GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG – ISSUE NO. 329
19 August 2016
The inaugural issue of “Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch” was published in April 1988 – over a year before the first edition of the ABC TV Media Watch program went to air. Since November 1997 “Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch” has been published as part of The Sydney Institute Quarterly. In 2009 Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch Dog blog commenced publication.
The inaugural issue of “Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch” was published in April 1988 – over a year before the first edition of the ABC TV Media Watch program went to air. Between November 1997 and October 2015 “Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch” was published as part of The Sydney Institute Quarterly. In March 2009 Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch Dog blog commenced publication.
- Stop Press: 7.30 on the Vietnam War: Bad Leftist History
- Can You Bear It? Derryn Hinch’s Cruise; Paul Kennedy’s Samba Jig & Jane Caro’s Yes/No Views on War
- Nancy on the Twitter Prowl: Mike Carlton’s Ridiculous Darwin Bombing Comparison
- Maurice Newman Segment Re-Vamped: As Everyone Agrees with Everyone on The Drum in a Leftist Kind of Way & Nice Mr Scott Replaces Jonathan Holmes on the Scoreboard
- Media Fool of the Week: Greg Whitby of the Parramatta Catholic Education Office Steps Up
- New Feature: We’ll Take This as a Beat-up – Tony Jones’ Defence of his Croatian Extremist Terrorists Allegation Debunked
- 7.30’s CASE OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY
Did anyone see Peter McCutcheon’s report on the Vietnam War on 7.30 last night? It commenced with grainy black and white footage of an Australian politician saying:
Whether we like it or not, right at this moment Australia is at war.
They will be used to search out and kill the enemy [This second sentence was made against background footage of military helicopters in action]
The politician was not identified – in other words, in media talk, there was no super. Likewise the ABC’s transcript merely attributes the comments to “Archival Footage”. The implication was that these words were spoken by a Coalition politician – supporting both Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War and conscription for overseas service. Prime Minister Robert Menzies perhaps, or maybe deputy prime minister Jack McEwen or possibly a senior minister in the Coalition government of the 1960s.
But no. It was Arthur Calwell (1896-1973) who led the Labor Party from March 1960 until February 1967. It seems that the powers-that-be at 7.30 are ignorant not only of Mr Calwell but also of the fact that, in the mid-1960s, he was perhaps the most vocal opponent of Australia’s commitment in Vietnam and conscription for military service outside of Australia.
- YET ANOTHER ABC LEFTIST INTERPRETATION OF THE VIETNAM PROTEST MOVEMENT
Peter McCutcheon’s 7.30 report focused on a topic much beloved of the fashionably leftist Baby Boomers and the Baby Boomers Plus generation who still have influence in the taxpayer funded public broadcaster – namely, the Vietnam Protest Movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Your man McCutcheon focused on a documentary which leftist film maker Larry Zetlin is doing on his one-time comrades in the Vietnam Protest Movement. 7.30 ignored the fact that some young Australians at the time supported Australia’s commitment in Vietnam.
The only Baby Boomers or Baby Boomers Plus interviewed on 7.30 last night were all leftists in the 1960s or 1970s. Larry Zetlin himself, Ken McLeod (the one-time Convener of the NSW Moratorium campaign), Peter Beattie (the former Queensland premier) and David Franken (who boasted about vandalising Christian churches with “spray paint”). Peter McCutcheon’s naivety was evident in the following exchange:
Peter McCutcheon: It was a time not only of youthful idealism, but also social conflict. And after the war, many Vietnam Vets [i.e. Veterans] felt betrayed.
Larry Zetlin: The general feeling amongst the people that I have interviewed, and I have raised this point, is that they hold nothing personally against people who went, the Diggers who were sent to Vietnam. They were victims as much as the other side, the Vietnamese were victims of war.
Peter McCutcheon: But was that made clear at the time, do you think?
Larry Zetlin: I’m not sure if it was made clear there, but we’re certainly, as a group, now say that Diggers were victims.
What a load of absolute tosh. Many of the members of the Vietnam Protest Movement barracked for the North Vietnamese Army and wanted it to defeat the Allies, including Australia, in the field of battle. In short, most members of the Vietnam Protest Movement wanted the communist forces to win and the anti-communist South Vietnamese and their supporters to lose.
