23 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.


BY PHILLIP ADAMS, AO, AM, Hon DUniv (Griffith), Hon DLitt (ECU), Hon DUniv (SA), DLitt (Syd), Hon. DUniv (Macquarie), FRSA, Hon FAHA

One of my bête noires is Gerard Henderson. And I try not to let him provoke me. I turn the other cheek – both facial and posterial. But this week he said something which just made me furious.

Phillip Adams on Late Night Live, 20 September 2016

  • Stop Press: Wendy Harmer’s Caliphate Surprise; The Chaser Boys Get Super Funding to Make Fun of the Janitor Class in the US
  • Can You Bear It? Fran Kelly’s Leading Question; Mike Carlton’s Sharia Confusion & Glenn Dyer’s Menzies Rant
  • David Marr Glosses Over Manning Clark’s Support for the Soviet Union
  • ABC: An Update – In Which the ABC Audience & Consumer Affairs Bureaucrats Lose the Plot re Cardinal Pell & Victoria Police
  • Deliberate Mistake “Confessional”
  • New Feature: US Election Watch Starring the ABC’s Michael Vincent
  • Correspondence: David Stark Helps Out (Again) re the Self Confessed Pedophile Richard Neville & The ARM’s David McGregor Gives Hendo a Chance to Repeat his 20K Offer to the Red Bandannaed One




On ABC Radio 702 this morning, presenter Wendy Harmer – who fronts “Mornings with Wendy Harmer” – declared that Liberal Party senator Cory Bernardi was intent on establishing a “caliphate”. She also managed to criticise National Party MP George Christensen.

You would only claim on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster that Christian men like Senator Bernardi and Mr Christensen were intent on establishing an Islamic Caliphate if you had no idea precisely what a caliphate is. Or, alternatively, if you had been out drinking the night before with Derryn Hinch – who, according to reports, has fallen off the wagon.

Senator Hinch is reported to have blamed this hold-the-front-page story on a former lover whom he declared has given him “bunny boiler treatment”. If such a comment had been made by, say, Cory Bernardi the likes of Wendy Harmer would have been in-rage mode and shouts of misogyny would be heard throughout the land. But this morning Wendy (“I’m an old fashioned socialist”) Harmer was busy defending the nation against a forthcoming Bernardi/Christensen Caliphate. From the ABC’s Sydney Studio in Sandalista aware Ultimo.

Verily, a Wendy Harmer Moment.


Hendo has just received his Annual Superannuation Statement for the Year ended 30 June 2016 from Media Super. It contains the question: “WILL YOU HAVE ENOUGH SUPER?” To which the answer is, obviously, an emphatic “NO”. According to calculations, a couple which retires with superannuation of $1 million will get an annuity not much higher than the old age pension.

So what’s the union dominated Media Super doing about this? Well, it has decided to set up a Media Super Scholarship which will see contributors to Media Super paying for a scholarship which will finance a trip to the United States to work with the Chaser boys (average age 431/2) to cover the US presidential election. That’s what.

The Chaser’s War on Everything’s US correspondent Charles Firth will lead the team.

Stand by for lotsa trespasses on private property and juvenile attempts to make fun of poorly paid police and security guards by tertiary educated, insouciant Australian comedians.

According to Mr Firth, the experience will not only be “hands-on” (whatever that might mean) but “also lots of fun”. Meanwhile Media Super CEO Graeme Russell has said that he is delighted that Media Super is financing this self-styled “scholarship”. Which suggests that Mr Russell has not consulted Media Super members on how he might preside over a better use of their hard-earned superannuation savings.

Can you bear it graphic


Last week MWD referred to the habit of Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly of asking leading questions. Ms Kelly returned to Radio National Breakfast on Monday. After what journalists like to call a Well Earned Break. Not long into the program, she interviewed regular commentator Michelle Grattan about the current political situation.

Guess what? Ms Kelly’s first question was a leading question concerning former prime minister Tony Abbott’s comments in Europe about border security along with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s comments in the United States on much the same topic. Let’s go to the transcript:

Fran Kelly: So Tony Abbott, getting into the debate over refugee status. We had the Prime Minister [Malcolm Turnbull] over the weekend declaring Australia’s border security policy as basically the world’s best, world class. But those comments there – for Australia we’re dealing with a different order of things, Michelle. I mean, in Europe it’s all very well for Tony Abbott to say “you’ve just got to say we have borders, we have to enforce them”. People aren’t coming by boat [to Europe], a lot of these people. They’re walking. And if you enforce them, then where do they stop? I mean it’s too simplistic an approach, isn’t it?

