9 September 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.




It seems that Duncan Watson’s imaginary “angry protests” during his virtual Sunday morning last weekend have had their effect. Hendo will be on Insiders this Sunday. By the way, your man Watson describes himself as an unashamedly left-leaning East Coast twitterateur, atheist, film buff, bibliophile, republican, mischief-maker and general nuisance. As to his location on Australia’s East Coast – the Sandalista Collective at Byron Bay, perhaps.


It’s Father’s Day tomorrow and panicked family members are out of ideas on what to get the old coot. My friend Father Gerard Henderson from The Sydney Institute has a spectacularly clever lifesaving idea: a signed copy of his book, Santamaria: A Most Unusual Man. We assume the signature is Gerard’s, not the saintly Santa’s. Anyway, even without the signature it’s a snip at $60. And what better present than a book about one unusual man written by a weird man.

Richard Ackland, author of “The Gadfly” column, in The [Boring] Saturday Paper, 3 September 2016.

In case any avid reader is after a copy of Weird Hendo’s biography, titled Santamaria: A Most Unusual Man, for next year’s Father’s Day – see here.

  • Stop Press: How the ARM and Fitz Can Increase Its 250K Grant by Another 20K – Contd
  • Can You Bear It? David Karoly & Clive Hamilton & Maybe Jacob; Nicholas Reece’s False Prophecy; Derryn Hinch’s “Dad Joke” plus Khrushchev-Style Fashion Advice; Crikey’s Bob Ellis-Style Prediction Re Kevin Andrews; Bonge’s Radio National Rant on China’s (alleged) Critics
  • New Segment: Nancy – Putting the Dog in Doggerel as she Channels Scone’s Poet Laureate
  • Legacy Issues: David Day Still Fails to Produce Evidence on His Menzies v Churchill Thesis
  • Beat-Up for the Week: The Herald Sun & The Late Ronald Mulkearns
  • Shock Horror – The ABC Complaints Unit rejects All Complaints Against the ABC’s Tony Jones
  • The AFR : A Correction Each Way re its China’s Coverage & Michael Stutchbury’s 1961 Howler
  • Correspondence: The Red Bandannaed One Helps Out



Will Glasgow’s “exclusive” in The Australian today – titled “Packers’ push for a republic revived as James donates $250,000 to ARM” reveals that businessman James Packer has given $200,000 to the Australian Republican Movement in addition to the $50,000 he donated earlier in the year. This story was apparently provided to The Australian by Peter FitzSimons, the oh-so-happy chairman of the ARM.

Mr Glasgow did not tell readers that there is another $20,000 available to the ARM if The Red Bandannaed One will come up with evidence to support his claim in the Sun-Herald (24 May 2015) that Cardinal George Pell lives in a “$30 million mansion in Rome”. Gerard Henderson cannot match Mr Packer dollar-for-dollar. But the $20,000 is ready to be paid in the ARM’s bank account if your man Fitz can provide an address in Rome. Just one. For more details see MWD’s hugely popular “Correspondence” segment.

Can you bear it graphic


How thoughtful that the ABC’s News Breakfast and Fairfax Media’s The Age gave significant coverage to the minority report on the Climate Change Authority’s Special Review on Australia’s Climate Goals and Policies which was released last Monday. In fact the majority report got very little attention on the ABC or in Fairfax Media.

The minority report was written by Professor Clive Hamilton AM and Professor David Karoly. Or was it? As The Sydney Institute Quarterly reported in its 2007 issue, your man Hamilton, having undergone a transforming experience some years ago, has another self called “Jacob”. So it a matter of Good Clive and Bad Jacob. This suggests that the minority report was comprised by either two, two and a half or three authors – depending on your interpretation of Carl Jung’s teaching. In other words, it’s possible that Professor Karoly wrote his report with Clive or Jacob or Clive/Jacob. Can you bear it?