This was demonstrated on 3 September 1967 when The Australian published a letter-to-the-editor from Monash University student Allan Dowsley. Allan Dowsley supported raising funds for the communist Viet Cong which was fighting in South Vietnam alongside the North Vietnam Army. His letter read in part:
In sending money… we have not specified in any way what it is to be used for. There is no way at all of knowing it will reach the North Vietnamese or NLF [National Liberation Front/ Viet Cong] armies. We freely admit that it is quite possible our money might be used to buy or make the bullets killing Australian soldiers.
So there you have it. In September 1967, Allan Dowsley was prepared to tell the truth and state that members of the Monash University Labour Club were prepared to raise money to send to the Viet Cong who were engaging Australian forces in the field of battle in South Vietnam – knowing that the money could be used to provide bullets which would kill Australian troops. However, half a century later, filmmaker Larry Zetlin told ABC viewers that members of the Vietnam Protest Movement always had sympathy for Australian Diggers in Vietnam.
The Heading to Allan Dowsley’s Letter Published in The Australian on 7 September 1967
- DERRYN HINCH’S CRUISING OFF VIETNAM
While on the topic of remembering the Vietnam War – on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan – let’s follow the exchange between the Sky News presenter Janine Perrett and Senator elect Derryn Hinch on Paul Murray Live on Wednesday. Discussion commences when Janine (‘Malcolm Fraser tried to proposition me in New York many years ago’) Perrett and Derryn (‘The Human Mumble’) Hinch:
Derryn Hinch: I actually got injured at the Pentagon during an anti-Vietnam War demonstration. I was inside with the other journalists – someone threw a brick through a window at the Pentagon and I got a cut hand. So I was in the Pentagon at the time. I was covering the US at that time. I tried to go to Vietnam for United Press International actually, at one stage. But the list of journos were too long, I didn’t get there.
Janine Perrett: Have you been there since? Have you visited?
Derryn Hinch: Yes I have been. But I have not been to Ho Chi Minh City. I’ve been to the outskirts of Vietnam on a cruise. But I’d love to go there. I’d love to go to Hanoi as a matter of fact.
How about that? As a matter of fact, being on a cruise on the “outskirts” of Vietnam does not mean that The Human Mumble has ever “visited” Vietnam. It means that Derryn Hinch has not been to Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi or whatever. Can you bear it?[Er, no – now that you ask. It would be a bit like saying that Nancy “visited” the prime minister’s Sydney residence since she passed the “outskirts” of Kirribilli House en route from the RSPCA Lost Dogs’ Home at Yagoona on the way to Sydney’s North Shore. MWD Editor].
- PAUL KENNEDY’S TAXPAYER FUNDED SAMBA MOMENT
While on the topic of nearly being there, consider the case of Paul Kennedy – ABC 1 News Breakfast’s man in Rio de Janeiro.
Television rights to the 2016 Olympic Games are jealously guarded by Channel 7 and the ABC has no rights to air footage of any events. Nevertheless, in its wisdom, the taxpayer funded public broadcaster has sent TV staff to Rio even though they are merely talking heads and could do a better job reporting from the telly in Sydney or Melbourne or Van Diemen’s Land.
Indeed the only footage that your man Kennedy has put to air seems to have turned on his (unrequited) love affair with the Samba. Nancy’s (male) co-owner was in tears on Wednesday as he watched a film of Paul Kennedy wiggling his hips during Samba Classes down Rio de Janeiro way. Along with a few Americans and some Indians, all attempting to be Brazilians. Or something like that. Let’s go to the transcript:
Paul Kennedy: Let’s step away from the sports just for a moment and move back into Rio life. And I had promised to take up, get some tips on the Samba. I’m not sure I went to the right place, but it was a hell of a lot of fun. We went and took a lesson and, well, here it is, speaks for itself. [There followed lotsa footage of your man Kennedy doing the Samba light fantastic.]
Michael Rowland: Fantastic mate
Paul Kennedy: Hats off to the – basically that was an international crowd, a few Americans, and some Indians and a few who floated in. Hats off to the gentleman from America in the blue and white shirt. If you watch that again, he kept us amused. In fact, at one stage I thought he made me look good.
