8 July 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: The ABC’s “Dictator” Explanation; Tony Jones as An Amazing Speed-reader
  • Can You Bear It? Peter Beattie & Peter Reith; Niki Savva; Laura Tingle; Stephen Mayne; Chris Henning
  • Sandalista Watch: Andrea van Es Throws the Switch to Elitism on News Breakfast
  • Media Fool of the Week: Step Forward Derryn Hinch
  • History Corner: More about the Myth that Robert Menzies Won in 1961 on Communist Party Preferences
  • Correspondence: Bernard Bruning Helps Out on Leon Trotsky; Crikey’s Cass Knowlton Helps Out on Guy Rundle & Michelle Wood Fails to get Peter FitzSimons to provide Real Estate Evidence in Rome and Gain $20,000 Prize for a Good Cause



Believe it or not, MWD is the only organisation to ask the ABC to explain how, in footage which aired on ABC TV News last Wednesday, the Liberal Party Federal Director Tony Nutt was described as the “Liberal Federal Dictator”.

MWD does not get excited by typos. Yet, clearly, this was not a typographical error. Rather, a deliberate decision was made to use the word “dictator” with respect to Mr Nutt. A screen shot of the ABC graphic supa is set out below.

Tony Nutt

Today, Gerard Henderson asked the ABC to explain how come Tony Nutt was described as a “dictator”. The following reply was provided by an ABC spokesperson.

It was a very unfortunate and inadvertent error by a staff member who has an otherwise excellent record for accuracy. ABC News apologised on air and has also apologised to Mr Nutt personally. We take this matter very seriously.

It is true that the ABC apologised for the error at the end of the news bulletin on Wednesday. However, the ABC’s statement of today is completely inadequate. It does not attempt to explain how such an unprofessional error was made. And it does not identify the name of the person who wrote the supa. This is the same taxpayer funded public broadcaster which has joined the Right to Know Coalition and which expects answers to questions on all manner of issues.

In the absence of full disclosure, the ABC’s statement that it has taken “this matter very seriously” means nothing.


It was just like old times to see former prime minister John Howard on Lateline last night – with Tony Jones in the presenter’s chair. Towards the end of the interview – when discussion turned on Liberal Party issues, Mr Jones popped the leadership question:

Tony Jones: Let’s move on to just a couple of quick questions on Australian politics. Is Tony Abbott too old now to become Prime Minister at some time in the future?

John Howard: (Laughs) I don’t think it’s likely to happen and I don’t think it’s productive to the peace, order and tranquillity of the Liberal Party for me to get into a detailed response. Look, Tony Abbott-

Tony Jones: But if the leadership were to become vacant.

John Howard: But it’s not going to become vacant. The last time I spoke to Malcolm Turnbull, which was quite recently, he didn’t give me the impression he wanted to give it up.

Tony Jones: It could become vacant by a stalking horse making a challenge. That’s happened in the past.

John Howard: No, I – can I throw caution to the wind – we’ve just been talking about caution – and say that’s not gonna happen?

Tony Jones: Just going back to Tony Abbott though, do you think he’s too old to become Prime Minister now? I mean, you obviously –

John Howard: My mind is whirring and I think Tony Abbott is younger than Malcolm Turnbull and I think he’s younger than Bill McMahon was and so forth. Look, Tony, this is a – this is a game.

Sure was. Mr Jones was playing games. As he should have known, Malcolm Turnbull (born 24 October 1954) is around three years older than Tony Abbott (born 4 November 1957).

Earlier on, discussion turned on the Chilcot Report and the Blair government’s participation in the Coalition of the Willing which invaded Iraq in 2003.

Gerard Henderson fell off his chair when Tony Jones declared: “I’ve read the report”. A remarkable achievement, to be sure. Especially since the Chilcot Report was released in London on Wednesday and consists of 6405 pages (including a 150 page executive summary) containing some 2.5 million words. And your man Jones “read the report” in just a day.

This reminded Nancy’s (male) co-owner of the occasion on Q&A in June 2011 when Mr Jones declared:

Well, I’ve got to tell you that I was involved in a generation that went out in the streets, turned cars over during the Vietnam War.

