24 June 2016
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.

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. Between November 1997 and October 2015 “Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch” was published as part of The Sydney Institute Quarterly. In March 2009 Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch Dog blog commenced publication.

  • Stop Press: Lisa Millar’s Telling Anecdote; Anne Summers’ Debt Proposal; Jessica Irvine Praises Gough Whitlam; The Late Mac Cocker’s Taxpayer Subsided Subversion & The Chaser Boys’ (average age 42 ½) PM “Joke”
  • Can You Bear It? The Saturday Paper & David Lipson
  • Media Fools of the Week: Andrea Carson, Lisa Wilkinson, Peter FitzSimons & Mike Carlton all Stumble on the Alleged Fake Tradie
  • Peter FitzSimons Fails to Claim $20,000 for his ARM
  • The Royal Commission, Melbourne Law News & Gail Furness SC
  • Nancy’s Modest Proposal: How ABC Supremo Michelle Guthrie can Help the Homeless on a Permanent Basis
  • Nancy’s Howler of the Week: Jonathan Green on Robert Menzies, the Communist Party & the 1961 Election
  • Correspondence: Cass Knowlton Helps Out as Crikey Censors Hendo – and More Besides



As MWD went out this afternoon, news from Britain suggested that the ”Out” case in the European Union plebiscite had prevailed.

This reminded MWD of Lisa Millar’s comment on the ABC PM program last night where she had this to say to presenter Tony Eastley from a polling booth just north of London:

Lisa Millar: Interestingly, Tony, the very first woman through the gates this morning, at 7.00 am London time, told me she’d changed her mind on the way down the street. She said that the debate has been so divisive, she had planned on voting to leave. But it had been so difficult within her family, there’ve been so many arguments, that she was walking in there to vote Remain.

And I think that is a telling anecdote about what this campaign has been like, just how divisive it’s been, and the fact that, on the gates of the polling station, people are still really weighing up both sides of this debate.

And now comes the lesson. It’s not wise to give lotsa attention to the “telling anecdote”.


MWD never likes to learn of the failure of a publication – whether of the print or online genre – or of a forum for debate and discussion.

So it is a matter of some regret to learn of the closing of the Anne Summers Reports online publication and the Anne Summers Conversations events. Especially since, as Dr Summers pointed out yesterday, she has an overdraft and other debts of $180,000.

As Tony Thomas points out in his article “Summers in Winter” published in Quadrant Online, Dr Summers (for a doctor she is) received a lot of free publicity and support from the ABC where her project was launched in 2013.

As MWD Issue 167 pointed out on 25 January 2013, the Summers project was most generously promoted by Richard Aedy on the Radio National’s Media Report (7 December 2012). Dr Summers used the platform to encourage “high net-worth individuals” to donate sums of over $10,000 each. She said she was “very hopeful” of such an outcome.

It was not to be. You see, Anne Summers Reports appealed to the well-heeled (or, rather, well-sandaled) left intelligentsia. It’s just that this lot of wealthy socialists like to get their news and opinions for free. On the taxpayer funded ABC, for example. Or the taxpayer subsidized SBS. Or The Guardian Online, whose London headquarters loses around $2 million a week from funds saved by others. Wealthy socialists just don’t like spending their own money – with very few exceptions.

In MWD (see Issue 315), it was suggested that Jonathan Green’s Meanjin can be saved if 300 leftists kick in $317 each for four years. Not a lot of money for the inner-city Sandalista set.

It’s much the same with Anne Summers. The good doctor has lotsa wealthy leftist mates. MWD suggests that 18 wealthy socialists kick in $10,000 and clear the Summers’ debt. Today.


Has anyone read today’s Sydney Morning Herald yet? Well, if not, you may like to know that Fairfax Media’s flagship newspaper is up to its campus newspaper best. Here are some highlights of the SMH’s mere 48 pages of compact (read tabloid) style edition today.

On Gough Whitlam’s “Free” Tertiary Education

Jessica Irvine’s column titled “Best policy for youth since Whitlam” is highlighted on the front page. Ms Irvine’s essential point is that Labor’s policy on negative gearing will be of assistance to young Australians. Now, clearly, that’s an argumentative case. However, the real corker in Jessica Irvine’s piece is this:

Labor’s policy to curb tax breaks is the best policy for young Australians since Whitlam made university free.

