GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG

ISSUE NO. 358

28 April 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: Four Corners’ Don Dale “Scoop” Begins to Wobble
  • Can You Bear It? Niki Savva, Stephen Mayne, Deborah Snow & Paul Bongiorno
  • ABC Update: Lateline’s Porn-Again Interview Demonstrates Falling Journalistic Standards
  • Robert Manne’s Somersault on the Late Huge Wolfsohn Discovered
  • The Media and Pedophilia: The BBC’s Jimmy Savile’s Pedophilia Recalled as Royal Commission in Australia Fails to Inquire into Media
  • Correspondence: La Trobe V-C Helps Out by going into “No Comment” Mode re the University’s attack on the late Hugo Wolfsohn’s Reputation; Julian Burnside AO QC – Helps Out By Clarifying his Moral Vanity. Or Did He?

STOP PRESS

FOUR CORNERS’ DON DALE “SCOOP” BEGINS TO FALL APART

Great story today by Amos Aikman in The Australian following Matt Cunningham’s story on Sky News’ The Bolt Report last night.

It seems that the ABC, or persons acting on behalf of the ABC, attempted to gag former Northern Territory minister John Elferink’s submission to the royal commission on the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in the Northern Territory. Mr Elferink told the royal commission that ABC Four Corners reporter Caro Meldrum-Hanna had said that her program would not be a “hatchet job” but would be “balanced” because she was bound by the highest editorial and journalistic standards in the country. As it turned out, the Four Corners report was a hatchet job and a misleading one at that.

Little wonder that someone acting on behalf of the ABC, or seeking to protect the ABC, attempted to have Mr Elferink’s submissions redacted. No doubt ABC management will go into denial on this matter as is its habit when ABC journalists are criticised for unprofessional standards and a green-left mind set.


CAN YOU BEAR IT?

  • NIKI SAVVA’S RING-SIDE CONFUSION

Gerard Henderson is on Insiders this Sunday. At this stage, Hendo does not know who his fellow couch-sitters will be. But he is going to Melbourne prepared to encounter a feisty panellist or two.

Who can forget Katharine (“Why do people write emails to Gerard Henderson?”) Murphy’s endorsement last year of actor Robert De Niro’s wish “to punch Donald J Trump in the face”? It was a rare example of a make-war-not-love stance by a leading member of The Guardian Australia’s Sandalista Set.

And then, last Sunday, Niki (“I’m a conservative leftie, whatever that might mean”) Savva endorsed a boxing match between 39-year-old Labor Senator Anthony Chisholm and the 59-year-old Tony Abbott. Let’s go to the transcript – just after Ms Savva expressed her “hope” that the bout would go ahead:

Niki Savva: Knowing Tony Abbott and the way he loves to have a punch-up and a fight, I’m sure that it will go ahead. And I hope it is televised…But we know what happens to old fighters who go back into the ring and get one too many punches in the head. We’ve seen that before.

At this stage, Ms Savva seemed to be swelling up with delight at the prospect of the former prime minister being punched in the head by a Senator for Queensland. Alas, for the Abbott Haters in our midst, the bout will not take place.

The story commenced with a report in News Corp’s Sunday newspapers by Daryl Passmore that Anthony Chisholm had challenged Tony Abbott to a punch-up on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao – Jeff Horn world champion fight at Suncorp Stadium in July.

A close reading of your man Passmore’s piece indicated that the two sources for the story were Senator Chisholm himself and Dean Lonergan, who is director of Duco Events which is the organiser of the event. That was it. Tony Abbott “could not be contacted for comment” apparently. Moreover, the Queensland Boxing Federation was not asked whether it would sanction a fight between a 39-year-old and a 59-year-old.

In other words, it was just a Sunday media beat-up. But Niki Savva was “sure” it would go ahead and indicated excitement that her nemesis would be punched in the head. Can You Bear It?

  • 7.30 ON STEPHEN MAYNE AS A “FORMER LIBERAL STAFFER”

While on the issue of the Liberal Party, did anyone see Andrew Probyn’s story last Monday on the attempt by some disaffected former Liberal Party rank-and-file members to dis-endorse Cabinet minister Kelly O’Dwyer in the Melbourne seat of Higgins?

Your man Probyn interviewed disillusioned former Liberals John McMurrick and Jack Hammond who oppose the changes to superannuation, which Ms O’Dwyer introduced before the 2016 election. Then, for expert advice, 7.30’s producer went to avid MWD reader Stephen Mayne. Yes, Mr Mayne.

