15 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.


“[Gerard Henderson is a] cretinous turd”

– Rohan Connolly via Twitter – 12 July 2016

By the way, Rohan Connolly is The Age’s football journalist. This was re-tweeted by Mike (“I used to pour the gin”) Carlton.

“It’s always nice to be mentioned in your pedantic, predictable and self-absorbed Friday web rant”

– Stephen Mayne, via email, Bastille Day, 2016

Stephen Mayne is a City of Melbourne Councillor and author of The Mayne Report.

  • Stop Press: Terrorism as a “Perpetual Irritant” – An Update; Mike Carlton doesn’t go to the Dogs; Robert Menzies’ 1961 Election win Howler Resurfaces on the Canberra Times’ Letters Page
  • Can You Bear It? The Trust Deficit junks Trust; Bruce Haigh on the ABC; Jenny Goldie’s The Drum Delusion; Dee Madigan’s Tony Abbott Fudge & Van Badham’s Dislikes (Does Anyone Care?)
  • New Feature: Leftist Abuse – The Very Latest starring Julian Burnside & Martin Flanagan
  • Media Fool-of-the-Week: Derryn Hinch Stars Again concerning A Possible Invasion of Ukraine
  • Clarification: Stephen Mayne – Failed Independent Candidate in Menzies
  • Correspondence: David Patch Helps Out re the Hilton Bombing; Sam Crosby Helps Out re his B.A. Santamaria Myth (as taught by David Marr) & Terry Moore Helps out re Tony Jones & Alleged Overturned Police Vehicles during the Vietnam War



As MWD was being written this morning, tragic news came through from Nice concerning what appears to be a terrorist attack – with scores murdered and injured.

It seems that Islamist terrorists have taken a tactic first adopted against democratic nations like Israel and transferred it to Western Europe. Namely, attacks by vehicles on pedestrians who present as soft targets.

This is another dreadful day for Western democracies. Yet, according to the teachings of Monash University academic – and Fairfax Media, Channel 10 and ABC favourite – Waleed Aly, it is a part of modern life.

Writing in The Age on 19 April 2013 – in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings – Mr Aly declared that “terrorism is a grotesque form of theatre”. He also urged Australians to come to the pragmatic recognition that terrorism is a “perpetual irritant”.

Sadly, Nice is the latest manifestation of what Waleed Aly believes we have to accept in a pragmatic kind of way.


Mike Carlton, the Sage of Sydney’s Avalon Beach, declared on ABC Radio 702 Drive with Richard Glover last evening that “Nobody goes to the dogs”. This was a reference to the decision of the NSW government to ban greyhound racing by 1 July 2017.

Your man Carlton’s assertion was challenged by fellow panelist Helen Trinca. But it shows just how out of touch Mike Carlton is. Obviously, he has not been to Dapto recently – where greyhounds race every Thursday evening. Moreover, Mike Carlton does not seem to know that you can watch greyhound racing, at home or at clubs, on cable TV. And many, many do.

If Richard Glover wants panelists on his program who understand the interests of lower income Australians, he should desist from inviting private school educated types who took the cadets seriously and wrote (bad) poetry at school before seeking employment, among other places, in the ABC and Fairfax Media. Like the Sage of Avalon Beach.


Just as it seemed that the Canberra Times editorial team had accepted the view that Prime Minister Robert Menzies won the 1961 Federal election on Communist Party preferences, the newspaper’s Letters Editor has given this howler a boost.

Writing in the Canberra Times last Saturday, columnist Jack Waterford wrote:

As with other close elections, the agony of 1961 was prolonged by a long period of waiting for postal and section votes. The last seat determined was Moreton, won by Jim Killen. Most of the legends about this, such as that he ultimately scraped in on Communist Party preferences, or that Menzies told him he was magnificent, are not true, but it was genuinely a close-run thing.

Jack Waterford’s account is historically accurate. Yet today the Canberra Times’ Letters Editor chose to run the following letter:

It is puzzling that Jack Waterford thinks it is untrue that Jim Killen won the seat of Moreton on Communist preferences in 1961 (Forum, July 9, p.2). The figures are quite clear. The Communist candidate, Max Julius, got 676 votes.