Now for some reality. First, Prime Minister Gough Whitlam did not make university studies “free” in the early 1970s. Someone had to pay for university education. As it turned out, lower income groups, who did not attend university, paid for the “free” tertiary education of middle and high income groups. A highly inequitable policy, to be sure.

Second. Ms Irvine does not mention the Commonwealth Government Scholarship Scheme, which was introduced by Robert Menzies’ Coalition government in the early 1950s. Scholarships were won by competitive examination and came with a generous means-tested living allowance. In other words, two decades before the Whitlam government came to office in December 1972 quite a few young Australians received free university education.

Third. In the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s many students obtained studentships from State governments if they committed themselves to becoming teachers. These studentships also had a generous living allowance.

Fourth. So called “free” education, which was introduced by the Whitlam Labor government and continued by the Fraser Coalition government, was discontinued by Bob Hawke’s Labor government. Mr Hawke and his treasurer Paul Keating understood that Whitlam’s policy of “free” education was not affordable. It was costing taxpayers far too much.

On Mac Cocker’s Taxpayer Funded Subversion

Turn to Page 33.

A mere nine names are listed in the “Summary of Death Notices” – including the late Dame Leonie Kramer who died in April and whose State Memorial Service will be held on Monday. Not many for a newspaper that once carried a substantial Death Notices section.

Over the page there is an obituary to Mac Cocker (1941-2016) by Chips Mackinolty. Mac Cocker dumped his wife and two kids in Britain and arrived in Australia in 1970. He soon worked among the leftist comrades on the ABC’s (then) Radio Double J. Along with such contemporary comrades as Marius Webb, Mark Colvin and Jim Middleton. Your man Cocker – as his mate Colvin described it – insisted on “putting dangerous and subversive stuff to air”. All per courtesy of the taxpayer.

In 1985 Comrade Cocker went overseas but returned to Australia after five years. The life-long leftist obtained another job at the taxpayer funded public broadcaster. This time in Darwin. He retired in 2007 and lived comfortably on his taxpayer subsidised superannuation policy – and was wont to hang out at Darwin’s Roma Bar.

Here’s to the late Mac Cocker. A true left-wing subversive who fought the very system he lived off. Alas, the evident double standard does not get a mention in Chips Mackinolty’s obit in today’s Herald.


While on the topic of undergraduate behavior, MWD notes that The Chaser Boys (average age 421/2) are back with a young bloke on the interchange bench. Again, on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster with a show titled The Chaser’s Election Desk.

It’s the same old tired undergraduate behavior that is to be expected from development-challenged “Boys” in their early 40s. It’s just that there are now a few sheilas in the show. This fits in with new ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie’s demand that the taxpayer funded public broadcaster become more diverse in virtually all areas. With one exception, apparently. It seems that the ABC will remain a Conservative Free Zone without one conservative presenter, producer or editor for any of its prominent television, radio or online outlets.

The Chaser Boys have returned with their same-old pranks. Chas Licciardello fakes a collapse in front of Malcolm Turnbull. A bit like Groucho Marx, don’t you think? And Zoe Norton Lodge produces a rat in the presence of Tanya Plibersek. Shades of Joan Rivers, surely?

However, there is surely a time when the powers-that-be at the ABC should say that one of The Chaser Boys’ attempts at humour has gone too far. For example, the following photoshop of the Prime Minister shown last Wednesday and promoted by Chas Licciardello and Andrew Hansen:

Chaser Turnbull

Chaser Turnbull 2

It’s interesting to note that the ABC management and the ABC board still regard such “humour” by The Chaser Boys with respect to the Prime Minister as both appropriate and funny. But, there you go.

Can you bear it graphic


As usual Gerard Henderson opened The [Boring] Saturday paper on Monday. This is his habit since this newspaper – which goes to print on Thursday – does not carry news on Saturday.

On 18 June, Mick Daley (who describes himself as a Sydney-based freelance journalist, wrote a piece in the paper declaring that “two Labor and 12 Liberal MPs have been dragged before ICAC over corruption allegations related to the approval of coal and coal seam gas mining projects in recent years”. MWD is not aware of a dozen NSW current or former NSW Liberal Party MPs who have appeared before ICAC concerning the mining industry.

It seems that the Erik Jensen team at The [Boring] Saturday Paper just made this up. Can you bear it?