Your man Mayne’s expert advice on why there is talk of a challenge to Kelly O’Dwyer in Higgins turned on the assertion that this might be a holding action taken to shore up Tony Abbott’s pre-selection in Warringah. It is understood that Ms O’Dwyer voted for Malcolm Turnbull in the leadership spill of September 2015. Let’s go to the transcript:

Andrew Probyn: Liberal insiders say there is a real prospect of tit-for-tat preselection challenges between the conservative and moderate wings of the Liberal Party and not just in Victoria. Tony Abbott is facing a possible challenge in Warringah and his staunch ally Kevin Andrews will likely face a fight for his safe seat of Menzies. Ironically it was once touted as a seat fit for Peta Credlin.

Stephen Mayne: It might be a case of leave Tony Abbott alone or we will proceed with this challenge against Kelly O’Dwyer and it might be that the Abbott forces are looking for a bit of peace based on “you wouldn’t want a war, would you?”.

Well this just MIGHT be the case. Or it MIGHT NOT be the case.

7.30 described the bringer of such inside knowledge as a “former Liberal staffer”. Yes he is – with the emphasis on “former”. As far as MWD can work out, Stephen Mayne last worked on the staff of a Liberal parliamentarian in 1994. Yep – over two decades ago, when he was a media adviser to Victorian premier Jeff Kennett.

So, 7.30 not only neglected to mention that Stephen Mayne was last a “Liberal staffer” around the time Noah was just a lad. But 7.30 also forgot to mention that Mr Mayne ran against the sitting Liberal Party member at the Federal election in 2007 (Peter Costello) and 2016 (Kevin Andrews). Can You Bear It?

  • DEBORAH SNOW’S SOFT INTERVIEW WITH FAILED HILLARYLAND ACTIVIST NOW SUFFERING FROM “TRUMPORRHEA”

While on the topic of former political staffers, consider the case of Lissa Muscatine – a former Hillary Clinton staff member. One of the Hillaryland Set. Ms Muscatine, who is in Australia as a guest of Rhodes Scholarships Australia, spoke to Fairfax Media’s Deborah Snow – as reported in last Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald, Age and Canberra Times.

A strange new condition seems to be afflicting many of her journalist friends in Washington DC, says Lissa Muscatine, Hillary Clinton’s long-time friend, former aide and chief speech writer.

One friend’s doctor jokingly called it Trumporrhoea – they [the reporters] are all exhausted, coming down with insomnia, gastrointestinal disorders, these physiological reactions – it’s not just the one thing that happens in a day, it’s five things a day, every time you look up there is another controversy or tweet that has gone out, some other insult or some other regulation that’s been overturned – it’s hard for people in other countries to fully grasp just how insane it is.

Alas. So Lissa Muscatine’s journalist besties in Washington DC have developed a number of conditions such as insomnia along with gastrointestinal disorders. All due to President Donald J Trump, it seems. And that’s where the story began and ended. Ms Snow did not say what treatment is used to deal with such psychological disorders, which present as Trumporrhoea. Can You Bear It?

[Er, no. I would prescribe regular doses of reality along with a reading of the book Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes. It demonstrates what a hopeless candidate Ms Clinton was – and how poorly served she was by the Hillaryland Set who failed to be honest with the Democrat candidate about her campaign failings. Will this do? – MWD Editor.]

  • BONGE’S STRANGE VIEWS ON BORROWING

What a stimulating conversation yesterday on Radio National Breakfast between Fran (“I’m an Activist”) Kelly and The Saturday Paper’s Paul (“I’m a left-liberal”) Bongiorno. Let’s go to the transcript where Bonge sets out his view on debt:

Fran Kelly: Paul, the Treasurer Scott Morrison, in what is being billed as his last major pre budget speech today, has come up with a new way to handle the debt crisis: redefining it into good debt and bad debt. But on the face of it Paul, bad debt seems to be all the stuff the government spends in looking after people.

Paul Bongiorno: Yes, well, the Treasurer points out that recurrent expenditure needs to be paid for in other ways other than borrowing which may be a good economic principle, I remember Peter Costello, when he was Treasurer, defining good debt to me as debt that Liberal governments incur and bad debt is debt that Labor governments incur. And I guess the underlying point here is, it goes to your priorities.

