17 March 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: Liberty Sanger on Breaking the Law; SBS on the Irish in Australia (tomorrow)
  • Editorial: John Howard’s Centre for Western Civilisation – a Likely Target for a Leftist Takeover?
  • Can You Bear It? Fran Kelly; Scott Burchill and Paul Bongiorno
  • Media Watch Exclusive: ABC and Fairfax Media “Out to Lunch” on Child Sexual Abuse in the Uniting Church & the Jehovah’s Witnesses
  • Media Fool of the Week: Mem Fox stars on Q&A
  • History Corner: Clarke and Dawe’s “Fake News” About the One-time Left-Wing Legend Bert Evatt
  • Correspondence: Due to Popular Demand MWD repeats Gerard Henderson’s Correspondence with Mark Scott on the Uniting Church’s Knox Grammar



What a morale booster to see the sassy Liberty Sanger, of the ambulance chasing left-wing law firm Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, doing the “Newspapers” gig early-in-the-morning on the St Patrick’s Day’s edition of ABC 1’s News Breakfast this morning. Pity about her argument.

Presenters Michael Rowland and Virginia Trioli took a somewhat different stance on the comment by newly elected leftist ACTU secretary Sally McManus that there is not a problem breaking the law if a law is unjust. Mr Rowland took a considered position that citizens of a democracy cannot pick and choose the laws they will follow. La Trioli, on the other hand, was somewhat more Bolshie.

As to Liberty Sanger – you be the judge and jury. Ms Sanger said that, as an officer of the court, she followed the law. But then she threw the switch to fudge with the following comment:

Liberty Sanger: Well I agree with Virginia. She [Sally McManus] was saying it’s okay to break an unjust law. I just, I do think there are just so many examples of this that have led to great achievements for society. And we’re all beneficiaries of that today. I do think it would be a shame if people were sitting here, being a little bit self-righteous about that if they were nonetheless enjoying things. Like, as she [Ms McManus] has indicated – Medicare, safety nets when it comes to Centrelink, health etc. So.

Turn it up. Medibank – the forerunner of Medicare – was introduced by the democratically elected Whitlam Labor government in the early 1970s. It was not achieved as a result of law breaking. Ditto Centrelink. Australia’s social security system goes back at least as far as the Chifley Labor and Menzies Coalition governments of the late 1940s.

In fact, it’s difficult to think of any social change in Australia which was brought about by breaking the law. Perhaps next time News Breakfast should give Ms Sanger a go at predicting the weather. She may do better with the future than the past. Re which see the hugely popular “Can You Bear It” segment today.


On rising (very) early this morning, Nancy’s (male) co-owner realised that it was St Patrick’s Day. No doubt due to the open bottle of Guinness beside his bed. So Happy St Patrick’s Day to those who appreciate the occasion.

Which reminds MWD that at 5.30 pm tomorrow (Saturday 18 March), SBS will broadcast Eoin Hahessy’s film Michael, They Have Shot Them which is subtitled “The Rise of Irish Australia”. The documentary, which is very well directed and beautifully shot, covers the impact on Australia of the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin.

This film is worth viewing if only for the moving and still pictures of Dublin and Melbourne a century ago and rare footage of Archbishop Daniel Mannix (1864-1963) the Irish-born Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, filmed some years before his death.

As is to be expected when a film maker talks primarily to a bunch of academics about history, the documentary occasionally gets it wrong. It is incorrect for Alex McDermott to claim that there was no anti-Catholic sectarianism in Australia before Archbishop Daniel Mannix opposed conscription for overseas service in 1916 and particularly in 1917.

And Alex McDermott is also mistaken for believing that anti-Catholic sectarianism was universal until at least the end of the Second World War. In fact, Joseph Lyons, a practising Catholic, was prime minister of the United Australia Party government from January 1932 until his death in office on Good Friday 1939. This is documented in Anne Henderson’s Joseph Lyons: The People’s Prime Minister (UNSW Press, 2011).

Also various academics are wrong in asserting that the Easter Rising, if successful, could have led to the defeat of Britain in the First World War. The rising never had any chance of succeeding as Gerard Henderson demonstrated in his review of Ruth Dudley Edwards’ The Seven: The Lives and Legacies of the Founding Fathers of the Irish Republic in the most recent issue of The Sydney Institute Review Online – see here. It is also incorrect to assert that Australians lost interest in the Allied cause towards the end of the conflict. After the war, Australia’s war time leader Billy Hughes won elections in May 1917, December 1919 and December 1922.

Any documentary on the Irish in Australia which has Dr Val Noone (for a doctor he is) as an historical consultant is likely to contain exaggerations. Even so, Michael, They Have Shot Them is well worth a viewing. Especially since it will screen at Gin & Tonic time tomorrow.



How wonderful of the taxpayer subsidised United States Studies Centre (USSC) at the taxpayer subsidised University of Sydney to send MWD a copy of its taxpayer subsidised newsletter for the beginning of the 2017 academic year.