Has anyone noticed that now David Lipson has moved from Sky News to the ABC that he seems to be channeling Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery.

How else to explain the Lateline program of Monday when your man Lipson went for a spin with Nick Xenophon around Adelaide in a 1961 EK Holden.

Mr Lipson’s questions were about as penetrating as an EK Holden travelling up into the Adelaide Hills. Here are MWD’s two favorites:

David Lipson: “So what does it feel like to be Nick Xenophon?” and “Why are you always gunning for the voiceless, the victim?”

Talk about Fawn Again Journalism. Can you bear it?

Media Fools of the month


The Liberal Party’s “Tradie” advertisement went to air on Sunday night – and immediately sparked a “fake tradie” campaign by the Sandalista Set on Twitter. Indeed, the faketradie hashtag trended on Twitter as leftists decided that no real tradie could support a Coalition government.

By Monday morning, the powers-that-be at the ABC News and Current Affairs were well and truly on to the “Fake Tradie” scandal. The World Today knew precisely how to handle the story. It went straight to former Age journalist Andrea Carson who lectures in Media and Politics at the University of Melbourne. This is what Dr Carson (for a doctor she is) told TWT’s Tim Iggulden on Monday 20 June 2016:

Tom Iggulden : Perched nonchalantly on a workbench, nestling a coffee cup and dressed in the obligatory high-vis safety vest and khaki work clothes, an actor looks into the camera and delivers his lines….It’s the Liberal Party’s latest TV spot, which went to air last night and it’s already been derided on social media as the “fake tradie” ad. Underscoring the clunky lines are some less-than-believable visual references. Social media posts pointed out that the tradie in the ad looks like he’s set up his workbench in a laneway outside a building site, not on the site itself. And he was wearing what appeared to be a gold watch and heavy chain link jewellery. Media and Politics lecturer at the University of Melbourne, Andrea Carson, says the negative reaction on social media is justified.

Andrea Carson: There’s not too many tradies you see wearing loose chain jewellery, especially around some fairly high-powered equipment.

Tom Iggulden: Yeah, there was a circular saw there in background, wasn’t it?

Andrea Carson: That was. I mean my own background is a rural one and the first rule is you never wear jewellery once you get out and about and start mixing it with machinery…. I don’t think we can blame the actor here. I think anyone cast in this role, it’s just got a clunkiness to it because the language is not right, the “stick with you blokes”, the “stick with this mob” and ultimately these campaigns are tightly managed and the responsibility of campaign headquarters.

A brilliant analysis, to be sure. Of a kind which you would expect from a Lecturer in Media and Politics at the University of Melbourne. Er, except that the so-called “actor” was not an actor at all. He was a real tradie – a certain Andrew MacRae from Lane Cove on Sydney’s Lower North Shore. The existence of Mr MacRae was revealed shortly after noon on Monday by the Daily Mail Australia – around the same time that Tom and Andrea Carson were advising The World Today listeners that the tradie was an actor.

To be fair, the likes of Andrea Carson and Tom Iggulden were not alone.

Channel 9 Today co-presenter Lisa Wilkinson and the Sun-Herald’s Peter FitzSimons also took up the story on Monday morning – as the following tweets document:

Wilkinson Fake tradie tweet

Fitz tradie tweet

MWD has never been quite the same since Bob Ellis, the False Prophet of Palm Beach, died. [Don’t you mean “passed”? – MWD Editor] and Mike (“I’ll pour the gin”) Carlton went off the turps. However, the Sage of Avalon Beach helped out on Monday – even after an apparently sober lunch.

Carlton trade tweet

Yeah. Oh for the grand old days of the taxpayer funded This Day Tonight – when a bloke could have a Gin & Tonic for afternoon tea and still have time to file a story on TDT by 7.30 pm bagging the Liberal Party before heading off for pre-dinner drinks. Oh for those grand old (tax payer subsidised) days in the grand old Conservative Free Zone.

The “fake tradie” story raises the issue as to why such leftists as Andrea Carson, Lisa Wilkinson, Peter FitzSimons and Mike Carlton and more besides were so hopelessly wrong about the (alleged) Fake Tradie.

