter, 1:48 PM – 21 May 2015

Gerard Henderson’s friday self-harm update is here

– Adam Brereton, via Twitter, May 15, 2015

[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 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