[I think you should follow this up next week and give a first-hand account of your man Hamilton’s quite revealing interview with Caroline Jones on ABC Radio’s The Search for Meaning on 27 February 1994. I’m sure that avid readers would just love this – MWD Editor]


What a stunning contribution to the debate on Paul Murray Live on Tuesday by media tart and Melbourne University academic Nicholas (‘Gerard Henderson is insolent’) Reece.

Presenter Paul Murray and panellist Peta Credlin argued that Labor Senator Sam Dastyari, who arranged for a Chinese company to pay his personal debts, was still in political trouble. But Mr Reece was having none of this. Indeed, he (loudly) asserted that Sam Dastyari would live to fight another political day on the Labor front bench. Let’s go to the transcript:

Paul Murray: What do you put the temperature at?

Nicholas Reece: Look, I think we’ve had probably “Peak Sam” today…I mean, you know, without any fresh evidence or revelation this story will peter out. But, you know, that’s what Labor is banking on and the news cycle will move on. The dogs are still howling but the caravan moves on, as Keating once said.

So, at around 9.30 pm on Tuesday, Nicholas Reece declared that Sam Dastyari would survive as a member of Bill Shorten’s front bench – since the news cycle would move on. Less than 24 hours later, Senator Dastyari resigned from the Labor front bench – without fresh evidence being found against him. Yet, no doubt, within a day or two media tart Nicholas Reece will be back on Sky News or ABC News 24 making yet more predictions. By the way, Rudyard Kipling used the phrase “the dogs bark but the caravan moves on” about a century ago. Yet your man Reece reckons it was all Paul Keating’s work. Can you bear it?


As avid readers will be aware, MWD has traced Derryn Hinch’s transition from the self-declared “Human Headline” to the “Human Mumble” over recent years. In fact, your man Hinch’s diction was so difficult to understand during his Sky News’ appearances on Hinch Live (no longer extant) and Paul Murray Live that it was very difficult to do accurate transcripts of his comments.

However, it seems that Senator Hinch has taken some elocution lessons in recent times since his election to Parliament. So, on PML on Wednesday night, he spoke clearly when telling this re-cycled and dreadful “joke”. Let’s go to the transcript:

Derryn Hinch: I’ve got a Trump story for you. Now this is a moral quiz for you guys so be honest with it, okay? I want to ask you one moral question. Now you remember Donald Trump went down to Louisiana for the floods, right? – and he’s there for the floods. And there’s a photographer there and she’s getting pictures taken and suddenly a tsunami comes through and Trump gets washed away. And, as he’s being washed away, she realises that the presidential candidate is about to drown. And she could either save him or she could take a Pulitzer Prize winning photograph. And the moral question – think of this – would you use colour film or black and white?

Yeah, think of that. What a hoot. According to Senator Hinch, death by drowning during a tsunami is thigh-slappingly funny. And how predictable that Senator Hinch is re-cycling old jokes to have a go at Donald Trump especially since he predicted that Trump would not win the Republican nomination. In fact, the only funny thing Derryn Hinch has done in the last couple of weeks was to fall asleep in the Senate. Can you bear it?


Paul Murray (right) points the finger at Derryn Hinch (left) whom he calls “Dad”. “Dad” starred on Paul Murray Live on Wednesday with a “dad joke” directed at Donald Trump. Quelle surprise.


While on the topic of Derryn Hinch and sleeping-on-the-job, this is the rationale that the Senator for Victoria offered for nodding off during Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove’s official opening of the 45th Parliament. Your man Hinch had this to say in his interest-challenging “Senate Diary” in Crikey last Monday:

And then came the gotcha moment. Sleepergate. Hinch caught with eyes closed during the GG’s speech. I could claim sleep apnoea, from which I suffer. I’ve overnighted at the Epworth sleep clinic. Tried a CPAP machine. But bugger it – no excuses. I dozed off.

Other people did too as we listened to a re-hash of a long, boring speech spoken by a bloke in an ill-fitting suit that looked like a Nikita Khrushchev cast-off. Using other people’s words while he talked about “my government”. We’d heard it all in the marathon election campaign.