His preferences were distributed first, and 93 went direct to Killen, whose ultimate winning margin was 130. If those preferences had gone to Labor, Killen would have lost by 56.

– Stephen Brown, Forrest

What a load of absolute tosh. When Max Julius was eliminated from the count, there was still some 51,632 live votes in the ballot.

The Liberal Party’s Jim Killen prevailed over the Labor Party’s J.E. O’Donnell because Mr Killen received 85.31 per cent of the anti-communist Democratic Labor Party preferences. Had only 83.75 per cent of DLP preferences gone to the Liberal Party, then Labor would have won Moreton in 1961. Clearly, Robert Menzies’ government was saved in 1961 by Democratic Labor Party – not Communist Party – preferences. By the way, the Communist Party directed its preference to Labor.

Stephen Brown’s argument is meaningless. On his analysis, Jim Killen also would have lost Moreton if he had got fewer primary votes or if he had obtained fewer DLP preferences.

The fact is that the Communist Party candidate was not in the count when Moreton was decided. And, as Jack Waterford has written, Robert Menzies never told Jim Killen that he was magnificent. Killen, as he later admitted, just made this up – presumably after a bottle or two of wine.



As the cliché goes: “You can’t judge a book by its cover”. This certainly applies to the recently published The Trust Deficit (MUP, 2016) by Sam Crosby.

Sam Crosby’s The Trust Deficit bangs on about how trust in politics has declined. So, presumably, you can trust the McKell Institute’s executive director – since he has issued warnings about the lack of trust in others.

So what about former Labor prime minister Julia Gillard’s August 2010 promise that there would be no carbon tax under a government she led? Well, this is what The Trust Deficit has to say – focusing on the account of former Gillard staffer Russell Mahoney:

The truth is that I think we all forgot about this commitment. I was with the PM at the time, we were on the cliffs overlooking the Brisbane River – it was a really beautiful spot. We were nearing the end of the campaign and we’d answered this question a hundred times. At one point the boss made the now famous statement and I remember thinking, “Wow – that was unusually emphatic”, but then it was immediately qualified by saying we did want a price on carbon. It was entirely consistent with everything we’d planned on the issue, so it wasn’t really news. I don’t even think it was replayed in later bulletins. After the interview we just got on with our jobs and kept going. We all just forgot it was out there. [Emphasis added].

What a load of tosh. Russell Mahoney’s analysis – which is endorsed by your man Crosby – is simply false. The idea that Julia Gillard said that there would be no carbon tax under a government she led but then qualified the comment by saying that she would put a price on carbon is one of the great myths of recent Australian history.

As avid MWD readers are aware, this very same claim can be found in Jonathan Green’s The Year My Politics Broke and Kerry-Anne Walsh’s The Stalking of Julia Gillard. Neither Mr Green nor Ms Walsh has been able to provide MWD with a source for their claim. Presumably, both simply repeated a rumour.

It’s much the same with the Mahoney/Crosby claim in The Trust Deficit. For the record – and once again – here is what Prime Minister Julia Gillard said during her interview on Channel Ten’s News at 5 on 16 August 2010:

Julia Gillard: There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead. What we will do is we will tackle the challenge of climate change. We’ve invested record amounts in solar and renewable technologies. Now I want to build the transmission lines that will bring that clean, green energy into the national electricity grid. I also want to make sure we have no more dirty coal-fired power stations. I want to make sure we’re driving greener cars and working from greener buildings. I will be delivering those things, and leading our national debate to reach a consensus about putting a cap on carbon pollution.

That was it. In short, the assertion in The Trust Deficit that Ms Gillard said that she would not introduce a carbon tax but would put a price on carbon simply can’t be trusted. Can you bear it?


While on the topic of trust, will Gerard Henderson ever be able to trust Bruce Haigh – former Australian diplomat and regular panelist on ABC TV’s The Drum – again? Apparently not.

