20 October 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: Crikey’s Editor Plus Darrin Barnett & Paul Murray Deny Comrade Barnett’s New Zealand Howler
      • MWD EXCLUSIVE: A Special Report on QF467’s “frightening incident” at Sydney Airport
      • Can You Bear It? Sabra Lane; The Age; Derryn Hinch; Stonnington Leader & The Greens’ Jason Ball; La Trobe University’s Dominic Kelly
      • Brand New Endorsement: Mike Carlton Steps Up Again
      • New Feature: Fitz’s Fake News on Lisa W and All That 
      • ABC Update Featuring Sarah McDonald & Sarah Ferguson & Hillary Clinton’s Four Corners Interview
      • Media Fool Of The Week: Professor Martin Krygier Stars in The Monthly 
      • Abbott-Phobia Clinic: Nurse Jackie Recommends Treatment for David Penberthy
      • John Laws Style Deliberate Mistake
      • Correspondence: Jenna Price Helps Out (sort of) Re Tony Abbott’s Catholicism & The Australian Republic Movement Writes To Hendo (Again)



Eric Beecher’s Crikey appears to be doing a series on The Australian under the topic “The Australian Holy Wars”.  Today’s piece in Crikey is titled “The targets-in-chief” – with an analysis of the “rules of engagement” scheduled for Monday. MWD can barely wait.

It’s not clear what precisely Crikey’s very own rules of engagement are.  MWD understands that Cassidy Knowlton has stepped down as editor of Crikey.  But she is still listed as today’s editor.  Could it be that Mr Beecher’s Crikey has its own wars – holy or not?


Gerard Henderson has not been invited on to Sky News’ Paul Murray Live but he occasionally gets a mention per courtesy of Sky News presenter Paul Murray.  Like last night, for example.  Let’s go to the transcript as your man Murray and consultant/McKell Institute operative Darrin Barnett discuss what was written – or, rather, what they claim was written – in MWD Issue 380 (29 September 2017). [Isn’t it great to know that Paul and David are such avid readers. – MWD Editor.]

As is sometimes the case with Paul Murray Live, the discussion was somewhat discursive and at times incoherent.  In any event, let’s go to the transcript to hear Comrade Barnett defend himself concerning the outcome of the New Zealand election:

Paul Murray: …we know that Gerard Henderson is sitting there writing it [sic] down.

Darrin Barnett: He will be writing this in short-hand as we go

Paul Murray: Someone else transcribing it.

Darrin Barnett: Can I just go back to September 29, Paul?  A transcript, it came under [sic] – Gerard wrote it up as “Darrin Barnett’s Hopeless New Zealand Howler”: “While on the topic of Sky News, here’s how Paul Murray Live concluded last Thursday. Paul Murray: we’ve got one-minute left here. So, give me an idea of your winner and loser of the week”.

Paul Murray: You’ve always got to get the dig in on me even though I never actually said anything.

Darrin Barnett:  “The winner – Darrin Barnett” (sic) That’s me: “The winner is Jacinda Ardern who will win the New Zealand election. Loser of the week is Julie Bishop – when she has to talk to her [Ms Ardern] next week having said `I will never deal and never trust a New Zealand Labour government’.”

The Howler Monkey is you, Gerard.

Paul Murray: Ha ha yeah, yeah, the One Paw [award].

What a load of incomprehensible tosh.  On 29 September 2017, MWD said that Darrin Barnett had committed a “hopeless New Zealand howler” because he predicted on Paul Murray Live on 21 September 2017 that NZ Labour leader Jacinda Ardern would be prime minister “next week” – that is by 29 September 2017.  In fact, Labour did not win the election in its own right and Ms Ardern became prime minister-elect on 19 October after negotiating a deal with New Zealand First and the Greens. In short, Mr Ardern became prime minister-elect some three weeks after Mr Barnett predicted she would.

In fact, MWD wrote on 29 September 2017 that it was possible that Jacinda Ardern “might stitch up support from minor parties and form a government”. This is precisely what happened yesterday.