Once again, this is just Hinch-style abuse. As governor-general, Sir Peter Cosgrove read a speech written by the Prime Minister’s Office. This is a standard practice in the Westminster system of government. As to the idea of your man Hinch lecturing-at-large about dress-sense, well really. In any event, unlike Derryn Hinch, at least the one-time Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev had the manners to take off his overcoat and suit before falling asleep. Can you bear it?

[Er, no. By the way I believe that Senator Hinch needs to attend Nancy’s Courtesy Classes. A gentleman who falls asleep in a public place should not run the “Sorry, I was bored line”. How would he know the speech was boring if he slept through it? Also, would someone tell the Crikey editor that readers are not all that interested in your man Hinch’s chipped tooth or who cuts his (suspiciously dark) hair and attends to his (suspiciously dark) beard. Or whether he once owned a John Olsen painting and zzzzzz. MWD Editor]


While on the topic of Crikey, manners and speeches – MWD can report that Crikey’s prophecy of last Tuesday, that attendees would fall asleep during Kevin Andrews’ 2016 Daniel Mannix Memorial Lecture at Melbourne University on Wednesday – was proved false. About one hundred turned up to hear Mr Andrews talk on “Joseph Lyons and the management of diversity”. It was a good, attentive audience for a Wednesday evening in Melbourne. Nancy’s co-owners were in attendance.

Crikey chairman Eric Beecher lectures-at-large about declining standards in the Australian media. However, the Kevin Andrews false prophecy appeared in Crikey’s anonymous “Tips and Rumours” segment and even quoted another anonymous “tipster”. Also, the anonymous writer used this anonymous tip to criticise B.A. Santamaria’s inaugural Daniel Mannix Memorial Lecture delivered in October 1977 – without having bothered to read the speech (which was published as a booklet by Melbourne University Press). Can you bear it?


While on the topic of the late B.A. Santamaria (1915-1998), this is what the leftist Channel 10 contributing editor Paul Bongiorno had to say in his bi-weekly Verbal Epistle to ABC Radio National Breakfast listeners. Believe it or not, the question asked by Hamish Macdonald – who is standing in for Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly – turned on Labor Senator Sam Dastyari’s decision to ask a Chinese company with links to the Chinese Communist Party to pay his debts. Let’s go to the transcript:

Hamish Macdonald: There is some talk within Labor that Sam Dastyari may have to stand aside for the good of the party. Will it come to that particularly given his sort of faction role?

Paul Bongiorno: Well, yes, I noticed yesterday that the Opposition leader called him a junior senator. Well he is only thirty-three but he’s something of a political wunderkind he’s a very successful general secretary especially raising money for the NSW branch of the Labor Party and he was the number one on the Labor Senate ticket. So while he’s young and junior in that sense – looks very young to me I must say – you know, he’s really not a political neophyte. Now whether he has to stand aside I think will depend on whether the government can, you know, keep the heat, keep the focus on this, keep ratcheting it up.

It has to be said that when he made these comments he was a shadow, shadow parliamentary secretary. And that the attacks on him are beginning to be a little bit dangerous I think, in the broader context for the government. Not only the whole issue of donations but now China is, we’re attacking China much in the same way as we attacked communist Russia in the Cold War. I noticed today The Australian talking about Dastyari’s donor has party cell [sic]. Well guess what? China’s a one party state. And anybody of any influence if they want to get anywhere in China has to be a member of the Communist Party. And if we’re going to say that anyone has got anything to do with the Chinese Communist Party, is Chinese is off limits – well, I think we just have to shut down everything we’re doing with China.

This is an attitude that Bob Santamaria, Australia’s most famous anti-communist had in the fifties, in the middle – of course – of the Cold War. When he attacked the Menzies government for selling wheat to Red China. Give us all a break.

What a load of absolute tosh. First, no one is attacking China in 2016 the way Russia was criticised over half a century ago. By the way, no nation called “Russia” existed during the Cold War – he meant the Soviet Union. Second, no one has said that anyone who has anything to do with the China Communist Party is off-limits. Third, no one has urged that Australia should shut down everything we’re doing with China. Fourth, no one is channelling B.A. Santamaria of 50 years ago and urging the Australian government not to sell wheat to China but, rather, to donate wheat to India. Bonge just made this all up. As Bonge would say: Give us all a break.

