ISSUE – NO. 425

28 September 2018

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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.

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  • Stop Press: Lotsa Disrespectful Interjections On The Drum re Judge Brett Kavanaugh

  • MWD Editorial: ABC Throws the Switch to Introspection over a Crisis of Little Moment as Aunty’s Life Goes On

  • A Jackie Scoop: Read all About the Apology to Michelle Guthrie from the ABC Soviets

  • Can You Bear It? Dee Madigan on Private Schools & The Age on Dan Tehan’s Feet

  • Media Fool of the Week: Step Forward Erik Jensen – the Cultural Czar of Fitzroy North

  • Five Paws Award: Michael Kroger Stars for Telling the Truth About Malcolm Turnbull

  • Outside Outsiders: Ross Cameron Still on the Road to Moscow

  • MWD Exclusive: Dead Catholic Priests – An Easy Target for Accusers

  • History Corner: ABC National Education Reporter’s Hopeless Howler on the 1962 Goulburn School Strike

  • AFL Grand Final Special: Hendo Remembers How Essendon was Robbed of Victory over Carlton – 50 Years Ago Today

  • Correspondence: An Angry Ellen Fanning Helps Out (But Not Really) Concerning her Verballing of Mark Day

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MWD fave Julia Baird likes to boast that ABC TV’s The Drum engages in respectful discussion. In that panellists are respectful to other panellists.  But not, alas, last night – during that part of the program in which Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to sit on the United States Supreme Court was under discussion.

It so happened that Dr Baird essentially agreed with Fairfax Media journalist Jacqui Maley and Per Capita’s Emma Dawson in maintaining that Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination should not be confirmed by the US Senate.  They were heard out by Professor Judith Sloane.

It was only when Judith Sloane made a statement that the interjections commenced.  As the transcript attests:

Judith Sloane: But hang on a minute – these are completely unfounded accusations

Jacqui Maley: I said “alleged” –

Judith Sloane: I am absolutely appalled at what has happened, both in terms of the timing and the lack of specificity in terms of these allegations, “Oh I can’t remember when they were, I can’t remember whether he was there…”.

Jacqui Maley: How can you say they are unfounded when they are corroborated by all sorts of corroborating evidence –

Judith Sloane: They’re absolutely not –

Jacqui Maley: They are –

Judith Sloane: They’re not –

Jacqui Maley: They are –

Judith Sloane: Well, we have a process. I think it’s extraordinary and this is the danger of MeToo where people start making wild accusations, unproven accusations. They destroy people’s lives without due process. This is Star Chamber; this happened in Stalinist Russia. This is extraordinary.

Emma Dawson: He’s not on trial to go to jail, Judith

Judith Sloane: In fact, if he had done something illegal, they should have gone to the police at the time –

Jacqui Maley: That is an unbelievable position that you should take –

Judith Sloane: It is not – well in that case if it’s unproven then he should be allowed to have his nomination confirmed.

At this stage the interruption and interjections made the construction of a transcript all but impossible.  So much for The Drum’s respectful discussion.

For the record, Dr Sloane’s account was accurate. As the US Senate hearings on Thursday (US time) attest, every potential witness the complainant cited in the Kavanaugh matter said that he or she did not recall the party at which the assault is alleged to have taken place. Moreover, the complainant still cannot recall the house where the alleged attack took place or the date of the alleged incident.

Who knows?  Judith Sloane might have had other interesting comments to make – but she was drowned out as everyone spoke over everyone else.  Except for former ABC chairman Donald McDonald, who left the debate to others. And so ended another of The Drum’s respectful discussions.


Thanks to the avid reader who – after lunch – drew MWD’s attention to this tweet from Bruce Haigh. Clearly, Mr Haigh is a fantasist. Gerard Henderson has never appeared on The Drum and has never advised producers of The Drum as to who should make up its panels.

Hendo has never called for Bruce Haigh’s removal from The Drum. On the contrary, Hendo likes it when its panels are full of leftist luvvies like your man Haigh – since they provide great copy for MWD. As Leon Trotsky is said to have proclaimed: “Worse is better.” In any event, that’s the MWD approach when it comes to the Conservative Free Zone that is the ABC.