As avid readers will be aware, not one academic at the US[ELESS]SC predicted that Donald J. Trump would defeat Hillary Clinton at the US presidential election last November. Not one. Moreover, as USSC chief executive Simon Jackman told Sky News in the wake of the election, not one of the 30 academics or staff supports President Trump. Not one. One senior USSC staffer (Brendon O’Connor) even wrote before the election that Donald Trump exhibits all the characteristics of the ugly American. Each and every one, allegedly.

As avid readers will also know, Gerard Henderson always opposed John Howard’s decision, when prime minister, to give a grant of $25 million to the United States Studies Centre. Gerard Henderson’s position was that, like virtually all social science departments in Australian universities, the USSC would be taken over by the left.

And so it came to pass – quite quickly, in fact. In 2008, USSC staff and students publicly celebrated Barack Obama’s defeat of the Republican candidate John McCain in the presidential election. In 2016, all USSC academics opposed Donald Trump and most barracked for Hillary Clinton.

In the Weekend Australian on 4-5 March 2017, Paul Kelly reported that the late Paul Ramsay had left a bequest of some $3 billion (yes billion) to establish a Centre for Western Civilisation in Australia. Writing in The Australian last Wednesday, Mr Howard stated:

Sustained through life by his strong Catholic faith, Ramsay was deeply grateful for the opportuni­ties his country had given him. He often reflected on the influences that had shaped Australia. He saw our nation as one of many that had benefited from being part of the long continuum of Western civilisation. He never pretended that Australia did not need to change to meet different circumstances, but he held strongly to the view that we should preserve those parts of our heritage that had made Australia such a special country.

Like many he became concerned that as a people we had begun to lose sight of the collective impact of culture, history, religion, literature and music, comprising Western civilisation, which had been so important in conditioning the modern Australia. Not least of these was the great Western tradition of liberal democracy. So he resolved to establish a centre for the promotion of Western civilisation.

Before his death he asked that I become chairman of the board of the centre.

As is known, a major bequest in Ramsay’s will underpins the Ramsay Foundation, whose prime remit is the funding of many charitable pursuits.

The foundation will be the principal funding source for the Centre for Western Civilisation. Like many in the community, I believe we are losing sight of what is owed to the influence of Western civilisation.

It all sounds fine. Some years ago the Institute of Public Affairs in Melbourne and the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation in Perth set up The Foundations of Western Civilisation Program with a council consisting of – among others – Geoffrey Blainey and Ian Harper. It seems that the Centre for Western Civilisation is a development of this initiative.

The essential problem with John Howard’s United States Studies Centre project is that it was effectively handed over to the University of Sydney. No surprise, then, that it was soon subsumed in the left-liberal ethos which pervades Australia’s tertiary institutions.

MWD understands that John Howard’s Centre for Western Civilisation project will be effectively handed over to the University of New South Wales. If this occurs, it is likely that, as with the United States Studies Centre, a left-liberal ethos will soon pervade the institute and Paul Ramsay’s legacy of $3 billion will be thwarted. It’s possible that, like the USSC, the Centre for Western Civilisation could become a base for the promotion of leftist ethos.

The only way that conservatives can run institutions is to set them up themselves outside of universities and then manage the institution themselves. This reality appears to have been overlooked by Liberal MP Julian Leeser who was advised of the establishment of the foundation.

The author Mervyn Bendle identified the problem in a letter which was published in The Australian on 15 March 2017:

Centre’s leftist threat

Some hard truths must be faced if Paul Ramsay’s dream is to come true (“Gift from a true champion of Western civilisation”, 14/3). John Howard and his board will have to confront the intolerant and irrationalist leftism that is entrenched in Australian universities. They are the ideological HQ for the leftist, postmodernist, progressivist campaign that has been waged against the West for nearly half a century.

They will rush forward opportunistically to take the cash on offer, but once the centre is established it will be quickly targeted and marginalised if it threatens the Left. Alternatively, it could be subverted from within with appointments and curriculums designed to appease and accommodate the Left.

Examples of this include the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies, and the US Studies Centre. These have consumed tens of millions of dollars, but they have done nothing to address leftist, anti-Western prejudice — quite the opposite.

Ramsay’s money would be better spent outside the big universities or on a smaller tertiary institution with an unyielding commitment to Western civilisation. Above all, the centre must be staffed with people prepared to get into the trenches in an ideological war that must be won if liberal democracy is to survive.

Mervyn Bendle, Batemans Bay, NSW

The Weekend Australian announced on 3-4 March 2017 that Simon Haines (Professor of English at the Chinese University of Hong Kong) will be the inaugural head of the Centre for Western Civilisation. Now, Professor Haines may have the wisdom of Edmund Burke and the insight of Catherine of Sienna. All MWD can say is that Professor Haines, who was born in 1955, is little known in Australia and appears to have scant experience in running an institution dedicated to protecting Western Civilisation or, indeed, taking on the left.

There is no record of Simon Haines taking a prominent role over the last four decades in any debate involving a contest of ideas between the left intelligentsia and conservative defenders of Western civilisation. According to his own CV, Simon Haines has specialised in romantic and post-romantic literature and poetry. He’s certainly an intellectual but if the leader of a Centre for Western Civilisation is to prevail within the social science department of an Australian university he/she should have some of the skills of a polemicist if not a street-fighter.