Michael Rowland: You look good all the time, you don’t need any help.
Virginia Trioli: Everyone looked fabulous, nice loose hips
Yeah – fantastic, fabulous and look at those nice loose hips. Well worth the taxpayers’ funds to send a presenter, producer, cameraman and soundperson to Rio. Can you bear it?[May be you are too tough on the Mutual Appreciation Society that is the Kennedy/Trioli/Rowland trio. After all, Mr Kennedy’s Samba efforts in Rio were more interesting than the seven-minute piece on food on News Breakfast last Tuesday. As I recall, a certain Dani Valent spoke to Mr Rowland and La Trioli at length about (i) how to eat a banana, (ii) how to unshell hard-boiled eggs, (iii) how to peel ginger with a teaspoon, (iv) how to test whether beef is cooked to a suitable condition by using your hands and – wait for it – (v) how to cut cake and chocolate bars with dental floss. Foodie Valent also demonstrated how to keep salad fresh by placing it in plastic bags and blowing your own particular germs all over it. Really. I couldn’t bear it and found myself channeling Paul Kennedy in Rio doing the Samba. – MWD Editor.]
- HOW ADOLF HITLER WOULD HAVE WON IF JANE CARO’S ADVICE HAD BEEN FOLLOWED CIRCA 1939
Meanwhile, this is what the oh-so-loquacious Jane Caro had to say last night on The Drum about war and all that stuff. Here we go:
Jane Caro: …Now I think that all war is something to be ashamed of by everyone who participates in it. Because it means that our civilised way of behaving has broken down. This does not mean that the people who participate in those wars need to be ashamed of what they have done. But I think that societies as a whole, and particularly our leaders, need to think that war is always an expression of failure.
So there you have it. According to Ms Caro “everyone who participates in war” has something to be ashamed of. However, according to the Thought of Ms Caro, this does not mean that the people who participate in wars need to be ashamed at all.
Moreover, it seems that Jane Caro feels that all members of the Australian Armed Forces who opposed Hitler’s Nazi Germany in the period between 1939 and 1945 have something to be ashamed of. Talk about beating the drum of incoherence. Can you bear it?
MIKE CARLTON’S PACIFIC WAR CONFUSION
While on the topic of the Second World War, this is what Mike (‘I used to pour the Gin’) Carlton tweeted on Wednesday about the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.
What a load of absolute tosh. In 1966, the Australian Army was engaged in Vietnam in support of the non-communist South Vietnamese government which was attempting to thwart an invasion by the communist North Vietnamese government. As anyone who understands Australian military history is aware, the communist Viet Cong forces in South Vietnam at the Battle of Long Tan were supported by members of the North Vietnamese Army.
This has absolutely nothing to do with what happened with the Japanese attack on military and civilian targets in Darwin in February 1942. In 1966, the Australian Forces were supported by many South Vietnamese – some of whom settled in Australia as refugees after the Communist conquest of Saigon in 1975. This is moral equivalence at its worst – demonstrating that life in semi-retirement on Avalon Beach is not necessarily good for the mind. Especially when a man gives up the grog.
- SCOREBOARD CHANGE AS JONATHAN HOLMES COMES OUT OF ABC INDUCED DENIAL AND IS REPLACED BY NICE MR SCOTT
Due to unprecedented demand, MWD’s “Maurice Newman Segment” returns this week – after what journalists like to term a Well Earned Break.
As MWD readers will know, this (hugely popular) segment is devoted to former ABC chairman Maurice Newman’s past suggestion that a certain “group think” might be prevalent at the ABC – and to ABC 1 former Media Watch presenter Jonathan Holmes’ past certainty that no such phenomenon is extant within the public broadcaster. See MWD passim.
However, in its re-booted format, the Maurice Newman Segment Scoreboard has changed somewhat. You see, Jonathan Holmes finally ‘fessed up that there is no plurality of views within at least sections of what MWD depicts as the ABC Conservative Free Zone. Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age on 7 April 2016, Jonathan Holmes undertook a metamorphosis with respect to his former employer.