Media Watch Dog just loves it when journalists interview journalists about journalism.  And ABC types invariably excel in such self-indulgence.

Walking Jackie last night, Hendo had a listen to ABC Radio National Drive presented by Patricia Karvelas.  Under discussion just after 6 pm was the very latest ABC crisis which has seen ABC managing director and (so-called) editor-in-chief Michelle Guthrie dismissed.  And ABC chairman Justin Milne step-down. And calls for the rest of the ABC board to resign and more besides.

It was one of those (oh-so-familiar) ABC occasions.  Ms Karvelas interviewed three guests.  First up, ABC TV host Paul Barry (whose interview she described as “brilliant”). Followed by Peter Manning, the former head of ABC TV News and Current Affairs and out-and-proud leftist.  Followed by The Guardian Australia’s Katharine Murphy (who is an ABC contract employee due to her regular ABC appearances). Luvvies all.

So it was no surprise that Patricia agreed with Paul who agreed with Patricia who agreed with Peter who agreed with Patricia who agreed with Katharine who agreed with Patricia who agreed with Katharine who agreed with Patricia who agreed with herself – or something like that. The line was that Justin Milne had behaved badly. As had the ABC Board. As had the Coalition government. Quelle surprise!

On Monday, Professor Margaret Simons was interviewed on RN Drive. On Wednesday the gig went to former ABC journalist Matt Peacock. More luvvies.

The hype surrounding the ABC “crisis” – analysed at considerable length on RN Drive last evening – overlooks one central fact. The ABC operated today much as it did last Friday before the current crisis commenced.  That’s because neither the ABC chairman nor the ABC Board nor the ABC managing director really run the taxpayer funded broadcaster. Crisis, what crisis? – as the saying goes.

Look at it this way. According to the allegations, Mr Milne wanted ABC “stars” Emma Alberici and Andrew Probyn sacked.  They weren’t.  And Mr Milne wanted the ABC not to move Triple J’s “Hottest 100” countdown from Australia Day. It did. And Mr Milne wanted the ABC to apologise for an item on the Tonightly program. It didn’t.

So there was no interference by the ABC chairman or the ABC Board which affected ABC programs.  Yet this “crisis” took up most of Patricia Karvelas’ program last night.



Last Tuesday our ABC soviets at Ultimo and Southbank welcomed the decision by ABC chairman Justin Milne to sack ABC managing director Ms Michelle Guthrie.  We said that this was an excellent decision (Comrade Sally Neighbour). We also accused “Michelle” (as Jon Faine used to call her) of not fighting bare-knuckled to defend our brothers and sisters (Comrade Juanita Phillips) and depicted her as an astonishing fail (Comrade Jon Faine). Also Michelle Guthrie was hopeless/missing in action and contributed to low staff morale (Comrade Rafael Epstein). What’s more, she was often absent and, when present, rarely engaged with staff in the lift (Comrade Paul Barry).

We now realise that it is ABC Chairman Justin Milne who should be sacked. We now know that Comrade Guthrie fought bare-knuckled to defend our brothers and sisters like Comrade Alberici, Comrade Probyn and Comrade Faine against the attempt by Justin Milne to silence taxpayer funded critics of the Fascist Turnbull government.  We regret our error and hope that Ms Guthrie’s reputation will recover from the dancing-on-grave attacks that we launched against her only a couple of days ago. She is most welcome to attend our knees-up next May Day since her presence will boost morale.


ABC Soviet – Ultimo Branch (Sydney).

ABC Soviet – Southbank Branch (Melbourne).

Dawn – Thursday 25, September 2018

(i.e. Hangover Time)

[With apology to Private Eye]


Can You Bear It


This is how ABC TV’s The Drum promoted MWD fave Dee Madigan’s appearance on the program last Monday:

Well, that’s pretty clear then. The Campaign Edge supremo and occasional Labor Party operative wishes that Australia did not have private schools.  Or is Ms Madigan’s position this clear?  Let’s go to the transcript of what was really said on The Drum on 24 September 2018:

Ellen Fanning: Ok, Dee? I mean, do your kids go to Catholic schools?