Good luck to John Howard’s Western Civilisation ship and all who sail on her. Let’s hope that the good ship Western Civilisation does not suffer the fate of the United States Studies Centre which, a decade after its foundation, finds itself without one supporter of the Republican US president out of a staff of a score and ten.



Did anyone hear the interview by Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly with South Australian Labor premier Jay Weatherill on Radio National Breakfast last Wednesday?

It was Premier Weatherill who had the you-beaut idea that South Australia should rapidly embrace renewable energy – some solar, lotsa wind – but failed to maintain base-load power (coal, gas) to maintain power when intermittent energy failed due to lack of wind or sun – or whatever.

The result is that South Australia experienced blackouts in late 2016/early 2017 with more likely to occur if the State endures another hot summer.

Talk about a soft interview as one leftist activist asked questions of another green/left activist. In a 12 minute CONVERSATION, Ms Kelly failed to ask Mr Weatherill (i) why South Australia has the least reliable energy supply in Australia or (ii) why South Australia has the highest energy prices in Australia. Can You Bear It?


While on the topic of renewable energy and all that stuff – what a stunning performance from MWD’s favourite Deakin University senior lecturer Scott Burchill on News Breakfast last Tuesday.

Dr Burchill (for a doctor he is) told presenters Virginia Trioli and Michael Rowland at the end of the “Newspapers” segment that he was getting no satisfaction from the solar panels he has installed on the roof of his Melbourne abode – presumably to help save the world from what is called dangerous climate change. You see, your man Burchill is neither saving money nor having hot showers at night nor when the sun don’t shine.

Let’s go to the transcript and hear the full story of Dr Burchill’s solar power woes:

Virginia Trioli: Page one…of The Age is looking at this this power bill story and power shortage issue that is now just a national discussion – not just a South Australian one.

Scott Burchill: No. This is ah obviously refers to Victoria’s suggestion that prices will go up for energy prices in Victoria. But, as you say, it’s a problem right across the board. And having installed solar panels on my roof –

Virginia Trioli: Oh yeah, how are you going?

Scott Burchill: Well, I expected things to get cheaper but I still get a bit of a whack – particularly at the end of the summer.

Virginia Trioli: So what what’s the deal – why is that? Because you’re just not generating enough? Did you not put enough panels on?

Scott Burchill: Apparently I have to do everything in sunlight, you know, in case – if I can’t sorta just put the washing on or the air conditioner on at night because obviously unless you’ve got battery power.

Virginia Trioli: It’s the battery issue!

Scott Burchill: Yeah battery

Virginia Trioli: It’s the battery issue

Michael Rowland: Yeah domestic batteries are separate to what Elon Musk was talking about – they are very, very expensive.

Scott Burchill: Yes

Michael Rowland: Although isn’t the theory if you buy these solar panels – the cost of those will eventually be defrayed?

Scott Burchill: Yeah defrayed – but 10 years or so.

Michael Rowland: Yeah, yeah.

Scott Burchill: Which means –

Michael Rowland: But if you are in the right house for 10 years it could be a good thing.

Scott Burchill: It could be. But, I mean that’s just a break-even in 10 years.

Virginia Trioli: Be patient will you. Scott just be patient.

Scott Burchill: Well I’ll be patient. But I’m just hoping that we’ll get some more sunshine before summer completely fades away

Virginia Trioli: Yeah I think I think-

Michael Rowland: Well in Melbourne it’s a very good week this week – lots of lots of sunshine

Scott Burchill: Yes lots of sunshine

Michael Rowland: Lots of showers for you my friend

Scott Burchill : Well, that’s right

Virginia Trioli: In New South Wales I don’t think anyone with a solar power would be too happy-

Scott Burchill: No, no I’m gonna rig-up –

Virginia Trioli: – would be having any good time at all.

Scott Burchill: I’m gonna rig up my exercise bike now to generate my computer.

Michael Rowland: Okay, now we know you’re joking. Yes. Liar.

Virginia Trioli: I love that idea I can see him on it.

Michael Rowland: I can’t –

Virginia Trioli: Scott, always good to see you – thanks so much

Scott Burchill: Thank you

Virginia Trioli: Thank you

Thank you. Talk about the ungracious Sun God. Your man Burchill puts his hand in his pocket to help save the planet by constructing his very own power supply on his very own roof. And then the learned doctor finds that the Sun has not been helpful and that his power bills are not much cheaper and he won’t recoup his investment for at least a decade. Unless he purchases a battery system – in which case his investment will be even more expensive.

And then Scott Burchill bemoaned the fact that the Sun doesn’t shine all day and he can’t have a hot shower at night. Moreover, the air conditioner does not operate on some hot Melbourne nights and the washing machine (using hot water) can only be operated at certain times.

What to do? Your man Burchill elected to go on national telly and tell us all that some days he can no longer shower or wash his clothes. Little wonder that La Trioli and Mr Rowland sat at the far end of the News Breakfast couch on Monday – just in case the Sun did not shine last Monday. Can You Bear It?