As avid MWD readers will be aware (See MWD Issue 100), according to the Newington College Register of Past Students, Tony Jones attended this private school in Sydney between 1970 and 1974. All Australian combat troops were withdrawn from Vietnam by the end of 1971 – around the time Master Jones was in Year 9. There were no violent demonstrations in Australia over the Vietnam War in 1972. As MWD put it in Issue 100:

It would be radical – and oh, so exciting – to envisage Master Jones (aged 15) dressed in his Newington College uniform busy over-turning other people’s cars in the streets of Stanmore – before going home for an afternoon of English tea and cucumber sandwiches. However, there is no evidence that Tony Jones – or members of his generation – engaged in such activities. That is, of the car-turning-over variety. They certainly had lotsa cucumber sandwiches.

And then there was the matter of the Chilcot Report itself. Tony Jones seems to have accepted every judgment critical of Tony Blair, George W. Bush and John Howard made by Sir John Chilcot. But these are judgments made by a retired public servant who never had to make a political decision on the (then) available evidence against a tight deadline.

Tony Jones also insisted to John Howard – who put on a fine performance in defence of his support for the Coalition of the Willing in 2003 – that Tony Blair and others should have followed the advice of the United Nations’ diplomat Hans Blix. Mr Blix wanted to delay and delay and delay any action against what was thought to be Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction until something turned up.

This reminded Nancy’s (male) co-owner of the role played by the Hans Blix character in the film Team America about the North Korean communist dictator Kim Jong Il and his ability to acquire and retain nuclear weapons in spite of the pleadings of Mr Blix and fellow United Nations bureaucrats.

Let’s go to the Team America script:

Kim Jong II: Oh, hello, great to see you again, Hans.

Hans Blix: Mr. II, I was supposed to be allowed to inspect your palace today, and your guards won’t let me into certain areas.

Kim Jong II: Hans, Hans, Hans. We’ve been through this a dozen times. I don’t have any weapons of mass destruction – okay, Hans?

Hans Blix: Then let me look around so I can ease the U.N.’s collective mind.

Kim Jong II: Hans, you’re breaking my balls here. Hans, you’re breaking my balls.

Hans Blix: I’m sorry, but the U.N. must be firm with you. Let me see your whole palace or else.

Kim Jong II: Or else what?

Hans Blix: Or else we will be very, very angry with you. And we will write you a letter telling you how angry we are.

Talk about metamorphosis. In his alleged radical youth Master Jones was busy turning over cars. But, now that he’s older than Tony Abbott, Mr Jones believes that the leadership of the United States, Britain and Australia should have followed the advice of Mr Blix and sent Saddam Hussein letters telling the Iraqi dictator just how angry the UN was with him.

lateline howard

Can you bear it graphic


Alas, it seems that neither former Queensland Labor premier Peter Beattie nor former Howard Government minister Peter Reith are avid MWD readers. How else to explain their howler during the introduction to the Beattie & Reith program on Sky News on Wednesday? Let’s go to the transcript:

Peter Beattie: We’re going to be talking a little later to the French Ambassador about submarines, train opportunities and what it means for Australia after the Brits have left, after Brexit. But before we do that, who’s gonna win?

Peter Reith: Well, I do think that the Prime Minister’s gonna come back.

Peter Beattie: Yeah, I think you’ll get 75 to 76 seats. What do you think?

Peter Reith: Well, you know, I’m not all that keen on the numbers. I like the smell of it, the feel of it. What you pick up from the ordinary people.

Peter Beattie: But it smells like 75 or 76.

Peter Reith: Something like that. Looks like they’ll probably have, they might just have a majority and quite frankly that’s all they need. You know, people forget the history. Because Bob Menzies. See, you should know all about this and I’m sure you do actually. But Bob Menzies, 1961 – Queensland –

Peter Beattie [interjecting]: 1961, I was only a wee lad.

Peter Reith: And he gets home –

Peter Beattie [interjecting]: On Communist preferences.

Peter Reith: On the Communist preferences. Now did that stop him getting on, continuing Australia to be the great Golden Age that it was?

Peter Beattie: No, he built on it.

Peter Reith: So who knows what’s going to happen?