Dee Madigan: Uh, yes. But I’ll probably go state for one, and two Catholics only – because the boys play rugby. And – but do you know what? Having said that, I wish we didn’t have private schools. I wish we’d just had state schools and one lot of funding for them. I think this decision is appalling. It’s supposed to be sector blind and yet there’s a pool of money for just one bit of the sector. We are the third worst funders in the OECD for our public school system. It is absolutely appalling, this decision.

Ellen Fanning: Do you think if you went into the playground and talked to other parents, that they would have an expectation that the Government would ensure that there were low fee Catholic schools in Australia regardless of the whole Gonski debate?

Dee Madigan: No, I struggle with this because there isn’t an- there isn’t an endless supply of money and there are kids in state schools who need that funding more and that’s where it should go.

Ellen Fanning: Ita, do you think there’s a broad acceptance that if you’ve got a greater capacity to pay, that you should pay for something – going to the local Catholic school – that 10 years ago you didn’t pay for?

So there you have it. Dee Madigan – who went to the  Catholic private school Loreto Mandeville Hall in the affluent Melbourne suburb of Toorak – wishes that “we didn’t have private schools”.  Except, it seems, when her own school aged children are involved. Also, Ms Madigan seems unaware that if all private schools closed – including the low fee non-government schools – this would lead to a situation where hundreds of thousands of children would enter the public school system.  This would require a substantial increase in public school facilities and staff – a high cost to the taxpayer.

As the transcript reveals, Ms Madigan told Ms Fanning that her three children go to non-government Catholic schools. And that she will “probably” send one child to a government school.  But not her boys – because they play Rugby Union and need a private school for this. Really. Up School – and other private schoolboy war-cries.

So here’s the problem.  The Drum partly censored what Dee Madigan said about where her children went to school.  And Ellen Fanning – who knew that the Madigan children went to a Catholic school – did not call out her hypocrisy.  Also, neither Ms Madigan nor Ms Fanning pointed out that if the Madigan children went to state schools all the cost of their education would be covered by taxpayers – and the well heeled Madigan family would not make a direct contribution towards their children’s school education.  Can You Bear It?

[Er, no. Not really.  I note that this was yet another episode of The Drum where everyone essentially agreed with everyone else. Dee Madigan, Quentin Dempster and Andrew Piccoli were very critical of the Morrison’s government proposed education funding for Catholic and independent schools – following the recommendations of the National School Resources Board (which was headed by Michael Chaney). And Ita Buttrose did not have strong views on the topic.

For the second time in less than a week, no one from the Catholic or independent school system was invited on The Drum to express a different view to that of the Madigan/Dempster/Piccoli trio.  And The Drum’s presenters Julia Baird and Ellen Fanning maintain that the program likes to hear a diversity of views. Turn it up. – MWD Editor.]


While on the topic of Commonwealth government funding for the Catholic education system – this is how The Age chose to head its “And Another Thing” column last Saturday. Beneath a photo of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Education Minister Dan Tehan (a Catholic who was educated at a Catholic school), it ran this comment:

Yet another example of The Age’s anti-Catholic sectarianism – and a confused one at that. The reader’s suggestion was that Catholic schools received a special package of funding from the Morrison government turned on the fact that Mr Tehan is a Catholic. This is totally false – since his predecessor Simon Birmingham was negotiating a similar package for the Turnbull government. And Senator Birmingham is not a Catholic.

And what’s this about Dan Tehan kicking “with the same foot”?  How could anyone do this? What The Age reader meant to allege was that Mr Tehan kicks with “the left foot”.  In earlier times, Catholics were sometimes branded “left footers” who “kicked with the left foot”.

The Age’s editor – in Fairfax Media ignorance – seems unaware of what its latest dose of anti-Catholic sectarianism meant. Can You Bear It?

[I note that – contrary to young Michael Koziol’s promise of last week – no one at Fairfax Media has corrected the comment it carried online that Hendo is Robert Menzies’ son-in-law. Has The Age no fact-checkers?  – MWD Editor.]



What a stunning performance this week by Erik Jensen, editor-in-chief of proprietor Morry Schwartz’s The Saturday Paper.  As avid readers are aware, Jackie’s (male) co-owner reads this no-news newspaper on Mondays – since it goes to print on Thursday and fails to cover events like, er, Australia’s change of prime minister on Friday 24 August 2018.