Even Mr Macdonald noticed that Paul Bongiorno was in his rant-from-the-pulpit mode. This is how Bonge’s rant ended:

Hamish Macdonald: Bonge very quickly, in about the length of a tweet if you can, can Bill Shorten out-manoeuvre the government on this by being the one now that says, let’s ban foreign donations?

Paul Bongiorno: Well, I think the government’s put that squarely on the agenda and I think people will expect to see something done. How’s that? That 140 characters?

Hamish Macdonald: It was about that. I’m sure someone going to count it and tell us.

Paul Bongiorno: You’re better than Fran Kelly, she just shuts me down.

[Much mutual laughter here]

Hamish Macdonald: Bonge, great to chat as always.

Yeah. Great to chat. As always. But how long will listeners to the taxpayer funded public broadcaster have to listen to Bonge’s rants about what the news should be – rather than commenting on the news itself? Can you bear it?



Nancy and her (male) co-owner were so impressed by Phillip Adams’ poem “Malcolm in the Muddle” – published in the Weekend Australian Magazine on 27-28 August 2016 – that they were inspired to imitate Scone’s Poet Laureate. Here’s the (frightful) result. It’s a work in progress – so avid readers are invited to submit new stanzas. With apologies to Dorothea Mackellar:


In a poem

I love a sunburnt country

It’s been so great to me

Thanks to lotsa taxpayers

Who fund the ABC*

I love this silly country

Like I used to love Stalin

When I was just a teenager

And he was just my darlin’

Oh what a wretched country

To have produced Bob Santa

A clerical fascist to be sure

And wasn’t he a ranter?

When a PM’s thoughtful tactic

Like handing out free money**

Is not really appreciated

In our land of milk and honey.

Can you love a great country

Where Nancy’s owner does moan

That my Aunty has become

A Conservative Free Zone

Back on the farm I do reflect

How it’s really really funny

That I’m a wealthy leftist

And Rupert pays me money.


*The reference is to Phillip Adams’ role as presenter on ABC Radio National’s Late Night Live.

**The reference is to Labor’s Kevin Rudd.

*** The reference is to Phillip Adams’ many years as a columnist for The Australian (proprietor: Rupert Murdoch)


Legacy Issues


The forthcoming documentary, Howard on Menzies (which will show on ABC 1 at 7.40 pm on Sunday 18 September and Sunday 25 September) has motivated an avid reader to contact Nancy’s (male) co-owner. Avid Reader wants to know whether David Day, one of Australia’s leading historians, has been able to find any evidence to support the thesis on which his academic reputation is built. Namely, that in 1941 Australia’s very own Robert Menzies wanted to replace Winston Churchill as prime minister of Britain – and that such a scenario had considerable support in Britain.

Asked to provide the name of one historian of 20th Century Britain, or one Churchill biographer, who has ever made such a claim – Dr Day (for a doctor he is) said that he was “flat out like a lizard drinking”. Too busy, it seems, to provide one name.

In the absence of David Day supporting his assertion about Messrs Menzies and Churchill in 1941 with evidence, here’s an update of MWD’s Scoreboard. MWD will keep readers advised if Dr Day produces any evidence of any kind at any time to support his claim.

[I assume that this is the very same David Day who had the first edition of his Paul Keating biography pulped for making an unproven allegation about the former prime minister. See MWD Issue 269. Could it be that the leftist Dr Day just makes up stuff about leading political conservatives and social democrats alike? – MWD Editor.]

[table id=44 /]



Did anyone read Shannon Deery’s beat-up on Page One of the Herald Sun on Tuesday? In case the answer is in the negative, it was headed:


Church Inherits $2.1 Million

As Abuse Victims Are Shunned

Bishop’s Almighty Insult

Well, was it? Not at all. Ronald Mulkearns, the former Catholic Bishop of Ballarat, died in April 2016 at age 85. He was in poor health in the lead-up to his death and in no position to divide his estate among multiple beneficiaries.