MWD concluded its piece on 29 September 2017 by stating that: “Ms Ardern will not be prime minister this week – contrary to Darrin Barnett’s (false) prophecy.”  That was correct.  Your man Barnett is in denial – with a little help from Paul Murray.

Postscript: For an idea of just how incomprehensible Paul Murray Live can be, here’s an audio clip from the PML Overtime program which aired on 10 October 2017.  And the panel was – well, it doesn’t really matter since everyone talked over each other – see here.

Now, that’s a case of Zero Paws for your man Murray.




Here’s the Daily Mail Australia’s heading last Sunday following the morning after the night before at Sydney Airport: “The terrifying moment a Qantas plane collides with a food truck as it prepares to take off from Sydney Airport”. Here’s how the story commenced:

Passengers have filmed the terrifying moment a plane smashes through a food cart while attempting to take-off, causing massive delays. The Qantas flight was beginning its departure procedures at Sydney airport last night when it reversed into the truck. People were stranded on-board the plane as airline crews assessed the damage of both the plane and the vehicle.

The QF467 flight bound for Melbourne was leaving its gate at around 7:30pm last night when the incident occurred. The plane, a Boeing 737, had only moved a short distance when it reversed into the catering cart, which reportedly frightened passengers.

It so happened that Gerard Henderson was on QF467 last Saturday heading to his home-town of Melbourne for an ABC TV Insiders appearance on Sunday.  He was awaiting an on-time take off from Sydney Airport at 7.30 pm. As the plane was towed out, there were two loud noises.  QF467 had hit a catering truck.

As you would expect, the Daily Mail Australia engaged in a huge beat-up.  Hendo was seated towards the rear of the plane when contact was made and felt the impact. But he did not experience a “terrifying moment” nor did he notice “frightened passengers”.

However, Jackie’s (male) co-owner did observe that, while QF467 passengers were told that they were safe, no apology was made as they were kept on QF467 for around an hour while the damage was being assessed.  Eventually, passengers were re-allocated on QF497, the 10.05 pm flight to Melbourne. It turned out that its departure was delayed because someone “forgot” to have the plane cleaned. Or so a Qantas staffer declared. Fancy that.

It was not until QF497 landed at Melbourne Airport shortly before midnight that Qantas apologised to QF467 passengers for the delay – some 15 of whom missed their international connections out of Melbourne.  After all, QF467 passengers were only arriving around three hours late – so why apologise sooner?

Gerard Henderson has written to Qantas CEO Alan Joyce reminding him that it is the responsibility of Qantas management to train staff to say “sorry” for passenger delays.  It’s not that hard. Moreover, apologies are readily appreciated and accepted.  So far, Hendo has not received a reply or an acknowledgment.  We’ll keep you posted as to your man Joyce’s very own courtesy.  Or perhaps running an airline means never having to say you’re sorry.



While on the topic of apologies, did anyone hear AM presenter Sabra Lane’s interview with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Wednesday?  Here’s how Ms Lane’s aggressive and interruption-driven interview commenced:

Sabra Lane: Good morning and welcome to AM Prime Minister.

Prime Minister: Good morning.

Sabra Lane: The Energy Board asserts that consumers will save anywhere between $100-110 a year, or $2 a week, compared with business as usual under this plan. There is some scepticism. When will we see the modelling behind this?

Prime Minister: Well they are undertaking that, they’ll be undertaking that now and we’ll see that before it gets discussed in COAG. That is what they’ve committed to.

Sabra Lane: So it is a figure plucked out of the air so far if there is no modelling to back it?

Prime Minister: No. You are not giving the Energy Security Board the credit it deserves – [interruption].

Sabra Lane: I’m sorry, Prime Minister-

Prime Minister: What are you sorry about? What are you apologising for?

Sabra Lane: I am sorry to interrupt you. But-

Prime Minister: Okay. Right. Good.