The best explanation is that all this lot are snobs, of the intellectual kind. Put simply, Dr Carson et al:

٠ did not believe that a tradie would vote for the Liberal Party or support banks or mining companies or negative gearing and

٠ did not believe that a tradie would wear chain-link jewellery or an expensive watch. ABC TV News even focused its coverage on Mr MacRae’s watch.

Yet many tradies earn more money than academics (like Andrea Carson) or ABC journalists (like Tim Iggulden). Moreover, many people who work in the private sector see value in banks and mining companies because they create employment. Indeed tradies like Andrew MacRae help pay the taxpayer subsidised salaries of university academics and ABC journalists.

Postscript re the read bandanna

By the way, Peter FitzSimons still has not claimed Gerard Henderson’s offer of $20,000 to the Australian Republican Movement if your man Fitz can provide the address of the (alleged) “$30 million dollar mansion in Rome” in which he claims Cardinal George Pell resides.

Moreover, despite Sydney Morning Herald editor-in-chief Darren Goodsir’s commitment to correct all errors in the Sydney Morning Herald and Sun Herald, Fairfax Media has taken no action to ask the Red Bandannaed One to provide evidence for his undocumented assertion. We’ll keep you posted.


The Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has been widely covered in the Australian media. Especially concerning Cardinal George Pell who has been questioned by the Royal Commission on three occasions, and has given much more evidence than any other witness. As someone based overseas, George Pell is under no legal obligation to give evidence at the Royal Commission – but he has done so voluntarily by video-link from Rome on two occasions. Cardinal Pell also made one appearance at sittings of the Royal Commission in Sydney. He also appeared in person as a witness at the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse Allegations.

A couple of times a year, Gerard Henderson receives a magazine from his alma mater, the University of Melbourne’s Law School. This goes by the title Melbourne Law School News.

It contains a fascinating segment called “The law and I” – which is described as follows:

A career in the law can be rich and rewarding. Here members of the MLS [Melbourne Law School] alumni community share a defining moment in their distinguished careers.

The June 2016 edition of Melbourne Law School News contains this reference by Gail Furness SC to her very own career defining moment:

Ms Gail B Furness SC

L.L.B(Hons) 1984, LLM 1990

Ms Gail Furness, SC is a Senior Counsel at St James Hall Chambers in NSW and has been counsel assisting the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse since it was established in 2012. Previously, she has also served as Solicitor assisting NSW’s Independent Commission Against Corruption.

My defining moment

“The most defining moment so far has been being involved in establishing the procedures which the Royal Commission has followed. We have created a process by which survivors of child sexual abuse can tell their story in public in a safe environment. That all evidence is streamed live enables all with an interest to watch the hearings. Counsel assisting the Royal Commission all adopt a process in which witnesses from institutions have been treated with respect while nevertheless being closely examined about their knowledge of the conduct of the institution.”

MWD acknowledges that Ms Furness’ response to the Melbourne Law School News was, by necessity, brief. Even so, it did not need to contain an ambiguity along with a good dose of self-justification.

▪ It is true that all evidence presented in person or by video-link to the Royal Commission is streamed live. However, not all people who provide statements to the Royal Commission are asked to appear in person where they “can tell their story in public”. One example illustrates the point.

As MWD readers will be aware, both a child sexual abuse victim named “BPL” and one-time priest and current media celebrity Paul Bongiorno provided written statements to the Royal Commission late last year.

“BPL” told the Royal Commission that in 1970 or 1971 he had reported Gerald Ridsdale’s crimes to the (then) Fr Bongiorno but that Paul Bongiorno merely said that he had referred the matter to a superior and took no further action. Paul Bongiorno wrote in his statement that no such conversation with “BPL” ever occurred. Neither “BPL” nor Paul Bongiorno was asked to give evidence in person to the Royal Commission. So BPL was not provided with a safe environment to tell his “story” in “public” – contrary to Ms Furness’ statement to the Melbourne Law School News. For full details see MWD Issue 317.

▪ Also Ms Furness’ claim that “witnesses from institutions have been treated with respect while nevertheless being closely examined” tests the bounds of credibility. During his recent appearances via video-link from Rome, Gail Furness SC treated Cardinal Pell with evident hostility. She was not constrained by Justice Peter McClellan, the head of the Royal Commission.