Fr Mulkearns (as he became) left a property at Fairhaven, valued at $2.1 million (which he inherited from his father) and about $40,000 cash to Bishop Paul Bird – the current Catholic bishop of Ballarat – “for the benefit of the Catholic diocese of Ballarat at his absolute discretion”.

Fair enough. Fr Mulkearns – a theological liberal, not a conservative, Catholic – could have left his assets with family members, friends or institutions. He did not do so. Rather, he left his worldly wealth to the Catholic diocese of Ballarat – aware that Bishop Bird had committed the diocese to further assisting victims of clerical child sexual abuse.

Before his death, Ronald Mulkearns admitted that he had been irresponsible in not properly handling clerical child sexual abuse when he was the Catholic Bishop of Ballarat. He was one of the many – in church and state – who were guilty of acts of omission in this area. But at least Ronald Mulkearns admitted this during his lifetime – and apologised to the victims.

On Wednesday, at the bottom of Page 2, Shannon Deery reported, under the beat-up headline “Victims to get evil bishop’s money”, that Bishop Bird had decided to use his inheritance from the Mulkearns Estate to support victims of clerical child sexual abuse in the Ballarat diocese. As would be expected – except, of course, by Shannon Deery.

The way Shannon Deery reports the affairs of the Catholic Church – a job offer sometime soon from the ABC or, perhaps, Fairfax Media should be anticipated.




Meet Kirstin McLiesh – Head, Audience and Consumer Affairs at the ABC. She is in charge of the unit at the taxpayer funded public broadcaster which investigates complaints alleging that ABC personnel have breached ABC editorial standards.

In most leading media organisations , such matters would be handled promptly by the editor-in-chief. However, the ABC editor-in-chief (formerly Mark Scott and now Michelle Guthrie) despatches complaints about the ABC into the ABC bureaucracy. This means delay. Moreover, when ABC staff sit in judgment on ABC staff it’s scarcely surprising that ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs dismisses outright the overwhelming majority of complaints which it receives about the ABC. According to the latest ABC Report, in 2014-2015 ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs rejected outright some 94 per cent of the complaints which it decided to investigate.

Thanks to the avid reader who forwarded Kirstin McLiesh’s finding re the complaint about Tony Jones’ comments concerning “Croatian Catholic extremist” terrorists on Q&A (18 July 2016). The finding contained in Kirstin McLiesh’s email to Frank Nekic dated 5 September 2016.

As is common in such matters, early in her reply Ms McLiesh commented: “Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding to you”. This overlooks the fact that the longer delay in handling a complaint the less likely that it can be dealt with adequately. And the letter ended with the pro-forma conclusion:

Thank you for giving the ABC the opportunity to respond to your concerns. Should you remain dissatisfied, you may be able to pursue your complaint with the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

As avid readers will be aware, the controversy commenced when the following exchange took place on Q&A on 18 July 2016:

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 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.

When Tony Jones’ comments about (alleged) “multiple bombings” in Australia in the 1970s by “Croatian Catholic extremist” terrorists were challenged, the ABC’s sole defence of Tony Jones was to point to a 1973 document titled “Incidents Within The Yugoslav Community, 1963-1973”. The ABC was not able to properly describe the title of this document. Gerard Henderson, with assistance from the National Library of Australia, located it (after the payment of a fee) in Senate Select Committee On Civil Rights of Migrant Australians, Canberra, Friday, 24 August 1973 (Official Hansard Report). As indicated in MWD Issue 329, the document does not provide evidence that supports Tony Jones’ allegations on Q&A. Ms McLiesh did not refer to this document when rejecting Mr Nekic’s complaint.

Tony Jones has still not made a statement on this issue, preferring to let ABC in general and ABC News in particular run his defence. As Ms McLiesh’s email makes clear, Audience and Consumer Affairs has accepted ABC News’ position in finding for the ABC’s Tony Jones.