The [Boring] Saturday Paper hits the coffee shops in Fitzroy North (Melbourne) and Newtown (Sydney) on Saturday mornings.  It is written of the Sandalista Class, by the Sandalista Class and for the Sandalista Class.

Last Saturday, The Weekend Australian carried a report by Andrew Burrell that organisers of The Horne Prize – which is sponsored by The Saturday Paper and the skin and body care company Aesop – had decided to introduce new guidelines for the 3000 words (maximum) essay on the theme “Australian Life”.

Under the guidelines proposed for the 2018 prize by Erik Jensen, entries would not be accepted which involved “writing that purports to represent the experiences of those in any minority community of which the writer is not a member”. Your man Jensen specifically ruled out essays by non-indigenous Australians “about the experiences of First Nation Australians” along with works about LGBTIQ people “written by people without direct experience of this community”.

It seems that The [Boring] Saturday Paper’s Erik Jensen did not think this matter through.  Especially since he engaged David Marr and Anna Funder to be judges of The Horne Prize.  Your man Marr, who is not a Catholic, writes at (tedious and exaggerated) length about Catholics and Catholicism. And Dr Funder, who was born in Melbourne, has written an important book about East Germany. So it came as no surprise when both writers quit the judges’ panel.

On Monday Erik Jensen issued the following mea culpa:

This year…we introduced several new guidelines for The Horne Prize. We acknowledge these guidelines were restrictive and should not have been included. They have now been removed.

So there you go.  So called cultural appropriation was off-limits for The Horne Prize on Saturday.  But it was okay by Monday. How come?

Well, MWD has a theory.  It seems that it eventually dawned on Mr Jensen that his cultural appropriation rules would restrict freedom of expression in Sandalista Land. For example, it would mean that Che Guevara-loving sandal wearers who live in Fitzroy North could only write about other Che Guevara sandal wearers who live in Fitzroy North. [Hang on a minute – isn’t this what happens already within the Fitzroy North literary set? – MWD Editor.]

Erik Jensen: Media Fool of the Week.


Media Watch Dog’s Five Paws Award was inaugurated in Issue Number 26 (4 September 2009) during the time of Nancy (2004-2017). The first winner was ABC TV presenter Emma Alberici.  Ms Alberici scored for remembering the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 23 August 1939 whereby Hitler and Stalin divided Eastern Europe between Germany and the Soviet Union.  And for stating that the Nazi-Soviet Pact had effectively started the Second World War, since it was immediately followed by Germany’s invasion of Poland (at a time when the Soviet Union had become an ally of Germany).

Over the years, the late Nancy’s Five Paws Award has become one of the world’s most prestigious gongs – rating just below the Nobel Prize and the Academy Awards.  Joe Aston, of the Australian Financial Review’s “Rear Window” column, has declared that he would much prefer to win a Five Paws Award than a Walkley.  Mr Aston is a past Five Paws Award recipient. He is joined today by Michael Kroger



In recent times, many members of the Liberal Party have been reluctant to give a reason why Malcolm Turnbull was removed as Liberal Party leader and prime minister of Australia just over a month ago.  This has led to a situation where quite a few members of the Canberra Press Gallery have implied that Liberal parliamentarians made the wrong decision – since they will not explain why they did what they did.

There was no ambiguity when Andrew Bolt asked Liberal Party’s Victorian president the question last Monday on The Bolt Report.  This was his answer:

Michael Kroger:  Let me make just one point well made by people and probably well made by the Labor Party – which is why did we change the prime ministership? And this has not been properly answered by people in the party and let me give you the answer right now from where I sit in the Victorian division.

Malcolm was not going to win the election. Malcolm was not going to win the election. This caused a lot of upset amongst the party members and obviously amongst his parliamentary colleagues and elections as John Howard said are about arithmetic. We did not think Turnbull in the end was going to win the election, we should have had a much bigger rise in the polls from the Budget last year onwards but we didn’t get that rise. At the bottom of it all was that people didn’t think Malcolm was going to win the election.

Two important issues at play – the Catholic education funding issue ran very deep in many Federal members, party members. And this issue which started in May last year – after fifteen months wasn’t fixed and a lot of members felt deeply about that because they were getting a lot of complaints about that and of course energy policy….

