3 February 2017

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: Prof Nick Bisley Fudges the Numbers While Bob Katter Makes Up His Own 
  • Editorial: While Aunty Slept: An Analysis of Repeats (Repeats) on ABC TV During the Taxpayer Funded Public Broadcaster’s Silly Season 
  • Can You Bear It? Sophie McNeill on James Packer; Tim Flannery on Matt Canavan & The US[LESS] Studies Centre’s Simon Jackman Before the High Court Beak 
  • Nancy’s Five Paws Award: Andrew Clennell Prevails Over the Wendy (“I’m an old fashioned Socialist”) Harmer & Brigid Glanville 
  • MWD Exclusive: Royal Commission Censors Law Professor’s Submission which Mentions Stephen Crittenden & Paul Bongiorno
  • Nancy’s Ignoramus of the Week: Step Forward George Megalogenis on Gough Whitlam et al & Refugees 
  • Correspondence: Keith McLennan Helps Out on Drusilla Modjeska’s Inner- City Memoir & ARM’s Tim Mayfield Helps Out Concerning Peter FitzSimons’s (Failing) Search for a Certain $30 Million Mansion in Rome



 MWD went on what journalists like to call a Well-Earned Break on 16 December 2016.  It has now returned. Contrast this to the ABC 1’s Media Watch program – presided over by the white gentleman Paul Barry (re which see Issue 316) it went on its W.E.B. on 21 November 2016 and will not return until next Monday – a taxpayer W.E.B. of a mere 10 weeks.  See today’s Editorial.

* * * * * *


Last year was a difficult one for Nancy’s male co-owner.  Bob Ellis, the (False) Prophet of Palm Beach, died [Don’t you mean “passed”? – MWD Ed] – thus cutting off a constant supply of material. And Mike Carlton, the Angry Seer of Avalon Beach, went on the wagon.  Ditto.  But the Year of the Rooster commences with some good news.  Thanks to the avid reader who drew MWD’s attention to the following tweet which your man Carlton sent out on 17 January 2017 at 6.20 pm:

A well-deserved Aperol spritz, to be sure – which suggests that the Angry Seer of Avalon Beach is back on the turps.  If so, this is a great start for the Year of the Rooster in so far as MWD is concerned.


 What a brilliant performance by La Trobe University’s Professor Nick Bisley on ABC 1’s News Breakfast  “Newspapers” segment this morning

Dr Bisley (for a doctor he is) thought it was worth reporting that Bruce Springsteen, during his performance in Melbourne last night, had bagged President Trump.  Hardly news – since The Boss performed for Hillary Clinton’s campaign and is a committed Trump-Hater.

At the end of his News Breakfast gig, the La Trobe University academic decided to tell viewers what he thought about Donald J. Trump and all that. Let’s go to the transcript:

Nick Bisley: He [President Trump] did not win a majority of the vote.  A majority of Americans did not vote for this guy – and I think the last figure I saw was 7 out of 10 Americans didn’t vote for him.

This is a meaningless statistic – even for a university academic.  It is not clear who Dr Bisley is counting here. All Americans?  All Americans of voting age? All American registered voters?  Or whatever.

Certainly Donald J. Trump did not win a majority of the popular vote.  But, then, he did not need to – since a president is chosen by a majority of voters in the Electoral College.

Before the election, Hillary Clinton supporters were saying that Clinton would win since the Republicans could not breach the “Blue Line” – i.e. the rust belt states in America’s north-east which voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.  When Trump won Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan andWisconsin the argument changed and Trump-Haters focused on the popular vote instead.

It may be correct that – on one view – seven out of 10 Americans did not vote for Trump.  But, then, on a similar analysis, at least six of out 10 Americans did not vote for Hillary Clinton.  The learned professor decided not to mention this on News Breakfast.  How about that?

[Perhaps you should create a new segment titled, say, “On the Couch with a Trumpophobe”. I’m sure you must have lotsa present and past material collected for such a venture. Just a thought. MWD Ed.]


What great fun to have the populist Bob Katter MP on Paul Murray Live last night.

The advantage for Bob Katter “doing a Katter” on PML is that the presenter rarely corrects any of his rants.  Like last night when the Member for Kennedy declared that “both [Paul] Keating and [Peter] Costello doubled the dollar in value”.

In January 1985, the Australian dollar bought 81 United States cents.  At the end of the Bob Hawke/Paul Keating government in March 1996, the Australian dollar was valued at 76 US cents. At the end of the Howard/Costello government in November 2007, the Australian dollar was valued at 87 US cents. At the end of the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd government, the Australian dollar was valued at 93.5 US cents.

Yet Paul Murray looked on in admiration as Bob Katter (falsely) declared “both Keating and Costello doubled the dollar in value”.



 The period between early November and early February has been replete with news – mainly stemming from the election of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States on Tuesday 8 November 2016 and his inauguration on Friday 20 January.  This created much news in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa along with Australia.