You see, this is the tweet which your man Haigh sent out on Tuesday – around lunch time:

The angry missive surprised Hendo. The last time he met Bruce (“I once flirted with Benazir Bhutto”) Haigh was at The Drum’s 2015 Christmas knees-up. Nancy’s (male) co-owner went along as Anne Henderson’s hand-bag. At the time, the former diplomat was all over Hendo like a cheap suit and told him about how he had sold his farm up Hunter Valley way and all that stuff. Yawn.

And now, in just over seven months, Hendo has gone from mate to a rodent. Shucks.

As to the ABC, this whining rodent is not aware of any change in the status quo. After all, the taxpayer funded public broadcaster remains a Conservative Free Zone without one conservative presenter, producer or editor for any of its prominent television, radio or online outlets. However, Bruce Haigh, just after pre-lunch drinks, reckons that the ABC has been taken over by “The Right”. Can you bear it?


While on the matter of The Drum, MWD notes that green/left academic Jenny Goldie wrote to the Canberra Times on Tuesday defending the ABC program against the allegation of a reader who maintained that there is too much green/left opinion on the program.

By the way, Ms Goldie is currently national president of Sustainable Regulation Australia and president of Climate Action Monaro. In short, a member of the Sandalista Set.

In her missive to the Canberra Times, Jenny Goldie declared that The Drum balances its green/left panellists with Institute of Public Affairs operatives “or the likes of Gerard Henderson and Nick Cater every night”.

How delusional can you get? When the eco-catastrophist Goldie watches The Drum, she sees Gerard Henderson or Nick Cater or an IPA type in action. However, Henderson has never appeared on The Drum. Never, ever. Can you bear it?


While on the subject of delusional behaviour, consider the case of Dee (“My father was a Catholic priest”) Madigan. On Paul Murray Live last week (6 July), Ms Madigan said this about Tony Abbott’s role in politics after the 2016 election. Let’s go to the transcript:

Dee Madigan: As Troy [Bramston] said, he’ll [Tony Abbott] just be out there doing his own thing. And that is not helpful to the party and it’s not helpful to the government.

Paul Murray: Dee, I say this affectionately: “As an Abbott hater, he hasn’t given you much out of this campaign to hate about, has he?”

Dee Madigan [Interjecting]: I actually like – I never, I actually quite liked him as a person. I worked on his Job Network campaign. I just thought he was a terrible prime minister.

So, on 6 July Dee Madigan declared that she quite likes Tony Abbott as a person. This from the author of the following tweets which criticised Tony Abbott as a person:



So, in 2015, Dee Madigan proclaimed that Tony Abbott was “an idiot” who practised “sexism” and who fell well short of being a “decent human being”. And this alumni of Loreto Mandeville Hall told Paul Murray that she has “always liked” the former prime minister. Can you bear it?


While on the topic of liking Tony Abbott (or not) – how about this exchange between self-declared anarchist Van Badham and broadcaster Steve Price on Q&A last Monday:

Van Badham: Are we really suggesting that Tony Abbott has such great experience that he’s valuable to your Cabinet? What kind of quality do you have in your Cabinet? Is everybody asleep?…

Steve Price: Well, you might dislike him personally.

Van Badham: It’s not a question of disliking him personally. I dislike him as an Australian…I dislike him as a person. You know, as person –

Steve Price: Do you know him?

Van Badham: As a person – no, of course I don’t know him. As a person on the left –

Steve Price: You dislike him but you don’t know him.

So there you have it. First up, Van Badham said that it was not a question of disliking Tony Abbott as a person. Rather she, disliked him as an Australian. A moment later, however, Ms Badham said that she did dislike Tony Abbott “as a person”. This from a person who proudly declares that she does not even know the former prime minister. Can you bear it?

Due to huge popular demand, MWD has decided to record – on a regular basis – the abuse which passes for debate within sections of the left. Avid readers are invited to send in contributions.


This is what Julian (“I just love to flash my post-nominals”) Burnside AO, QC, LLB, BEc, DSSc (Honoris Causa-RMIT), DUniv (Adel), DUniv (ACU) said about Pauline Hanson on 2 July 2016:

Earlier JB AO QC had referred to Pauline Hanson’s “stupidity, illiteracy and bigotry”. So here was JB AO QC’s false modesty in identifying as a “little person” – in addition to abuse about Pauline Hanson’s alleged “illiteracy” and the reference to her as a “dill”.