What a load of absolute tosh. The claim that Robert Menzies’ Coalition government won the 1961 election on the preferences of the Communist Party of Australia is one of the great myths of Australian history. As demonstrated in the “Nancy’s Howler of the Week” segment of MWD Issue 321, Jim Killen won the seat of Moreton in the 1961 election on the preferences of the Democratic Labor Party, a profoundly anti-communist social democratic party.

The Communist Party candidate was the first candidate eliminated from the count. After Communist Party preferences were distributed, the Labor Party candidate J.E. O’Donnell led the Liberal Party’s Jim Killen by 2753 votes.

Killen defeated O’Donnell after receiving 85.31 per cent of the Democratic Labor Party’s preferences.

This matter is fully explained in the increasingly popular “History Corner” segment today. However, it’s likely that Peter Beattie and Peter Reith will continue to spruik the Robert-Menzies-won-the1961-election-on-Communist-Party-preferences line. It saves them from doing any research. Can you bear it?


While on the topic of the 1961 election, did anyone see Niki Savva’s performance on the ABC TV Insiders program last Sunday?

Ms Savva who proudly describes herself as a “conservative leftie” [A what? – MWD Ed] was an obsessive critic of Tony Abbott as prime minister and warmly welcomed his replacement by Malcolm Turnbull last September. Asked about the appropriate response to the Liberal Party’s disastrous performance in the 2 July 2016 election –Ms Savva threw the switch to rationalisation, 1961 and all that. Let’s go to the transcript:

Barrie Cassidy: Now, some people writing it would be catastrophic if it was a minority government. Do you think it’s catastrophic? Or will they stick with him.

Niki Savva: With Turnbull?

Barrie Cassidy: With Turnbull.

Niki Savva: Well, I think they have no choice – in the short term at least. And people have been making a point that there have been other elections where governments have not done so well. Like Steve Bracks [in Victoria], for instance – it was a minority government and they, you know, he went on to do better. Menzies in 61 – who only won with one seat and then went on for another 11 years. Now, I think it will take a while to play out. I don’t think we can make that kind of judgement at this stage.

A dodgy comparison, to be sure. In 2016 Mr Turnbull led a first term government to an election. No first term government in Australia has been defeated at the Federal level since December 1931, during the time of the Great Depression. It looks like the Turnbull government was saved by the strong showing of the Nationals in northern NSW – and by the hostile reaction, in parts of Victoria, to Victorian Labor premier Dan Andrews’ row with the Country Fire Authority (which is staffed by some 60,000 volunteers).

When Robert Menzies won narrowly in December 1961, he was already the longest serving prime minister in Australian history – having been PM between April 1939 and August 1941 and then again from December 1949. Moreover, Menzies had won five elections before the 1961 poll – in 1949, 1951, 1954, 1955 and 1958. He went on to win easily again in 1963 before retiring from office in January 1966, some four years after his narrow victory in 1961.

And yet, Niki Savva reckons it’s appropriate to compare the situation facing Mr Turnbull in 2016 to that which faced Mr Menzies in 1961. Can you bear it?


While on the topic of last Sunday’s Insiders, what a stunning performance by Australian Financial Review national editor Laura Tingle. Let’s go to the transcript where La Tingle discusses the likelihood of Malcolm Turnbull leading a minority government and depending on the support of some Independents in the House of Representatives:

Laura Tingle: I just wanted to talk about a transactional thing that’s come up out of the [Nick] Xenophon interview and about this exchange. If you think about, let’s presume that Malcolm Turnbull is able to cobble together 76 or 77 seats and then needs the Independents in the House – or that he doesn’t but he’s going to constantly need the Independents in the House against the sort of his own internal rabble. They’re [the Independents] actually, sort of, as a group basically to the centre. Um, the group on the crossbench is not to the centre. I mean you’re going to have the Senate and the House crossbenchers operating in very different directions and having to be appealed to on completely different basis.

Like MWD’s thousands-upon-thousands of avid readers, Gerard Henderson is not too clear about what Ms Tingle was on about here. But certainly La Tingle believes that Liberal Party conservatives in the House of Representatives are “rabble”. It seems, in Tingle Land, self-declared Liberal Party progressives are decent guys. But Liberal Party conservatives are just “rabble”. Can you bear it?