So here was another example of Fran Kelly both asking and answering a question. She asked Michelle Grattan to agree with the proposition that Tony Abbott’s approach was “too simplistic”. Moreover, Fran Kelly asserted that “a lot of these people” entering Europe “aren’t coming by boat”. In fact, many are. Which is why the Italian Navy is busy rescuing asylum seekers from drowning in the Mediterranean.

In any event, Michelle Grattan picked up Fran Kelly’s drift and agreed with her (leading) question:

Michelle Grattan: I do think that Australian politicians, whether the Prime Minister [Malcolm Turnbull] and Immigration Minister [Peter Dutton] in New York or Tony Abbott, need to be very careful about how they talk about this problem, this crisis in Europe. Because, as you say, it is a completely different order. And governments that are trying to cope – and have been trying to cope in European countries – could well feel rather irritated that Australia – which has, or had a much lesser problem, dramatically lesser problem – having it really tell them what to do and lecture to them and draw those parallels.

Despite Michelle (“Do you mind if I call you Cobber?”) Grattan’s assertion to the contrary, there is some admiration in Europe for Australia’s approach to asylum seekers arriving by boat. Yet Fran Kelly is so hostile to Tony Abbott’s approach that she engages in the grossest of leading questions. Can you bear it?


Could Mike (“I used to pour the gin”) Carlton be back on the turps? It’s a good question following this tweet which the sage of Avalon Beach put out last Friday about same-sex marriage.

mike carlton tweet ssm sharia

How many howlers can your man Carlton fit into a total of 140 characters? First, there is no “Christian stance” on same sex marriage. A majority of Christian churches oppose same sex marriage but many Christians support SSM. Second, the Christians do not dictate to the state in Australia or elsewhere. Most Australian Christian leaders do not want a change to the law that defines marriage as a union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of others. In other words, most Christian leaders do not want a plebiscite on SSM. They regard the plebiscite as the lesser of two evils. That’s all. In other words, Christian leaders are not dictating government policy and never have. That’s why, for example, Australia has quite liberal laws on abortion.

Third, Sharia Law does not respect the division between church and state. That’s not the case with Christianity. Fourth, Mike Carlton overlooks the fact that opposition to SSM is not an exclusive Christian position. Same sex marriage is also opposed by many Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and some Jews and a considerable number of atheists and agnostics.

Yet Mike Carlton reckons he’s living under something “a bit like” Sharia Law. And he wants us to believe that he’s locked away the gin in his gin cupboard and thrown away the key. Can you bear it?


Crikey chairman Eric Beecher is persistently bewailing what he regards as the decline of media standards. Perhaps your man Beecher should look into the mote of his own (Crikey) eye before lecturing others about journalistic standards.

This is what the Crikey segment titled “Glenn Dyer’s TV Ratings” had this to say on 19 September about Howard on Menzies: Building Modern Australia – the first episode of which aired on ABC 1 last Sunday.

Howard on Menzies was OK. A bit like one old buffer (John Howard) talking about another. Malcolm Turnbull was clearly out of his depth. It is a pity Malcolm Fraser died and Alan Reid, the great political journalist is no longer with us, or Ian Fitchett, another great political journalist from the past, with lot’s [sic] of views and opinions on Menzies. They would have a contemporary view on Menzies. A useful primer in many respects. The most stunning part of the hour was his movies taken on various trip [sic]. That surely is worth a special on its own: not a hagiography, but as the basis for a very unique view of a career, and especially the early days of World War II. Wasn’t there any interviews: film, TV or audio in the national archives where Menzies contemporaries talked about him?