[Er, no. Not now that you mention it. By the way, have you seen the kit of News Breakfast’s brand new weather person. He’s a bloke called Nate Byrne and, believe it or not, he dresses so poorly that you would think that Scott Burchill is his dresser. This despite the fact that ABC publicity foreshadowed that your man Byrne would have “a dynamic on-screen presence” Could it be that he also goes to the tip after appearing on News Breakfast and has to dress accordingly? Let’s consider raising a fighting fund to finance a razor blade or two so that Mr Byrne can have a shave before appearing on air next to the neatly shaven Michael Rowland – MWD Editor]


Nothing quite like commencing St Patrick’s Days with a you-beaut conspiracy theory.

Not long after Paul Bongiorno rose this morning, having read Waleed Aly’s leftist rant in Fairfax Media, he sent out the following tweet:

The leftist Bonge knows that there is no energy crisis in Australia. It’s all a conspiratorial ploy to access off-limits gas. President Trump’s tweets are less conspiratorial than those of The Bonge. Can You Bear It?Never mind the row between South Australian premier Jay Weatherill and Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg over the cause of the recent blackouts in South Australia. Never mind the fact that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has supported his minister.



Here’s some news which the ABC and Fairfax Media do not regard as fit-to-print. Over the past four decades, a child in Australia was much more likely to suffer sexual abuse at a school or institution run by the Uniting Church than at a school or institution run by the Catholic Church.

The ABC and Fairfax Media – along with The Guardian and The Saturday Paper – have given extensive coverage to allegations against the Catholic Church made at the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The ABC’s Samantha Donovan and Philippa McDonald and Louise Milligan along with Fairfax Media’s Rachel Browne and Joanne McCarthy have been perhaps the most outspoken of the journalists regularly reporting the Royal Commission in so far as the crimes of pedophile Catholic priests and brothers have been concerned.

The ABC and Fairfax Media gave considerable coverage to the statement by Counsel Assisting Gail Furness SC on 6 February 2017 that 4445 people alleged instances of child sexual abuse within Catholic schools or institutions up until 2015. Most media focused on the statement by Ms Furness that “7 per cent of priests were alleged perpetrators”.

However, virtually no media attention was given to Ms Furness’s subsequent clarification on 16 February 2017, with reference to the Catholic Church:

Between January 1980 and February 2015, 4,445 people alleged incidents of child sexual abuse in 4,765 claims. The vast majority of claims alleged abuse that started in the period 1950 to 1989 inclusive. The largest proportion of first alleged incidents of child sexual abuse, 29 per cent, occurred in the 1970s.

In other words, within the Catholic Church the vast majority of allegations of pedophilia were made with respect to alleged crimes in the period 1950 to 1989 with close to a third of all allegations relating to the decade of the 1970s. That is, most of the allegations relate to instances of close to four decades ago and are historical crimes.

In what was called the “Catholic Wrap”, Royal Commission chairman Justice Peter McClellan devoted 15 entire days to examining the Catholic Church. Hearings were held between 6 February 2017 and 26 February 2017.

On Friday 10 March 2017, the Royal Commission devoted only half a day each to the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Uniting Church of Australia. Yet the evidence suggests that, on a per capita basis, there were more pedophiles in each church combined than in the Catholic Church – especially in the 1990s and subsequent decades.

On the morning of 10 March 2017, Counsel Assisting Angus Stewart SC said that Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Watchtower Australia had produced “case files relating to 1,006 alleged perpetrators of child abuse relating back to 1950”.

Hang on a minute. The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ religion has some 80,000 members all up – which would make it a fraction of the size of the Catholic Church in Australia. Yet it had 1006 alleged perpetrators dating back to 1950. Compared with the considerably larger Catholic Church which had 4,445 alleged perpetrators in the same period.

After completing the “Jehovah’s Witness Wrap” last Friday, the Royal Commission adjourned for lunch. It resumed at 2 pm with Gail Furness SC as Counsel Assisting to do the “Uniting Church Wrap”.

The Uniting Church was inaugurated in June 1977 with the union of the Congregational Union of Australia, the Methodist Church of Australia and the Presbyterian Church of Australia. In other words, the Uniting Church has been an entity for only four decades.

In her opening comments, Gail Furness SC had this to say:

Analysis of the data by the Royal Commission reveals that in the 40 years since the Church’s inauguration, there has been 2,504 incidents or allegations of child sexual abuse that have been reported as having occurred at an institution or place of worship of the Uniting Church.

The statistics available to the Royal Commission with respect to the Uniting Church cover the period from 1977 to the present. That is, unlike the Catholic Church and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the allegations do not relate to a period going back to 1950.

There were 2504 instances or allegations of child sexual abuse made in the Uniting Church in the period 1977 to 2017 compared with 4445 instances in the Catholic Church covering the period 1950 to 2015. Yet the Uniting Church is about a fifth of the size of the Catholic Church. And its data covers four decades whereas the Catholic Church’s data covers over six decades. Moreover, evidence available to the Royal Commission indicates that virtually all offending by Catholic priests took place before 1990. Not so, apparently, with the Uniting Church.