And so it went on. And on.  According to MWD’s count, Sabra Lane used the word “sorry” on no fewer than five occasions during a ten minute interview.  On each occasion, she apologised for her own interruption.  No apology would have been necessary if the interruption had not occurred in the first place.

As the above transcript documents, the Prime Minister had only spoken 13 words when Ms Lane made her first interruption – which was followed by the “sorry” word.

Yesterday Sabra Lane interviewed Labor’s deputy leader Tanya Plibersek on energy and all that. There was not one interruption – and not one “I’m so sorry for interrupting – but” declaration.  Ms Lane is one of the taxpayer funded public broadcaster’s star journalists.  Can You Bear It? [Er, no. Sorry, but I can’t. Apologies all around. – MWD Editor]


The Australian Bureau of Statistics announced last Tuesday that around 67 per cent of electors had completed and returned their Same Sex Marriage Postal Survey forms.  Obviously, this is a high return for a voluntary postal survey – especially since forms do not have to be lodged until 7 November 2017.

However, the actual figures throw light on some of the research which is all too familiar these days – especially at Fairfax Media. This is the habit of some newspapers to give widescale coverage to polling commissioned by interested parties and undertaken by lesser known polling companies.

On Tuesday 3 October 2017, The Age ran a page-one story by its political correspondence Adam Gartrell headed “Marriage poll nearly 80% done”. It commenced as follows:

More than 12 million Australians have already participated in the Turnbull government’s same-sex marriage postal survey, new polling suggests. With a month still to run until the survey closes, the polling conducted for The Equality Campaign finds a massive 77 per cent of the nation’s 16 million enrolled voters have returned their forms….

A separate Sky News ReachTEL poll released on Monday found 64 per cent of people had returned their ballot and voted “yes”. Just 16 per cent had returned their ballot and voted “no”…. The results of the poll – conducted last week by Newgate Research – came a day before the Australian Bureau of Statistics is due to release its official participation figures.

And so it came to pass that the ABS released its own figures on the afternoon of Wednesday 3 October. It revealed that, as of Friday 28 September 2017, 57.5 per cent of survey forms had been returned. Not bad.

It’s just that the survey commissioned by the Equality Campaign – and featured on page one of The Age – was hopelessly wrong.   According to this poll, 77 per cent of electors had voted – when the correct figure was just over 57 per cent.  A whopping error of 20 per cent.  When The Age reported the ABS figures on 4 October, it made no mention of its naivety in giving page one coverage to the Equality Campaign’s own error-filled polling the previous day. Can You Bear It?


MWD is addicted to Senator Derryn Hinch’s “Hinch’s Senate Diary” which is published in Crikey on Thursdays. After all, who is more qualified to write about Derryn Hinch than Derryn Hinch himself?

It was not long ago that The Human Headline – who appears to have graduated from his Sky News presenter period as “The Human Mumble” – told Paul Murray Live viewers that Tony Abbott had left a message on his answering machine which said: “Shut the f—ck up”. Senator Hinch made this clear on 12 October 2017.

Senator Hinch made it sound like an act of unprovoked verbal aggression by Australia’s 28th prime minister to a cross-bench senator.  Not surprisingly, Senator Hinch’s assertion was challenged by a number of PML viewers.

In Crikey yesterday, Senator Hinch told the full story about the message which – he now recalls – was left on his answering machine as long ago as on 22 June 2017 – i.e. almost four months before he mentioned the matter in public.  Here is his story:

I said, on Paul Murray’s eponymous show, that it was a few weeks ago. I have since checked back and worked out the abusive message was left on Thursday, June 22…

I had been on Sky the night before and repeated something I’d said on Neil Mitchell’s 3AW program the day before: that some Abbott supporters were so relentlessly determined to destroy Malcolm Turnbull they were leaking to Bill Shorten’s office.  I’d heard News Corp was also onto the story.

An irate Tony Abbott got my super private phone number from a mutual friend and introduced himself, and left a message demanding that I provide him with proof to back-up what I had said, or name the source for what I’d said, “Otherwise,” he said, “shut the f-ck up.”