While on the topic of (alleged) Liberal Party rabble, consider the case of Crikey founder, City of Melbourne councillor and media tart Stephen Mayne. As recipients of The Mayne Report email newsletter are only too well aware, your man Mayne stood as a candidate against Liberal Party conservative Kevin Andrews in the Melbourne seat of Menzies last Saturday.

Mr Mayne depicted Kevin Andrews as a “Fake Liberal” while presenting himself as a “Keep Turnbull” Liberal. The only problem was that Stephen Mayne gave his preferences to the Greens ahead of the Liberal Party – contrary to the policy of the Liberal Party and its parliamentary leader Malcolm Turnbull.

Your man Mayne thought he was in with a chance in Menzies. After picking up a campaign nest egg of $50,000 in what these days is called crowd-sourcing.

On 23 May, Mayne declared that “the goal of this campaign is to get the Andrews primary vote down into the 40s and generate one of the biggest swings against an incumbent MP”.

On 17 June, Mayne enthused that “a winning scenario comes into play when Kevin’s vote gets below 45% and our vote tops 15%”.

On 27 June, Mayne declared that the Liberal Party was panicking over his attempt to win Menzies from Kevin Andrews.

On 1 July, Mayne claimed that “the feedback at early voting had been terrific”. He declared that his supporters “feel like his support has moved into double figures” and maintained that “the winning scenario comes into play with a [Mayne] primary vote above 15% provided Kevin’s primary vote is below 45%”.

But it did not come to pass. Kevin Andrews comfortably retained Menzies with a primary vote of 51.2 per cent. Stephen Mayne’s primary vote was 7.1 per cent. He finished behind both the Labor Party and the Greens on the primary vote.

Gerard Henderson was having a quiet Gin & Tonic at home in Sydney on Saturday afternoon before setting off with his dog Nancy to the polling booth when a special issue of The Mayne Report arrived in his in-box. At 4.10 pm to be precise. Here it is:

Please print this and take to Menzies booth

Hi everyone,
after a ridiculous Liberal Party complaint, the AEC has ordered all our booth workers to stop handing out this How To Vote card because it is not authorised. But have a look at the rear, it is authorised.
Short term emergency, we need people to print this new card, which is authorised on the front, and take it to the nearest Menzies polling booth. We’re a chance to win this and the Libs are playing dirty pool whilst the AEC has over-reacted. We have a printed card at booth which is clearly authorised on the back.
Do ya best, Stephen Mayne

It turned out that the self-proclaimed Turnbull Liberal had not abided by the Australian Electoral Commission’s rules. He failed to provide an authorisation on the front of his how-to-vote card.

When Hendo received the Mayne’s missive it was 4.10 pm in Sydney – and the polls were due to close at 6 pm. There was no time to print a card and take it to the Doncaster area of Melbourne – even if Hendo had been willing. Come to think of it, there would not have been time even if Hendo had been camping out in, say, Toorak or St Kilda.

So there you have it. The self-proclaimed saviour of Malcolm Turnbull campaigned against Turnbull’s candidate in Menzies and did not even manage to put out an AEC approved how-to-vote card. Can you bear it?


On Wednesday, Fairfax Media published an opinion piece on the 2016 election by Chris Henning – a former editorial writer for the Sydney Morning Herald. It’s indicative of the Herald’s standards, that Mr Henning blamed Malcolm Turnbull’s disappointing performance in the election campaign on – wait for it – Tony Abbott.

According to Mr Henning, the Coalition performed poorly on Saturday because the Prime Minister was not allowed to run on “his stances of republicanism, gay marriage and climate change”. This overlooks the fact that the Coalition performed relatively well in the inner-city seats where these policies are popular and performed poorly in parts of Tasmania, NSW and Queensland where these policies are of no particular moment.

You would have to be a one-time Fairfax leader writer to believe that Malcolm Turnbull would have done better in Northern Tasmania and Western Sydney had he run on a Fairfax Media-ABC leftist agenda. Can you bear it?