On this evidence, child sexual assaults in the Uniting Church have been more prevalent than in the Catholic Church – especially in the years since 1990. This despite the fact that the Uniting Church has married male priests and female priests. There is no celibacy requirement within the Uniting Church and no sacrament of confession (in which the Royal Commission has taken a special interest concerning the Catholic Church).

Yet you would not be aware of any of this if you followed only the reporting of the Royal Commission by the ABC, Fairfax Media, The Guardian and The Saturday Paper. It seems the likes of Samantha Donovan, Philippa McDonald, Louise Milligan, Joanne McCarthy and Rachel Browne did not come back from lunch on Friday 10 February and simply missed the coverage of sexual child abuse in the Uniting Church in the four decades since 1977.

A Note on Mark Scott and Knox Grammar

This is of special interest since Mark Scott, a one-time editorial director at Fairfax Media’s Sydney Morning Herald and a one-time editor-in-chief at the ABC, joined the board of the Uniting Church’s Knox Grammar in late 2007 and was deputy chairman between mid-2013 and 2016. He resigned from the board last year.

As MWD readers will be aware, in correspondence with Gerard Henderson, Mark Scott has declined to state whether – on joining the Knox Grammar School Council in late 2007 – he called for an audit of past or contemporary instances of pedophilia within the school. This is a standard on which many ABC and Fairfax Media journalists have judged others in positions of authority with respect to children. Neither the ABC nor the Sydney Morning Herald has reported that Mr Scott was on the Knox Grammar board when NSW Police charged some Knox Grammar teachers with the sexual assault of children.

Clearly the ABC and Fairfax Media have scant interest in child sexual assault within the Uniting Church institutions – which, on the available evidence, continued up until as recently as 2010. Their focus has been predominantly on historical cases of pedophilia within the Catholic Church.

The Gerard Henderson/Mark Scott email exchange of 2015 concerning Knox Grammar has been re-published in this week’s “Correspondence” segment.

A Note on Knox Grammar and The Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

Justice Peter McClellan has tended to do the reports on high profile cases concerning the Catholic Church. Despite the fact that the Uniting Church’s Knox Grammar in Sydney was one of the worst cases of child sexual abuse in a school, the Report of Case Study No. 23 was written by commissioner Justice Coate and Mr Bob Atkinson. The report documents that child sexual abuse by teachers against students at Knox Grammar continued as late as into the 2000s and that at certain times Knox Grammar authorities destroyed documents.



What a stunning performance by Adelaide-based writer Mem Fox on Q&A last Monday. In his wisdom – or lack of same – Q&A executive producer Peter McEvoy devoted an entire segment on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster’s top-rating reality current affairs to the topic “Mem Fox and Trump”.

Yes indeed. Here’s Donald J. Trump president of the United States and one of the world’s best known individuals. And here’s Adelaide’s very own leftist sandal-wearer Mem Fox. Mem who? Yet Mr McEvoy linked this in a “Mem Fox and Trump” segment. Following what seems like a “Dorothy Dixer” from a member of the overwhelmingly leftist Q&A audience at the Festival of the Arts, the following exchange took place. Let’s go to the transcript:

Tom Ballard : Mem Fox, most people would have heard about your ordeal there. But if people haven’t, if you’d just briefly let us know exactly what happened a few weeks ago when you tried to go to the United States.

Mem Fox : I did go to the United States, and I was let in. Amazingly, I was allowed in. But not until I had been interrogated, and I use the word specifically – interrogated, not interviewed. I was pulled out of line for a very small reason – the digital cameras didn’t work. And I was sent to a real person, and that’s where the trouble started. And the real person found out that I was being paid to give a speech in the States, and said, “You’ve come in on the wrong visa. You need to have more questions asked.”

It was the WAY the questions were asked. It was the WAY they’re trying to protect their borders. It was the insolence. It was the fear that they caused in me. It was the humiliation in a public room in which everything about my finances were shouted out to the entire room. It was the way other people in the room were treated, which made me ashamed of being a human being. It was not only I who was badly treated. It was appalling.

Of course they can keep their borders safe. There are ways of doing it that are polite, that are friendly, that are warm. You know, I hope that Australians who would be in the same situation as those border police would be slightly more polite, slightly warmer. Please don’t ask me to comment on Tony Abbott and our own border protection, because there are not enough expletives in Roget’s Thesaurus.

Tom Ballard: There is a dark irony…


Tom Ballard : ..somewhat of an irony to the timing of this ordeal for you, Mem, as your new book is called I’m Australian Too, which features this verse – “We open doors to strangers/ Yes, everyone’s a friend/ Australia Fair is ours to share/ Where broken hearts can mend.” You wrote a book specifically about a culture of welcome out of a fear that Australia will go the same way as America, with extremists in power, racist hatred, ghastly speech against decent people. Do you think you will ever return to the United States?

Yawn. Yet another leftist rant by an ABC presenter against contemporary America. Ms Fox responded that it “wouldn’t be safe” for her to travel to the US again. Then Fox added that she would “faint with fear” in the queue. Some contradiction here – but never mind.