Well, how about that?  Now we have some context. Mr Abbott did not suddenly call Senator Hinch and tell him to “shut the f—ck up”. Rather, Tony Abbott got annoyed at Derryn Hinch’s assertion on Paul Murray Live – made without any evidence of any kind – that Abbott’s supporters had been leaking against Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull direct to Opposition leader Bill Shorten’s office.

This was a serious and damaging allegation to make against Tony Abbott and his supporters.  Senator Hinch did not provide any evidence for his claim and presenter Paul Murray did not request any.  It was as unprofessional as that.

All that happened after Senator Hinch’s comments of 22 June 2017  is that Tony Abbott phoned Derryn Hinch and asked The Human Headline to provide the evidence or “shut the f—k up”. Good advice when you think about it.  Derryn Hinch reckons that this exchange is worth quoting, out of context, some three months after the event on Paul Murray Live. Can You Bear It?


Hendo was down in Melbourne last weekend and stopped by South Yarra en route to lunch at Di Palma’s Restaurant in East Kew (where his aunts and uncle used to live). While in the former abode, Jackie’s (male) co-owner came across a discarded copy of the Stonnington Leader dated 3 October 2017.

At first it looked like a publicity flyer for Jason Ball.  Your man Ball was all over the front cover above the caption that read “Pride and Joy: Jason Ball has made waves since becoming the first Aussie rules player to ‘come out’ but he says the fight for equality is far from over.”

Turn to Rebecca Di Nuzzo’s article on Pages 8 and 9 and you find out that Jason Ball played for the Yarra Glen Football Club in the Yarra Ranges League.  Good stuff and so on.  But it’s not quite the Australian Football League or the Victorian Football League or even the Victorian Amateur Football Association.

A third of the way into Ms Di Nuzzo’s soft profile there is a reference to the Greens. But it is only towards the end of the profile that the reason for the piece becomes clear:

He’s [Jason Ball’s] also pondering a return to football after an anterior cruciate ligament injury forced him to the sidelines, as well as whether he’ll run again for the Greens in the seat of Higgins at the next federal election.

And, like most Melburnians, you’ll often find him at his favourite local cafe, The Final Step in South Yarra, which turns out a good brew and also supports a food and education program in Argentina.

Ah, that’s it.  Jason Ball contested Higgins for the Greens at the last Federal election – running against the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O’Dwyer. And he’s likely to run against Ms O’Dwyer at the next election.

Which makes the soft profile in the Stonnington Leader – well, very useful to Mr Ball.  MWD’s research has not revealed a profile on Kelly O’Dwyer in this esteemed local newspaper. Which is somewhat surprising since she is the only woman to have had a child while a member of cabinet.  Also the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services is one of the leading Coalition MPs campaigning for same sex marriage – along with Simon Birmingham, Darren Chester and Nigel Scullion. In short, Kelly O’Dwyer also has a story to tell Stonnington Leader readers.

So the Stonnington Leader is proclaiming the same sex marriage advocate Jason Ball who plays in the AFL’s fourth division (or something like that) while failing to profile the same-sex marriage advocate Kelly O’Dwyer who runs around in the Turnbull cabinet.  Meanwhile it claims that “most Melburnians” rock up to The Final Step in South Yarra.  Can You Bear It?


It’s a case of flashing – of the intellectual genre.  And it concerns Dominic Kelly – and avid MWD reader, albeit not an uncritical one.

You see Mr Kelly (for a mister he still is) is aware that Hendo likes to refer to Ph.D. recipients in the following way – Dr Wonder Woman (for a doctor she is). And so it came to pass that Ph.D candidate Dominic Kelly sent out the following (pretentious) tweet just after lunch on Friday the Thirteenth – of October. It read as follows:


Dominic Kelly @illywhacker_

For a doctor he will soon be!!!