First up, Mr Holmes refuted former ABC managing director Mark Scott’s claim that the private political views of ABC presenters do not affect the content of their programs. Wrote Holmes:
…I agree with [Mark] Scott that most of the ABC’s news and current affairs presenters and reporters do a good job of maintaining their impartiality – and much more importantly, so does a substantial majority of the Australian people. But much of the ABC’s factual output is not, strictly speaking, “journalism”. Talk radio audiences in particular are drawn to the personality of the presenters they favour, be they Neil Mitchell [3AW] or Jon Faine [ABC 774], Alan Jones [2GB] or Phillip Adams [ABC Radio National]. And you cannot express your personality in a program that deals with political issues without betraying your own political leanings…
It’s also undeniable, as the likes of [Andrew] Bolt and [Gerard] Henderson have complained for years, that the ABC’s capital city radio presenters come across, overwhelmingly, as leaning more to the left than the right. I say “undeniably”, but senior ABC managers for decades have chosen, if not to deny it, then to ignore it, and they’ve certainly failed to do anything about it….
If the ABC wasn’t funded by taxpayer dollars, no one would mind this situation. After all, the population is split roughly in half over politics, and both sides deserve to hear their views expressed. But the ABC is publicly funded. It does have a legal obligation to not favour one point of view over another.
The leftiness of ABC radio output is doubly problematic when it comes to Radio National. It may not have a huge audience, but it doesn’t have commercial competition. No other radio channel in the nation tries to cover serious issues in a serious way, for a national audience. And yet, if I were a supporter of Tony Abbott, or even of John Howard, I would feel that the vast bulk of RN’s output was not for me.
For decades, Coalition senators have been asking ABC managing directors at estimates hearings: “Where is the right-wing Phillip Adams?” The ABC’s answer has been to give half an hour here and there on Radio National to the likes of Amanda Vanstone and Tom Switzer – neither of them more than mildly right of centre.
If Mark Scott’s successor Michelle Guthrie decides she wants to tackle this issue, she’ll have her work cut out. She’ll be facing an entrenched culture within the ABC. Many of its staff genuinely think that most well-informed people think as they do…. But if the ABC is to survive and thrive, it needs to cater to the nation as a whole.
In view of the fact that Jonathan Holmes came out of his previous state of denial about the ABC in April, MWD has decided to re-boot the Maurice Newman segment. From now on, former ABC chairman Mr Newman will be in competition with former ABC managing director Nice Mr Scott – not Mr Holmes.
- ABC BANGS A LEFTIST DRUM AS EVERYONE AGREES WITH EVERYONE ELSE (AGAIN)
Fortunately, ABC 1 The Drum’s program last Monday provided a wonderful example of what the MWD’s Maurice Newman Segment is all about. Let’s start with the panel’s response to Liberal Democratic Party Senator David Leyonhjelm’s comment that he would take Fairfax Media’s Mark Kenny to the Human Rights Commission under Section 18c of the Human Rights Act – on account of the fact that Mr Kenny had called him “an angry white male”. Senator-elect Leyonhjelm can take an (alleged) offence. He just wants to make a point about the double standards of the likes of Kenny – who object to someone being called an angry black man but not an angry white man.
In its wisdom, The Drum invited four like-minded types to the program to discuss this and other matters. Including – believe it or not – Mark Kenny HIMSELF. Other members of the panel were management consultant Avril Henry, the Lebanese Muslim association’s Mostafa Rachwani and executive director of Catholic Education in the Diocese of Parramatta, Greg Whitby. John (`I am willing to check all facts except my own’) Barron was in the presenter’s chair.
And so it came to pass that Mark agreed with Avril who agreed with Mark who agreed with Mostafa who agreed with Avril who agreed with Greg who agreed with Mostafa who agreed with Mark as John went along for the (consensual) ride. Or something like that. There was broad agreement concerning the distribution of the Goods and Services Tax revenues between the States and the need for an inquiry into offshore detention for asylum seekers. All panel members opposed the actions of a lunar right group in disrupting a sermon by fashionably leftist media tart Fr Rod Bower in the Gosford Anglican Church, as well as One Nation Senator-elect Pauline Hanson’s objection to the installation of squat toilets in Commonwealth offices. Yawn. Never before in the history of The Drum this year have so many panel members agreed so readily with one another about so much.