The following sections of Kirstin McLiesh’s letter dated 5 September warrant discussion.

  1. In her findings, Ms McLiesh agreed with this comment provided to her by ABC News:

The history of protest, including violent protest and the use of explosives by Croatian nationalists in Australia during the 1960s and 1970s is complex and many matters remain unresolved. There is evidence the Yugoslav intelligence services infiltrated Croatian organisations and probably acted as agents provocateurs and worked to implicate Croatian Australians in crimes they did not commit. However, there is also overwhelming evidence that Croatian nationalists were involved in violent protests, bombings and attempted bombings that could fairly be described as acts of terrorism.

The principal point that Tony Jones was making, that there has been terrorism in Australia prior to the recent acts of terrorism by Muslim extremists, is demonstrably correct.

While it is true that there were not convictions for “multiple” bombings in the 1970s, there was a series of bombings across the period targeting Yugoslav or Serbian interests that police and intelligence services were convinced were committed by Croatian nationalists and there was a number of convictions for possession of explosives and other weapons. ABC News believes that despite the lack of convictions for bombings in the 1970s there is sufficient evidence on the public record to say as a matter of fact that Croatian extremists were involved in bombings during the period.

Some confusion, surely. ABC News has transitioned from reporting news to expressing belief. Hence the statement: “ABC News believes [emphasis added] that despite the lack of convictions for bombings in the 1970s there is sufficient evidence on the public record to say as a matter of fact [emphasis added] that Croatian extremists were involved in bombings during the period.”

So Ms McLiesh moved promptly from stating that ABC News believes in something to accepting this belief as a statement of fact. Moreover, she accepted ABC News’ fudge in supporting Mr Jones. The “principal point” made by Tony Jones on Q&A was not that “there has been terrorism in Australia prior to the recent acts of terrorism by Muslim extremists”. Rather, his principal point was that these acts of terrorism involved “multiple bombings” by “Croatian Catholic extremists”.

  1. Kirstin McLiesh then reported further advice from ABC News and added comments of her own:

ABC News has advised that Tony Jones’ statement was based on his own considerable research and analysis of this historical topic. Mr Jones is familiar with the political events of the time, including then Attorney-General Lionel Murphy’s ministerial statement on Croatian terrorism which incorporated material from the Attorney-General’s Department, the Commonwealth Police and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. Mr Jones has also reviewed contemporaneous newspaper coverage of key events and is well versed with accounts of these events as recorded by authors including Mark Aarons and John Blaxland. To the extent that the reference to Croatian Catholic extremists constituted a material fact for the purposes of the program, Audience and Consumer Affairs is satisfied that reasonable efforts were made to ensure the accuracy of the statement.

This comment is disturbingly unprofessional. The left-wing Senator Lionel Murphy was Attorney General in Gough Whitlam’s Labor government between December 1972 and February 1975. Lionel Murphy was the principal critic of Croatian Australians in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Senator Murphy convinced himself that Croatian Australians were intent on murdering the visiting Yugoslavian prime minister Dzemal Bijedic in March 1973. That’s why, as Attorney-General, he raided ASIO’s Canberra office and Melbourne headquarters on the evening of 15 March and the morning of 16 March 1974. Senator Murphy and some of his advisers believed that ASIO was withholding from the Whitlam government, intelligence about Croatian extremists operating in Australia.

Needless to say, nothing was found to support Murphy’s anti-Croatian paranoia. Yet Tony Jones and Kirstin McLiesh seem to believe that Lionel Murphy was a fair-minded authority on Croatian Australians over four decades ago.

Lionel Murphy’s disastrous ASIO raid is documented in Chapter 13 of John Blaxland’s The Protest Years: The Official History of ASIO 1963-1975. Mr Jones claims to have read this book. In Chapter 5, Dr Blaxland’s book reveals that ASIO was highly suspicious that many attacks on Yugoslav properties in Australia were undertaken by Yugoslav secret agents and not by Croatian Australians. So, contrary to Tony Jones’ assertion, Dr Blaxland’s research does not support the Q&A’s presenter’s thesis.