Tom Ballard and panellist Neil Armfield joined in the chorus protesting at the treatment of the Adelaide scribbler at the hands of the Trump Fascist Dictatorship. Both overlooked the fact that, on her own admission, Ms Fox arrived in the US on an invalid visa. Viewed in this light, she was fortunate not to be sent back direct to Australia.

As to Ms Fox’s comment that she was treated with “insolence” by US passport and custom officials – well, perhaps they reacted to her somewhat precious stance. After all, many employees at US airports are of Hispanic or African American background and most receive relatively modest pay – unlike many of the international travellers who arrive in the US on, er, speaking tours.

This was the reaction towards the end of Q&A where Mem Fox made an intellectually snobbish response to an intellectually snobbish question:

Tom Ballard: Mem Fox, do you think if those border guards had read more of your books, they wouldn’t necessarily be detaining you there? Do you think there’s a disconnect there between the kind of work and creative arts that are out there and people who are really hurting at the moment and are becoming a political force and voting for more extreme political options?

Mem Fox: I don’t know. Because I am so not connect – I am so connected. I cannot put myself in the shoes of the disconnected. I just can’t do it. I just don’t understand…them.

So there is the creative and oh-so-connected Mem Fox. And there are THEM – the disconnected whom the Adelaide leftist does not understand.

How snobbish can you get? Mem Fox – Media Fool of the Week.



Once upon a time comedians were equal opportunity offenders who targeted individuals irrespective of gender, race or age. Not anymore. Contemporary comedians invariably preach a secular faith – not dissimilar in style to that of religious believers of an earlier generation. It’s impossible to imagine an Australian comedian today on, say, The Weekly with Charlie Pickering making fun of eco-catastrophists, feminists, same-sex marriage advocates, atheists and the like.

The Australian comedians John Clarke and Bryan Dawe fit into this category. The long-running Clarke and Dawe skit returned to the ABC recently after an unexplained but no doubt well-earned break. This is what they had to say on 9 March where the pretend interviewer (Dawe) was asking the pretend media magnate (Clarke) about the phenomenon of Fake News:

Bryan Dawe: Now, we hear a lot about Fake News.

John Clarke: We do, yes indeed.

Bryan Dawe: What is Fake News?

John Clarke: Well, as distinct from what Bryan? Compare it.

Bryan Dawe: Real News.

John Clarke: Well, there’s an interesting distinction. Who would decide what Fake News was and what was Real News?

Bryan Dawe: Well, surely you’d do that. I mean, don’t you run Real News?

John Clarke: Actual things that have happened?

Bryan Dawe: Yeah, yeah, things that are actually happening.

John Clarke: Yeah, yeah, Bryan – we’ve got a sports division –

The White-Hat Dawe then told the Black-Hat Clarke the kind of questions which a journalist committed to reporting Real News would ask. Let’s go to the transcript:

Bryan Dawe: Hang on, if you want to ask questions, why not ask questions we can do something about?

John Clarke: Relevance. I like it Bryan. We’ll take them from anywhere – what do you suggest?

Bryan Dawe: Well, how many people are going to die in the current famine in Africa? Should Australia have the lowest foreign aid budget in its history while company taxes are being reduced and politicians are rorting their travel expenses?

John Clarke: Too long Bryan, far too long. It’s got to fit in two lines, that’s not going to fit, Bryan…

Get the drift? Bryan Dawe managed to run a line criticising the Coalition government for not spending enough on foreign aid and for proposing to reduce the level of company tax. That fits the joke book of contemporary comedians’ secular faith.

While on the topic of Fake News, on 21 June 2015, the Sun-Herald published a puff piece by Stephen Dillane on Clarke and Dawe, which seems to have been running on ABC TV since Nice Mr Scott was a student at Knox Grammar.

Like all leftists on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster’s payroll, John Clarke set out to convince the Sun-Herald that neither he nor Bryan Dawe offer a Green/Left interpretation of Australian politics. As Clarke told Dillane:

Occasionally a politician or a journalist might accuse Clarke and Dawe of being a symptom of the ABC’s “left-wing bias”, but Clarke is confident the viewers know “we aren’t partisan, we’re not banging anybody’s drum, we’re not pushing any party barrow. I wouldn’t want to make too bold a claim for what we do. We’re asking questions, I suppose. We’re principally there to amuse an audience with the subject matters that are already concerning the public generally. When people get together, they often have a satirical tone, to amuse each other.”

But the facts speak for themselves. Clarke and Dawe rarely, if ever, target anyone other than conservatives or social democrats. Moreover, the record demonstrates that, when proclaiming leftist causes, Clarke and Dawe are not beyond a bit of Fake News themselves.

Here’s a scene from Clarke and Dawe which aired on 18 June 2015 where the duo was praising the one-time left-wing hero Bert Evatt (1894-1965) who led the Labor Party between 1951 and 1960 – losing elections in 1954, 1955 and 1958. The late Dr Evatt, who was affectionately called “Doc”, was much loved by the left in the 1950s and 1960s for his opposition to Liberal Party prime minister Robert Menzies and anti-communist Catholic activist B.A. (Bob) Santamaria. Clarke and Dawe’s paean of praises for the Doc went as follows:

Bryan Dawe: Wasn’t the UN constitution largely written by an Australian, Doc Evatt?