Dear Dominic

I am pleased to advise the successful outcome of your PhD thesis examination: pass with no amendments

Presumably the “Dear Dominic” letter was written by someone at La Trobe University who advises candidates of such academic gongs. What an intellectual flasher. Does anyone really care that Mr Kelly will become Dr Kelly after having written a Ph.D thesis about think-tanks in Australia or something of equal insignificance?

Well, apparently, some 66 souls do – for this is the number of “likes” that this tweet of Dr Kelly (for a doctor he soon will become once La Trobe University completes its paperwork) scored at Jackie’s (male) co-owner’s last check. You could fit 66 persons named Kelly into 11 portable loos along with a copy of his (likely to be unread) thesis.  The only thing that would not fit in is the Kelly ego.  Can You Bear It?


It was 5.43 pm on Sunday – Gin & Tonic time – when The Sage of Avalon Beach sent out the following Tweet about Gerard Henderson’s performance on the ABC TV Insiders program earlier that very day.

Mike Carlton


The lugubrious Henderson – or Gollum, as I like to call him – is a crank and a fool, becoming ever more irrelevant.

Fancy that.  Hendo is just so irrelevant that your man Carlton tweets about him from Avalon Beach on a Sunday evening during Gin & Tonic time.  When MWD last checked, Mr Carlton’s tweet had received a total of 3 “Likes”. That’s probably Mrs Carlton and two of Carlton’s offspring – or perhaps the three blokes who survived the Barker College School Cadets under the control of Regimental Sergeant Major (“All present and correct, Sir!”) Carlton half a century ago.



Here’s the tweet that The Red Bandannaed One put out at 8.56 pm on Monday – shortly after it had been announced that Lisa Wilkinson (aka Mrs Red Bandannaed One) had left Channel 9 and joined Channel 10:

Fancy that.  Look-at-me Fitz also wants us to look at Mrs Fitz who has just negotiated a $1 million annual pay increase by signing on with Channel 10.  The only problem is that, according to the Australian Financial Review’s “Rear Window” column, Lisa Wilkinson had been negotiating with Channel 10 for three weeks before leaving Channel 9.  Which is a lot longer time span than 45 minutes. 

That’s just Fitz’s Fake News.



Here’s what the ABC’s Sarah Macdonald tweeted about the ABC’s Sarah Ferguson’s interview on the ABC’s 4 Corners program last Monday night:


Also, it’s easier to sound lucid and articulate if you have the following soft questions directed at you by Ms Ferguson. Let’s go to the transcript for some examples:Gosh. Gush.  And all that sort of stuff.  Hillary Clinton was just so much smarter than Donald J. Trump that she lost the United States presidential election to him last November.  Despite having much of the media on side and much more money with which to campaign.

Sarah Ferguson: What role did Russia play in the election?

Sarah Ferguson: How, how much of that was a personal vendetta by Vladimir Putin against you?

Sarah Ferguson : But is that enough? You’ve just lost an election to a powerful …potentially dangerous man.

Sarah Ferguson: Millions of Americans responded to Trump’s racist, sexist and bigoted appeals during the campaign by voting for him, can you forgive them?

Sarah Ferguson: You’ve described Trump as a clear and present danger to the US. Is he also a clear and present danger to Australia?

Sarah Ferguson : Is he the most dangerous President you’ve ever had?

Sarah Ferguson : Should we be worried in Australia?

All of which raises the following question. If Ms Clinton is so smart, why did she get such soft questions?  In particular, why did the 4 Corners crew go all the way to the US and not ask Hillary Clinton why, for example, she failed to campaign in Wisconsin?

Come to think of it, Bill Clinton would have asked tougher questions than Sarah Ferguson did.




Lotsa thanks to the avid reader who drew MWD’s attention to the article on The Monthly’s blog (11 October 2017) by Professor Martin Krygier.  Your man Krygier’s piece is titled “Simon Leys, navigation between worlds: Reflections on one of the great essayists at the launch of a new biography”.  Phew, that’s a long title – even for a professor of law and social theory at the University of New South Wales.

