22 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] whining rodent”

– Bruce Haigh, former diplomat and regular ABC panelist.

  • Stop Press: On Bernard Keane & Q&A
  • Can You Bear It? Niki Savva & Laura Tingle & Peter Martin on – You’ve Guessed It – Tony Abbott; + Why Stuart Littlemore Should Travel More by Train; + Mad As Hell as Dull as Bat Shit; + The Saturday Paper Sans News
  • The ABC & Historical Pederasty: The Standard the Current Board Appears Willing to Accept
  • Great Media U-Turns of Our Time: Jonathan King on the Western Front
  • History Corner: Gough Whitlam’s Night at the Stasi Opera
  • Correspondence: Julian Burnside Helps Out on Cardinal George Pell; Phillip Adams Declines to Help Out on Professor Richard Downing & the (Blokey) ARM Declines to Take Up Hendo’s offer…et al ad nauseam



Crikey’s Bernard Keane sometimes talks sense. But not always. And often not when he is interviewed on the Conservative Free Zone that is the ABC which does not have a conservative presenter, producer or editor for any of its prominent television, radio or online outlets.

Talking on ABC Radio 702’s Mornings with Wendy Harmer today, Mr Keane complained that “we don’t think about terrorism when white people do it”.

What a load of absolute tosh. The Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) and its various offshoots were always regarded in the West as terrorist organisations. It was a secular, not Catholic, organisation with the aim of driving Britain out of the island of Ireland. But it was always recognised as consisting of white men and women.

Likewise the various terrorist organisations which were active in the West over recent decades. Including the Red Brigades in Italy, the Baader-Meinhof group in Germany, and the Basque Separatist Group (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna ETA) in Spain and the Weather Underground Organization (WUO) in the United States. All are regarded as terrorist groups of white men and women. Plus Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber). Plus Timothy McVeigh (the Oklahoma bomber).

Bernard Keane also stated on 702 this morning that there were Eastern European terrorist groups operating in Australia in the 1960s and 1970s. Sure were. However, as Gerard Henderson documents in his column in tomorrow’s Weekend Australian, there is now significant evidence to suggest that the attacks attributed to the anti-communist Croatians in the 1960s and 1970s were undertaken, instead, by communist Yugoslavian agents in Australia. But no one has doubted that those who set off bombs in Australia at the time were terrorists of white skin.

Your man Keane just made up his assertion that “we don’t think about terrorism when white people do it”. Needless to say, he was not corrected by Wendy Harmer. Verily, a Wendy Harmer Moment.


When Gerard Henderson appeared on Q&A for the second (and last) time in 2011 – he was told by the executive director Peter McEvoy that 60 personnel worked on the program. It seemed over-staffed to Hendo – but Mr McEvoy gave the impression that there was much work to do. Some five years later, the Q&A crew could now be about 50. Yet this is still very large staff for a program that goes to air for an hour once a week.

In any event, there should be enough Q&A staff to properly vet audience guests. Not so, apparently. Last year Q&A invited convicted criminal and terrorist sympathiser Zaky Mallah on to the program and arranged for him to direct a question to Coalition government minister Steve Ciobo.

As The Australian reveals today, Khaled Elomar, who was called last Monday by Q&A presenter Tony Jones to direct a question at One Nation senator-elect Pauline Hanson, is somewhat less than he seems. Mr Elomar presented himself as a moderate man who was struggling to explain to his son why Islamophobia exists. He accused Ms Hanson of fuelling “hatred, bigotry and ignorance”.

Mr Jones did not advise the Q&A audience that there is evidence online that Khaled Elomar has described the so-called Islamic State as “minor” and declared “F-ck the Australian government” and “Fu-k Israeli Government”. Khaled Elomar has told Ms Hanson to “go uppercut yourself” and described Senator Jacqui Lambie as a “deformed character” who is “ugly”. Yet Khaled Elomar was invited into the Q&A studio – in spite of the ABC preaching against violent language directed at women along with derogatory language towards the disabled.


What a stunning performance by Niki (“Proudly a conservative leftie – whatever that might mean”) Savva on Insiders last Sunday.

It’s some 10 months since Malcolm Turnbull replaced Tony Abbott as prime minister. Since then there has been the May 2016 budget followed by the July 2016 election. However, Ms Savva – author of the obsessive The Road to Ruin: how Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin destroyed their own government – still seems to regard herself as defending the Liberal Party against the former prime minister and his supporters.

Let’s go to the transcript from the Insiders’ “Newspapers” segment where Ms Savva is invited by presenter Fran Kelly to comment on a piece by Samantha Maiden in the News Corp Sunday papers that Tony Abbott would not be attending the Prime Minister’s Sunday evening drinks at The Lodge:

Fran Kelly: …is it time to bring him [Abbott] back in from the cold?