Now I’m a bit bemused, probably worse than bemused, anyway, that the Treasurer is defining bad debt as what you spend on Medicare and welfare. There is another argument that what you spend on the health of the nation, and the social cohesion, the internal security of the nation, is in fact an investment with an economic dividend. The other point to make about good debt and bad debt is it’s debt in the end. And it’s fascinating that if it was a Labor government pulling this stunt, I don’t think the Liberals would have a bar of it.

So there you have it. Your man Bongiorno reckons that there is “an economic dividend” in Australians borrowing from foreigners in order to pay welfare. In which case, why not borrow unlimited amounts and get a HUGE economic dividend? Can You Bear It?


ABC UPDATE

LATELINE’S PORN-AGAIN MOMENT WITH JAMIE MORTON

Once upon a time, not so long ago, ABC TV’s Lateline was important viewing for those who wanted to catch up with international and national news and to watch substantive interviews along with occasional debates. Lateline was not perfect – that’s impossible – but it was consistently good.

In recent times, however, the quality of Lateline has declined dramatically. So much so that it would be fair to the original Lateline program to change its name. The current Lateline is, at best, boring – at worst, superficial.

Take last Monday’s program, for example, when Lateline’s executive producer decided it would be a you-beaut idea for presenter Jeremy Fernandez to interview British comedian Jamie Morton.

Believe it or not, this was a story about how Jamie Morton found out that his old man had written a porno novel. Yawn. And a particularly poorly written porno novel. Yawn again.

And so it has come to pass that Mr Morton has now written a book about his old man called My Dad Wrote a Porno. Really. Let’s pick up the interview when Lateline’s presenter asks the interviewee about the pornographic tome:

Jeremy Fernandez: So it’s got a monster title, how do you explain to people what this book is about?

Jamie Morton: It’s a good question, because the book is about nothing at all really. There is no story. There’s barely characters. I would say it’s about a woman in the pots and pans industry called Belinda Blumenthal who basically tries to secure business deals by sleeping with as many people as is humanly possible.

Jeremy Fernandez: But the way your father describes this nom de plume, is Rocky Flintstone. [sic] The way he describes it, is just a very unconventional use of language as well, and the grammar is all over the place.

Jamie Morton: Yeah. I mean, he really struggles with grammar, spelling is a challenge for my Dad. Bless him. It is a very unorthodox book in many, many ways. It is badly written to be honest. I think it is just a few thoughts that he’s just written down on the go.

Brilliant, eh? Jamie Morton has written a book titled My Dad Wrote a Porno which he admits “is about nothing at all really” and which has “no story”.

Yet it got him an invite on to Lateline – what is supposed to be one of Australia’s leading news and current affairs programs – along with a free airline ticket to the taxpayer subsidised Sydney Writers’ Festival.


LA TROBE UNIVERSITY’S FAKE HISTORY: A CONTINUING SAGA

VICE-CHANCELLOR JOHN (“I KNOW NOTHING”) DEWAR RUNS A NO-COMMENT LINE ON WHETHER ROBERT MANNE’S ERROR-RIDDEN ACCOUNT OF PROFESSOR HUGO WOLFSOHN AND THE LA TROBE POLITICS DEPARTMENT WAS FACT-CHECKED

The Sydney Institute is in the process of moving from 41 Phillip Street, Sydney to Level 40, Governor Phillip Tower, Sydney. While sorting out some of his array of files Gerard Henderson came across the flyer published on the occasion of the launch of the Wolfsohn Memorial Fund. This was signed by the likes of Lord Beloff, Age editor Creighton Burns, Sir Zelman Cowen, La Trobe Chancellor Richard McGarvie, Michael Oakeshott, Professor Joan Rydon and La Trobe Vice-Chancellor John Scott.

John Dewar, a successor of John Scott, published an essay by Robert Manne in the official history of the first 50 years of La Trobe which falsely claimed that Hugo Wolfsohn was a homophobe who insisted that all Politics Department Staff members join each other for lunch every day. There are other howlers in Professor Manne’s essay which have been documented in recent issues of MWD. See also today’s (hugely popular) Correspondence segment.

Now hear this. Robert Manne made a commitment to provide a financial contribution to the Wolfsohn Memorial Fund in 1982. However, in 2017, your man Manne reckons that Professor Hugo Wolfsohn (1918-1982) was a homophobic authoritarian. And Professor Dewar and his cohorts are running academic protection for Professor Manne. Stay tuned for more revelations.