Sandalista watch

In his 1937 book The Road to Wigan Pier, George Orwell defended “the ordinary decent person” against “the intellectual, book-trained socialist”. He wrote that the latter:

“… type is drawn, to begin with, entirely from the middle class, and from a rootless town-bred section of that middle class at that. …It includes…the foaming denouncers of the bourgeoisie, and the more-water-in-your-beer reformers of whom [George Bernard] Shaw is the prototype, and the astute young social-literary climbers…and all that dreary tribe of high-minded women and sandal-wearers and bearded fruit-juice drinkers who come flocking towards the smell of ‘progress’ like bluebottles to a dead cat.”


Talking about the Sandalista Class, what a stunning performance by Andrea van Es on the ABC News Breakfast “Newspapers” segment yesterday.

You see, Dr van Es (for a doctor she is) used a couple of newspaper articles to declare that all us mere mortals need is some van Es inspired education to say and do the correct things. Let’s go to the transcript to learn what Dr van Es thinks about not only Pauline Hanson but also the 17 million Brits who supported Britain’s exit from the European Union in the Brexit referendum a couple of weeks ago:

Virginia Trioli: So your second story is from The Australian …and this is looking at the Pauline Hanson party which of course you know, feeds into that voter discontent.

Andrea van Es: Absolutely. So this is exactly why I picked this story. So Pauline Hanson I feel like, you know, John Oliver’s program Last Week Tonight, he does this segment on: “How is this still a thing?” That was my first reaction when Pauline Hanson: “Like or how is this still a thing?” And then you take a look, you know, into people’s reasoning for why they voted for her. And it is really – we’re fed up. We’re fed up with the major parties. She seems to be the only one that can do anything. Unfortunately people’s anger seems to be channelled, easily channelled, into xenophobia, into anti-anybody that’s different. And we see that with Pauline Hanson, and we see that in England with the Brexit vote. Which is the third article that I’ve chosen – which is looking at the, okay, leadership catastrophe that’s going on right there, right now. And it’s an easy way for politicians to manipulate public opinion, by falling onto these really populistic and radical lines of thought.

Michael Rowland: What does it say, more about politicians or about the state of the electorate, in the sense of being easily wooed by these people?

Andrea van Es: It’s both. It’s definitely both. So the politicians should know better. They should not be able to – they should be held accountable for this kind of rhetoric, which they’re not. At the same time the electorate is clearly in need of, for lack of a basic thing, civic education. So what we see happening, both in Australia and in the UK and in the US, is that the people, the voters who are tending to flock towards these populistic characters, these figures are the ones that tend to have less education. We saw in that in the Brexit vote. We see that with the voters for Pauline Hanson, we definitely see that with the voters who say they’re going to be voting for Donald Trump.

And Dr van Es went on and on and on – and on, in an elitist, and at time incoherent, kind of way. She wound up by declaring, sort of, again that she was going to learn us (to use a somewhat uneducated term) about how to make what she and her leftist academic colleagues believe are the correct “informed” decisions.

Andrea van Es: And this is exactly the problem, is that it comes back to sort of again, voter education. People need to be informed, to be able to make a decision.

In other words, according to Dr van Es, informed and educated types agree with van Es. Whereas uninformed and uneducated types vote for Hanson in Australia. And in Britain they favour a British exit from the European Union (all 17 million of them, apparently).

Andrea van Es is a senior research fellow in the Electoral Integrity Project at the taxpayer subsidised University of Sydney. In this institution, in inner-city Sydney, an academic is unlikely to come into contact with a Pauline Hanson voter. Moreover, Dr van Es seems unaware that some high profile supporters of Brexit – such as Michael Gove, Priti Patel and Boris Johnson are well-educated and highly intelligent. Dr van Es is an academic of the Sandalista Set.



The Senate election for the State of Victoria has yet to be declared by the Australian Electoral Commission. However, it seems likely that Derryn Hinch will win one of the available 12 vacancies. Right now, he remains a media performer and media tart.

As indicated in last week’s MWD, this will make life difficult for Hansard reporters. Once termed the Human Headline – in recent years Mr Hinch has had such incoherent speech patterns that he is now referred to as the Human Mumble. Well, in MWD at least.

On Tuesday, the Human Mumble was asked a question about Pauline Hanson’s proposal that there should be a Royal Commission into Islam. Let’s go to the report, taken from ABC Radio’s The World Today:

Katherine Gregory: Outspoken former radio and TV host and now Victorian Senator, Derryn Hinch, says he’s not looking forward to working with Ms Hanson.