Writing about Brexit and all that in “The-Guardian-on-the-Yarra” last Saturday, columnist Martin Flanagan paid out on British Conservative MP Michael Gove.

According to The Age’s Saturday columnist Martin Flanagan, Michael Gove is “an extraordinary creature who looks like an escaped laboratory specimen, a sperm with spectacles…”.

Well, how clever is that? – in an abusive kind of way.



Did anyone see the Human Mumble on Sky News’ Paul Murray Live on Wednesday? Paul Murray promoted Derryn Hinch – whom he calls “Dad” – before and during the 2016 election campaign. Now that Derryn (“Please call me the Human Headline”) Hinch appears to have won a Senate seat in Victoria, he seems destined to continue mumbling on PML in the capacity of a politician talking-head.

Now, as avid MWD readers are aware, it is very difficult to transcribe precisely what your man Hinch talks about on air – since he mumbles so much. But here is what MWD reckons the Human Mumble said on PML on Wednesday – where he repeated his advice to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, delivered on Q&A last Monday, that Tony Abbott should be appointed to the Turnbull cabinet:

Derryn Hinch: Well, first of all, with Tony Abbott as foreign affairs minister we’d end up invading Ukraine, which may be a bit of a worry

What a load of absolute tosh. For starters, even if Tony Abbott were appointed foreign minister, he could not take Australia to war. Such decisions are made by the prime minister in consultation with other senior cabinet colleagues, including the defence minister.

Moreover, why would Mr Abbott want Australia to invade Ukraine? In fact, the former prime minister is something of a hero in Ukraine due to the Abbott government’s strong opposition to the Russian occupation of Crimea and its military interventions in eastern Ukraine.

Derryn Hinch may not think much of Tony Abbott’s irreverent comment that he would “shirt-front” Russian president Vladimir Putin when he visited the G20 summit in Brisbane early last year. However, most Ukrainians would have endorsed such an action.

Clearly, the Human Mumble does not know what he is mumbling about if he really believes that Tony Abbott would invade Ukraine if he were foreign minister. In fact, if Mr Abbott led an Australian contingent to Ukraine he would get red-carpet treatment – no invasion would be necessary.


Stephen Mayne, City of Melbourne Councillor, is one of those oh-so-sensitive souls who is very good at dishing out criticism but sensitive when someone criticises them.

Mr Mayne has written to MWD (somewhat discourteously) concerning the “Stephen Mayne’s Main Failures” item in last week’s MWD Issue 323 – see here. He maintains that this report contains two errors.

  1. MWD wrote that Stephen Mayne picked up “a campaign nest egg of $50,000” made up of crowd sourcing to run against Liberal Party endorsed candidate Kevin Andrews in the Melbourne seat of Menzies in the Federal election on 2 July.

Mr Mayne says that, in the end, he ran a $55,000 campaign – but that the crowd-sourcing amounted to $38,540 with the rest of the money to come from public funding for candidates who poll 4 per cent or more of the primary vote. He obtained 6.8 per cent of the primary vote – so will get about $ 15,500 for around 5800 votes (at $2.63 per vote).

MWD is happy to run this clarification, even though it is a minor point – don’t you think?

  1. MWD also reported that, just after 4 pm on Saturday 2 July, Gerard Henderson and others received a copy of The Mayne Report asking him to print a how-to-vote card and take it to a polling booth in Menzies. Hendo wrote that Mr Mayne “had not abided by the Australian Electoral Commission’s rules” in that he failed to provide an authorisation on the front of his how-to-vote card.

Stephen Mayne contests this account. Here is his position:

When you observed that I “did not even manage to put out an AEC approved how-to-vote card”, you may have misled your readers into thinking that the AEC does indeed authorise and approve how to vote cards, as occurs in some states with their respective state election authorities.