However, the highlight of the leftist love-in occurred in response to David Leyonhjelm’s comments. Let’s go to the transcript:
John Barron: So Mark, Senator Leyonhjelm says the only recourse he wants is for you to admit that your criticism was uncalled for. But do you think they were in breach of section 18c?
Mark Kenny: Well, I mean, I think that’s a patently absurd suggestion really. I mean, obviously, I was making a point about power here. The idea that the most powerful stratum of society – white males in our community who are born essentially into more privilege than any other single cohort – that they would have any deep understanding of what entrenched discrimination is like, I think is quite laughable. And, I mean, you’ve got to remember, these two gentleman – him and Malcolm Roberts the senator elect from, One Nation senator elect from Queensland – appeared together on Insiders over a week ago, invited people to say whatever they liked about them and said “it doesn’t matter, what people say, you can’t offend someone, you cannot give offence, you can only take it”. That is that the offence is in the receiver’s gift, or the receiver’s mind. You either decide to be offended or not offended. Now that was what my piece was about. He’s chosen to be offended, although he claims he’s not offended, but he’s taking this action to the racial discrimination, on the Racial Discrimination Act to the Human Rights Commission, so it’s a pretty confused position – and I think he is trivialising an important issue.
John Barron: It is sort of a little hard to get a beat on in that it’s a free speech argument – that 18c sort of impinges on free speech, but at the same time it also potentially means that Mark [Kenny] has breached that according to David Leyonhjelm. Do you think that to be called an “angry white man” – that amounts to racism?
Avril Henry: I think that’s an absolutely absurd assertion. I mean, what would he like to be called, “angry not-of-colour-non-male person”? Because that’s effectively what he’s saying. And I think he has no concept, as does the other person, of actually what it means to be discriminated against on the basis of race or gender. And the other thing that I think is being completely overlooked here, if you want to use as an example, it’s like saying: “If I bully you, I haven’t actually bullied you, you have been offended or you believe you’ve been bullied by me therefore it’s not bullying.” I just think these people have completely lost the plot and to say that it’s free speech to be able to call somebody names on the basis of their name or gender. And if the only thing he’s offended about is being called an angry white man he certainly took not too much notice of unbelievable comments made about Julia Gillard when she was prime minister. Which were all based on gender.
John Barron: What do you think, Mostafa?
Mostafa Rachwani: Well first, I read Mark’s article. I thought it was a fantastic piece. But overall I think David’s approach to this is absurd. It’s ridiculous. But it’s also a reflection of the privilege Mark was talking about, that is inherent to his position. What it misses is the core kind of principles that underline 18c. And that is not to necessarily to control or to limit people’s feelings. It is about holding hatred account. It is about looking at the consequences of hate speech….
John Barron: Greg, do you agree with our other panellists that in seeking to make 18c look ridiculous, Senator Leyonhjelm has risked looking ridiculous himself?
Greg Whitby: Clearly he’s just painted himself to be a fool – in, you know, the guy’s a parliamentarian. The issue here however is bigger. What it shows is a singular lack of understanding of Human Rights Commission here. This is a very, very big issue and to trivialise it, and use it for a small point scoring thing, shows the quality and the calibre of what we’re going to get –
Wonderful, eh? – in a Maurice Newman Segment way. According to The Drum’s panel – Senator Leyonhjelm is variously “laughable” (pace Mark Kenny), “absurd” (pace Mostafa Rachwani) and “a fool” (pace Greg Whitby). John Barron joined in the everyone-agrees-with-everyone-else intellectual love-in when he asked Greg Whitby, “Greg, do you agree with the other panellists?”. Needless to say, the answer was a very loud resounding “Yes”.
Moreover, no one on the panel, including presenter John Barron, said anything when the powerful white male Mark Kenny declared that a powerful white male would not have any deep understanding of what entrenched discrimination is like. Really. Yet your man Kenny comments regularly about what entrenched discrimination is really like. Really[table id=42 /]
GREG WHITBY OF CATHOLIC EDUCATION DIOCESE OF PARRAMATTA STARS ON THE DRUM
While on the topic of The Drum last Monday, didn’t Greg Whitby put in a truly stunning performance? It’s not quite clear what benefit there is to the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta in allowing its Executive Director of Schools going on The Drum and insulting politicians. But this is what your man Whitby did as he used abuse instead of argument in making his points. It was a look-mum-no-facts performance as Mr Whitby provided lotsa opinions but scant evidence to support them.