During Cardinal Pell’s third – and final – appearance before the Royal Commission, earlier this year, Gail Furness, on no fewer than four occasions, declared that Cardinal Pell’s evidence was “implausible”. This was merely an opinion, since the Counsel Assisting did not attempt to advance a case as to why George Pell’s evidence was (allegedly) implausible.

In legal hearings, the claim by a legal counsel that a witness’ statement is “implausible” is invariably followed by an incontrovertible fact. Ms Furness provided no such factual evidence in support of her claim. She proffered an opinion – not an incontrovertible fact.

On 5 March 2016 The Australian published a letter from Kenneth Wiltshire, the Professor of Public Administration at the University of Queensland’s Business School. It read as follows:

During the conduct of a royal commission it is the role of counsel assisting solely to help the commission identify the facts of the matters and obtain information that may assist members of the commission in reaching their conclusions. It is not the role of counsel assisting to form judgments, reach conclusions, express personal opinions, intimidate witnesses, or express belief or disbelief in their testimony. The counsel assisting is the servant of the royal commission.

These standards and code of conduct have not been apparent during the Royal Commission into Institutionalised Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and particularly during the questioning of Cardinal George Pell by counsel assisting. A royal commission is the most powerful instrument of inquiry in our system of governance and so must behave impeccably and responsibly at all times. In this case, it is clear that victims involved have suffered considerable trauma and distress, and because of their suffering many have expressed a desire to see someone suffer in return as an attainment of justice. This is an understandable human reaction, but it is not a basis on which to conduct a royal commission.

Clearly, Professor Wiltshire does not hold the view that Gail Furness SC has treated all witnesses before the Royal Commission with respect.

▪ Moreover, Gail Furness put it to George Pell that he would have known about the sexual crimes of the Mildura-based Monsignor John Day in 1972 since (then) Fr Pell was based at Swan Hill at the time and the two parishes “adjoin each other”. In fact, there were two Catholic parishes (Robinvale and Red Cliffs) between Mildura and Swan Hill. Moreover, Mildura and Swan Hill are some 200 kilometres apart and there were no mobile phones or social media outlets to pass on gossip over four decades ago. In fact, each Catholic presbytery would probably have had one phone that would probably have been located in a hall or lounge room. Not an ideal location for the passing of gossip about the criminal acts of priests and brothers.

As far as MWD is aware, Gail Furness did not correct her error at the Royal Commission. This is a strange way to treat a witness “with respect”.

* * * *

MWD will keep avid readers advised if any other notable Melbourne Law School alumni step forward to tell us about their defining moment in their brilliant legal careers per courtesy of Melbourne Law School News.


nandy proposal


Due to popular demand, Nancy, via her (male) co-owner, will make considered and modest proposals about how to tackle the big social problems of our time. As MWD’s well-read avid readers are only too well aware, the term “A Modest Proposal” comes from the Anglo-Irish satirist Jonathan Swift (1667-1745). His A Modest Proposal was written in 1729.

Now here is Nancy’s inaugural Modest Proposal – on how to more effectively tackle the scourge of homelessness for those who really care.

Yesterday, ABC managing director and editor-in-chief Michelle (“At the ABC, I just need to get out of the way”) Guthrie appeared on ABC 702’s Mornings with Wendy Harmer to talk about her decision to join the CEO sleep-out in support of the homeless. Ms Guthrie packed down last night at Carriageworks in Sydney in support of the noble cause of increasing awareness of the homeless. Well done – and so on.

Now here is Nancy’s Modest Proposal. Sleeping out at a place like Carriageworks once a year is a fine gesture of the “we’re-with-you-and-understand-your-pain” genre with respect to the homeless in our midst. But why not do more? The ABC has big internal offices in most of Australia’s capital cities. Take the ABC headquarters in the inner-city Sydney suburb of Ultimo, for example. The ABC’s Harris Street Office has a very large foyer which is outside of the ABC’s security gates. It could house, say, 300 homeless people a night. Easy.

In addition to participating in the annual CEO sleep out for the homeless, Ms Guthrie could preside over a homeless night-time sleep-in at the taxpayer funded public broadcaster. Once a year, certainly. But why not once a month? Or once a week? Or every day? There’s lotsa room at 700 Harris Street which happens to be close to Central Railway Station where many homeless people gather every night.