Derryn Hinch: She’s talking about having CCTV cameras in mosques. Some people say, “Why don’t you put them in Catholic churches to watch out for the paedophiles?” It doesn’t make sense.

What a load of tosh. Ms Hanson’s proposal – whatever its merit – is that the sermons of radical imams in mosques should be recorded to check on any national security implications of their advice to fellow Muslims.

There is no evidence that any Catholic priest ever preached a sermon in support of pedophilia or pederasty in a Catholic church. Indeed the only prominent Australian to call for an understanding of pederasty was one-time ABC chairman Professor Richard Downing. See MWD passim ad nauseam.

Moreover, since (then) Archbishop George Pell set up the Melbourne Response in 1996 to handle allegations of clerical child sexual abuse, there has been little – if any – offending by Catholic priests in Australia. As evidence before the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual abuse indicates, the overwhelming majority of pedophile offences by Catholic priests and brothers are historical. By the way, the Melbourne Response was set up in 1996 – some six years before the Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” revelations about the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.

Derryn Hinch’s comments of last Tuesday demonstrate that the Human Mumble is an anti-Catholic sectarian.

As to his time in the Senate, well we shall see. It seems that your man Hinch has entered the wrong parliament.

According to the Hinch’s Justice Party website, Derryn Hinch stood on the following policies last Saturday:

Justice in sentencing

Bail reform

Parole reform

Domestic violence law reform


Animal justice

Public register of convicted sex offenders

Voluntary Euthanasia

Virtually all, if not all, of these issues are the responsibility of State and Territory governments. Not the Commonwealth Government. Yet your man Hinch has chosen to enter the Senate. He could have achieved much more in, say, the Victorian Legislative Council. But, then, the Human Mumble would have attained less media attention.

History Corner


There was huge interest in the History Corner, which was published in MWD Issue 321 under the heading “Jonathan Green Repeats Robert Menzies & Communist Party Myth”. This, no doubt, will increase after Sky News presenters Peter Beattie and Peter Reith embraced the myth described by your man Green and others. (This week’s “Can you bear it?” segment refers.)

On Sunday 19 June, when presenting the ABC Radio National Saturday Extra program, Jonathan Green declared that in 1961 the seat of Moreton in Queensland was “delivered to the Coalition on the basis of Communist Party preferences”. The Communist Party of Australia [CPA] candidate for Moreton in 1961 was the lawyer M.N. Julius.

It seems that this howler is also contained in the Australian Dictionary of Biography. Thanks to the avid reader who has drawn MWD’s attention to part of the entry on Max Nordau Julius that is published in Volume 14 of the ADB:

Julius’s standing within the C.P.A. was assured by his public exposure, formidable intelligence, good humour and legal skill, and he became one of the most respected members of the Queensland branch. In fulfilling his commitment to the party he stood for election to the House of Representatives in 1946, 1954, 1955, 1958 and 1961. On the last occasion his preferences were essential to the Liberal candidate, (Sir) James Killen, winning Moreton, thus securing the return of the Menzies government.

This is mythology. Once again, the facts are as follows:

There were four candidates contesting Moreton in 1961 in the following order on the ballot paper – 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 votes – 7.41 per cent

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

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

J.E. O’Donnell (ALP) 25,123 votes – 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.

As documented in Colin A. Hughes and B.D. Graham’s Voting for the House of Representatives: 1901-1964, the preferences spilled as follows:

Of Julius’ 676 primary votes, 193 went to Hagen (DLP), 390 went to O’Donnell (ALP) and 93 went to Killen (LP). In other words, a mere 13.8 per cent of Julius’ preferences – Communist Party preferences – went to Killen.

Of Hagen’s 4075 votes (after the distribution of Julius’ preferences), 596 went to O’Donnell and 3479 went to Killen. In other words, a whopping 85.3 per cent of Hagen’s preferences – Democratic Labor Party preferences – went to Killen.

The final vote for Moreton in 1961 was:

D.J. Killen (LP) 26,239 – 50.12 per cent

J.E. O’Donnell (ALP) 25,123 – 49.87 per cent

D.J. Killen defeated J.E. O’Donnell by 130 votes. If 83.75 per cent of Hagen’s preferences had gone to Killen – rather than 85.31 per cent – then O’Donnell would have won and the Menzies government would have been defeated.