▪ Greg Whitby on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the GST revenue debate:
Greg Whitby: I don’t think it’s a good start to enrol as a PM, to start using lazy politics and squib the hard issues. Here’s an opportunity to stand up and say: “We actually get what’s going on here.” I think that’s the saddest thing about this, because we all know he’s not going to be able to sell the proposition as it’s been put at the moment, because there are winners and losers.
▪ Greg Whitby on the policy of the Coalition government and the Labor Opposition on off-shore detention for asylum seekers:
Greg Whitby: Hollow words from hollow men. The slowing of the race to the bottom of the barrel just is amazing in this thing. And the true test of any leadership is the standard we must walk past.
And I think they stand condemned. I’ve noticed in the media today, New Zealand and Britain have said that we’ve lost our moral compass in this whole area. I think we’re being judged by the rest of the international community, whatever happens there needs to be independent eyes cast on Nauru.
In fact, the media reported a statement by a Labour MP in New Zealand and a Liberal Democrat MP in Britain. That’s all]
▪ Greg Whitby on, believe it or not, squat toilets and HIMSELF (of course):
Greg Whitby: This is just so stupid. The issue is, it just recognises the cultural diversity that we have. If you travel throughout Asia you find that they’ve accommodated the European stance. I have a problem because I find them too low being 6 foot 7. When am I going to be accommodated here? I am told by some of my colleagues, females, that we actually have squat toilets because of the hygiene issue, people won’t sit on them, I think this could even be a hygienic approach. Also I believe that apparently it’s much better for you physiologically.
By the way, does anyone really care about the relationship between the 6 foot 7 inches tall Greg Whitby and Western style toilets? All responses to be directed to “Too Much Boring Information”, C/- Nancy’s Kennel, Somewhere in Sydney.
Greg Whitby – Media Fool of the Week
TONY JONES’ “CROATIAN CATHOLIC EXTREMIST” TERRORISTS IN THE 1970s THEORY IS NOT SUPPORTED BY TONY JONES’ PISS-POOR EVIDENCE
As avid readers of last week’s Correspondence section will be aware, Gerard Henderson has had considerable difficulties in getting the ABC to stump up evidence in support of Q&A presenter Tony Jones.
When talking to Senator-elect Pauline Hanson on Q&A on Monday 18 July 2016, the following exchange took place:
Pauline Hanson: We have terrorism on the streets that we’ve never had before. We’ve had murders committed under the name of Islam, as we have the Lindt Cafe, Curtis Cheng [in Parramatta] and the two police officers in Melbourne, right? So this has happened. You have radicalisation –
Tony Jones: Can I just – I’m sure that – Pauline, I’m sure the fact-checkers will be on to this but when you say we’ve never had terrorism in this country before, that’s simply not the case.
Pauline Hanson: Not to –
Tony Jones: In the 1970s there were multiple bombings by Croatian Catholic extremists. This has happened in Australia before. It’s not the first time. We should at least get that straight.
After Tony Jones’ comment – linking what he termed “Croatian Catholic extremist” terrorists in Australia in the 1970s with contemporary Islamists in Australia who have committed or conspired to commit terrorism – caused some controversy, the following leads were provided by the ABC as to sources for the Q&A presenter’s claim.
Writing in Crikey on 20 July 2016, Santilla Chingaipe reported that an ABC spokesperson had said that evidence for the claim made by Tony Jones could be found in “the Hansard of the time”. Also, according to Crikey, Tony Jones told a person who queried his comment that he would provide “the relevant Senate Hansard of April 1973”.
Hansard commonly refers to the proceedings of the House of Representatives and the Senate. No evidence about incidents of alleged Croatian terrorism in Australia in the 1970s was placed in Hansard in April 1973.
It turned out that the document to which the ABC spokesperson and Tony Jones referred is titled “Incidents Within The Yugoslav Community, 1963-1973”. This can be located at pages 439 to 442 of the Senate Select Committee on Civil Rights of Migrant Australians, Canberra, 24 August 1973 (Official Hansard Report). Gerard Henderson located this document himself with much help from the National Library of Australia after a lead from the ABC. The document “Incidents Within The Yugoslav Community, 1963-1973” was provided to the Senate Select Committee on 24 August 1974 by Jack Mervyn Davis – the Commissioner of the Commonwealth Police Force (now called the Australian Federal Police) at the time.