The function was the occasion of the launch of Philippe Paquet’s Simon Leys: Navigation Between Worlds (La Trobe University Press, 2017). Pierre Ryckmans (1935-2014) was a diplomat who became a writer, scholar, translator and novelist.  Perhaps his most important contribution was to reveal the barbarity of Mao Zedong’s China – with a focus on the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward – in such books as The Chairman’s New Clothes (1977), Chinese Shadows (1977) and The Burning Forest (1985). All three books were published some years earlier in the original French editions.

In his book launch comments, Martin Krygier criticised two individuals who had disagreed with Ryckmans’ work – but did not name either.  The first was “a friend who studied contemporary Chinese politics” – and who clashed with Ryckmans about Mao’s achievements and legacy at a debate at the Australian National University around 1977.  It probably would have been Stephen FitzGerald. The second was, yes, Hendo himself.

Gerard Henderson was a great admirer of Pierre Ryckmans’ work on China and his fiction. It’s just that, in his column in the Sydney Morning Herald on 17 December 1996, Hendo criticised Ryckman’s 1996 ABC Boyer Lectures titled The View from the Bridge: Aspects of Culture (ABC Books, 1996) for their comments on politics and economics.

Put simply, The View from the Bridge was not Ryckmans best work.  It contained such comments as most university academics are “dead” and that man can survive quite a while without food “but cannot live a day without poetry”.  Ryckmans also railed against tourists – particularly “dentists, solicitors and greengrocers” [what’s wrong with dentists? MWD Editor.] And Ryckmans declared (twice, in fact) that “only a moron would wish to attend the Olympic Games”.

Martin Krygier got mightily upset about Gerard Henderson’s SMH column and wrote to The Sydney Morning Herald declaring that he was a “philistine”. In truth, Hendo never got over this criticism – and still finds it difficult to sleep at night, so hurtful was it to be associated with a bunch of 12th Century BC levant losers who got defeated by the Israelites.

Stand by for more self-medicating Gin consumption after Martin Krygier in The Monthly referred to “the sage of Sydney, more specifically the Sydney Institute”. [This seems remarkably unoriginal even for a UNSW law professor – it seems your man reads MWD and has adopted your “sage” line. MWD Editor.]

That’s not all. There was also reference to “know nothing insouciance” and “tone-deaf bluster”. But, alas, Dr Krygier (for a doctor he is) did not have the courage to refer to Gerard Henderson by name – or to quote anything that he had written in his 1996 SMH column.

So, according to The Thought of Martin Krygier (as told to The Monthly), only a know-nothing who is tone-deaf would criticise Pierre Ryckmans. Or is it the case?  In fact, in his rant in The Monthly, Professor Krygier had this to say:

He [Pierre Ryckmans] was uncompromising where the stakes were high; many of us settle for less. He swam deliberately, courageously, sometimes even outrageously, against the current, and one thing we know about currents is that most of us find it easier to swim with them.

I think it would be impossible to agree with everything Pierre believed or said, unless you were him, and maybe not even then. I can’t agree with it all, and have found some of his views disconcerting, but even when I wonder, I never for a second doubt that he was – to use a phrase of his own, but which he didn’t apply to himself – an “inspired talent” – and of course that’s a problem in itself. People might forgive lots, but not that.

By the way, how’s that for a poorly written paragraph?  In any event, there you have it. It’s okay for Martin Krygier to write in 2017 that it “would be impossible to agree with everything Pierre believed or said” and that some of his views were “disconcerting”. But it was wrong for Gerard Henderson to write in 1996 that Pierre Ryckmans ran “the risk of sounding like yet another cultural dietician” in his Boyer Lectures.

In other words, it’s fine for an intellectual like Krygier to criticise Pierre Ryckmans now that he is dead.  But only a philistine (like Hendo) would criticise Pierre Ryckmans when he was alive.

Martin Krygier: Media Fool of the Week.