Menzies didn’t contribute much to modern Australia except the Liberal Party. His was a white Australia, with few if any omen [sic]. Holt at least started easing the White Australian [sic] Policy (over the opposition of Caldwell [sic] and the ALP and Trade Unions). Menzies have [sic] us the unnatural fear of the red/yellow hordes and dominos. His economy was protectionist (and the ALP and the unions enthusiastic supporters). The modern, Asian skewing (and increasingly multicultural Australia) Australia with an open, efficient and solid economy, would have been a shock to him, the ALP and the unions and of course, the most conservative of all, business of all sizes. It remains a time when Pauline Hanson and her supporters and other dingbats on the right (and some on the left and among the Greens) would have felt right at home. Next week is the second a [sic] final part.

To which MWD responds:

▪ Alan Reid died 1987 and Ian Fitchett in 1988 – that is, three decades ago. John Howard and writer/director Simon Nasht intended to interview Malcolm Fraser but he died unexpectedly in 2015.

▪ There is no evidence that Menzies’ colleagues left film, TV or audio interviews about the former prime minister.

▪ It’s a nonsense to suggest that Menzies “didn’t contribute much to modern Australia”. Sure, Robert Menzies was not an economic reformer but he presided over a prosperous Australia in the 1950s and the early 1960s. Moreover, it was under the Menzies government that the Australian-American Alliance was formalised, the 1957 trade deal with Japan was set up, substantial funds were put into tertiary education and, in 1963, for the first time Commonwealth education assistance was provided to non-government (then primarily Catholic) schools.

▪ The Labor leader between 1960 and early 1967 was Arthur Calwell. Bert Evatt was Labor leader between 1941 and 1960.

Crikey does not appear to employ a proof-reader. Or a fact-checker. Yet your man Beecher lectures-at-large about media standards. Can you bear it?


The most egregious letters are open letters. The writer pretends to be sending a personal communication to an individual but instead publishes it as a column so that as many as possible will read his or her views.

And so it came to pass that, last Friday, The (“Can you spare a $100 for a good cause”?) Guardian carried an open letter from David Marr to Chris Mitchell. Your man Marr’s complaint was that the author of Making Headlines had not written what David Marr wanted him to write about the late Manning Clark (1915-1999). Proclaimed Marr:

Chris, you despised Clark’s lefty views, his spiritual take on Australia’s history, his sentimental – and dashed – hopes for the Russian revolution and, perhaps above all, his beatification by the Labor party. But it never added up to proof that Clark was on the job for the Soviets.

Manning Clark was probably not a spy for the Soviet Union. However, he was personally close to two spies who re-located to live under the communist dictatorships of Eastern Europe. Namely, Ian Milner and Fred Rose.

In any event, Manning Clark was an admirer of the communist dictatorship in Moscow. Moreover, he was the recipient of a medal from the Soviet Union at the time of the repressive era prevailed over by Leonid Brezhnev.

Manning Clark’s book Meeting Soviet Man (Angus & Robertson, 1960) was published after his 1958 visit to the Soviet Union as a guest of the Union of Soviet Writers. At the time, intellectuals were being persecuted in the Soviet Union. However, you would never know this from reading Meeting Soviet Man. In this tome, Professor Clark:

▪ declared that the Bolshevik dictator Vladimir Lenin “seems to have been Christ-like, at least in his compassion”.

▪ predicted that the Soviet Union could become the first society “to create equality and brotherhood”.

▪ bagged the truthful account by Victor Kravchenko of the Soviet Union in his 1949 book I Chose Freedom as “propaganda” and

▪ emoted that “whoever lives unmoved in Moscow must have a heart of stone”.

What a load of absolute (pro-communist) tosh. Yet David Marr regards Manning Clark’s life-long flirtation with Joe Stalin and his political heirs in Moscow as merely an example of Clark’s sentimentality. Can you bear it?

[Er, no. By the way, what do you reckon David Marr would have said if B.A. Santamaria (1915-1998) had gone to Spain in 1958 and returned to Australia and written a book titled Meeting Franco Man in which he poured out his hopes for the victors in the Spanish Civil War and overlooked the Franco regime’s repression of dissidents. Just imagine. MWD Editor].

abc update


As avid readers are well aware, in the view of Nancy’s (male) co-owner it is a waste of time making a formal complaint to the ABC. Such matters are invariably passed on to the ABC’s Audience and Consumer Affairs Department in Canberra where, of the matters considered, some 95 per cent of complaints against ABC presenters, producers and journalists are rejected outright by ABC bureaucrats.