  1. Ms McLiesh’s report continues with an account of her own views:

We have also considered whether reasonable efforts were made to provide sufficient context for the host’s statement. As set out above, the focus of the discussion was contemporary events. The host’s reference to acts of terrorism in 1970s Australia served the ABC’s accuracy standards by calling into question Ms Hanson’s repeated assertion that acts of terrorism had not previously been observed in Australia. Had the issue of Croatian terrorism been the focus of the program’s discussion, viewers would reasonably expect further context to be provided in order to build a more complete picture of those historical events. Extra context might well have included reference to the suspected involvement of the Yugoslav Intelligence Service in at least some of the bombings, and the absence of convictions for many of the acts of violence that occurred in this period. However, in the circumstances of this live program with its focus on contemporary issues, we are not persuaded that further context was required in order to satisfy the ABC’s accuracy standards.

This is hyperbole. For starters, Pauline Hanson did not engage in a “repeated assertion” about terrorism on Q&A. She made just two references to the issue. Moreover, Mr Jones overlooked documented cases of terrorism in Australia unrelated to Croatia or Croatian Australians – such as the Islamist attack at Broken Hill in January 1915 and the bombing (almost certainly by Ananda Marga) of the Hilton Hotel in Sydney in February 1978.

According to Ms McLiesh’s confused statement, the ABC accuracy standards do not require that ABC presenters be accurate if a comment made was not “the focus” of the program and/or if the program is “live”. How about that?

  1. Ms McLiesh’s report continues:

For similar reasons, we have concluded that the program did not present factual content in a way that would materially mislead the audience. As ABC News acknowledges, many matters relating to these historical events remain unresolved. However, it is fair to say that informed sources attribute responsibility to Croatian nationalist extremists for at least some of the bombings that occurred during this period. It was not materially misleading for the host to state as fact that acts of terrorism had previously been observed in Australia and to cite the example of bombings by Croatian extremists in the 1970s. Given the brevity of the reference and the fact that discussion in this live program then moved on, this was not a circumstance where other explanatory information was required in order to comply with standard 2.2. The host’s reference to activities of Croatian extremists in the 1970s was not intended to suggest that these were the only prior examples of terrorism in Australia. The host mentioned this example because he was familiar with it through his own research. The religious affiliation of those thought to be responsible allowed a further point to be made. ABC News has commented:

Here Ms McLiesh refers to “informed sources” but does not say what they are – or were. The only document cited by Tony Jones was compiled in 1975 – nearly half a century ago – and it did not support his assertion. In fact, a reasonable interpretation of what Tony Jones said on Q&A was that Croatian Catholic extremists were the only group that had engaged in terrorist acts in the 19th and 20th centuries in Australia. What’s more, no one at the ABC has provided evidence that any of the (alleged) terrorists were Catholics who claimed to act in the cause of Catholicism.

  1. Finally, McLiesh accepted the following submission by ABC News:

Ms Hanson on Q&A and elsewhere suggests that there is some special relationship between Islam as a religion and terrorism, implying that there is something about Islam that exclusively accommodates terrorism. Tony Jones’s statement clarifies that, historically, people of many faiths have committed acts of terrorism and that while they may in part justify their terrorism on the basis of their religion, it is completely fallacious to condemn the religion for their acts or to discriminate against law-abiding citizens because of the illegal acts of their co-religionists.

The fact is that Tony Jones has provided no evidence that the (alleged) terrorists who engaged in (alleged) multiple bombings in Australia in the 1970s were Catholics. None at all. Moreover, Tony Jones provided no evidence that unnamed “Croatian Catholic extremists”, were motivated in any way by their (alleged) Catholicism as distinct from, say, Croatian nationalism and/or anti-communism. In any event, Tony Jones agrees with the 1991 Four Corners program that demonstrated that the Croatian Six, who were convicted of conspiracy in 1979 to commit terrorism, were framed by Yugoslav agents operating in Australia at the time. But Tony Jones asks us to believe that there were “multiple bombings” earlier in the 1970s in which Yugoslav agents in Australia were not involved – without providing any evidence in support of his assertion.