Sadly, this is not the case – Australia runs a self-approving and self-authorising regime with HTVs but, for some reason, only apparent to the duopoly Lib-Lab regime, since 2010 cards are required to be self-authorised by independent candidates on both sides. This means they are not centrally captured by anyone, let alone displayed on websites for voters to peruse.

As one embarrassed Liberal Party booth worker observed during the 3pm AEC operation to shut down our volunteers at 30 booths, lodging a complaint about a one-sided self-authorisation was hardly the sort of thing the party of free enterprise and competition should be doing to cause red-tape regulatory shut down of someone who strongly supports Prime Minister Turnbull. So much for AEC Commissioner Andrew Rogers with his stated aim earlier this year of being “unobtrusive”.

You be the judge. Hendo can’t work out what Mr Mayne is saying here. But avid readers may well understand.

It’s true that a 6.8 per cent primate vote for an Independent is a satisfactory outcome. It’s just that, as late as a couple of hours before the polling booths closed, Stephen Mayne declared “we’re a chance to win this”. In fact, Stephen Mayne finished fourth behind Kevin Andrews (who won on the primary vote), Labor and the Greens.

The swing, after preferences, against Mr Andrews was 3.7 per cent. A satisfactory result in the circumstances – since he was opposed by Labor, the Greens and Stephen Mayne in his capacity as an Independent and Mr Mayne claimed to be a “pro-Malcolm Turnbull Independent candidate”. This, in spite of the fact that Stephen Mayne gave his preferences to the Greens and Labor ahead of Kevin Andrews.

If Stephen Mayne had obtained a bigger vote, Labor could have won Menzies – which would have made it much more difficult for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to form a government. He didn’t.

Your man Mayne has suggested that Gerard Henderson might like to contribute to his campaign. Being a courteous kind of guy who can’t say “no” – Hendo will send your man Mayne a cheque for $2.63 to match the taxpayer contribution per vote to his (lost) cause.

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).


On Wednesday 22 June 2016, The Sydney Institute hosted a talk by Dr Rachel Landers on her book Who Bombed the Hilton? (NewSouth, 2016). The book covers the bombing of the Hilton Hotel in Sydney on 13 February 1978.

A certain David Patch found out about the function and emailed the following missive:

Please book two places for me for the Hilton Bombing discussion.

David Patch

PS: I was Evan Pederick’s solicitor

PPS: Will Tim Anderson be attending?

One of the Institute’s casuals replied that David Patch could attend the function. Mr Patch’s response indicated that he was personally involved in the case since Tim Anderson was acquitted of involvement in the bombing while Evan Pederick pleaded guilty to the offence. Gerard Henderson, who moderates the Institute’s functions, expected that David Patch would involve himself in the function at the question/discussion period. And so it came to pass.

Hendo has had a previous relationship with David Patch. On 12 September 2012, Henderson wrote a critique of David Marr’s Political Animal: The Making of Tony Abbott (Quarterly Essay, Issue 47, 2012) – in which the author alleged, inter alia, that in 1977 Tony Abbott had twice punched a wall at the University of Sydney on either side of left-wing activist Barbara Ramjan’s head. In the second edition of Political Animal Marr changed the date of when the alleged incident occurred – without explaining why he got the date wrong in the first instance.

David Patch wrote an article in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age on 13 September 2012 criticising Hendo and supporting David Marr and Ms Ramjan. It was published in both papers – despite the fact that Henderson’s comment had not been published in The Age’s print edition. That’s how Australia’s very own “Guardian-on-the-Yarra” works in favouring leftist comrades.

In his article, Mr Patch wrote that he “remembered the night in 1977” when the (alleged) wall-punching incident occurred. He claimed to have been “a witness” to the event – despite the fact that he admitted that he “did not see the incident”.

Hendo was intrigued by the fact that a lawyer could claim to be a witness to an event that he did not see. So he awaited with interest David Patch’s appearance in the audience at the Rachel Landers address. Hendo wasn’t surprised. Now read on:

Gerard Henderson to David Patch – 23 June 2016


I refer to your comment as you left The Sydney Institute last night that I had only allowed you “10 seconds” to state your case.