John Clarke: It was Bryan. In fact, the Human Rights Declaration was brought in by the UN under the presidency of an Australian.

Bryan Dawe: Doc Evatt again.

John Clarke: Indeed.

And now for some Real Facts:

▪ Bert Evatt was never president of the United Nations – no such position has ever existed. Rather, for a year in 1948, he was President of the General Assembly of the United Nations. The UN’s inaugural secretary-general (the top position) was Trygve Lie of Norway.

▪ Bert Evatt did not “largely” write the United Nations Constitution. Nor did Dr Evatt write the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – this was largely written by Eleanor Roosevelt.

Talk about Fake News – per courtesy of Clarke and Dawe.


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 Gerard Henderson 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).


In his column in The Weekend Australian on 7-8 March 2015, Gerard Henderson drew attention to the fact that (then) ABC managing director and editor-in-chief Mark Scott had been a member of the Knox Grammar School Council since late 2007.

Knox Grammar in Sydney is controlled by the Uniting Church in Australia. For close to half a century, up to 2010, there was a nest of male pedophile teachers at the school who sexually assaulted students.

As readers of this correspondence will be aware, Mr Scott (who is now head of the NSW Education Department) has declined to respond to the question as to whether – as a Board during the years, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 – he took any initiative to conduct an audit into past or existing child sexual abuse at Knox Grammar.

This despite the fact that, when Mr Scott was ABC editor-in-chief, the public broadcaster’s journalists criticised persons who were in a position to act against pedophilia but, for whatever reason, failed to do so. MWD understands that Mark Scott’s position on the Knox Grammar board from late 2007 until 2016 has not been reported by either Fairfax Media or the ABC – both of which employed him in the past.

Individuals who appear in Who’s Who in Australia are responsible for writing their own entries. Until recently, Mark Scott was described as becoming deputy chairman of Knox College in 2007. He has since corrected this date to 2013. The questions which Gerard Henderson directed to Mark Scott in his role as Knox Grammar deputy chairman apply also to his position as board member of the Knox Grammar School Council from 2007.

Following the Royal Commission’s “Uniting Church Wrap” – see today’s “MWD Exclusive”, MWD has republished the Gerard Henderson/Mark Scott correspondence of March 2015. In the public interest, of course. Here it is:

Gerard Henderson to Mark Scott – 4 March 2015

Dear Mr Scott

As you will be aware in your capacity as ABC editor-in-chief, over recent years ABC presenters, producers and editors have taken a detailed interest in instances of child sexual abuse. This is particularly so with respect to the Catholic Church – but also some government institutions, the Anglican Church, the Salvation Army, sections of the Jewish community and more besides. In all instances ABC personnel have demanded the highest of standards concerning anyone who has or had a duty of care with respect to children who were abused.

As you will be aware, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is currently examining what appears to have been a nest of paedophiles at Knox Grammar School in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and into the 21st Century. Evidence has been given to the Royal Commission that in 2009 or thereabouts, following the arrest of a number of current and former Knox Grammar teachers, contemporaneous records concerning the activities of these teachers, which were in the possession of Knox Grammar, either went missing or were consciously destroyed.

According to your entry in Who’s Who in Australia, you have been deputy chairman of the Knox Grammar School Council since 2007. I assume that the Knox Grammar School Council – along with the Uniting Church – has been involved in discussions concerning sexual abuse at the college.

During your time as ABC managing director, you have signed the ABC up to the Right-to-Know coalition and have advocated transparency across the range of issues.

My questions are these:

٠ Were you present at any meeting of the Knox Grammar School Council when the criminal activities of former Knox teachers were discussed? If so, did you see any reason to take up any such matters with the NSW Police? Moreover, was there any discussion about how to handle files on teachers or the location/destruction of missing files?

As you will be aware, if George Pell had been deputy chairman of a Catholic school where files about paedophile teachers went missing or were destroyed – programs like Four Corners would be calling for full accountability concerning any role he might have played.

I would appreciate a response by the close of business on Wednesday 4 March 2015.

Yours sincerely

Gerard Henderson

Mark Scott to Gerard Henderson – 4 March 2015

Dear Gerard

Under normal circumstances any discussion about the activities of the Knox School Council would be made by the Chairman of the council. With his endorsement, I can make the following comment.

I do not recall any discussion of matters of child sexual abuse at Knox Council meetings I attended, before the arrest of the teacher, Craig Treloar in 2009.

Knox fully cooperated with the police task force established at that time, including the provision of reports by investigators that were completed several years before my appointment to the Council.

I was never aware of any discussion of the treatment of any relevant files. The council was briefed that some key files appeared to be missing – and this was covered in the evidence given by the former headmaster, Peter Crawley, who was at the school from 1999-2003.

On 2 March 2015 Mr Robert Wannan, a former Chairman of the Knox Council and on 3 March 2015 Mr James Mein, a former Moderator of the Uniting Church, gave evidence that there was no discussion of or direction by any person to destroy records. That has certainly been my experience as a member of the Knox Council. Messrs Wannan and Mein’s evidence was accepted, uncontested.