Following 7.30’s hatchet job on Cardinal George Pell on 27 July 2016 – re which see MWD Issue 327 – a certain avid reader spontaneously complained to the ABC. For the record, the complainant is not known to Gerard Henderson. The ABC sent the matter to Audience and Consumer Affairs in Canberra. And, needless to say, the complaint was rejected outright.

Now, Audience and Consumer Affairs claims to be “a unit which is separate to and independent of program making areas within the ABC”. However, in his reply to the complainant, Audience and Consumer Affairs’ Kieran Doyle became an active supporter of 7.30 and an active defender of the Victoria Police. The relevant details of Kieran Doyle’s response are set out below:

Audience and Consumer Affairs has confirmed that this report was based on months of careful research with 7.30 speaking to dozens of people, corroborating and fact-checking every aspect of the story. The decision to broadcast was done in consultation with the most senior managers in ABC News and on comprehensive legal advice. 7.30 is aware of many more details regarding other serious allegations against Cardinal Pell, in addition to those of the two men featured in the broadcast, which contributed to its decision to broadcast this story. The police process has taken a long time because, as the Chief Commissioner said the day after the story, it is incredibly complex, with multiple complainants, over several decades. There will be dozens of witnesses to contact and interview.

ABC News management has explained that 7.30 was forensic in its research and then made sure to clearly present the claims against Cardinal Pell as allegations, making it clear they are untested and that at law the Cardinal is entitled to the presumption of innocence. 7.30 prominently presented the Cardinal’s emphatic denials after its repeated attempts to interview him in person were denied.

It is common journalistic practice to report on criminal investigations that are newsworthy and represent a matter of public interest. The fact that Victoria Police’s Taskforce SANO is investigating multiple allegations against Cardinal Pell is considered highly newsworthy and a relevant issue for the program to examine. We observe that it was made clear in the introduction to the report that – “The Cardinal has issued a statement saying he emphatically and unequivocally rejects any allegations of sexual abuse against him. 7.30 acknowledges the Cardinal is entitled to a presumption of innocence and that the allegations are yet to be tested by any court.”

We are satisfied that it was in the public interest for 7.30 to broadcast this story. The program has explained that it took the decision to report the allegations very seriously and gave the Cardinal plenty of notice of about the report, offering to fly to Rome to speak to him in person. There are numerous examples of similar allegations being made against members of the clergy, from various denominations, whose activities have been discussed in the Royal Commission and who in some cases only had convictions secured against them years after media reporting them. 7.30 did not believe that Cardinal Pell should be treated any differently to any of those people just because of his position. In fact, his stewardship of the Melbourne Response and Towards Healing and the complaints that many survivors have made about those processes in the Royal Commission make scrutiny of these claims even more relevant.

Please be assured that your personal interpretation of the report is noted.

This is a highly unprofessional document, for a number of reasons.

٠ The ABC’s Audience and Consumer Affairs department is supposed to assess complaints against the ABC’s editorial standards for accuracy and impartiality. It is not supposed to introduce new claims beyond those made in the original program.

Kieran Doyle did not merely rule in favour of the 7.30 program on Cardinal Pell. He also stated that “7.30 is aware of many more details of other serious allegations against Cardinal Pell”. However, the ABC bureaucrat did not state what the allegations are or who made them. Consequently, Mr Kieran’s own comment cannot be checked for accuracy and impartiality.

Kieran Doyle defended the fact that Victoria Police has taken a long time to “process” the case with respect to Cardinal Pell. Mr Doyle has no known expertise on policing – so he is in no position to speak with authority as to whether a police investigation is too long, too short or just about right. Moreover, it is not the ABC’s role to defend Victoria Police or any other government or non-government organisation against criticism. Victoria Police has a substantial media outfit charged to undertake this very task.

▪ Contrary to Kieran Doyle’s assertion there is no on-the-record evidence that SANO is “investigating multiple [emphasis added] allegations against Cardinal Pell”. But it is understood that Victoria Police – some seven months after the leak from SANO with respect to George Pell – has not interviewed the Cardinal.

Louise Milligan’s report, which aired on 7.30 on 27 July 2016, contained allegations that George Pell behaved improperly with respect to the improper touching of two boys at the Eureka Pool in Ballarat some four decades ago. It remains to be seen whether Victoria Police will act on their claims.