If you care to check the podcast you will note that your first question/comment went for over a minute and your second question/comment (which included a rude interruption of the speaker) went for close to 2 minutes. In other words you had about 3 minutes to state your case – which you were not able to do in a coherent fashion.

There were about 40 people in the room last night. If everyone demanded 3 minutes to put their case, the question/discussion period would have to run for two hours. This would not include the speaker’s response.

If you had come to any of the Institute’s functions over the past 27 years, you would understand that at the Institute people asking questions or making comments are expected to be concise.

As I said to you as you left last night, I broadly agree with your position on the Hilton bombing. But my role is to be fair to all the audience – including those who watch on Foxtel or who listen on our podcast.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

David Patch to Gerard Henderson – 9 July 2016


I had a significant contribution to make – but not at all on the question of who was (or were) the Hilton bomber(s), which is an assumption that you make. You mistake what I wanted to speak about for the simple and obvious reason that you did not let me get it out! You interrupted me – indeed “disrupted” would be a better word – in such a manner as to make it impossible for me to finish what I wanted to say.

I wanted to critique the book, and the failure of the writer to analyse in any manner whatsoever what Evan Pederick had said. As this was in such stark contrast to the careful, reasoned, research-based, analysis which dominated the first ¾ of the book, I wanted to know why the writer had departed from her previously rigorous approach in such a radical and sudden way.

In order to ask her that, it was necessary to, briefly and clearly, establish that she had done that. (As it turned out, in private discussion afterwards she said to me “I just didn’t believe him” – but was simply unable to say why, saying “I just did” – which is intellectually rather shoddy, as I am sure you would agree.) But – sadly –you stopped me getting to the point.

I did not say to you that you had only allowed me 10 seconds to state my case – indeed, although interrupted, I did indeed get longer than that. And I was not rude to the writer at all.

What surprised me most was not really your disruption of me, but the failure by you to facilitate an intelligent and intellectual exchange at an institution which prides itself on such things.



Gerard Henderson to David Patch – 15 July 2016


I refer to your email of 9 July 2016 in response to my email to you of 23 June 2016. In reply, I make the following comments:

▪ Anne Henderson and I invited Rachel Landers to talk at The Sydney Institute about her book Who Bombed the Hilton? (NewSouth, 2016). We did not invite you to address the Institute – as far as I am aware you have not written a book about the Hilton bombing of 1978.

▪ Over the last 27 years, you have never shown any interest in The Sydney Institute – but you phoned the Institute and advised that you would like to attend the Landers function. Since we are a courteous lot, one of casual staff said that you could come along.

▪ Before the talk commenced, I advised all members of the audience to keep their questions or comments brief. I said that sometimes comments from the floor were not readily picked up on the Institute’s podcast and/or the Australian News Channel 648 microphone – and that I had to repeat them. The longer the question/comment, the longer it takes to summarise the question/comment so that it is audible – and the less time there is for audience involvement.

▪ Since you have not attended Institute functions previously, you are not aware of the Institute’s culture. The fact is that people turn up to listen to the speaker. Not to listen to a fellow audience member. If you want to give a speech on the Hilton bombing, you can set up such a function yourself. However, you are not entitled to attempt to take over our functions.

▪ When I called you during the question/discussion period, you insisted on standing. You moved to the side of the room with sheets of paper in your hand – intent on delivering a speech. You initially said that you agreed with the first three-quarters of the book but not with the last quarter. You then proceeded to ask a number of technical questions which you did not adequately background. It was then that I said that The Sydney Institute was not a place for you attempt to exercise your legal skills in cross examination.

You had gone a full minute when I called your first comment to a halt – and asked the speaker to respond. I was surprised at your inability to put forward a concise comment, which the audience could understand and to which the speaker could readily respond.

▪ In spite of my concern about your previous long list of assertions, I called you again. This time you went on for two minutes – before I asked Rachel Landers to respond. During this period, you rudely interrupted the speaker when she attempted to respond to one of your assertions.