Yet, despite the possibility of a Trump victory, ABC TV decided in advance of the US presidential election to shut down many of its key programs for much of this period, with the notable exception of 7.30Four Corners, Media Watch and Q&A all went to bed on the evening of 21 November 2016 and Lateline  on 2 December 2016. All will awaken next Monday.  Consequently, for example, Media Watch has missed some of the biggest media stories for decades.  Insiders, ABC TV’s leading weekly current affairs program, closed down on 4 December.  It will not recommence until Sunday 12 February – after the opening of the Commonwealth Parliament for the year. However, ABC management decided to run the ABC TV sports program Offsiders during January. The Drum went to bed on 16 December and woke up only last Monday.

The taxpayer funded public broadcaster is top-heavy with management – but shuts down some of its key programs for close to three months a year.

The ABC’s Summer Close Down – what journalists like to call a Well Earned Break – even affects the public broadcaster’s capacity to show fresh dramas or documentaries.  Here’s what ABC TV put to air between midday and midnight on Saturday 7 January 2017 – where “R” stands for Repeat. Being a Saturday the schedule did not feature Stephen Fry – whose QI program is the most repeated in ABC Land. Here we go:

12.00 Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (R)

1.00 Vera (R)

2.30 Trust Me I’m a Doctor (R)

3.30 Arthur Phillip: Governor, Sailor, Spy (R)

4.00 Two On the Great Divide (R)

5.00 Rick Stein: From Venice to Istanbul (R)

6.00 Antiques Roadshow (R)

7.00 ABC News

7.30 Miniseries: Doctor Thorne (R)

8.20 Grantchester (R)

10.00 Inspector George Gently (R)

11.25 Gruen Planet. Hosted by Wil Anderson (R)

In short, in a twelve-hour period, every program on ABC 1 was a repeat – except for the 7 pm bulletin.

Fortunately, while on her Well Earned Break, Nancy was able to fill in a week watching her ABC. Here is what she recalls viewing on one particular weekday:

12 pm Midsomer Murders – with Inspector Stephen Fry (R)

1 pm Inspector George Gently – with a guest appearance by Inspector Stephen Fry (R)

2 pm Stop Laughing: This is Serious – featuring Stephen Fry in mock serious mode (R)

3 pm Would I Lie to You? – with guest presenter Stephen Fry (R)

4 pm Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries – in which a certain Stephen Fry plays the role of victim (R)

5 pm Antiques Roadshow – with guest presenter Stephen Fry (R)

6 pm Pointless – starring Stephen Fry asking and answering pointless questions.

7 pm The [Pointless] ABC News – all the news that is fit to present about Stephen Fry (R)

7.30 pm QI with Stephen Fry – the real thing (R)

8.30 pm Anything Else with Stephen Fry (R)

9.30 pm Tony Robinson’s Time Walks – a walk through Stephen Fry’s career (R)

10.30 pm The Best of QI – with Stephen Fry (R)

11.30 pm More of the Best of QI – with Stephen Fry (R)

Yawn. Good night.



Reproduced without permission from ABC’s Media Watch


Did anyone see Sophie McNeill’s stunning EXCLUSIVE on 7.30 last Tuesday?  Well, the leftie journo, who happens to be the ABC’s Middle East correspondent, did a piece about James Packer.  Ms McNeill claimed that Mr Packer is “allegedly caught right in the middle” of a corruption scandal in Israel. Really.

So what is the case – if case there is – against James Packer?  So here it is – according to the ABC’s woman in Jerusalem.

٠ JP co-hosted a party in Israel –  in prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s honour – in March 2014.

٠ JP has purchased a property in Israel “right next door to the private home of Mr Netanyahu”.

٠ JP has been making substantial investments in Israel’s booming tech market.

٠ JP was a “surprise guest” when Israel’s prime minister addressed the US Congress in March 2015.

٠ JP attended “another speech Mr Netanyahu gave to the UN General Assembly in New York”

٠ JP, it is alleged, gave Mr Netanyahu’s 25 year old son “numerous free luxury holidays at properties he owns and rents around the world”.

٠ JP and an Israeli American friend bought “exclusive champagne and cigars” for Mr Netanyahu.

٠ JP has asked about the procedure needed to arrange Israeli citizenship or residency.

Er, that’s it.

Sophie McNeill’s beat-up was tempered by two pieces to camera.  Here they are:

Sophie McNeill : 7:30 has no evidence to suggest James Packer tried to bribe anyone here in Israel, but a meeting between his Israeli lawyer and the Minister of Interior here does reveal one important thing that Mr Packer may have wanted from Israel. The interior minister told the ABC that he met with James Packer’s lawyer, who asked about the procedure needed in order to arrange citizenship or residency for Mr Packer – something that could bring him significant tax benefits.

Sophie McNeill: The AFP have told 7:30 they do not confirm who they are investigating. But the ABC understands there is no active inquiry into Mr Packer’s dealings in Israel.

What a beat up.  Sophie McNeill’s report commenced with a claim that James Packer is “allegedly” caught up in a major “corruption” scandal in Israel.  But towards the end of her piece, the ace ABC reporter said that 7.30 has no evidence that Mr Packer has acted corruptly. She added that Australian Federal Police is not enquiring into this matter.