Clearly, Jim Killen was elected in Moreton in 1961 – and Robert Menzies’ government saved – on the basis of the preferences of the anti-communist Democratic Labor Party. Not the Communist Party of Australia.

As previously documented (see MWD Issue 321), 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 Radio National’s Sunday Extra and on Sky News’ Beattie & Reith.

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).


Last week’s MWD quoted former Labor prime minister Paul Keating describing the Greens as “Trots hiding behind a gum tree”. He also called on Labor supporters to “squash the Greens – gesturing a stomping gesture with his feet. Needless to say, Mr Keating’s suggestion that Labor supporters should stomp on the likes of Sarah Hanson-Young and Lee Rhiannon has not raised the ire of feminist and former Keating staffer Dr Anne Summers. The Labor tribe seldom get rebuked by the likes of Summers for insensitive comments – her critique in such matters is reserved for Coalition supporters.

Perhaps gratuitously, MWD last week decided to remind readers what a Trot is – or was. It described Leon Trotsky (1879-1940) as a Bolshevik who opposed Stalin from the left. This led to a denunciation from a certain Bernard Bruning who – it can only be assumed – is an extant Trot still burning a candle for his Bolshevik hero. Here we go:

Bernard Bruning to Gerard Henderson – 2 JULY 2016


Please, please get your facts right Trotsky and Lenin both opposed Joe because they knew he was going to be a dictator.


Gerard Henderson to Bernard Bruning – 8 July 2016


I refer to your email of 2 July 2016 re last week’s Media Watch Dog. You maintain that “Trotsky and Lenin both opposed Joe [Stalin] because they knew he was going to be a dictator”.

This overlooks the fact that both Leon Trotsky and Vladimir Lenin were dictators themselves. And that Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin were all founding members of the dictatorial Bolsheviks. We are on a unity ticket in accepting that Joe Stalin was a totalitarian dictator. However, don’t let Trotsky and Stalin off the hook.

Leon Trotsky, as War Commissioner of the Bolsheviks, was involved in the crushing of the sailors’ uprising at Kronsdat in 1921. As Bertrand M. Patenaude describes it in Trotsky: Downfall of a Revolutionary :

In the frozen winter of 1921, the sailors of Kronstadt, which was the main base of the Baltic fleet, rose up in rebellion against Bolshevik rule. They demanded an end to the Communist monopoly of power, genuine elections to the Soviets, and the cessation of political terror, among other things. A special target of their wrath was “the bloody Field Marshal Trotsky”.

The Kronstadt uprising was brutally crushed. Then there was Trotsky’s role in the Civil War where – on his own admission – the Cossacks, peasants and industrial workers were crushed by the Red Army. As War Commissioner, Trotsky used all his powers to preserve the Bolshevik dictatorship which had come to power by the overthrow in 1917 of the elected government headed of Alexander Kerensky.

Then there is Vladimir Lenin. He was the leader of the Bolsheviks which overthrew the elected government of what was Russia (which later became the Soviet Union). As Richard Pipes documents in The Unknown Lenin: From The Secret Archive, Lenin established the police state, persecuted and/or deported intellectuals and presided over a truly corrupt political machine. As Pipes puts it, Lenin resorted to “unbridled violence”.

Stalin expelled Trotsky from the Soviet Union because he was a threat and later ordered his murder in Mexico. Stalin and Trotsky were rivals – but both were dictators.

Ditto Lenin. Towards the end of his life Lenin experienced some disquiet about Josef Stalin. But it was Lenin, Trotsky and other Bolsheviks who established the communist totalitarian state which Stalin took over in the 1920s and prevailed over until his death in 1953.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson


For eons, Nancy’s male co-owner has been drawing attention to the fact that Crikey publisher Eric Beecher has been warning at large about what he regards as declining standards in the Australian media – while presiding over the woeful standards that preside within the Crikey newsletter. Such as the publication of private addresses, the printing of anonymous tips and rumours and the offensive sludge of Crikey’s writer-at-large, a certain Guy Rundle.