Indeed, the ABC could go into partnership on this good cause with the nearby Sydney campus of TAFE NSW. David Riordan, a board member of this august institution, joined Michelle Guthrie last night in the Carriageworks sleep out. He also told Mornings with Wendy Harmer about his own good works. Like the ABC, the TAFE NSW Ultimo College has lotsa space – sufficient to house at night some of Sydney’s homeless once a year, or once a month or once a week or daily.

And so it has come to pass that Nancy has made this Modest Proposal. Over to the good people at the taxpayer funded public broadcaster and the taxpayer subsidised TAFE NSW to implement this particular dream. And good luck.

Nice Mr Scott The Very Latest

While on the issue of ABC managing directors and (so-called) editors-in-chief, whatever happened to Ms Guthrie’s predecessor Nice Mr Scott? – MWD hears you ask.

Well the good news is that Mark Scott has been appointed as secretary of the NSW Department of Education by the Baird government. This is a truly wonderful decision since it will enable Nice Mr Scott to help clean up the residue of the appalling mess created by the one-time Minister for Education in Nick Greiner’s Coalition government a quarter of a century ago.

You see, a young Mr Scott was a principal adviser to the Minister for Education Terry Metherell in the early 1990s. As former premier Nick Greiner has privately acknowledged, Dr Metherell (for a doctor he is) was a hopeless education minister and primarily responsible for the Coalition’s failure to win a majority in its own right at the 1991 NSW State election.

Staff cannot be blamed for the poor performance of their ministers. Even so, Nice Mr Scott’s time in Dr Metherell’s office was not a period of glory in his brilliant career. Which could explain why this particular position is not mentioned in Mark Scott’s entry in Who’s Who in Australia.

The additional good news is that Mark Scott has become a doctor, of the honorary kind. Thanks to the avid reader who drew MWD’s attention to the 16 June issue of the University of New South Wales’ Newsroom publication. According to a certain Fran Strachan, one of the reasons for this award to Dr Scott turns on the fact that he introduced “ABC News 24, Australia’s first free-to-air-24-hour news channel”.

The only problem is that ABC News 24 is anything but a 24 hour news channel. Its proper name should be, say, “ABC 14”, since it runs about 14 hours of News/Current affairs on a weekday and significantly less on weekends.

By the way, Dr Scott has still to answer MWD’s (long-standing) questions about his time on the Board of Knox Grammar in Sydney from 2007. In 2010, NSW Police laid initial charges concerning a nest of pedophile male teachers on the Knox Grammar staff who sexually abused under-age male students.

Mark Scott has declined to advise MWD as to whether – following his appointment to the Knox Grammar board in 2007 and before child sexual abuse at the college became a matter of scandal – he ever called for an audit of possible past or current instances of child sexual abuse at the school. And if not, why not. See MWD 309. This is a relevant question since the public broadcaster ran many stories about the failure of management to oversee audits with respect to past or existing instances of unprofessional activity when Mark Scott was ABC managing director and editor-in-chief.



One of the great myths of Australian history is that Liberal Party prime minister Robert Menzies won the 1961 election on Communist Party preferences. So, it was interesting to see this particular howler got another run on ABC Radio National’s Sunday Extra at the weekend.

The occasion was the program’s “Marginalia” segment where marginal seats are analysed in the lead-up to the 2 July election. Last Sunday, the seat was Moreton in south-east Queensland. Presenter Jonathan Green interviewed journalist Felicity Caldwell and academic Clive Bean. After Professor Bean provided an historical background to the seat of Moreton, your man Green threw the switch to howler. Let’s got to the transcript:

Jonathan Green: Clive Bean, a pretty colourful history. I happen to know – a fun fact of Moreton – it was once delivered to the Coalition on the basis of Communist Party preferences.

Clive Bean: That’s right. And it’s probably the thing the seat is most famous for – the 1961 election which was probably the closest election in Australian history that actually delivered a clear result in the end. When the Liberal- Country coalition, as it was then, won by one seat and that seat came down to being the seat of Moreton which was won by 130 votes. And a lot of that 130 [votes] were Communist Party preferences that just happened to go to Sir Jim Killen, the Liberal member, rather than the Labor Party.

And now for some facts:

▪ Contrary to Clive Bean’s assertion, Jim Killen, the one-time supporter of the Lunar Right’s League of Rights political movement, was not gonged until 1982. In 1961, he was just “Mr Killen”.