On 2 March 2015, Mr David Lloyd, Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission, said:

I am more than prepared, in light of the evidence, to say this: in light of the fact that Mr Wannan and Mr Mein have denied on their oaths being involved in the destruction of documents as alleged by Mr Feehely, and in light of there being no evidence of which I am aware in support of the allegation made by Mr Feehely in his email, it would not be my intention to be saying in submissions that there is an available finding that they were involved in giving advice to the school to destroy documents.

On 3 March 2015 the former Headmaster, Dr Ian Paterson gave evidence that he did not in fact keep records of matters relevant to the subject matter of the hearing before the Royal Commission.

I am informed that Knox has extensively and comprehensively searched for relevant records. All relevant documentation found by the school has been made available to the police and to the Royal Commission. The school is continuing to assist the Royal Commission.

I can only echo the remarks of the school headmaster, Mr Weeks, who apologised to former students for the abject failure of Knox to protect all children in its care in the past. I can assure you that the School Council has no greater priority than the safety and well-being of every student at the school.

I note your final paragraph. I am sure you have noted the comprehensive and detailed coverage of the Knox case study at the Royal Commission on ABC platforms.



Gerard Henderson to Mark Scott – 5 March 2015

Dear Mark

Thanks for your reply to my email of 4 March 2015.

Needless to say, I am not accusing you of any impropriety concerning your role as deputy chairman of the Knox Grammar School Council. However, as you will be aware, as ABC editor-in-chief you supported criticisms of George Pell when you were aware that there was no evidence that Cardinal Pell knew of instances of clerical sexual abuse in the Catholic Church which occurred at a time – or place – for which he had direct responsibility.

In response to your email, I made a few points and ask a few questions:

٠ Since the matter of child sexual abuse in schools and institutions was well documented by the time you became deputy chairman of Knox Grammar School Council in 2007, why was there no discussion in the Council about this issue before the arrest of Craig Treloar in 2009?

When George Pell became the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne in 1996, he set up the Melbourne Response within three months. What did you, or Knox Grammar School Council, do with respect to the handling of possible instances of child sexual abuse before the arrest of Craig Treloar?

٠ Why did Council members not make enquiries about the existence of any files concerning the sexual abuse of students by teachers either (i) before 2009 and/or (ii) during or after 2009? In short, what effort did the Council itself undertake to enquire about what you term “some key files [that] appeared to be missing”?

٠ I accept, on the available evidence, that there was no discussion of, or direction by, any person on the Council to destroy records. However, on the available evidence, there is no evidence that any member of the Knox Grammar School Council ever acknowledged that files concerning sexual assaults on students by some teachers had gone missing before the hearings of the Royal Commission. Why was there no such disclosure to Knox parents and the general community?

٠I accept that, on 3 March 2015, Dr Ian Paterson gave evidence to the Royal Commission that he did not keep records on matters concerning the sexual abuse of children by Knox teachers. My question is this: What did the Council do, during your time as deputy chairman, to ask the former headmaster to account for his behaviour when headmaster at Knox – especially once the prevalence of sexual abuse at the school over several decades became a matter of public record?

٠ I accept that all relevant documentation found at Knox since the issue of child sexual abuse at the college became a matter of public scandal has been made available to NSW Police and to the Royal Commission. Again, the question is what action did the Council take on this issue before the Royal Commission was established in 2013? I believe that you are in a good position to answer this question since you were deputy chairman of the Knox Grammar School Council during the time of the former and current chairman.

٠ I recognise Mr Weeks’ apology. I simply note that ABC journalists did not readily accept apologies by George Pell for crimes which were committed – even though he had no direct responsibility for the crimes.

* * * * *

In conclusion, I accept that there has been coverage of the Knox case on ABC platforms. However, I do not recall any report on the ABC that its managing director has been the deputy chairman of the Knox Grammar School Council since 2007. I doubt that such an oversight would have occurred if the likes of Cardinal George Pell or Archbishop Peter Jensen had been the deputy chairman of a school council when sexual abuse by the school’s employees occurred. All I am pointing out here is a matter of double standards.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

Mark Scott to Gerard Henderson – 5 March 2015

Dear Gerard,

Whilst I had the support of the Chairman in clarifying some matters for you in previous correspondence, I do not think it is appropriate I provide further commentary. These matters are being canvassed by the Royal Commission.

I do need to correct you on one matter, however.

I joined the Knox Grammar School council late in 2007, but I did not become deputy Chairman until mid-2013. I took up this position following the resignation of Rob Wannan as Chairman, and the appointment of the former deputy, Peter Roach as Chairman.

Confused by your references to me being deputy chairman from 2007, I have checked the Who’s Who reference and it is wrong on this matter. I will have it corrected for the next edition.



Gerard Henderson to Mark Scott – 5 March 2015

Dear Mark

Thanks for your reply.

I am pleased to be of assistance in correcting your entry in Who’s Who.

Best wishes


* * * * *

Until next time.

* * * * *

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