By this time, you had taken up a total of 3 minutes of a 30-minute question period. As previously explained, if everyone in the audience had behaved in a like manner, the function would have been ruined both for those in the room and for those listening/watching for the event on the Institute’s podcast or Foxtel.

▪ As you left 41 Phillip Street, you did say that I had only allowed you “10 seconds” to put your case. This was delusional comment.

▪ I do not need a lecture from you about how “to facilitate intelligent and intellectual exchange”. Over 27 years, the Institute is regarded as a place where both speakers and the audience are treated fairly and professionally. We expect that all audience members will act professionally.

In attempting to take over the function, your behaviour was unprofessional and unreasonable. The truth is that you are too emotionally involved in this issue to put a concise and coherent case.

Someone like you should be able to put a proposition in a minute – i.e. around 200 words. As you should be aware, many letters-to-the-editor printed in newspapers run for around 200 words or less. The fact is that you could not get to your point after a total of 3 minutes – i.e. around 600 words.

▪ I suggest that what it appears you wanted to say could have been expressed as follows:

I enjoyed the first three quarters of your book but I was disappointed with the final quarter. I represented Evan Pederick who, as you know, pleaded guilty to involvement in the Hilton bombing. Mr Pederick said he was guilty. I believe what he said. What evidence did you rely on in Who Bombed the Hilton? to dismiss Evan Pederick’s guilty confession.

Such a comment would have taken less than 30 seconds and would have been understood by the audience. Later you could have made another concise comment. Neither brief comment would have been interrupted by me.

In conclusion, I recommend that you attend Nancy’s Courtesy Classes and go join Loquacious Anonymous.

Keep morale high.



Sam Crosby, executive director of the McKell Institute, has just written The Trust Deficit (MUP, 2016) in which he lectures-at-large about the lack of trust which he alleges modern electors have in their elected leaders. Gerard Henderson has commenced Mr Crosby’s tome in the hope of picking up some tips on trust and all that jazz. However, after consuming around 50 pages, Hendo found that you can’t trust The Trust Deficit. Sam Crosby’s howler about Julia Gillard and the (alleged) carbon tax quote has been documented in today’s “Can You Bear It?” segment. Also, your man Crosby foolishly decided to trust the leftist David Marr on B.A. Santamaria, Tony Abbott and all that. Now read on:

Gerard Henderson to Sam Crosby – 14 July 2016


Good afternoon Sam

Trust me, I’m currently reading The Trust Deficit (MUP, 2016). I have finished up to the end of Chapter 2.

Here’s my query. At Page 42, in writing about Julia Gillard’s carbon tax, you refer to Tony Abbott’s “mastery of opposition” – and you add:

David Marr points out that Abbott learned his craft at the knees of anti-communist political activist B A Santamaria: “When you haven’t got the numbers, be vicious. It’s called minority politics. Small constituencies can cause big trouble. It’s a matter of passion rather than numbers.”47

Footnote 47 indicates that your source for this quote is David Marr, Political Animal: The Making of Tony Abbott (Quarterly Essay, Issue 47, 2012).

Here’s my problem as to trust.

First, this is an abbreviated quote from David Marr’s Quarterly Essay – but you do not make this clear to your readers.

Second, in The Trust Deficit you imply that B.A. Santamaria held the position: “When you haven’t got the numbers, be vicious.” Mr Santamaria never said anything about being “vicious”. Mr Marr just made this up – as he, somewhat reluctantly, conceded at Footnote 80 on Page 193 of the second edition of Political Animal (Black Inc 2013). It’s a serious charge to imply that a man, who died in 1998 and cannot defend himself, advocated four decades ago that his young supporters on campuses should “be vicious”.

Your reference to B.A. Santamaria on Page 42 of The Trust Deficit is either deliberately misleading or poor scholarship. In any event, you provide no evidence that Santamaria ever said anything about being “vicious”.

I trust that you will correct this reference in any future edition.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

Sam Crosby to Gerard Henderson – 14 July 2016


G’day Gerard,

It’s been far too long! I hope you’re well?

Firstly, thanks for buying a copy of the book – and for reading it so thoroughly!