Niki Savva: Ah, no, not necessarily. Look, we’ve just gone from something which is incredibly universal and horrific, and such a challenge [i.e. the Nice terrorist attack], right down to the level of petty Australian politics. And Abbott has apparently refused the invitation to go to The Lodge, even though he would be able to get his favourite food of party pies and sausage rolls. And that all seems to be because he won’t be getting a spot in the ministry. Despite the best attempts of what his younger conservative colleagues are calling the efforts of “Dad’s Army” – the people who’ve had their go, and had a pretty good go but really don’t want to step aside for the younger generation. So, I just think, yeah, good on them, you know. But it does make them look very petty in the overall scheme of things.

How petty can you get? For starters, there is no reason why Tony Abbott should have attended a function in The Lodge on Sunday night because there had been a terrorist attack in Nice two days earlier. After all, it was only a social occasion. Moreover, the trim Mr Abbott does not look like he is addicted to sausage rolls and meat pies. And then there is the fact that Tony Abbott – presumably the leader of the Dad’s Army to which Ms Savva refers – is three years younger than Malcolm Turnbull.

Then, towards the end of the program when discussion turned on the reduced number of female Liberal Party MPs in the new Parliament, Niki Savva had (yet) another go at the former prime minister:

Niki Savva: Well the other problem is that, you know, they had six years with Abbott as leader, with a female chief-of-staff [Peta Credlin], who was married to the Federal director [Brian Loughnane]. And I don’t think enough was done in that period, despite a report from the organisation, that they should actually put in place structures to make sure that women were recruited. It just never happened.

Once again, blame Tony Abbott. Ms Savva’s analysis overlooked the fact that, in the Liberal Party, pre-selection falls within the responsibility of the State divisions – not the Federal director. What’s more, of the new Liberal MPs who won seats in 2016, four gained pre-selection during Malcolm Turnbull’s prime ministership. Namely Trent Zimmerman (North Sydney), Tim Wilson (Goldstein), Trevor Evans (Brisbane) and Jason Falinski (Mackellar). Messrs Evans and Falinski won seats previously held by female Liberal MPs. The only new female in the House of Representatives is Julia Banks (Chisholm) – who won her pre-selection during the period of the Abbott government.

However, for Niki Savva there is just one response to the Coalition’s narrow election win – Blame Tony Abbott. Can you bear it?


While on the Blame Abbott scenario, consider Laura Tingle’s explanation on Insiders for the Turnbull government’s disappointing performance during the 2016 election:

Laura Tingle: The thing that strikes me about all of this is: where was the – I mean, there are campaign tactics about going negative or not. But there is also just the issue of, what were the Coalition’s vulnerabilities here? The Coalition’s vulnerabilities were on health and education – where do their policies on health and education stem from? They stem from the 2014 budget. They stem from the Abbott –

Fran Kelly: They couldn’t mention education.

Laura Tingle: They couldn’t mention education and –

Fran Kelly: And they didn’t want to mention health

Laura Tingle: And they didn’t want to mention health. They went into the election campaign completely vulnerable on these issues. And they are lucky, really, that Labor just concentrated on health.

The furious agreement on this issue between La Tingle and Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly overlooks the fact that Malcolm Turnbull had plenty of time – between coming to office in September 2015 and the July 2016 election – to revise his government’s policies with respect to health and education. If necessary, new policies to alter the health and education policies of the Abbott government (in which Malcolm Turnbull held a senior cabinet position) could have been announced in the May 2016 budget. Or in the election campaign itself. Indeed, in the 2016 budget the Turnbull government froze the rebate which GPs receive from the government for another two years.

But to Laura Tingle and Fran Kelly, it was all the former prime minister’s fault. Can you bear it?


While on the topic of Abbott-phobia, consider the remarks of The Age’s economics editor and profound Abbott-hater – Peter Martin. Talking on The Drum (7 July 2016) following the release of the Chilcot Report in Britain, your man Martin had this to say:

Peter Martin: Abbott was reckless in the, remember the Malaysian Airlines downing over the Ukraine? He [Tony Abbott] sent Australian police there. The Australians [on MH17] were already dead. Heaven knows what could have happened. He, he, he, he asked the military for, apparently, asked the intelligence people for an announceable a day. He kept referring, before he lost his job, to the, the ISIS “Death Cult” and he was ramping up that talk in the same way as George Bush did. We saw requests from the US, or backdoor requests from the US to Malcolm Turnbull, his successor, who batted them away.