Not much of a story here. Which is presumably why 7.30 went to the go-to Australian politician for critical comments on Israel for a comment. Namely, South Australian independent Senator Nick Xenophon. Senator Xenophon said it would be extraordinary if the AFP “did not conduct a thorough investigation of these very serious allegations”. Really.  And 7.30 rolled out Transparency International Australia’s Anthony Whealy QC who said that Mr Packer might be in trouble “if there were any personal wrongdoing on his behalf”.  Yes, the IF word. Well, James Packer might be in trouble if he has been involved in personal wrongdoing. But he won’t be in trouble if he has not been involved in personal wrong doing. Fancy that.

Yet 7.30 led its program last Tuesday with Sophie McNeill who commenced with an allegation of corruption and ended not with a BANG but rather with an IF.  Deserves no less than a Walkley Award – don’t you think?  Can you bear it?


In January 2017 – while much of Australia was on holidays – media tart Tim Flannery took time out to talk to ABC News Radio’s Glen Bartholomew. Here is what he had to say concerning Resources Minister Matt Canavan who has made the sensible point that coal will be an important part of energy production for years to come.

Tim Flannery: Coal use is decreasing in many places, it’s certainly decreasing strongly in China. No one, very few people now, are building on a large scale – building new coal. There is lots and lots of wind and solar and other renewables going in. What the developed countries like Australia are trying to do is close their old coal fire powered plants as we saw in Victoria here. Engie – a French owned plant, a plant that the French government actually owns a part of – is closing Hazelwood which was one of the oldest, most polluting coal fire power plants on the planet.

So the Australian government isn’t acting, but the owners of some of these really polluting things are. And if the government made it easier for them to do that – gave them a clear pathway through to reinvest money in cleaner energy infrastructure – we’d be in great shape. Matt Canavan is going to live to regret his words. You know, we are well down the track towards very, very serious climate damage – like most politicians he’ll probably pretend he never said any of this stuff. Or one day at least turn his back on it. But I can tell you we will suffer if that’s going to be our future. We need to move in the other direction.

How about that?  This is the very same Dr Flannery (for a doctor he is) who said that some Australian cities would run out of water – since, even if substantial rains  did fall, the rain would not fall over our dams. On 26 June 2007 Tim Flannery wrote an article in the New Scientist in which he said that, due to climate change, there would be a continuing decline in the flow of Australian rivers and that “dams will no  longer fill even when it does rain”.  He went on to claim that “water tanks that use roofs as catchments are now far more effective than dams for supplying drinking water in cities such as Sydney and Melbourne”.

What a load of absolute tosh.  Since Tim Flannery made his (false) prophecy, dams in Brisbane have over-run and dam levels in Sydney and Melbourne have been quite high.

So did your man Flannery make a correction?  Not on your nelly.  Rather he pretended he never said that Brisbane and Melbourne were in danger of running out of water.  In May 2011, Flannery told AFR journalist Marcus Priest that he “can’t remember” four years earlier.  In May 2012, Flannery told ABC’s Jonathan Green that his previous predictions had been “taken out of context”. He did not say in what context they should have been taken.

And now Tim Flannery is suggesting that it is politicians –  like Resources Minister Matt Canavan – who are in the business of pretending that they never said what they in fact did say.  Clearly an example of the psychological phenomenon of projection.   Can you bear it?


As avid readers will be aware, every one of the two score or so taxpayer subsidised academics at the taxpayer subsidised United States Studies Centre at the taxpayer subsidised University of Sydney falsely predicted that Hillary Clinton would defeat Donald J. Trump in the US presidential election. Yes – everyone.

Moreover, as the US Studies Centre supremo Professor Simon Jackman told Sky News on 9 November 2017, no one at the organisation supported Trump over Clinton. Not one.  Not a taxpayer subsidised soul.

You would have thought that, with such a hopeless record at predicting election outcomes, Dr Jackman (for a doctor he is) would lie in the shade for a while with a wet rag on his head and reconsider his position pending the 2020 US presidential election.

But no.  Your man Chapman is back in the action again. Thanks to the avid reader who drew MWD’s attention to the paper written by Simon Jackman concerning the 2016 Senate election in South Australia. Here’s the background.

Bob Day resigned from the Senate late last year shortly after winning the tenth (and final) place on the ballot paper for Family First.  The High Court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, is currently determining whether the Day vacancy should go to a member of his Family First party or whether the ballots should be recounted.  Labor’s Anne McEwen, who finished thirteenth in the poll, is arguing that there should be a recount.  Her case is that Bob Day was not eligible to stand for election and that if he had not stood she would have won the twelfth Senate position.

Guess what? Ms McEwen attempted to present the Court of Disputed Returns with a paper prepared by Professor Simon Jackman which maintained that if Bob Day had not been on the ballot paper –  then the Labor Party would have finished ahead of Family First for the tenth position.  Jackman’s paper was not accepted by the court on account of the fact that it was filed too late.  Before ruling out the submission,  Justice Michelle Gordon indicated that she was far from impressed by Professor Jackman’s report for the Labor Party. Here is what she had to say on 17 January 2017:

A further matter should also be noted. The Jackman Report concludes with a section headed “Conclusion”, in which Professor Jackman states “I made the following findings and conclusions”. Experts do not make findings. Courts do.