Secondly, regarding the truncation, you’re right, I did leave out half a sentence, and though that in no way changes the substance of the quote, I agree I should have identified the truncation. I’m not sure you could say this impact’s the book’s trustworthiness though.

Thirdly, regarding the substance of your note, I can see how you got that impression, and on re-reading it through your eyes, perhaps I should have made it clearer. My intention was to quote Marr’s point of view and analysis of the similarities to Santamaria and Abbott’s style of campaign, I never meant to imply that Santamaria said these words but I should have made this point clearer.

Perhaps when you’re through the end of it you’d let me buy you a coffee.

I’d love your thoughts on the book and its themes.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson to Sam Crosby – 14 July 2016


Thanks for your prompt response. But it is an untrustworthy cop-out.

David Marr just made up his claim that B.A. Santamaria, four decades ago, told young students (including Tony Abbott) to be “vicious”. And, in a book which takes a high-minded attitude to trust, you have effectively endorsed Marr’s verballing of Santamaria in an attempt to criticise Mr Abbott.

By the way, it’s easy to identify quotes that are abridged. You just use dot points….

Here’s a useful suggestion. You should enrol in Nancy’s Courtesy Classes. One of the sessions teaches that it is courteous not to verbal the dead.

Gerard Henderson


Terry Moore, an avid reader, wrote to MWD concerning the coverage in last week’s edition concerning Lateline co-presenter Tony Jones. Hendo queried Mr Jones’ assertion that he had “read” the Chilcot Report (estimated length 2.5 million words) in around 24 hours. Hendo was also reminded of Mr Jones’ claim that his generation was involved in overturning police cars in Vietnam War protests. Mr Moore believes that MWD was too tough on your man Jones. Hendo does not concur. Here we go:

Terry Moore to Gerard Henderson – 8 July 2016

A warm hello Gerard. I’m a big fan and very grateful for your work. Briefly:

Tony Jones: 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.

– means he was part of that generation, as was I. You could argue that “involved in” and the rest was slippery, perhaps artfully so.

However, my point is: I think you over-reach at times to the detriment of your otherwise impeccable credibility. You could reasonably be expected to tear apart someone who effectively semantically verballed you in such a manner, and that’s not a good look.

With goodwill and intention.

And lotsa, lotsa thanks

Big Fan

Gerard Henderson to Terry Moore – 15 July 2016

Good afternoon Terry – and thanks for your generous note, except for the verballing allegation.

For the record, I do not believe that I overreached with respect to my comment on Tony Jones in last week’s MWD.

The fact is that there is no evidence that demonstrators opposed to Australia’s Vietnam commitment in the 1960s and early 1970s ever overturned cars. No such claim is made in Peter Edwards’ A Nation at War: Australian Politics, Society and Diplomacy during the Vietnam War – 1965-1975 or in John Blaxland’s The Protest Years – The Official History of ASIO: 1963-1975. Dr Edwards was the official war historian for Australia’s South East Asian conflicts and Dr Blaxland had access to ASIO’s files.

As documented in MWD Issue 101, the only time when police cars were overturned in Australia during the 1960s or 1970s occurred on 19 September 1979. The demonstration occurred outside Newcastle’s Star Hotel after NSW Police moved in to the Star 30 seconds before closing time and ordered all patrons – who were being supplied with free grog – out of the building.

There was a riot outside the Star in which police cars were overturned. This took place almost a decade after Australia withdrew its combat troops from Vietnam.

In other words, this was not a riot about the Vietnam War – but, rather, about Australian thirst. Mr Jones’ comment that his generation was involved in turning over cars during the Vietnam War does not pass the fact-check test. Ditto his comment on Lateline (7 July 2016) that he had “read” the 6,000 plus pages of the Chilcot Report in around 24 hours.

Keep morale high.




* * * *

Until next time.

* * * * *

“[Gerard Henderson is a] cretinous turd”

– Rohan Connolly via Twitter – 12 July 2016

“It’s always nice to be mentioned in your pedantic, predictable and self-absorbed Friday web rant”

– Stephen Mayne, via email, Bastille Day, 2016

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, 5:22 PM

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