What a load of absolute tosh. When prime minister, Tony Abbott sent the Australian Federal Police to Ukraine to assist in the recovery of bodies and personal possessions from the MH17 crash site. This was dangerous work since the plane had been shot down in eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian forces were operating. But the AFP was not alone. Representatives of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) were also in Ukraine at the time.

Speaking to Linda LoPresti on ABC Radio National Breakfast on 18 July, Michael Bociurkiw, OSCE’s former spokesman, had this to say:

Michael Bociurkiw: … it was an active agricultural area in an active warzone as well. So all of that meant that the amount of time we could spend there was limited to only a few minutes on certain days.

 Linda LoPresti: That’s right because there was the fighting between the pro-Russian rebels and Ukraine forces and that was continuing while this was going on. So, how frustrating and how dangerous was that time shortly after the crash? Because you must have been blocked – were you? By pro-Russian rebels from entering the crash site?

 Michael Bociurkiw: Yeah, in fact there were days where we couldn’t enter the site whatsoever. You know our role was to facilitate access for the experts from the different countries. And I must say, I myself was very, very impressed with the professionalism and the stoicism of the Australians who came there – especially from the Australian Federal Police – who came there to investigate under very, very trying circumstances.

Presumably, Peter Martin, from the safety of Australia, reckons that the rescue teams that operated in eastern Ukraine deserved no protection. Well, Mr Martin is a journalist.

As to Mr Martin’s implication that the requests which came to Australia from the United States had something to do with George W. Bush – The Age’s economics editor seems to have forgotten that Barack Obama became US president in January 2009. Also George W. Bush never referred to the so-called Islamic State as a “Death Cult” since no such entity was in existence during the time of his presidency. How many howlers can a Fairfax Media editor make on the ABC in a mere 36 seconds? Can you bear it?


What a brilliant performance by Sydney barrister and one-time ABC TV Media Watch presenter Stuart Littlemore QC in the Supreme Court of New South Wales earlier this week. Mr Littlemore represented the ABC in a defamation case brought against the taxpayer funded public broadcaster by a former Seven Group chief executive Don Voelte.

The United States based and American-born businessman claimed that he had been defamed in a segment on the ABC TV The Business program in 2014. As it turned out, a jury of four men did not agree. According to reports in the Australian Financial Review, part of Littlemore QC’s address to the court was as follows:

You’re on the Campbelltown train, you sit next to a man and you talk about the weather and the State of Origin. They’re not trading on the stock market, they’re not reading The Australian Financial Review.

Your man Littlemore’s proposition was that Mr Voelte’s reputation had not been damaged since the man (or woman) on a Campbelltown train in Western Sydney was not interested in the stock market and did not read the Australian Financial Review. According to Littlemore QC, they would talk instead about the weather and Rugby League football.

How elitist can you get? Thanks to avid reader, Kieran Kelly who, enraged at Littlemore’s evident elitism, sent the following missive to MWD:

If Stuart Littlemore thinks that people in Western Sydney inhabit some non-financial gulag he should go there sometime. He might be surprised. As an investment manager and stockbroker of 35 years standing, I’m continually amazed how much people with little formal education know about the share and property markets, companies and how our economy works. This trend has been amplified in recent years by the explosion in the number of people running self-managed super funds. Many husband and wife trustees – Mr Littlemore’s “ordinary people”, – are extremely astute and successful investors. Many live in rural areas, in mining towns in Western Australia and – shock! horror! Mr Littlemore – live in Western Sydney.

Western Sydney has the fastest growing population of any Australian regional area, it is the third largest regional economy in the country and an enormous source of GNP growth. Mr Littlemore might be surprised to know that many people who live there actually drive to work. He obviously hasn’t been there recently and experienced peak hour traffic. Lots of ordinary folk not on the train, apparently.

Stuart Littlemore’s comments show just how out of touch Australia’s elites are. The rest of the country is leaving them behind as recent election results, not just here but all over the world, demonstrate.

According to his entry in Who’s Who in Australia, Stuart Meredith Littlemore QC was educated at Scots College in Sydney and the University of New South Wales – and is a member of the Historic Sports and Racing Car Association of New South Wales. Who knows? It’s possible that your man Littlemore’s vintage car collection cannot make it from fashionable inner-city Sydney to the Western suburbs – even in good weather at the time of the Rugby League off-season. Can you bear it?


Morry Schwartz’s The Saturday Paper (editor, Erik Jensen) goes to print on Thursday night. Since it contains little news, Nancy’s (male) co-owner reads it on Monday afternoon.