There is a live issue as to whether the evidence sought to be adduced through the Jackman Report is relevant to, or goes beyond, the terms of the reference. The Court has no jurisdiction to go beyond the terms of the reference as transmitted under s 377 of the Electoral Act. As noted earlier, the argument sought to be advanced by Ms McEwen through the Jackman Report purports to espouse a view about what would have happened in a hypothetical election with a hypothetical ballot paper. In addition, Professor Jackman purports to espouse a pure personality view of politics, which is, at least arguably, contrary to Australia’s system of preferential voting; the Jackman Report arguably does not reflect the legal framework in which Senate elections take place, and in particular, the manner in which s 272 of the Electoral Act treats ballot papers marked above the line….

So there you have it.  The US Studies Centre’s supremo was hopelessly wrong in predicting who would win the US presidential election.  However, Professor Jackman wanted the Court of Disputed Returns to believe that he knows who would have won the twelfth place in the South Australian Senate election if Bob Day had not been on the ticket.  Can you bear it?



The resignation of Mike Baird as premier of New South Wales led to the swearing in of Gladys Berejiklian as NSW premier.  On Wednesday, Ms Berejiklian’s new ministry was sworn in at Government House.  NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli was dropped from the Coalition ministry. Previously the Nationals had replaced both their leader (Troy Grant) and deputy leader (Adrian Piccoli).

On ABC Sydney’s Mornings with Wendy Harmer yesterday, The Daily Telegraph’s Andrew Clennell and ABC TV’s Brigid Glanville got into an argument about the performance of Mr Piccoli as education minister in the Coalition government.  Let’s go to the transcript:

Andrew Clennell: Well I think the funniest thing is John Barilaro [NSW Nationals’ leader and deputy premier] when he was asked about this – said that he’s [Piccoli’s] been the best education minister in the history of the world. So, if you’re dumping someone you don’t say that. You say “Look, he’s had a great six years, which is a long time, a very long time, it’s time for a change.” He [Barilaro] didn’t say that – he said he’s [Piccoli’s] the best thing since sliced bread.  I mean, look. Adrian Piccoli – I think he’s overrated. Basically a lot of people like him because, because, if you’re left-leaning you like him because he’s really the most Labor –

Brigid Glanville: [interjecting]  No, no, that’s not fair.

Andrew Clennell: No – he’s the most Labor education minister a conservative government has. Any other –

Brigid Glanville:  [interjecting] And there are plenty –

Andrew Clennell: Hang on. Let me finish. Let me finish. And he’s basically been lauded for asking for money from the Federal government. I know when Mike Baird was trying to get him [Piccoli] to make cuts to education –  like the rest of the entire government had to do – he just wouldn’t do it. He just put his hands out to the Feds.

Brigid Glanville: But there are plenty of people in the right – you know, conservatives – that have always liked him

 Andrew Clennell:  Who?

Wendy Harmer: That is actually true, Andrew. He’s had acclamation from all sides.

Andrew Clennell: Who? Who in the right?

Brigid Glanville: Oh well, what do you want me to name the whole list of MPs? Like, you know, like that’s ridiculous –  I can say “who in the left?”

 Andrew Clennell: I don’t know anyone in the right who likes him.

 Brigid Glanville: I think, I think you’re being hard on him.

 Andrew Clennell:  Right. Well?

 Brigid Glanville:  But you’re allowed to have your opinion.

How frightfully interesting that Wendy (“I’m just an old-fashioned socialist”) Harmer praised the big-spending Adrian Piccoli.  And that the taxpayer funded NSW politics reporter Brigid Glanville declared that many conservatives liked and admired Adrian Piccoli. However, Ms Grenville was not able to name anyone on the conservative side of politics who likes Mr Piccoli – despite her protestations to the contrary.

The Daily Telegraph’s reporter is correct.  When NSW Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli had only one trick in the book – i.e. demand that the Commonwealth Government hand over more and more taxpayer funds for education. He had his admirers – for sure.  It’s just that they were mainly leftist luvvies including the left-wing NSW Teachers Federation.

Andrew Clennell – Five Paws.



 On 5 May 2016, the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse released a document titled Issues Paper 11: Catholic Church Final Hearing.  The document commenced as follows:

The Royal Commission will hold a final hearing regarding the institutional response of the Catholic Church to child sexual abuse in February 2017. This hearing is expected to include consideration of the following:

  1. Data regarding the extent of child sexual abuse within Catholic institutions.
  2. Factors that may have contributed to the occurrence of child sexual abuse in Catholic institutions, particularly by clergy and religious.
  3. Factors that may have affected the institutional response of the Catholic Church to child sexual abuse.
  4. The response of Catholic Church authorities to the findings and observations made in relevant Royal Commission case study reports.
  5. Current and future approaches of Catholic Church authorities to:
  • responding to child and adult victims and survivors of child sexual    abuse, including secondary victims
  • responding to individuals subject to allegations of child sexual abuse.
  • the protection of children and the prevention of child sexual abuse.