 


THE MEDIA AND PEDOPHILIA

JOHNNY ROTTEN ON THE BBC’S “NOTHING TO SEE HERE” ATTITUDE TO JIMMY SAVILE WHEN HE WAS ALIVE – AND THE ROYAL COMMISSION’S DECISION NOT TO ENQUIRE INTO THE AUSTRALIAN MEDIA

As MWD readers are aware, the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse declined to conduct public hearings into the media’s institutional responses to child sexual abuse in Australia in the period from 1950 to 2015.

This despite the fact that in 1975 the ABC Radio Lateline program provided soft studio interviews to three pederasts without reporting their crimes to NSW Police and without adopting a duty of care to the pederasts’ victims.

As documented in MWD, the ABC chairman Richard Downing wrote to the Sydney Morning Herald in July 1975 calling on Australians to understand the urges of pederasts. Professor Downing (1915-1975) also told the SMH that “in general, men will sleep with young boys”. This despite the fact that pedophilia was a crime in 1975 – as it is today.

The ABC has never distanced itself from its former chairman’s statements. So, it can only be assumed that Professor Downing’s position remains ABC policy. It is a matter of record that the Royal Commission declined to examine this matter – despite focusing on other state and religious institutions back to 1950.

The Royal Commission’s decision not to conduct public hearings into the Australian media was taken despite the evidence that the BBC covered up the late Jimmy Savile’s child sexual abuse for decades. Thanks to an avid reader who drew MWD’s attention to the following interview which took place between BBC’s Piers Morgan and rock-star Johnny Rotten on 25 September 2015.

Johnny Rotten speaking on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories – 25 September 2015

Piers Morgan: I want to completely turn left field here. An unbroadcast section of a BBC radio interview you did in 1978 recently came to light – included on a PiL album – and you were talking about making a film where you killed famous people. This has never been played on television before. But it has a particular relevance. Let’s listen to this [from your 1978 interview].

[1978 audio plays:]

Interviewer: So who else is on the “Gonna” list?

Johnny Rotten: Oh it’s endless believe me. I just want to make a film of it. On film, I’d like to kill Jimmy Savile. I think he’s a hypocrite. When I write that he’s into all kinds of seediness that we all know about but are not allowed to talk about. I know some rumours. I bet none of this’ll be allowed out.

Interviewer: I shouldn’t imagine libellous stuff would be allowed out.

Johnny Rotten: Nothing I said is libel.

[1978 audio ends]

Johnny Rotten: It sounds a bit harsh with doing a death list there.

Piers Morgan: Well actually –

Johnny Rotten: Sometimes you’re contentious in life just because you’re bored of that current moment.

Piers Morgan: But put aside the rhetoric you were using. The fact that in 1978, at the height of the Sex Pistols Explosion, there you are, saying about Jimmy Savile: “He was into all kinds of seediness, that we all knew about, weren’t allowed to talk about it, I know some rumours.” For you, you had heard the kind of thing we now know about him? Or stuff like that?

Johnny Rotten: Yeah. I think most kids did too. Most kids wanted to go on Top of the Pops but we all knew what that cigar muncher was up to. But I’m very very bitter that the likes of Savile and the rest of them were allowed to continue

Piers Morgan: Did you ever try to do anything about Savile?

Johnny Rotten: I did my bit. I said what I had to.

Piers Morgan: Did they air that?

Johnny Rotten: No. It just got suppressed. For legal reasons… I found myself being banned from BBC Radio there for quite – well, for my contentious behaviour.

Piers Morgan: Because of?

Johnny Rotten: They wouldn’t state this directly, there’d be other excuses.

Piers Morgan: I mean, it’s shocking.

Johnny Rotten: Oh yeah.

Piers Morgan: That he got away with it for another thirty odd years.

Johnny Rotten: Yeah. Not only him but a whole bunch of them. And these are the purveyors of good taste, huh?

Piers Morgan: You were too offensive?

Johnny Rotten: Brilliant ‘innit? Well I’m still here and the rest of them – what are still alive – nice bit of jail time for them. JAIL TIME!

Applause

Piers Morgan: I have to read this. The BBC has said it’s appalled by Savile’s crimes and the Dame Janet Smith Review is reviewing the culture and practices of the BBC during that period.


CORRESPONDENCE

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 avid 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).