The big (albeit sad) news of the last Saturday morning was the Nice terrorist attack – which occurred on Friday morning (Australian time). Needless to say, The Saturday Paper had no news of this big news. Instead it had a dated piece by Mike (“First among the Sneerers”) Seccombe on the 2015 Lindt Café Siege along with the dinkus highlighting a boring piece by Tony Windsor – the defeated candidate for New England in the 2016 election. Can you bear it?

NANCY’S MODEST PROPOSAL FOR “MAD AS HELL”The current series of Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell started off well enough. However, in recent weeks, it has become “Dull as Bat-Shit” as your man Micallef advances what he calls, ironically, his “Trotskyite agenda”.

In fact, Mad as Hell has come to resemble less the Leon Trotsky’s Red Army of circa 1917 and more the Pope Pius XII’s Vatican of circa 1950. In recent weeks, Micallef has come to sound like a Catholic priest delivering a sermon each Sunday to an uncritical audience in the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, 1954.

Last week Mad As Hell channelled St. Bob Brown’s Epistle to the Green/Leftians. Shaun Micallef’s targets included Malcolm Turnbull, Arthur Sinodinos, Kevin Andrews (of course), Eric Abetz (ditto), Tony Abbott (ditto with knobs on), Michaelia Cash, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party and its “God fearing white men”. [Interesting – Mr Micallef looks pretty white to me – perhaps it’s the tax-payer funded make-up – MWD Editor], Theresa May, The Nationals’ team (Barnaby Joyce, Fiona Nash) and – well, naturally – Cardinal George Pell. Plus the late B.A. Santamaria. Great variety, eh?

Once again, the male members of the Mad As Hell team dressed up as cardinals, bishops/monsignors to do their mockery of the Catholic Church. And, once again, Shaun Micallef used the occasion to do his imitation of the oh-so-effeminate British actor Kenneth Williams (1926-1988).

MWD waits eagerly for the oh-so-brave Mad As Hell team to do a send-up of Islam and its mullahs. [Don’t hold your breath. I understand that your man Micallef likes his neck the way it is – i.e. attached to his head. – MWD Editor]. Perhaps Micallef will defend himself on the basis that, after all, he was school captain of Sacred Heart College in Adelaide and cannot laugh at those who were educated outside the Catholic school system. Or some such.

As indicated, in last Wednesday’s Mad As Hell all the jokes – for want of a better term – were directed at the conservative or right-of-centre side of politics or conservatives in the Catholic Church. Comrade Micallef did not even mention the social democrats in the Labor Party. And, of course, it’s just not nice to laugh at Saint Bob Brown and his green/left angels – or at Islam.

Now – the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Here is Nancy’s modest proposal for next week’s Mad As Hell – based on the tradition set in recent weeks. Gags should be directed at: (i) Mother Teresa, (ii) God the Father, (iii) Ronald Reagan, (iv) Margaret Thatcher, (v) God the Son (vi) Cardinal George Pell (again – so Micallef can do his Kenneth Williams gig), (vii) Peter Dutton, (viii) Joan of Arc, (ix) Winston Churchill and (x) the Holy Ghost.

Let us all pray for God’s blessings, hoping for another fine Micallef performance from the finest of Adelaide’s Sacred Heart College’s oh-so-fine alumni.

nancy modest proposal


On 10 June 2016, Media Watch Dog contained an article titled “The ABC and Pederasty: A Short History”. The material in this article has been drawn to the attention of members of the current ABC board – including ABC chairman Jim Spigelman AC and ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie.

At issue is whether the contemporary ABC Board and management should accept any responsibility for decisions taken by the ABC Board and management in the past.

Many ABC journalists have argued that the current management of the Catholic Church and James Hardie should accept responsibility for deeds of commission or omission by their predecessors – concerning child sexual abuse and asbestos respectively. It appears, however, that the ABC Board and management does not hold to this standard with respect to the public broadcaster.

This is a brief summary of the facts:

▪ In 1975 Richard Neville presented a program titled “Pederasty” on the (then) ABC Radio program Lateline.

▪ In his book Play Power, published in 1970, Neville boasted about having sex with a 14 year old school girl in London. This book was widely discussed in Australia at the time. In other words, the ABC employed a self-confessed sexual offender to present its Lateline program. At the time, Neville was about twice the age of his victim. Moreover, he was well known in London at the time as the co-founder of Oz. There was no equality of status between the older man and the school girl.

▪ In July 1975 Richard Neville invited three pederasts into the ABC’s Sydney studio and on to the Lateline program to discuss their sexual relationships with young boys. Two of the three pederasts were friends of Neville.