The Royal Commission, under the title “Submissions”, then advised that submissions on Issues Paper 11 are invited – from, among others, “academics or other professionals” – concerning a range of matters.

Professor Michael Hains’ (Censored) Submission

On 30 June 2016, Dr Michael Hains (Adjunct Professor, School of Law, The University of Notre Dame Australia) forwarded a submission to the Royal Commission.

In his submission, Dr Michael Hains pointed out that:

▪ Many matters in Point 1 of the section titled “Submissions” in Issues Paper 11 have little or no relevance to child sexual abuse and involve such matters as Catholic theology.

▪ The Royal Commission has been justifiably criticised for applying different standards to George Pell (when he was a junior priest in the Ballarat diocese) and Paul Bongiorno (when he was a junior priest in the Ballarat diocese).  Mr Bongiorno was not called by the Royal Commission to give evidence and was only required to provide a statement – even though a submission from a man called BPL alleged that Paul Bongiorno was told of the pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale’s offending when he (Bongiorno) was a priest in Warrnambool. (see MWD Issues 317 and 340).

▪ Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission, Gail Furness SC, has failed to abide by the obligation to ensure that the reputation of those persons appearing as witnesses before the Royal Commission are not improperly or unnecessarily harmed – with respect to Cardinal George Pell. Dr Hains cited Professor Kenneth Wiltshire in support of his submission in this regard.

▪ The Royal Commission has failed to correct its own errors. For example, Ms Furness’ (false) implication that – in the early 1970s – (then) Fr Pell in Swan Hill should have known about the sexual offending of Monsignor John Day in Mildura because the parishes of Swan Hill and Mildura “adjoin each other”. In fact, the towns are over 200 kilometres apart and there are two Catholic parishes between Swan Hill and Mildura.

▪ Stephen Crittenden, a long-term critic of Cardinal Pell, was the main author of Issues Paper 11 – suggesting that this evoked an issue of “apprehended bias” sufficient to cast a shadow over the Issues Paper 11 exercise.  Dr Hains identified Mr Crittenden’s involvement in the metadata in the Royal Commission’s own PDF document.  The Royal Commission has not denied this claim. Nor has the Royal Commission addressed the fact that one of its senior staff members was employed  with respect to the Royal Commission’s work on the Catholic Church despite his known hostility to Cardinal Pell.  It is understood that the Royal Commission has since changed the document to remove any link to Stephen Crittenden in the Issues Paper 11.

▪ The Royal Commission – by involving itself in issues relating to the Catholic Church – is breaching the separation of Church and State guaranteed by the Constitution and acting beyond the Royal Commission’s terms of reference.

Royal Commission Rejects Professor Hains’ Submission Without Providing Specific Reasons

Michael Hains has LLB (Hons) and Ph.D. degrees.  Clearly, he is within the category of “academics or other professionals” whom the Royal Commission specifically invited to make submissions concerning Issues Paper 11  titled “Catholic Church Final Hearing”.

However, in its wisdom, the Royal Commission effectively censored Professor Hains’ submission by refusing to place any of it on the Royal Commission’s website – along with the other 49 submissions which it has published online (some in redacted form) concerning Issues Paper 11.

On 24 August 2016, Michael Hains received the following pro-forma letter from the Royal Commission:


Dear Dr Hains

The Royal Commission thanks you for your submission in response to Issues Paper 11.

A number of submissions received by the Royal Commission in response to Issues Paper 11 have now been published on the Royal Commission’s website. However, if any material in a submission raises concerns about privacy or fairness, the Royal Commission may publish it with that material removed or decide not to publish it at all.

While your submission has not been published by the Royal Commission, all submissions received will be considered by the Royal Commission. The Royal Commission thanks you for your interest in the work of the Royal Commission.


Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The (anonymous) author of the Royal Commission’s email did not give any specific reasons why Dr Hains’ submission raised concerns about “privacy or fairness”. Dr Hains does not have any right of appeal against this decision. In other words, Dr Hains’ submission has been subjected to censorship by an anonymous bureaucrat who did not provide any reasons for the arbitrary decision.

Royal Commission’s (Apparent) Concern for Gail Furness SC, Stephen Crittenden and Paul Bongiorno – but not Cardinal Pell

The persons referred to by Dr Hains in his submission – namely Cardinal George Pell, Paul Bongiorno, Gail Furness SC, Stephen Crittenden, Professor Kenneth Wiltshire, Gerard Henderson and Andrew Bolt – are all public figures.  It is not clear how the Royal Commission’s decision to censor Michael Hains’ submission can be justified with respect to protecting the “privacy” of the public figures cited by Dr Hains.

Likewise, it is not clear how the Royal Commission’s decision to censor Michael Hains’ submission can be justified with respect to “fairness”. All the persons mentioned in Dr Hains’ submission are involved in the public debate.  All make criticisms of others – but the Royal Commission believes that some should be protected from criticism without naming names. The evidence indicates that, in this instance, the Royal Commission is primarily interested in shielding its own staff from critical analysis.