▪ Contrary to Jonathan Green’s assertion, Jim Killen was not delivered the seat of Moreton in 1961 on Communist Party preferences – as MWD avid readers are well aware. See MWD Issue 124.

There were four candidates contesting Moreton in 1961 in the following order – C. J. Hagen (Democratic Labor Party), M.N. Julius (Communist Party of Australia), D.J. Killen (Liberal Party) and J.E. O’Donnell (Australian Labor Party). The primary votes were as follows:

C.J. Hagen (DLP)                        3,882 (7.41 per cent)

M.N. Julius (Comm. Party)           676 (1.29 per cent)

D.J. Killen (Lib. Party)                 22,667 (43.3 per cent)

J.E. O’Donnell (ALP)                   25,123 (47.99 per cent)

The Communist Party directed its preferences to the ALP in the 1961 election. Julius was eliminated first and his preferences were distributed. Since Killen was ahead of O’Donnell on the ticket, there was probably a down-the-ticket donkey vote which favoured Killen over O’Donnell.

In any event, the result in Moreton in 1961 was not decided by the distribution of Julius’ preferences – since when the Communist Party votes were exhausted there were still three candidates in the ballot. Then the preferences of Hagen (DLP) were distributed and they put Killen ahead of O’Donnell for the first time in the count.

Clearly Jim Killen was elected in 1961 – and the Menzies Government returned – on Democratic Labor Party preferences. Had more DLP preferences gone to O’Donnell than was the case, then the ALP would have won the seat.

The myth that Jim Killen won Moreton on Communist Party preferences was demolished four decades ago. See the articles titled “Mr Killen’s Preferences – 1961” by Adam Graycar and Joan Rydon in the November 1971 issue of Politics magazine. Yet it still gets a run on the Radio National’s Sunday Extra.

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 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 – not even Ms Murphy herself (See MWD Issue 297).


In his column in The Weekend Australian last Saturday, Gerard Henderson wrote that “Andrew West and his colleagues” had sent out a tweet on the ABC’s Religion & Ethics website effectively outlawing the use of the term “radical Islam”. This upset ABC Radio National Religion & Ethics Report presenter Andrew West who (incorrectly) claimed that Hendo had written that your man West was “the author” of the tweet. Mr West wrote to The Australian about this.

Meanwhile, the Hunters Hill based retired ABC producer David Salter favourably quoted from Andrew West’s letter to The Australian in Crikey on Monday. The Hunters Hill scribbler added a few insults and theories of his own. Gerard Henderson attempted to obtain a right-of-reply. But Nancy’s (male) co-owner was censored by Crikey editor Cass Knowlton – as is documented below:

Gerard Henderson to Cass Knowlton, Crikey – 21 June 2016


I hope you will run this today.

Gerard Henderson

+ + + +

Despite referring to my “irrelevance” and my “bilious blatherings”, David Salter still managed to write 427 words about me in “Media briefs” yesterday. Well done.

During his long stint at the taxpayer funded public broadcaster, Mr Salter should have learnt not to accept unchecked the word of ABC journalists.

Andrew West’s letter in The Australian yesterday is simply untrue. Mr West asserted that I referred to him and his colleagues as being responsible for the Religion & Ethics tweet on radical Islam – despite being told by him and an ABC spokesman that he was not responsible.

In fact, Andrew West phoned me at around 4.30 pm on Friday. He knew that my column for The Weekend Australian had already been filed. I told Mr West that I would clarify the matter in my column next Saturday.

I passed on the same message to Nick Leys (the ABC’s Media Manager) when he phoned me at 5.15 pm on Friday. By the way, Mr Leys still refuses to state who wrote the Religion & Ethics tweet but directed me to – wait for it – last Thursday’s Crikey I said that I did not regard Crikey as a reliable source since it proudly states that it publishes “tips and rumours”.

It seems that the ABC regards the name of the author of the tweet as akin to the secrecy involved in a matter of national security. As I explained to Nick Leys, Andrew West – as the public face of Religion & Ethics – should accept responsibility for what is tweeted on its social media account unless, or until, the ABC names the author of the tweet.

Gerard Henderson


Cass Knowlton to Gerard Henderson – 21 June 2016

Dear Gerard,

Thank you very much for your correspondence. As your email is regarding a letter published in The Australian, I suggest you send it to The Australian for publication.