  • GERARD HENDERSON AND VICE-CHANCELLOR JOHN DEWAR re ROBERT MANNE’S FAKE HISTORY OF LA TROBE UNIVERSITY (CONTINUED…)

It was not so long ago that current La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor John Dewar was something of a media tart. Why, he even used to front up on occasions at 5.30am at the ABC Melbourne studio in Southbank in order to do the “Newspapers” segment on ABC News Breakfast with Michael Rowland and Virginia Trioli. These days, however, Vice-Chancellor Dewar is something of a recluse who declines to enter into correspondence about a book which he commissioned. This despite having an executive assistant and a chief-of-staff to help him out along with all the resources of the taxpayer subsidised university over which he presides.

As avid readers will be aware, Dr Dewar (for a doctor he is) had flicked Hendo’s correspondence about the La Trobe Politics Department to the pompously titled “Director Media and Communications, Marketing and Engagement Department, La Trobe University” – a certain Tim Mitchell, no less.

On behalf of La Trobe University, Tim Mitchell said that From The Paddock To The Agora: Fifty Years Of La Trobe University (published by La Trobe University in conjunction with Black Inc) was fact-checked by Black Inc “where appropriate”. But La Trobe University will not state whether Black Inc found it appropriate to fact-check Robert Manne’s error-ridden essay on the La Trobe Politics Department in the 1970s and 1980s. This despite the fact that La Trobe University Press is the principal publisher and Professor John Dewar commissioned the essays in From The Paddock To The Agora. What a cop-out.

For the record, Black Inc publisher Morry Schwartz has declined to answer whether anyone at Black Inc fact-checked Robert Manne’s chapter in Professor Dewar’s collection.

So, no one will defend the character assassination of the dead or the historical howlers in Robert Manne’s chapter “An Academic Dozen: 1975-1988”. As this correspondence demonstrates.

Tim Mitchell (on behalf of John Dewar) to Gerard Henderson – 24 April 2017

Hi Gerard

Thanks for your email [of 21 April 2017].

The University doesn’t have any additional comment to make.

Our response is as below. [Note – this is a reference to Tim Mitchell’s email of 20 April. – MWD Editor.]

Regards

Tim

Gerard Henderson to Tim Mitchell – 24 April 2017

Mr Mitchell

I refer to my email to John Dewar (who, apparently, does not answer correspondence about a book which he published) and to your reply on the Vice-Chancellor’s behalf.

I note that your response to my email of 21 April 2017 is that “The University doesn’t have any additional comment to make”. The only comment which La Trobe University had previously made is this: “The essays for From the Paddock to the Agora received a thorough edit by our publishing partner Black Inc, including fact-checking where appropriate.” That was it.

It is clear from your correspondence that:

▪ Professor John Dewar, who wrote the introduction to From The Paddock To The Agora, did not do any fact-checking.

▪ Instead, La Trobe University passed the responsibility to Black Inc to do “fact- checking where appropriate”.

▪ However, Professor Dewar refuses to respond to the question as to whether he knows – or intends to find out – whether Black Inc found it “appropriate” to fact-check Robert Manne’s essay in From The Paddock To The Agora.

So, this is the situation. La Trobe Vice-Chancellor (John Dewar) allowed La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow (Robert Manne) to traduce the academic and professional reputations of the late Professor Hugo Wolfsohn and the late Professor Joan Rydon. However, Professor Dewar will not answer the question as to whether Robert Manne’s essay was fact-checked by Black Inc. How unprofessional is that?

I doubt that many academics at La Trobe would accept an “I don’t know” or “I don’t care” response from a student who was asked about whether an essay had been fact-checked or not.

On a matter of lesser importance, I understand that John Dewar is standing by Robert Manne’s “recollection” that there was a Vietnam War teach-in at La Trobe in 1968 or 1969 – despite the fact that no evidence has been cited that such an event took place. If a teach-in on Vietnam was held at La Trobe University in the late 1960s, then there will be a record of it. Rather than produce evidence to support Professor Manne’s assertion – Professor Dewar has thrown the switch to “no comment”. Pretty pathetic for a vice-chancellor with all the research resources of a modern university available to him, don’t you think?

All I can say is that academic standards at La Trobe University were much higher when Hugo Wolfsohn and Joan Rydon held professorial chairs in the Politics Department.

Yours sincerely

Gerard Henderson

Gerard Henderson to Morry Schwartz – 26 April 2017

Good afternoon Morry.

Just a quick question re From the Paddock to the Agora published by La Trobe University Press in conjunction with Black Inc.

Since the book was commissioned by Vice-Chancellor John Dewar, I assume that La Trobe University was responsible for the factual content in the various chapters.