The entire document runs for some 75 pages and covers the sitting on 24 August 1973 of the Senate Select Committee of Civil Rights of Migrant Australians. The members of the committee were chairman Senator Michael Townley (Independent), Senator Peter Durack (Liberal Party), Senator Jack Kane (Democratic Labor Party), Senator James Mulvihill (Labor Party), Senator Jim Webster (National Country Party) and Senator John Wheeldon (Labor Party).
There was considerable controversy about the deliberations of this Senate Select Committee at the time. Put simply, the Coalition believed that Gough Whitlam’s Labor government was discriminating against the anti-communist Croatian community in Australia while supporting the communist government in Yugoslavia and its Serbian followers in Australia. Labor, on the other hand, believed that the Croatian community in Australia contained pro-fascist extremists – some of whom were committing terrorist acts. On Q&A Tony Jones simply re-stated the Labor Party line of the early 1970s as pronounced by the Labor’s left-wing Attorney-General Lionel Murphy.
An ABC spokesperson has confirmed that, on Q&A, Tony Jones was not referring to the conviction in 1979 of the “Croatian Six” for conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism in Australia. These convictions were demonstrated to be unsafe by ABC journalist Chris Masters in an August 1991 Four Corners program and by Fairfax Media journalist Hamish McDonald in his online book Framed (2012).
So, Tony Jones accepts that – circa 1979 – Serbian agents of the Yugoslav secret police in Australia framed Croatian Australians with conspiracy to commit terrorist acts. In spite of this, the Q&A presenter still maintains that – at other times in the 1970s – Croatian Catholic extremists engaged in acts of terrorism including what he has termed “multiple bombings”.
So what did Commissioner Davis’ document “Incidents Within the Yugoslav Community, 1963-1973” specifically have to say about (alleged) Croatian Catholic terrorism in Australia in the 1970s? Answer – nothing much at all.
▪ First up, the document makes no reference to Catholics, Christian Orthodox or any other believers. Clearly, Tony Jones simply assumed that anonymous Croatians, whom he maintained were engaged in “multiple bombings”, were Catholics.
▪ Commissioner Davis’ document lists 73 “incidents” between 1963 and 1973. This sounds like a big number – until the details are examined. The 73 incidents include the following non-terrorist events:
– stone throwing
– stink bombs
-the theft of Yugoslavia flags
– peaceful demonstrations
– anonymous bomb threats
– anonymous threatening letters/phone calls
– punch-ups at Croatia v Marconi and Croatia v Yugal soccer matches
– the defacement of a Yugoslav notice board
– the display of a Ustasha (i.e. Croatian fascist) flag at Sydney Airport
– the damage to a statue of a Serb leader
– theft of wall plaques from the Yugoslavia Consular-General Office in Melbourne and
– damage to the statue of Cardinal Stepinac outside the Croatian Catholic Church in Clifton Hill, Melbourne. [Note – it is unlikely that the statue of a Croat archbishop would have been damaged by a Croat].
▪ Some of the matters cited in the incident report refer to bombings of buildings. However, on only one occasion was there a number of injuries. Sixteen people were injured on 16 September 1972 when an explosive device was detonated outside the premises of the General Trade and Tourist Agency at 666 George Street, Sydney which was run by a Serbian Australian. No one was convicted or charged with this offence.
▪ One of the incidents referred to in Commissioner Davis’ document contains a report by NSW Police that a bombing of the Yugoslav Consulate in Sydney was not intended to injure people in the building, viz:
1 January 1967: A bomb, consisting of four to six sticks of gelignite, was exploded on the first floor patio of the Yugoslav Consulate-General, Double Bay, New South Wales. Police investigation, at the time concluded that there had been no intention to injure any of the persons present in the building as the bomb could quite easily have been thrown through a nearby open window into a crowded reception room. To date, the offence is unsolved.
None of the matters cited in the Commonwealth Police Force Commissioner’s “Incidents Within the Yugoslav Community, 1963-1973” report led to a person or persons being charged with – still less convicted of – a terrorist act or conspiracy to undertake a terrorist act. Not one.