For example, Ms Furness has been a fierce cross-examiner of George Pell – even to the extent of asserting that the Cardinal’s response has been “implausible” without following with the usual legal procedure of proving such a serious allegation by the production of an incontrovertible fact.

And Stephen Crittenden – when a high profile journalist at the ABC – was a fierce public critic of the Catholic Church in general and Cardinal Pell in particular. This was documented by Gerard Henderson in his Weekend Australian column of 21 May 2016. The Royal Commission has not addressed the issues raised concerning Stephen Crittenden’s important role within the organisation. It is as if the Royal Commission is in denial about Mr Crittenden’s past comments and writings.

The Royal Commission has also not addressed the issue as to why neither BPL nor Paul Bongiorno were called to give evidence concerning the time when (then Fr.) Paul Bongiorno shared presbytery accommodation with the pedophile Gerald Ridsdale in Warrnambool. Attention has been given, however, to the time when (then Fr.) George Pell shared presbytery accommodation with Gerald Ridsdale in Ballarat East.

Presumably, the Royal Commission also believes that Michael Hains’ assertion that it is acting outside its terms of reference is unfair. Censoring Dr Hains’ submission is one means of ignoring the suggestion that the Submissions document drafted in part at least by Stephen Crittenden goes beyond the Royal Commission’s terms of reference. Notably, the Royal Commission has not responded to Professor Hains’ critique.

Clearly, the Royal Commission is not concerned about privacy or fairness with respect to Cardinal George Pell – who was subjected to hostile cross-examination by Gail Furness SC without objection from Justice McClellan. Also, it is unlikely that the Royal Commission is concerned about privacy and fairness with respect to Gerard Henderson and Andrew Bolt – both of whom have been criticised in correspondence from the Royal Commission’s chief executive officer Philip Reed. So it can only be assumed that the Royal Commission’s concern about privacy and fairness relates only to Stephen Crittenden, Paul Bongiorno and the Royal Commission itself.

Royal Commission Protects Royal Commission

And so it has come to pass that – in deciding whether or not to publish submissions which the Royal Commission itself invited – the Royal Commission is busy protecting its legal team and its staff from legitimate criticism by censoring submissions which it itself invited.

Media Watch Dog is willing to publish a response from the Royal Commission – in uncensored form.



This hugely popular – albeit occasional – segment re-commences in the Year of the Rooster with author and TV documentary presenter George Megalogenis.

Following Donald J. Trump’s executive order on 27 January titled “Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States”, Canadian leftist prime minister Justin Trudeau sent out this tweet:


Whereupon your man Megalogenis tweeted as follows:


What a load of absolute tosh.  Here is what Gough Whitlam, Malcolm Fraser, Bob Hawke and Paul Keating said or did about refugees at certain points of their political careers.

Gough Whitlam – 1975

In April 1975, Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam declared that refugees fleeing the communists in (then South) Vietnam were not welcome to Australia.  Mr Whitlam made the following comment to Foreign Minister Don Willesee, in the presence of Immigration Minister Clyde Cameron, on 21 April 1975:

Whitlam stuck out his jaw and, grinding his teeth, turned to Willesee and thundered: “I’m not having hundreds of f-cking Vietnamese Balts coming into this country with their religious and political hatreds against us!”

– Quoted from Clyde Cameron China, Communism and Coca-Cola (Hill of Content); 1980)

By “Vietnamese Balts” Mr Whitlam meant anti-communist Vietnamese refugees who had a genuine fear of persecution under a communist regime.  Gough Whitlam never denied making this statement – rather, he tried to rationalise it.  As prime minister between 30 April 1975 (when communist North Vietnam conquered South Vietnam) and 11 November 1975 (when the Labor government lost office), Gough Whitlam went out of his way to prevent Vietnamese asylum seekers claiming refuge in Australia.  Virtually no refugees were admitted to Australia during the time of the Whitlam Government.

Bob Hawke – 1977

The issue of Vietnamese refugees briefly became an issue in the 1977 Federal election – after the unauthorised arrival of a boat in Darwin containing Vietnamese refugees.  At the time, Bob Hawke – ACTU president – was supporting Labor leader Gough Whitlam in the campaign.  This is what Bob Hawke said at a media conference in Hobart on 28 November 1977:

Obviously there are people all around the world who have a strong case for entry into this country and successive governments have said we have an obligation. But we also have an obligation to people who are already here…Of course we should have compassion. But people who are coming in this way are not the only people in the world who have rights to our compassion. Any sovereign country has the right to determine how it will exercise its compassion and how it will increase its population.

– ACTU President Bob Hawke, Media Conference, Hobart, 28 November 1977

John Howard was widely criticised for saying in the lead-up to the 2001 Federal election: “We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come.”  However, Bob Hawke escaped criticism for very similar word usage over two decades earlier. In fact, a mere 438 unauthorised boat arrivals came to Australia during the time of the Hawke government.