Ms Milligan interviewed a third man who did not claim to be a victim of child sexual abuse. He did not allege any crime with respect to Cardinal Pell but complained that he had exhibited himself naked in the Torquay Surf Life Saving Club change rooms in the early 1980s. This person told Fairfax Media that (then) Fr Pell was the “local priest” at Torquay. George Pell was never the local priest at Torquay. Fairfax Media has removed the reference from its website but has not drawn attention to the correction.

▪ Kieran Doyle’s finding overlooked the fact that on 7.30 Louise Milligan only interviewed critics of George Pell. This despite the fact that Ms Milligan’s report ran for the entire 30-minute slot.

Kieran Doyle’s reference to convictions being recorded against “members of the clergy” some years after “media[sic] reporting them” is gratuitous, to say the least. It implies that convictions may – or will – be recorded against Cardinal Pell. This is pure speculation and, as such, grossly unprofessional.

Kieran Doyle’s reference to the claim that “the stewardship of the Melbourne Response (which the Archbishop Pell established in 1996) and Towards Healing” has nothing whatsoever to do with the allegations made against Cardinal Pell on 7.30 on 27 July 2016. Consequently, Mr Doyle’s gratuitous comment is not relevant to whether Louise Milligan’s 7.30 report was consistent with the ABC’s editorial standards for accuracy and impartiality.

* * * *

If Kieran Doyle wants to get into journalism he should get a job with, say, 7.30. If he chooses to remain at ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs he should assess ABC programs with regard to accuracy and impartiality.

It is not the role of the Audience and Consumer Affairs to introduce new (alleged) evidence of its own or to defend the actions of such third parties as Victoria Police.



Thanks to attentive avid readers who identified the John-Laws-Style-Deliberate-Mistake in last Friday’s issue. Let’s flashback a week to the “Stop Press” titled “The Human Mumble’s Irish Confusion about the IRA”. This is what was written:

Here’s what “Dad” [i.e. Derryn Hinch] had to say about Senator Hanson’s claim that Australia is being “swamped by Muslims” and her call to ban the immigration of Muslims into Australia. Let’s go to the PML transcript:

Derryn Hinch: We didn’t ban all Catholics when the IRA were blowing up restaurants in London.

Paul Murray: Now, with the exception of “Dad”, most of those people didn’t know what they were talking about…

In fact, your man “Dad” had not the foggiest idea of what he was talking about. In his ignorance, the Human Mumble overlooked the following facts. First, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IPA) was a secular – not a Catholic – organisation. Its aim was to drive Britain out of the island of Ireland. The IRA had no wish to create a Catholic theocracy in Ireland. From its formation early in the 20th Century, IRA members were, variously, excommunicated from the Catholic Church or criticised by the archbishops and bishops of the Irish Catholic Church. Third, the IRA targeted Britain and Ireland. It did not commit any terror acts outside the British Isles and was never a threat to Australia.

In spite of the railings of such avid readers as Mike (“I used to pour the gin”) Carlton, ABC Media Watch’s James Carleton and Dr Scott Burchill (for a doctor he is), this statement is true – except for one minor “Deliberate Mistake”. The IRA did attack British property and British military personnel in parts of Western Europe – but not North America or Australasia. These were attacks on Britain carried on outside of Britain. They were not attacks on Western Europe as such.

On one occasion in 1990, two Australians were murdered by the IRA in the Netherlands. The terrorist organisation described the killings as a tragic mistake since the men were thought to be British military personnel stationed in Europe. The Australians were travelling in a car with British number plates.

This is what James Carleton had to say:



James Carleton’s claims that the IRA was a “threat” to Australia and that the Provisional IRA formed in 1969, not “early in the 20th C”, are pure mythology.

The IRA never threatened Australia. Moreover, the IRA was formed in Ireland in the early 20TH Century – contrary to the implication in James Carleton’s tweet. The Oxford Companion to Irish History (OUP, 1998) refers to the IRA coming into existence in the early 20th Century. In 1969 militants broke away from the IRA and formed the Provisional IRA – but always regarded themselves as acting in accordance with the aims of the original IRA.

It seems that the likes of Messrs Hinch, Carlton, Burchill and Carleton will go to any lengths to falsely equate Islamist terrorism in Australia and elsewhere with the secular Irish Republican Army and the secular Provisional Irish Republican Army, which engaged in terrorist attacks on British targets.