▪ ABC management did not report this matter to NSW Police – despite the fact that pedophilia was a crime in New South Wales at the time, as it is now. What’s more, the ABC did not adopt a duty of care towards the young boys who were interviewed for the Lateline program.

▪ It appears that the ABC Radio Lateline tapes were destroyed by a person or persons employed by the public broadcaster.

▪ According to Professor Ken Inglis (who had access to ABC files for his 1983 book This is the ABC) the then ABC managing director Talbot Duckmanton was most uncomfortable with the Lateline “Pederasty” program. However, he was overridden by the then ABC chairman Professor Richard Downing.

▪ On 19 July 1975, the Sydney Morning Herald printed a letter on the Lateline controversy – signed by Professor Downing in his official capacity as chairman of the ABC – calling on Australians to “understand” the urges of pederasts. On the same day, the Sydney Morning Herald quoted the then ABC chairman as saying: “In general, men will sleep with young boys.”

▪ Professor Downing’s letter and statement – reported in the Sydney Morning Herald on 19 July 1975 – have never been renounced by the ABC.

▪ Jim Spigelman has advised Gerard Henderson that he has no intention of distancing the contemporary ABC from the comments of one of his predecessors – since he claims not to be in “apostolic succession” to his predecessors as ABC chairman. A program like, say, Four Corners would not accept the current Catholic Bishop of Ballarat saying that he has no responsibility for the actions and statements of the Bishop of Ballarat in 1975. But, the current ABC chairman says that he has no responsibility whatsoever for the actions and statements of the ABC chairman in 1975.

▪ The sexually abused young boys, who were interviewed on Richard Neville’s Lateline program in 1975, would be around age 50 to 55 today. This is not a matter of ancient history.

It remains to be seen whether the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses Into Child Sexual Abuse will look into the role of the ABC with respect to pedophilia four decades ago – along the lines it has investigated religious, secular and government institutions.

In the meantime, the ABC Board appears to hold the view that the statement made by the ABC chairman four decades ago was acceptable. In short, the current ABC Board appears to accept the standard set – with respect to pedophilia – by the ABC four decades ago.

The same can be said for ABC presenters, producers and editors who have refused to mention Professor Downing’s 1975 call for Australians to understand the urges of pederasts. See, for example, the evasions of ABC Radio Late Night Live presenter Phillip Adams in today’s Correspondence section.



How wonderful to hear freelance historian Jonathan King bang on this week about the centenary of the Battle of Fromelles. As MWD readers will know, at Fromelles on 19-20 July 1916 the Australian Army suffered its greatest losses in a 24-hour period.

ABC Radio AM reported the anniversary on 20 July 2016. Let’s go to the transcript as James Glenday, the ABC’s man in Northern France, spoke to your man King:

James Glenday : The services were sombre and more than 2,500 people turned up. But historian Jonathan King says Australians don’t pay enough attention to the Western Front in France.

Jonathan King: I think we should have an educational campaign in Australia over many years to teach people that Gallipoli was a British-led failure and the Western Front was actually an Australian-led success.

James Glenday : He says Fromelles and the other major battles on the front should be more widely known as the start of our country’s march towards victory in World War One.

Well, fancy that. Certainly, Jonathan King is correct in stating that Australians should know more about the First AIF’s role in the military victories on the Western Front that led to the defeat, on the field of battle, of the German Army in 1918. It’s just that your man King goes over the top with his claim that the Western Front was “an Australian led success”. In fact, it was very much a Commonwealth success – with key roles being played by the British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand forces with important support from French, American and Indian troops – among others.

You see, Mr King has all the zeal of a convert. Today, as a man of a certain age, he hails the achievements of the First AIF. However, in his fashionable leftist youth, Mr King mocked and ridiculed both World War I and those who comprised the First AIF.

In 1978 Jonathan King wrote the piss-poor book Waltzing Materialism (Harper & Row). Chapter 7 of this lightweight tome was ironically titled “Our Glorious Anzacs” – meaning that the ANZAC’s were anything but glorious. It contains the following sneer:

Australians have shown themselves to be an extremely pugnacious nation. In our short history we have joined in eleven major skirmishes and lost nearly a hundred thousand lives before stopping to ask why. The fact that involvement was rarely needed or justified and that the campaigns were often catastrophic was apparently inconsequential. This predisposition to military adventure has been so important that a collection of myths has developed around the catastrophes turning them into victories in such a way that it rarely occurs to admiring audiences to enquire into the reasons why so many Australians should die in the first place.