Malcolm Fraser

 It is true that Malcolm Fraser – when prime minister between November 1975 and March 1983 – presided over the arrival of tens of thousands of Indo Chinese refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

However, only 2059 of these refugees entered Australia as unauthorised boat arrivals during the time of the Fraser Coalition government.  The rest came with valid visas on Qantas flights after what would be called today extreme vetting at camps presided over by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

Paul Keating

 Paul Keating, when prime minister in 1991, introduced mandatory detention for unauthorised boat arrivals – including children.  The aim of the Keating Labor government was to discourage unauthorised boat arrivals – primarily ethnic Chinese from Vietnam.  In fact, a mere 1487 unauthorised boat arrivals entered Australia during the time of the Keating Labor government.


Contrary to George Megalogenis’ imagination, few Australian prime ministers – including Messrs Whitlam, Fraser, Hawke and Keating – have ever said “welcome” to “those fleeing persecution”. The only possible exception is Kevin Rudd after becoming prime minister in March 2007.  Moreover, of all Australian prime ministers, – the one most hostile to refugees was Gough Whitlam, who was singled out for praise by Mr Megalogenis.

[Fancy that.  I note that George M. is one of those Australians who like to believe what people he likes tell him.  As I recall, in his ABC TV documentary Malcolm Fraser: Life Wasn’t Meant To Be Easy, Mr Megalogenis believed Malcolm Fraser when the latter told him that  United States Ambassador to Australia in 1975, Marshall Green, had written a cable critical of Malcolm Fraser’s tactics in blocking supply prior to the dismissal of the Whitlam government. There was only one problem with this analysis.  The cable was sent from the US Embassy on 7 November 1975 – and Marshall Green’s term as US Ambassador to Australia had ended on 31 July 1975. In other words, Green did not send this cable. This fact can be established by a simple Google search.  But your man Megalogenis simply believed what Mr Fraser told him. See MWD Issue 263. MWD Editor.]

What’s ignorant about George Megalogenis’ analysis is that he overlooks the fact that neither Gough Whitlam, Malcolm Fraser, Bob Hawke nor Paul Keating faced a real problem in handling unauthorised boat arrivals – because there were relatively few of them during their period as prime minister.

Contrast John Howard and Kevin Rudd/Julia Gillard/Kevin Rudd before they took action to secure Australia’s borders. Some 13,375 unauthorised boat arrivals entered Australia between 1996 and 2001 when the Howard government implemented the Pacific Solution.   And 51,637 unauthorised boat arrivals entered Australia between 2009 (when the Rudd government abolished the Pacific Solution) and 2013 (when the Gillard/Rudd government moved against unauthorised boat arrivals).

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 will recall, the final issue of Media Watch Dog last year featured a segment titled “Nancy Reports from Luvvie Land”. This featured an analysis of inner-city luvvie Drusilla Modjeska’s Second Half First: A Memoir (Knoph, 2015) – which contained the following comment about the author’s tome:

DM describes the First Gulf War as the “first Bush war” when “American ground troops went into Iraq”. Absolute tosh. In the First Gulf War, the United States and its allies – with the approval of the United Nations – drove Saddam Hussein’s Iraq out of Kuwait in 1990. There was no invasion of Iraq. Apparently DM believes that Saddam Hussein was entitled to invade and conquer Kuwait.

It was not long before a certain Keith McLennan wrote to Gerard Henderson about his take on Drusilla Modjeska’s memoir – thus kicking off MWD’s hugely popular Correspondence segment for this year. Thank you Mr McLennan. Here we go:

Keith McLennan to Gerard Henderson – 1 January 2017

Dear Gerard,

I have just got around to reading the final Media Watch Dog for 2016. I noticed that you deemed Drusilla Modjeska’s reference to American ground troops going into Iraq to be “absolute tosh” and stated very firmly that in the First Gulf War, “There was no invasion of Iraq.” In fact, I believe this was the second time lately that you have claimed that there was no invasion of Iraq in the First Gulf War.

Now, you do not have to invade the whole of a country to mount an invasion. An invasion that moves to a predetermined point and then halts is still an invasion. That is what happened in Iraq in the First Gulf War. Specifically, on 24 February 1991 American-led forces invaded Iraq on a 180-kilometre front, with most of them turning east to enter Kuwait from the landward side. But the 101st Airborne Division did not turn; rather, it advanced as far as the Euphrates before halting. General Schwarzkopf said in his briefing after the war, “Ladies and gentlemen, when we were here, we were one hundred and fifty miles away from Baghdad and there was nobody between us and Baghdad.”

Here is a screenshot from the lecture showing the course of the US-British-French invasion:


With Australia Day approaching, we will no doubt soon be discussing the meaning of the word “invasion” once again. Generally, it means sending armed forces into a foreign country. That is exactly what happened with Iraq in 1991. It was in the course of the liberation of Kuwait, to be sure, but it was still an invasion.


Keith McLennan


Gerard Henderson to Keith McLennan – 3 February 2017

Dear Keith

How wonderful to hear from you on 1 January 2017 concerning my reference to Drusilla Modjeska’s claim in her book Second Half First: A Memoir that, during what she termed “the first Bush War”, the United States invaded Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

Regrettably, your missive arrived just after Gin & Tonic time on New Year’s Day which may explain the content of your note – and certainly rationalises my delayed response.