If a reader or viewer or a listener only followed reports on the United States presidential election in Fairfax Media or on the ABC they would have a certain view that Hillary Clinton is going to trounce Donald Trump. MWD has declined to make any such predictions. If Donald Trump can hold all the states the Republican Party won under Mitt Romney in 2012 and win, say, Florida and Ohio and Pennsylvania – then Mr Trump will be president next January.

This occasional segment will monitor the coverage of the November 2016 election with a view to pointing out pro-Clinton or anti-Trump claptrap in the Australian media.

Like Michael Vincent’s report on ABC TV News last Saturday. First up, Mr Vincent reported that Donald Trump had finally conceded that Barack Obama was born in the USA. The ABC reporter declared that this was a move designed to win over African American voters. Let’s go to the transcript:

Michael Vincent: Now Donald Trump has done a backflip. It’s an extraordinary move, even by his standards. He’s accepted the truth that President Obama was born in Hawaii. But now he’s made a new claim – that his opponent started it.

[clip of Donald Trump]: Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it. I finished it. You know what I mean? President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period.

Michael Vincent: If today’s statement of fact was meant to win over African Americans, it seems to have failed.

[clip of Hakeem Jeffries]: Donald Trump is nothing more than a two bit racial arsonist.

[clip of Sheila Jackson Lee]: We will not elect a chief bigot of the United States of America.

[clip of G.K Butterfield]: By any definition, Donald Trump is a disgusting fraud.

Michael Vincent: The man who’s had to contend with the birther conspiracy for eight years was also unimpressed.

[clip of Barack Obama]: I’m shocked that a question like that would come up at a time when we’ve got so many other things to do. Well I’m not that shocked, actually.

Michael Vincent: This has to be one of the most bizarre election campaigns in modern American political history. And there’s still seven weeks to go.

You can say that again. And, at times, the reporting is equally bizarre. It’s hardly surprising that four out of four African Americans cited by Michael Vincent oppose the Republican Donald Trump. They’re all Democratic Party politicians. Quelle surprise?

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).


As avid readers are all too well aware, in recent years MWD has focused (obsessively) on the ABC Radio Lateline program on 14 July 1975. Titled “Pederasty”, it was presented by Richard Neville – a self-confessed pedophile. Mr Neville’s death earlier this month has focused attention on his decision to invite three pederasts on to Lateline and the subsequent intervention by (then) ABC Chairman Richard Downing who called on Australians to “understand” the urges of pederasts.

Last week’s issue contained a letter from David Stark – who knew Richard Neville – and Gerard Henderson’s response. For another round in this correspondence, read on.

David Stark to Gerard Henderson – 19 September 2016


Did Neville ask the pederasts to; justify their sex lives, or to explain their sex lives? If Neville was trying to let more be known of what can happen to boys under the control of men, maybe more controls to prevent pederasty would have been implemented – such as happened far too late at Knox – after Dr Paterson retired.

While I was at Knox, and I was for a year a boarder at the Prep School, I was unaware of any such happenings.

David Stark

Gerard Henderson to David Stark – 23 September 2016


Thanks for your note. In response, I make the following comments:

  1. As I understand it, the tape of the ABC radio Lateline program – which aired on 14 July 1975 – was destroyed. That’s why there were no quotes from the program in K.S. Inglis’ This is the ABC (MUP, 1983) – despite the fact that Professor Inglis was given access to the ABC’s files and records.
  1. There is no evidence that Richard Neville in 1975 was – in your words – trying to let more be known of what can happen to boys under the control of men. As I have previously mentioned, Richard Neville was friends with two of the three pederasts he interviewed on the ABC. There was no suggestion that he disapproved of the pederasts’ behaviour.

As far as I can establish, all we know of Richard Neville’s attitude at the time is that he put the program Pederasty to air and did not report the pederasts’ crimes to NSW Police and/or adopt a duty of care towards their victims. Nor did anyone else at the ABC.

The National Times of 21-26 July 1975 carried the following comments by Richard Neville on the matter in a report by David Dale:

“I realised that I had known a number of pederasts for years and had no understanding of their sexual experience” says Neville. They are ignored by Gay Lib or other activist groups, and yet pederasty is common around the world and throughout history.”