In other words, in 1978 Jonathan King named World War I as one of the “eleven major skirmishes” in which Australia had become involved without need or justification. He maintained that “the Anzac tradition was founded on an act of murderous folly” at Gallipoli. King continued:

Eleven times our boys have sailed off for this ideal. From the viewpoint of Australia’s defence, many of the skirmishes have been unnecessary. In most of them we have fought not for ourselves but for a greater power. In short the record shows that we usually rushed to fight in wars that were either largely irrelevant to our own interests or were being conducted to defend outmoded attitudes.

So, in 1978 Jonathan King declared that in the First World War and elsewhere Australia fought “other nations’ battles” and wrote mockingly that “Australia’s glorious and decisive victories [in 1918 and elsewhere] have not lived forever in the homeland”. However, four decades later, he is banging on about how Australians do not take seriously enough the AIF’s role in the defeat of Imperial Germany.

And has your man King ever explained how he moved from the sneering “Oh-what-a-lovely-war, they all died in vain” stance of his youth concerning the First World War – to his present “they won a just war” position? Not on your nelly.

History Corner


Due to overwhelming popular demand from avid readers, “History Corner” will pay increased attention to the historical association between the left in Australia and international communism.

The first chapter in The Red Professor: The Cold War Life of Fred Rose (Wakefield Press, 2015) is titled “A Night at the Opera”. Authors Peter Monteath and Valerie Munt relate the occasion in mid-1976 when Opposition leader (and former Labor prime minister) Gough Whitlam was guest of honour at The Marriage of Figaro at the state opera house – the Palast der Republik – in East Berlin – on the boulevard Unter den Linden. He was accompanied by Margaret Whitlam.

The Whitlam Labor government had recognised the German Democratic Republic (i.e. East Germany) soon after it came to office. At the time, East Berlin was the capital of East Germany – one of the most repressive communist totalitarian regimes in Eastern Europe with the largest secret police force – termed the Stasi – among the communist dictatorships. It appears that Mr Whitlam liked sucking up to communist dictators.

In July 1974, Mr Whitlam’s government also recognised the incorporation of the Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – as part of the Soviet Union. With this decision, the Whitlam government effectively endorsed the notorious Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939 – by which Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin divided Eastern Europe between Germany and the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union acquired the Baltic States under the terms of the Nazi-Soviet Pact.

The night at the opera was organised by the Australian Embassy in East Berlin and attended by Ambassador Malcolm Morris and junior diplomat Roger Prescott (who later became a Liberal MP in the Parliament of Victoria). The Ambassador invited the English-born academic Fred Rose and his wife Edith Rose to join the Whitlams at The Marriage of Figaro.

Fred Rose lived in Australia from the mid-1930s until the mid-1950s, working in the Commonwealth Public Service. A life-long Communist Party member, he was almost certainly a spy for the Soviet Union – providing material he collected from the Soviet Union’s spies within the Commonwealth Public Service and passing it on to the Australian Communist Party functionary and Soviet agent Wally Clayton. Clayton passed on the material to his Moscow controllers. Rose was required to appear before the Royal Commission Into Espionage, following the defection of Vladimir and Evdokia Petrov from the Soviet Union Embassy in Canberra in 1954. At his first appearance, Rose proved to be a most unsatisfactory witness and refused to answer questions.

Fred Rose departed Australia for East Germany in 1956. He remained a life-long supporter of the communist totalitarian dictator Joseph Stalin and his successors. Yet this was of no moment to Gough Whitlam. As Monteath and Munt report:

Whitlam knew enough of Fred Rose to greet him good-humouredly with Genosse – comrade – a common salutation in the GDR. He then joked that the seating arrangements from left to right reflected the full political spectrum. As the members of the party assumed their places in the auditorium’s front row, it was Fred Rose who took the seat on the far left.

So here was the former Australian prime minister affectionately referring to a well known Stalinist as “comrade”. He also made much of Rose’s seating on the far left. This is a tired joke today – as it was four decades ago. But it indicates that Whitlam was well aware of Rose’s commitment to communism.

Initially, discussion turned on the dismissal of the Whitlam government on 11 November 1975. Monteath and Munt take up the story:

The conversation turned in due course to other figures. There was Bob Hawke, president not just of the ACTU but also of the ALP at the time, and still, as was noted, “on his Zionist line”. This was certainly not Rose’s line, and Whitlam too wondered whether Hawke was backing the wrong horse as Australia’s Arab population grew….

Not until after midnight did the group finally exit the Palast and disband. The diplomats returned to their residences, the Whitlams to their hotel, and the Roses to their apartment. It had been an altogether pleasant evening.

The Roses, it seems, never saw the Whitlams again. And yet, the evening had a sequel of sorts. As he had already been doing for many years, Rose met with his Stasi handler a few days later. He told them about everything of note that had been happening in his life since their last meeting, including that enjoyable – and informative – night at the opera….