What was missing from Ms Modjeska’s account – and what is missing from your email –  is any understanding of the fact that, in 1990, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq invaded Kuwait. Remember?  At the time two options were available. Namely, give the Iraqi dictator what he wanted (i.e. Kuwait) or liberate Kuwait.  I understand that Drusilla Modjeska believes that Saddam Hussein should have been allowed to conquer Kuwait.

As you know, the Coalition of the Willing – led by the US, Britain and France – drove Iraqi forces out of Kuwait.  This action was endorsed by the United Nations and supported by most of the Arab nations – some of which participated in the Coalition of the Willing. Remember?

I am surprised that you have formed a unity ticket with Ms Modjeska in running the line that the US invaded Iraq in 1991.  If the US had invaded Iraq in 1991 then, surely, it would have remained there for a period of time.  But it didn’t. Having achieved the liberation of Kuwait, the Coalition of the Willing withdrew from Kuwait and that part of Iraq into which it had chased the Iraqi Army.

In your self-delusion, you seem to believe that the following comment assists your cause:

General Schwarzkopf said in his briefing after the war, “Ladies and gentlemen, when we were here, we were one hundred and fifty miles away from Baghdad and there was nobody between us and Baghdad.”

And that’s the point.  In 1991 the Coalition of the Willing could have marched on Baghdad.  But it didn’t.  Rather, the US forces withdrew from Iraq. The task of the military intervention had been completed – namely that the Iraq/Kuwait border was restored to its pre-bellum state in August 1990.

As I said, it is absolute tosh to claim that the US “invaded” Iraq in 1991.  I can understand why the inner-city based writer Drusilla Modjeska might be a bit confused about what an invasion is. After all, in her book Second Half First: A Memoir, Ms Modjeska implies that, while in Australia, her principal travel is the journey from inner-city Balmain to inner-city Glebe.

The facts remain as follows. In August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait.  In February 1991, the US led Coalition of the Willing liberated Kuwait after briefly occupying part of Iraq to achieve its military aims.

Still, some people believe what they want to believe – even when this amounts to “absolute tosh”. I would have thought that you would be able to do better. After all, you read maps.  And you are also an avid Media Watch Dog reader. But there you go.

Keep Morale High.

Gerard Henderson



As a financial member of the Australian Republican Movement – chairman Peter FitzSimons – Nancy’s (male) co-owner is on the ARM email list and receives notices of activities, requests for financial aid and so on.

Tim Mayfair’s latest financial appeal – on behalf of the ARM – reminds Hendo of his promise to give the ARM a cool $20,000 if Peter FitzSimons provides the address of the “$30 million mansion in Rome” in which he claims Cardinal George Pell resides.  Fitz first made this claim in “The Fitz Files” column in Fairfax Media’s Sun-Herald on 24 May 2015.  See MWD passim, ad nauseam. At the commencement of the Year of the Rooster, the offer is renewed. Now read on:

Tim Mayfield to Gerard Henderson – 16 January 2017

Hi Gerard,
Momentum is everything when you’re in the business of nation-building. That’s why we’re asking for your help to keep the ball rolling, as we aim to launch our new brand with a bang.

Our 25th anniversary celebrations were a huge success and put the issue of an Australian republic back up in lights. But we’re not resting on our laurels. We’re ready to move. This Australia Day we’re planning to make our case directly to the Australian people through a relaunch, including rebranding and online film and content, that captures the injustice at the heart of the current system.

To do that, we need to raise some money. We’re asking you, our passionate supporter base, to give us a hand – even $25 can help us to keep the republican debate on the nation’s agenda. If you can help, please chip in.

I’ll be in touch soon to update you on the progress of the launch. Up the republic!

Tim Mayfield
National Director

Australian Republican Movement

Gerard Henderson to Tim Mayfield – 23 January 2017



Thanks for your note providing advice about how the Australian Republican Movement is seeking funds to launch your new brand with a BANG. Good luck.

As I understand it, the ARM needs to raise funds for the rebrand which will include online film and content. I also understand that the ARM is seeking donations from $25 up to keep the republican debate on the national agenda.

What about $20,000? – which should go a significant way to funding online film and content, I would have thought.

Check with your chairman on this.  I have offered to provide $20,000 to the Australian Republican Movement – if Peter FitzSimons provides the address of the “$30 million mansion in Rome” in which he claims Cardinal George Pell resides.

Peter FitzSimons – and Fairfax Media – have refused to resile from his assertion about Cardinal Pell.  So, it can only be assumed that the ARM chairman stands by his claim.

If Peter FitzSimons provides the address of Cardinal George Pell’s (alleged) “$30 million dollar mansion in Rome”, today or tomorrow I will put $20,000 in the ARM’s account on Wednesday – in time helping with the ARM’s BIG BANG on Australia Day.

Keep morale high.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

PS: I assume that I am a financial ARM member. If not, let me know and I will send any arrears.




* * * * *


Until next time.


Endorsements of MWD

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

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