This (hugely popular) segment is devoted to helping out public figures – including journalists – who have contracted a serious dose of Abbott-phobia.  Sufferers of this condition present as normal individuals who become temporarily unhinged when confronting the real or spoken or written Abbott.  Some attempt to blame their own particular Valley of Tears on Australia’s 28th prime minister – while others lose their sense of judgment with respect to Tony Abbott.  It’s a complicated condition.

David Penberthy, the Adelaide based columnist for News Corp’s Sunday papers, commenced his piece last weekend with an anti-Catholic sectarian rant with respect to that familiar target Cardinal George Pell. [That’s a bit tough on the Adelaide hack. Any anti-Pell rant is capable of scoring a Walkley Award these days. Perhaps your man Penberthy has his hand up for a gong – MWD Editor.]

David Penberthy started off his column by referring to a 2006 speech on climate change by George Pell which he maintains has a resemblance to Tony Abbott’s speech in London last week.  Karen Middleton made exactly the same point in The Saturday Paper last weekend. Fancy that.  Are both Mr Penberthy and Ms Middleton aficionados of the environmental teachings of Dr Pell?  Or did someone give both journos a copy of the 2006 speech by George Pell?  If so, who?

In any event, having got his anti-Pell rant off his chest, Mr Penberthy turned his attention to Tony Abbott – and had this to say:

Abbott got his intellectual start in a seminary and then drifted into the preferred profession of the dilettante, journalism, before embarking on a political career.

What a load of absolute tosh – from one of Adelaide’s very own self-declared dilettantes. Tony Abbott attained the degrees of BEc and LL.B at Sydney University and won a Rhodes Scholarship, acquiring an MA at Oxford University, before he entered St Patrick’s Seminary at Manly.  Your man Penberthy’s claim that Mr Abbott “got his intellectual start in a seminary” is just a delusion, born of sectarianism.

Nurse Jackie’s Analysis

David Penberthy presented last Sunday in a somewhat delusional state.  He believes that a man with two University of Sydney undergraduate degrees and an Oxford University post-graduate degree learnt all he knows at a Catholic seminary which he attended for a few years nearly four decades ago.

I would recommend that Mr Penberthy reduces his Abbott-phobia by relaxing and sleeping more. If this needs to be induced – try lotsa Gin & Tonic for the former and study of back copies of the Holy Name Monthly for the latter. Here’s hoping this works.



One of the most challenging tasks for avid readers each Friday – after lunch, of course – is to find the John-Laws-Style Deliberate Mistake in MWD.

Well done to David and Jill who identified the deliberate mistake in MWD’s hugely popular “Media Fool of the Week” segment last Friday.

The well-deserved winner of this award last week was ABC presenter Beverley O’Connor who regards United States President Donald J. Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyir Erdogan as both having an “increasing dictatorial style” – forgetting, for the moment, that Erdogan has filled Turkey’s prisons with Turks who disagree with him.

The final line of the segment referred to Beverley O’Connor as MWD’s “Media Food[sic] of the Week”. This has been corrected – thanks to Peter and Jill.

This is what Peter had to say about (what became) his co-winning entry:

I know it’s only a typo, but it’s an unfortunate one when Ms O’Connor is described as food. Suddenly, I’m not hungry any more.

Enough said.


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).



It appears that some of Canberra Times columnist Jenna Price’s best friends were brought up Catholic.  However, the Catholic Tony Abbott is not one of Ms Price’s besties. In the Canberra Times last Tuesday, Jenna Price took issue with Tony Abbott’s Catholicism.  Yawn. In her anti-Abbott rant, Ms Price showed that, when discussing Catholicism, she is somewhat out of her depth.  So much so, that the Canberra Times columnist did not bother to defend her column when Gerard Henderson wrote to her. And merely told Hendo, in response, that he is a “darling” – a sentiment with which Jackie’s (male) co-owner would like to agree. Now read on.