Please advise if this is not the case – and if the fact-checking responsibility rests with Black Inc alone.

I would be grateful if you could provide this information by the close of business tomorrow (Thursday 27 April 2017).

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

  • GERARD HENDERSON AND JULIAN BURNSIDE AO QC re WHETHER HIS SELF-PROCLAIMED VIRTUE EXTENDS TO RETURNING ONE’S VALUABLE RESIDENTIAL ABODE TO ITS TRADITIONAL OWNERS (CONTINUED…)

There was a huge response to the correspondence of Julian (“I just love flashing my post-nominals”) Burnside AO QC published in last week’s issue. It now seems that JB AO QC’s moral virtue – in public evidence at St Kilda Town Hall in recent times – does not extend to a position that either St Kilda Town Hall or your man Burnside’s Hawthorn mansion should be given back to the traditional owners. It’s just about the appropriate gesture to be made when a function is held at St Kilda Town Hall or Hawthorn or whatever when a chap from Hawthorn needs to feel the acclaim of others at functions organised by the taxpayer-subsidised Wheeler Centre. Now read on.

Julian Burnside to Gerard Henderson – 24 April 2017

Dear Gerard

You may have misunderstood the point of my observation: certainly you have made a wrong assumption.

I am not expecting the St Kilda Town Hall, or my “pile” or yours (I have not been inquisitive enough to sniff out where you live) to be given back.

The point of the observation is simply that it is hypocritical to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land in circumstances where our forebears took it and we don’t propose to give it back.

I am not sure how to explain it more plainly.

Very best wishes

Julian

Julian Burnside AO, QC

Mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true. — Bertrand Russell

Laws should be like clothes. They should be made to fit the people they serve. — Clarence Darrow

Gerard Henderson to Julian Burnside – 26 April 2017

Dear JB AO AC

Lotsa thanks for your latest email. My response is as follows:

  1. Contrary to the implication in your email, I have not engaged in “inquisitive” behaviour to “sniff out” where you live. As I recall, on a number of occasions journalists have been invited to – and reported on – your Hawthorn pile. To obtain such intel, I only had to read The Age. How about that?
  2. According to your own account, this is the question you directed to A G Grayling at the St Kilda Town Hall on 6 April.

At most public events in Australia it is normal to being with someone who acknowledges the traditional owners of the land, and their elders past, present and future. In your view is it ethical to do this without also acknowledging that our forebears took the land from them and have no plans to give it back?

The statement that an organisation or individual has no plans to “give back” land taken by our forebears from traditional owners implies that there are identifiable descendants of traditional owners (and not part descendants of traditional owners and part descendants of forebears) to whom the land can be given. This is quite an assumption especially with respect to a city like Melbourne. In any event, why ask the question if you are not advocating that either the St Kilda Town Hall or your Hawthorn residence should be given back? Apart, that is, from the moral vanity involved in such a public gesture.

  1. I am surprised that you found it useful to line up in a queue at St Kilda Town Hall on a weekday evening to make your point to a British philosopher.

Keep Morale High.

Gerard Henderson

Julian Burnside to Gerard Henderson – 27 April 2017

Dear Gerard

It is ironic (and it looks hypocritical) to acknowledging the traditional owners of the land with no plans to hand it back to their descendants, even if the commentator or observer does not advocate a plan to hand it back.

I am surprised that you still do not see the irony.

Very best wishes

Julian

Julian Burnside AO, QC

Mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true. — Bertrand Russell

Laws should be like clothes. They should be made to fit the people they serve. — Clarence Darrow

Gerard Henderson to Julian Burnside – 28 April 2017

Dear JB AO QC

I get the point – although I don’t get why you cite Bertrand Russell and Clarence Darrow at the bottom of your emails. By the way, it’s a pity that your man Russell failed to admit that he did not know what he was talking about when he showered the communist dictator Josef Stalin with all that praise in the 1930s.

I understand that the next time you ask an Age or ABC journalist into your Hawthorn pile for a meeting – you will commence the formal part of the proceedings with a declaration like this: “I acknowledge the traditional owners of my Hawthorn pile and their elders past, present and future. I also acknowledge that I have no plans whatsoever to give this land-and-mansion package back to them. Now, would anyone like a Gin & Tonic?”

Go to it. I look forward to seeing your irony-free gesture reported in The Age. Over and out.

Gerard Henderson AC (aka Always Courteous)


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, 5:22 PM

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