How about that? Gough Whitlam greeted the Communist Party operative Fred Rose in East Berlin with a friendly “Comrade” and made fun of the fact that he was seated on the far left. And Rose returned the favour by reporting the encounter to the Stalinist thugs that made up the Stasi.

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).


Julian (“I just love flashing my post-nominals”) Burnside AO QC presents as a mild-mannered Melbourne barrister who lectures at large about human rights. However, at times, your man Burnside gets into hyperventilating mode and emotes. Especially on Twitter. And especially when discussing Cardinal George Pell and other theologically conservative Catholics.

Indeed the evidence suggests that JB AO QC is suffering from a near terminal case of the condition called Pell-phobia. As the current correspondence demonstrates, Mr Burnside proclaims that he would not be surprised if George Pell was into organising mass murder. Yep, really. Now read on:

Gerard Henderson to Julian Burnside – 18 July 2016


I note the following tweet which you sent out last Friday at 5.05 pm.

burnside tweet

As you are aware, the “that” to which you referred was a scenario which asked about the response if Cardinal Pell openly encouraged a “mandate to murder & burn Gays”. The tweeter wondered if George Pell would be treated with a similar softness as when a radical imam says the same thing.

You dismissed the irony of the suggestion and responded that you would not be surprised if George Pell did encourage a “mandate to murder and burn Gays”.

A pretty serious allegation, to be sure. So do you have any evidence that George Pell ever advocated the burning and murder of gays? Or did you just make this up?

Over to you.

Gerard Henderson

Julian Burnside to Gerard Henderson – 18 July 2016

Dear Gerard

I did not assert that he had said it. I said it would not surprise me if he said it. I stand by that. I regard him as a person who has no discernible ethics. Nothing he says would surprise me.

Very best wishes


Julian Burnside AO QC

Gerard Henderson to Julian Burnside – 18 July 2016

Dear Julian

Thanks for your prompt response.

This is an extraordinary thing for a QC to state.

Without a skerrick of evidence, you state that you would not be surprised if Cardinal Pell called for gays to be burned and murdered.

Where will your emotions halt in this regard? Would you be surprised if George Pell urged others to fly jet planes into skyscrapers – or become homicide/suicide bombers?

Best wishes


Julian Burnside to Gerard Henderson – 18 July 2016

Dear Gerard

I have had a number of personal dealings with George Pell, and of course I have seen his conduct in relation to the Royal Commission. I have a fair bit of evidence to support my view that I regard him as a person who has no discernible ethics. Nothing he says would surprise me.

Very best wishes


Julian Burnside AO QC

Gerard Henderson to Julian Burnside – 18 July 2016

Dear Julian

You seem to be letting your emotions overpower your judgment and your sense of responsibility.

Based on “personal dealings” with George Pell, you have come to the conclusion that you would not be surprised if he became an accessory before the fact to murder (or worse).

In view of this, you should advise Victoria Police – along with relevant authorities in the Italian government and the Holy See – of your concerns.

Keep morale high


* * * * *


Phillip Adams AO, AM, Hon DUniv (Griffith), Hon. DLitt (ECU), Hon DUniv (SA), DLitt (Syd), Hon. DUniv (Macquarie), FRSA, Hon FAHA – the ABC’s “Man in Black” – exhibits a visceral hatred for conservative Catholics. Of the George Pell variety. This is a contemporary manifestation of your man Adams’ deep seated anti-Catholic sectarianism which was fashionable in the leftist activist environment in the Melbourne where he grew up.

When PA banged on – yet again – about the sins of Cardinal Pell, Hendo thought it would be a good idea to ask the ABC’s Man-in-Black what he thought about an ABC past chairman – the late Professor Downing. Both men grew up in Melbourne – the former was born in 1915, the latter in 1939 – and both moved in similar circles in the 1960s and the first half of the 1970s. If Mr Adams did not know Professor Downing he certainly would have been aware of him.

Despite the fact that the ABC has given substantial media attention to the issue of pedophilia, no one at the taxpayer funded public broadcaster will address the fact that Professor Downing (1915-75), the ABC’s chairman during the time of Gough Whitlam’s Labor’s government, once called on Australians to understand the urges of pederasts.

Hendo thought it was about time to raise the topic with the ABC’s Man-in-Black. For his trouble, Nancy’s (male) co-owner received a threat. Really. Here we go:

Gerard Henderson to Phillip Adams – 18 July 2016


Someone has drawn my attention to your “Life & Style” column in The Australian Magazine of 26-27 July 2016 in which I receive a (dishonourable) mention. Shucks. I note that I have been cited in two of your columns in the past three weeks. Here’s hoping that you are not running out of topics.