Kirstin McLiesh declined to cover this matter in her findings. So Mr Nekic is destined to become part of the 94 per cent of complainants who have had their complaint investigated and then rejected outright. Read all about it in the ABC Annual Report: 2016-17.


On any analysis, Kirstin McLiesh’s report is a work of poor scholarship.


An avid reader has pointed out that last week’s MWD was less than fair in linking the Australian Financial Review’s “Agents of Influence” series on China’s influence in Australia with the fact that Fairfax Media accepts advertising from the state owned China News flogging China’s mores. Okay. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

But while on the topic of the AFR, what is its editor Michael Stutchbury doing declaring – in a mail out to subscribers last Friday evening – that “the Menzies government was returned by one seat in 1961 thanks to Communist Party preferences that kept Jim Killen in his Brisbane seat of Moreton.”

Not so. As documented in MWD Issues 124 and 323. In Moreton in 1961 the Communist Party candidate was eliminated first. Jim Killen defeated the Labor Party candidate on the preferences of the candidate of the anti-communist Democratic Labor Party.

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).


Nancy’s (male) co-owner is a member of the Australian Republican Movement. So, by the way, is Nancy’s (female) co-owner. In this position, Hendo receives lotsa correspondence from the A.R.M. chairman, your man Fitz. Being a courteous kind of guy, Hendo replies to Fitz and uses the occasion, of course, to ask for evidence about Peter FitzSimons’ claim that Cardinal George Pell lives in a “$30 million mansion in Rome”. Invariably to no effect. [It seems that the Red Bandannaed One needs to attend Nancy’s Courtesy Classes. All correspondence, except for encyclical letters, deserves a reply. It’s only courteous. – MWD Editor]
Peter FitzSimons to Gerard Henderson – 5 September 2016

We’ve made a cracking start since our 2016 republican raffle launched last week, thanks to all of you who’ve bought tickets already.

You really don’t want to miss this one. King Island was good last year but Hamilton Island? They just don’t DO winter there. And if you don’t snag first prize, there are plenty more goodies on offer. My personal favourite is the stunning painting “Bush Berry Dreaming” by Indigenous artist Josie Petrick Kemarre but $1500 to spend at Westfield wouldn’t go astray either!

Whether you buy a single ticket for 10 bucks or splash out on 3 tickets for $25, 5 tickets for $40 or 10 tickets for $75 (go you good thing!), the main thing is you back us in!

Thanks again for your support.

In Optimism,
Peter FitzSimons
National Chair
Australian Republican Movement

Gerard Henderson to Peter Fitzsimons – 5 September 2016

Dear Red Bandannaed One!!!!!

Lotsa thanks for your email reminding me of the Australian Republic Movement’s 2016 raffle. Also, I just love your Salutation-With-Exclamation Mark!!!!! Well done.

This is to formally advise that I have yet to purchase a ticket in the 2016 ARM raffle – since I am still awaiting your response to my earlier correspondence.

As you will recall, I have promised to donate a cool $20,000 to the ARM. For the ARM to receive the cash, all you have to do is to provide the address of the (alleged) “$30 million mansion in Rome” where you claim Cardinal George Pell resides.

You made this claim in your Sun-Herald column on 24 May 2015. Your column remains on the Fairfax Media website despite your failure to provide any evidence to support your assertion – and despite Sydney Morning Herald editor-in-chief’s Darren Goodsir’s commitment to correct any errors in the Sydney Morning Herald or the Sun-Herald.

So it’s over to you. Provide the (alleged) address – and the ARM scores $20,000, – probably about as much as will be raised in the 2016 raffle. If you can’t provide the address – why not wear a white bandanna for a week to indicate surrender on this particular point.

In Optimism/Pessimism/Whateverism

Gerard Henderson

(Male) co-owner of the republican Queensland heeler Nancy

* * * * *

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