Gerard Henderson to Cass Knowlton – 21 June 2016

Dear Cass

I’m surprised that you have chosen to censor my letter. As you are aware, I attempted to respond to David Salter’s comment which was featured in Crikey yesterday – with the “look here” reference to my first name.

I will take the matter up with The Australian concerning Andrew West’s letter. However, I cannot write to The Australian about David Salter’s comments in Crikey.

I’m not sure why you would want to protect David Salter in this way. For someone who refers to the “bilious blatherings” of others, he must be oh-so-sensitive to criticism about himself.

I will cover all of this in my Media Watch Dog blog on Friday.

Keep morale high.

Gerard Henderson

Cass Knowlton to Gerard Henderson – 21 June 2016

Dear Gerard,

I would expect nothing less. Give our love to Nancy.

Kind regards,


Gerard Henderson to Cass Knowlton – 21 June 2016


Nancy sends lotsa love. Along with the advice that, unlike CrikeyMedia Watch Dog does not censor letters from critics.

Gerard Henderson AC (aka Always Courteous)



As mentioned above, on Monday The Australian published a letter by Andrew West on this issue – see here. On Wednesday it printed a correction from Gerard Henderson – see here.

After reading Mr West’s letter late on Monday afternoon, Hendo wrote to the Religion & Ethics Report presenter. It is a matter of regret that your man West went under-the-bed and lacked the courage to respond. [Perhaps he should be invited to attend Nancy’s courtesy classes which teach that all letters implicitly request a reply – except those of the encyclical kind which come out of the Vatican – MWD Editor]. This is Hendo’s unanswered letter:

Gerard Henderson to Andrew West – 20 June 2016


I have just noticed your letter in today’s Australian. It contains a serious falsehood.

You wrote that despite being told twice – by you and an ABC spokesman – that you had nothing to do with the Religion & Ethics post about “radical Islam”, I published an untruthful statement that you were involved.

The facts are as follows:

▪ You phoned me at about 5.15pm Friday 17 June – by that time, The Weekend Australian’s opinion page had already been finalised. I told you that I would clarify the issue in my column next Saturday. To assert that I deliberately published an untrue statement about you is wilfully false.

▪ It is true that an ABC spokesman hinted to me that you did not write the post. I was told this in a phone conversation which took place in the afternoon on Thursday 16 June. However, the spokesman refused to tell me who wrote the post, and suggested I look at Crikey’s report on the matter and draw my own conclusions. This seemed remarkably unprofessional – especially since Crikey proudly publishes unsourced gossip and rumours. In any event, I had finalised my column by the time this phone call was received.

The fact is that, as you acknowledged in our phone conversation on Friday afternoon, you were let down by ABC management in this instance. The ABC, a member of the Right To Know Coalition, should not have turned the authorship of the Religion & Ethics post into some kind of national secret.

You are the public face of Religion & Ethics. The ABC would not say who wrote the post and you did not distance yourself from the post. In view of this, I handled the matter as best as I could at the time I drafted my column.

I will document all this in my Media Watch Dog blog on Friday.

Best wishes,

Gerard Henderson

* * * *

Until next time.

* * * * *

My oh my. Poor, blithering Gerard “Gollum” Henderson will be incandescent with rage after that Media Watch. The silly prick.

Mike Carlton via Twitter, 15 Feb 2016, 9:44 PM

Gerard: You are hopeless…

– David Marr, 12 February 2016

ABC is a weakened and flawed institution for sure but it is a vital balance to ranting prejudices of Gerard Henderson’s boss@rupertmurdoch

Quentin Dempster via Twitter, 10 Jan 2016,

Poor mad Gerard is obsessed. I expect he had an unhappy childhood, always the last to be chosen…

Mike Carlton via Twitter, 25 Oct 2015, 3:27 AM

Sometimes I think of Gerard Henderson like a Japanese holdout, lost in the jungles of Borneo, still fighting the war 20 years after it ended

– Erik Jensen,via Twitter, 16 Oct 2015, 4:50 PM

Gérard Henderson brain missing. Small reward

– Phillip Adams, via Twitter, 10 Oct 2015, 11:16 AM

I’ve been shot at by the Viet Cong. I once met Gerard Henderson. I can take any shit thrown at me…

Mike Carlton via Twitter, 9:22 PM – 9 Sep 2015

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