Neville says the program idea struck a chord with most of the staff members because pederasty is one of the last concealed areas of human behaviour.

The major concern was the risk that the program might cause such a reaction that it threatened the future of Lateline.

“We wondered if it was worth gaining a pederast program only to lose the whole venture” says Neville. But we decided that it was highly unlikely the ABC would take any action against Lateline and it was worth the risk.”

After the program was recorded, Neville played it to the other staff members. It was agreed that one part, a graphic description by one of the pederasts of anal intercourse, should be edited out. “There was some soul-searching about that, but it seemed to me that the comment was awkward, artificial, and would have attracted all the attention if there was to be fuss. The show was over time anyway so edited [sic] it solved that problem.”

The pederast program went to air with this preface: “With apologies for the following overtones of melodrama, we should say that few limitations have been placed on this discussion. Some areas may possibly offend, or even disgust some listeners, and we ask that in such cases you resort to your democratic right to turn off the radio.”

Neville said the pederasts in the program were not “child molesters” – the boys were willing participants.

That seems quite clear. In 1975 Richard Neville was only concerned about the possible effect of the “Pederasty” program on the future of Lateline. Moreover, he did not regard the pederasts as involved in criminal activity because he claimed that the boys were willing participants.

  1. There is no evidence that Richard Neville wanted to implement controls to prevent pederasty. So, from the established evidence, Neville did not advocate an approach which would have prevented the pederasty at Knox Grammar – which appears to have continued up until around 2010.

In conclusion, it will be interesting to see if the Royal Commission investigates child sexual abuse with reference to the ABC. Especially since Royal Commission figures have criticised the failure of others to report child sexual abuse to the police and/or adopt a duty of care to children.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson


As a member of the Australian Republican Movement, Gerard Henderson receives its mail-outs. The most recent one, signed by David McGregor, contained a video clip of ARM chairman Peter FitzSimons – in Red Bandannaed mode – standing near the Sydney Harbour Bridge declaring that Australia will become a republic “within five or six years”. Really.

Well, it’s possible – just possible. But it seems unlikely that Australia will embrace the ARM cause while its chairman dresses like a pirate and runs constant attacks in Fairfax Media condemning Christian believers and attacking political conservatives.

In any event, Hendo remains a financial member of the ARM who is always ready to help. As the following correspondence demonstrates.

David McGregor to Gerard Henderson – 22 September 2016

Dear Gerard,
I’m excited to introduce myself as the new National Organiser for the Australian Republican Movement. It’s a real privilege to join the team and take the republic campaign to the next stage.

I’ve worked on some great campaigns as the National Digital & Campaigns Officer at the Australia Workers’ Union, and as a Fellow at the Centre for Australian Progress. But the republic campaign is a rare opportunity to be part of history.

How are we going to win? By building a competitive national grassroots movement. That’s why I’ll be implementing a community organising model, based on current best practice for political campaigns.

There are many challenges ahead. But if enough of us come together, and unite behind an Australian republic, we can win a national vote by 2020.

We’ve already achieved a lot together. Your support has restarted the national debate and rebuilt our organisation from the ground up.

Want to do more?

Yes, I can volunteer for the Australian Republican Movement

Yes, I can donate to help the republic campaign

Looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible in the coming months.

Yours in optimism,

David McGregor
National Organiser

Gerard Henderson to David McGregor – 23 September 2016

Dear David

Thanks for your email advising that you have been appointed as the new national organiser for the Australian Republican Movement. You’re excited with your new position. And so am I.

As to your suggestion that I “can donate to help the republican campaign” – well, I have put forward a modest proposal on many occasions.

I have advised your chairman, The Red Bandannaed One, that I will donate $20,000 to the ARM if he will provide the address of the “$30 million mansion in Rome” where he claims Cardinal George Pell resides. Peter FitzSimons made this claim in his Sun-Herald column on 24 May 2015. In the 16 months since then, The Red Bandannaed One should have been able to provide some evidence in support of his claim – to the (financial) benefit of the ARM.

So it’s over to you. Get Fitz to provide the (alleged) address – and the ARM scores a cool $20,000. How exciting is that?

Keep morale high.

Gerard Henderson

The Fitz v Nancy Files

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

Until next time.