Since this is the only evidence submitted by Tony Jones and/or the ABC to support the Q&A presenter’s claims that there were “Croatian Catholic extremists” undertaking “multiple bombings” in Australia in the 1970s – it can only be assumed that Mr Jones just made up this claim.
In any event, it was unprofessional for Tony Jones to base an allegation made in 2016 on a difficult-to-obtain police report written in 1973, over four decades ago.
If Tony Jones or Q&A producer Peter McEvoy had done any up-to-date research they would be aware of the release of the files of the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation from the period. They indicate that security agencies in Australia doubted that all the attacks on the property of the Yugoslav government offices and other Yugoslav property owned in Australia were conducted by Croats in Australia.
This is made clear in John Blaxland’s The Protest Years – The Official History of ASIO: 1963-1975 (Allen & Unwin, 2015) in the Chapter titled “The Rise of Terrorism: Croatia Emigres and Counter-subversion, 1963-1972”.
▪ At Page 120, Dr Blaxland writes:
…ASIO received evidence from European court cases that the Yugoslav Government was prepared to murder its opponents abroad. …ASIO would continue to consider Yugoslav Government claims of Croatian activities to be exaggerated. ASIO tasked its teams with obtaining not only intelligence on plans for Croatian violence against Yugoslav property and people, but indications of any plans for Yugoslav Government-instigated violence in Australia.
▪ At Page 123, Blaxland writes:
In the 1960s and 1970s there were sixteen bomb attacks and numerous other incidents against Yugoslav interests in Australia, many if not most of them attributed to Croatians, although some were believed to be the work of the Yugoslav Intelligence Service (YIS).
▪ At Page 128, Blaxland writes:
While Australian-based Croatians were evidently active and vocal in their hatred of the Yugoslavs, there were growing suspicions that at least some of the bombings in Australia were arranged by the YIS to pressure Australian authorities into acting against the Croats in Australia.
In 1967 six Serbs, not Croats, were arrested in the United States and charged with bombing Yugoslav embassies in the United States and Canada. No such arrests were made in Australia – but ASIO had its suspicions. For example, in January 1967 ASIO concluded that if a bomb at the Yugoslav consulate in Sydney had been meant to hurt people, the attack would have been carried out differently. It wasn’t – hence the lack of casualties.
▪ At Page 144, Blaxland writes:
In October 1970 there was another bombing of the Yugoslav Consulate in Melbourne. Extensive damage was caused to the front of the building, but the occupants were uninjured. The following morning a second device was discovered tied to the leg of the metal stand supporting a heating-oil storage tank, indicating a far greater explosion had been intended. But there was a lack of clear evidence of who planted them.
▪ At Page 149, Blaxland writes:
In early June , four young Croatians were charged in Melbourne with possession of explosives from a buried cache in the Warburton Ranges. Documents found in their possession indicated that they were members of SHUMS [Union of Croatian United Youth of the World] and confirmed the link with HIRO [a Croatian revolutionary organisation]. A different picture emerged later, however, when one of the “principals” associated with the cache incident was reported to be living free in Belgrade. This lent “credence to the suggestion that the event was a YIS controlled operation aimed at discrediting the Croatian nationalist community [in Australia]”.
It is notable that one of the incidents cited by Mervyn Davis – and endorsed by Tony Jones – was the Warburton Ranges explosive case. Mr Jones is obviously unaware that one of the (alleged) Croatians associated with the (alleged) Croatian explosives cache went to live in Belgrade – the capital of (then) Yugoslavia.
Clearly neither Tony Jones – nor those who cover up for him at the ABC – has any compelling evidence to support his claim that “Croatian Catholic extremists” terrorists were active in Australia in the 1970s in undertaking “multiple bombings”. But do not expect that the Q&A presenter’s howler will be acknowledged by the ABC any time soon. Being a presenter in the ABC Conservative Free Zone means that you don’t have to say you’re sorry for your own howlers.
* * * *
Until next time.
If Gerard Henderson is on #insiders tomorrow I’m going to start drinking at 9.01 am
– @annalise108 via Twitter, 30 Jul 2016, 6:30 PM
“[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