I note that in your “So much to confess” piece you referred to (alleged) “acts of commission and omission” committed by Cardinal George Pell with respect to child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church in Australia. I note that you did not say that George Pell was the first bishop in the world to set up a structure for addressing this crime – which he did in 1996, some six years before the Boston Globe’s “Starlight” revelations concerning the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston. But, there you go.

Since you believe that leaders in the Catholic Church should apologise for historical cases of child sexual abuse – what about the leaders of the ABC?

I guess that you knew Professor Richard Downing (1915-75) since he moved in artistic and university circles in Melbourne and beyond. You certainly would have known about him.

In 1975, speaking in his capacity as ABC chairman, Professor Downing called on Australians to “understand” the urges of pederasts and declared: “In general, men will sleep with young boys”.

So, do you think that anyone in responsibility at the ABC today should apologise for the statements of one of its former chairmen? Or is such an obligation only to be borne by people in responsibility within the Christian churches?

Keep morale high.

Gerard Henderson

Gerard Henderson to Phillip Adams – 18 July 2016


I note that you have not responded to my email of last Monday.

I can only assume that – like so many of your colleagues at the ABC – you have no criticism to make of the late Richard Downing’s 1975 call on Australians to “understand” the urges of pederasts.

Gerard Henderson

Phillip Adams to Gerard Henderson – 20 July 2016

Don’t rush. To borrow from Keating “I want to do you slowly”

Gerard Henderson to Phillip Adams – 20 July 2015

How frightfully original. In any event, you need me because you appear to be running out of tools[sic – due to auto correction Hendo typed in “tools” instead of “topics” on his iphone]

Gerard Henderson to Phillip Adams – 20 July 2015

I mean topics.

* * * * *


Being a financial member of the Australian Republican Movement, Gerard Henderson receives lotsa emails from both ARM chairman Peter FitzSimons and ARM deputy chair Michelle Wood.

Of late, Ms Wood has been writing to Nancy’s (male) co-owner inviting him to fund raising functions. Aware of the ARM’s need for funding, Hendo always reminds Fitz (or the ARM team) of his willingness to donate $20,000 to the republican cause – if the Red Bandannaed One provides the address of the (alleged) “$30 million mansion in Rome” in which he claims Cardinal George Pell resides. Here we go – again:

Michelle Wood to Gerard Henderson – 14 July 2016

Dear Gerard,

We’ve only got 10 seats left for the launch of the ARM Women’s Network next Friday. If you were planning to come and haven’t purchased a ticket – make sure you get in quick! If you haven’t pencilled this event in your diary, we’d love to have you along. Here’s why:

While the campaign for an Australian republic has taken off in recent times, there is one problem: too many of these new members are blokes! This discrepancy is also clear in overall support for a republic which is consistently skewed toward men.

We need to turn this around!

For our campaign to be truly successful, we need to engage and energise Australian women. That’s why we are asking you to join us for the launch of the ARM Women’s Network with special guests Marina Go, GM of Bauer/Hearst Media, and Belinda Hutchinson, Chancellor of the University of Sydney….
Looking forward to seeing you there!

Michelle Wood
ARM Deputy Chair

Gerard Henderson to Michelle Wood – 18 July 2016

Dear Michelle

Thanks for your email inviting me to the launch of the Australian Republican Movement’s Women’s Network at midday next Friday.

Unfortunately, I put out my Media Watch Dog blog each Friday – after lunch. So I will not be able to hear Marina Go and Belinda Hutchinson address the ARM function. I hope the event goes well.

As an ARM member, I agree that there are too many “blokes” around the organisation – and that, to succeed, the republican movement needs “to engage and energise Australian women”.

I have, I hope, a couple of useful suggestions:

  1. There is no one more blokey than ARM chairman Peter FitzSimons – especially since he wears a red rag on his head. So why not have the Red Bandannaed One step down and hand the ARM presidency to Ms Go, or Ms Hutchinson – or Ms Anyone Else?
  1. As you know, I have offered to donate $20,000 to the ARM – if Peter FitzSimons provides the address of the “$30 million mansion in Rome” where he claims Cardinal George Pell resides. If Fitz decides to back up his assertion with (real estate) evidence – then the $20,000 could be used by the ARM to finance a drive for new female members.

Feel free to bring both modest proposals to the attention of your chairman.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

* * * * *

Until next time.

* * * * *

“[Gerard Henderson is a] whining rodent”

– Bruce Haigh, former diplomat and regular ABC panelist

“[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,

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