Gerard Henderson to Jenna Price – 18 October 2017


That’s a truly wacko piece, even for an academic at the University of Technology, Sydney.  The reference is to your column “A Convenient Catholic” in the Canberra Times yesterday concerning, of course, Tony Abbott.

It would appear that your St Ignatius College, Riverview, alumnus “godless husband” must have slept through his Religious Knowledge classes taught by the Jesuits at Riverview all those years ago.

The teaching authority of the Church – the Pope and the bishops – covers faith and morals only.  It does not pertain to politics or foreign policy or economics or climate change.  Over the years, the popes have made comments on such matters – but they have not done so ex-cathedra (if you are unsure of the meaning of “ex-cathedra” check with your former Catholic and now “godless” husband – just in case he was awake on occasion during spiritual instruction at St Ignatius College).

Also, you should be aware that those who were baptised Catholic in the 20th Century, like Tony Abbott, were New Testament kind of guys.  Your assertion that Tony Abbott got his view on same sex marriage from the Old Testament is absolute tosh.

Still it’s fun to know that, these days, “godless” UTS academics sermonise about who is – and who is not – an “authentic Catholic”.  God (with a capital “G”) spare us.

Best wishes



Jenna Price to Gerard Henderson – 18 October 2017

Hello darling Gerard,

Good to know after all these years you are still corresponding with me. Please give my love to Anne.



Gerard Henderson to Jenna Price – 18 October 2017

Good afternoon Ms Price

All is forgiven.  Say three Hail Marys (after consulting with your “godless” husband to understand why).

I have come to believe that many journalists and commentators write/talk absolute sludge in order to get coverage in my Media Watch Dog each Friday – after lunch, of course.

Lotsa love



As a member of the Australian Republic Movement (of the unfinancial genre), Gerard Henderson receives the occasional begging letters from ARM personnel – from the Red Bandannaed One (aka Peter FitzSimons) down.  Being a courteous and well brought up kind of guy, Hendo always replies.  In doing so, he usually reminds the ARM that there is $30,000 on the table for the ARM – if only its chairman will provide the address of a place he claims exists in Rome.  Here we go, again:


Robby Magyar to Gerard Henderson – 11 October 2017

Hi Gerard,

I recently joined the Australian Republic Movement as the new Membership Officer and I’m getting in touch to see if you can do me a favour.

Right now, we are facing a critical juncture in the pursuit of a Republic. The debate has resurfaced, momentum is building, and we have a majority support in Parliament and on the High Court – but what we need more than all of this is to keep growing our membership so we can demonstrate grassroots support for an Australian head of state.

That’s why I’ve joined the team at ARM and where you hopefully come in.

As a former Silver member, you have already shown support for our campaign, but we need your help again.

Every membership increases our capacity to engage the public, recruit new volunteers and build our efforts towards an Australian Republic.

So, can you help me out by re-joining the ARM?

If you wish to re-join, either call me on 0466 786 101 (on weekdays before 4pm) or reply to this email.

Hope to speak soon,


Robby Magyar

Membership Officer


Gerard Henderson to Robby Magyar – 17 October 2017

Hi Robby Hi

Thanks for your email asking that I re-join the Australian Republic Movement.

The problem is this. I have a rule not to join, or re-join, organisations that are led by wealthy middle aged “look-at-me” men who wear red rags on their heads.  Like ARM chairman the Red Bandannaed One (aka Peter FitzSimons), for example.

However, here is a compromise.

I will not pay to join the ARM while it is led by such a divisive figure as Fitz. By the way, do you really believe that a leftist journalist with a red rag on his head can win conservatives to the republican cause?

However, I will donate $30,000 to the ARM if Peter FitzSimons provides the address of the (alleged) $30 million mansion in Rome where he claimed Cardinal George Pell used to live.

It’s a case of one address for me – but $30,000 for your ARM.  It’s easy money.  Provided, of course, Fitz just did not make up his Cardinal Pell allegation. Surely not.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson


[Insert photo of Fitz and Jackie in Kennels]



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Until next time.


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