Last Friday, after MWD went out, Crikey published a 2600 word rant by Comrade Rundle – a former editor of the self-proclaimed Marxist journalist of opinion Arena Magazine. It was titled “On the road with Di Natale – and why I will vote for the Greens”. This contained an offensive personal comment about the Labor candidate for Batman, David Feeney and his wife – and MWD favourite – Liberty Sanger.

Initially the powers-that-be at Crikey defended the publication of the Rundle rant. However, Crikey editor Cassandra Knowlton apologised in Crikey last Monday. And Crikey publisher Jason Whittaker did an even more grovelling apology on Wednesday.

In between these two mea culpas, Gerard Henderson – always keen to help – offered to accommodate Guy Rundle in one of Nancy’s Courtesy Classes. Alas, the well-meaning offer was not taken up. So expect more rudeness in Crikey from an unreformed Guy Rundle.

Gerard Henderson to Cass Knowlton – 4 July 2016


I notice that, finally, Crikey has acknowledged that Guy Rundle “went beyond the pale” – in his Crikey piece on 1 July concerning David Feeney and Liberty Sanger. Your apology to Mr Feeney and Mr Sanger is appropriate. However, I understand that so my favourite Marxist comedian has not apologised.

Now, here’s a modest proposal. Why not enrol Comrade Rundle in Nancy’s Courtesy Classes – which have a specific talent in getting the rudeness out of Brighton Grammar alumni.

It could be a long task. There is the Feeney/Sanger reference. Then, some years, ago Comrade Rundle invited me to coffee on a Saturday at Hotel Sofitel. He turned up late and left me with the bill.

So there is lotsa work to do. But enrolling Guy Rundle in Nancy’s Courtesy Classes could bring about a situation where your man Rundle stays within the pale and Crikey will not have to issue any additional apologies. And Crikey chairman Eric Beecher could continue to lecture-at-large about the need for journalistic standard without having to rationalise Rundle-Rudeness.

As to Comrade Rundle’s “On the road with Di Natale – and why I will vote for the Greens” – well, I suspect you did not read it prior to publication. I mean, how many 2600 word long rants can a busy Crikey editor be expected to read? And as to the “news” that Comrade Rundle is voting for the Greens – well, it has as much news value as a declaration by John Howard that he is voting for the Liberal Party.

Keep Morale High

Gerard Henderson

manners maketh the canine nancy's courtesy class


As a member of the Australian Republican Movement (chairman Peter FitzSimons), Gerard Henderson receives regular email correspondence asking for money. He invariably uses the occasion to repeat his promise to donate a cool $20,000 to the ARM if only the Red Bandannaed One will provide a certain address in Rome. Here is the most recent exchange. MWD reports that Fitz has still not come up with a location in the Eternal City.

Michelle Wood to Gerard Henderson – 6 July 2016

Dear Gerard,
The ARM is launching a new initiative, Women for a Republic, as a first step to rectifying the gender imbalance that is evident every time we poll support for an Australian republic.

A fundraising lunch to launch Women for a Republic will be held on Friday 22 July at Water @ Pier One, to be addressed by Marina Go, Chair of Wests Tigers, and Belinda Hutchinson, Chancellor of Sydney University.

For more information or to purchase tickets, go to Women for a Republic Launch. If you’re not able to attend but would like to make a donation, you can do so here.
We hope you can join us!

Michelle Wood
Senior Deputy Chair
Australian Republican Movement


Gerard Henderson to Michelle Wood – 6 July 2016

Dear Michelle

Thanks for the invitation to attend the Women for Republic launch at midday on Friday 22 July 2016 – with Marina Go and Belinda Hutchinson as guest speakers.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend. I write my Media Watch Dog blog on Fridays and it goes out after lunch. So I will be busy when the ARM gig takes place.

As to a donation. Well, I have offered to give $20,000 to the Australian Republican Movement if ARM chairman Peter FitzSimons can provide some international real estate information.

All the Red Bandannaed One has to do is to provide the address of the “$30 million mansion in Rome” where he claims Cardinal George Pell resides (Fitz’s Sun-Herald column of 24 May 2015 refers).

So it’s over to Peter FitzSimons – supply one address and ARM scores $20,000. Have a talk to Fitz about it.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

[table id=5 /]

* * * *

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