If you want to know why the leadership changed that’s my view. And people shouldn’t be afraid to say that, because if you don’t explain these things you get a Rudd/Gillard situation which caused them a lot of damage.

That’s pretty simple then – simple enough for career journalists, who have not worked in front-line politics, to understand.  Malcolm Turnbull lost the Liberal Party leadership because he lost the support of his parliamentary colleagues. And he failed to deliver policy outcomes on funding for Catholic and Independent schools along with energy which were supported by Liberal Party members and senators. That’s it.

Michael Kroger: Five Paws.



So, how’s Outsiders’ co-presenter Ross Cameron going with his claim that Russia or Russians had nothing whatsoever to do with the attack on Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal at Salisbury in May?  This is what your man Cameron had to say on Outsiders last Sunday – his assertions were contested by co-presenter Rowan Dean. Let’s go to the transcript:

Ross Cameron: I’m going to go through it point by point by point. Starting with the fact that these two guys are speaking in their own name. On Russian television. They’re not some made up name.

Rowan Dean: Okay, come back after the break, we’re going to talk –

Ross Cameron: They say: “Every piece of clothing we wore on that journey you can have a look at”. They say: “We made two trips to Salisbury because the first one we got sleeted and snowed out without being able to visit the Cathedral”.

Rowan Dean: That’s all good, I know, it’s –

Ross Cameron: This is evidence. It’s evidence.

Rowan Dean: No, no, no that’s not evidence.

Ross Cameron: What we have is a charge. We do not have anyone convicted of anything. What we have is the presumption of innocence which should be upheld before 29 diplomats are marched out in front of the camera like some sort of Soviet era cultural gulag and then expelling 50 Russian diplomats. No, no, no, we charge, we consider the evidence, we weigh the evidence.

Rowan Dean: [Interjecting] Call a break, call a break…And on that basis we go to a break. Don’t go away.

Hendo did not come back – and headed off for an early Gin & Tonic, it being Sunday morning.  How else to put up with the Cameron Confusion?  You see Mr Cameron really believes that the Russian party made two trips to Salisbury because on the first occasion they “got sleeted and snowed out”. His evidence? – Zip.  Moreover, there is not much point in British authorities charging Russian citizens based in Russia since there is no extradition treaty between the two nations.

Then there is the Cameron view that Britain’s expulsion of diplomats is the equivalent of a Soviet era cultural gulag. He seems unaware that citizens despatched to the Soviet gulags suffered enormous hardship and many died.

And then there is the fact that Ross Cameron requires evidence to support MI6’s belief that Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal were poisoned by Russians.  But he has provided no evidence for his claim that MI6 was somehow involved in the nerve agent attack on Salisbury.

The Outsiders’ co-presenter is naïve enough to believe that the Russians who admitted to being in Salisbury at the time of the nerve agent attack gave their real names to Russia Today television.  How gullible can you get?

As Rowan Dean would say – let’s go for a break.



There is no one easier to defame than a dead Catholic priest.  Australia’s defamation laws do not protect the deceased. Moreover, most Catholic priests do not have families to speak up for them when they are dead.

On 4 September 2018, Fran Kelly interviewed University of Canberra academic Tjanara Goreng Goreng (nee Pamela Williams) on ABC Radio National Breakfast.  This is the ABC’s program note of the interview:

Memoir reveals abuse at the hands of two Queensland Catholic priests

Growing up in Longreach, Queensland, Tjanara Goreng Goreng and her family were the only Aboriginals in their community. Her mother intended to raise her children in a way that left no room for them to be called “dirty blacks”. But what Tjanara’s mother didn’t anticipate was that those closest to her daughter would be her abusers — priests in the Catholic church. In the 1990s, Tjanara documented what happened to her as a young girl and teenager and what she’s gone on to accomplish in her adult years — these have culminated in her memoir, A Long Way From No Go.

The two Catholic priests – who were named by Fran Kelly in the interview – are the late Fr Grove Johnson (1923-2018) and the late Fr Mick Hayes (1926-2011).  Ms Kelly stated for a fact that Ms Goreng Goreng was “abused” when a “small girl” in Longreach in the 1960s by both Fr Johnson and Fr Hayes.

The allegation is contained in her memoir (written with Julie Szego) A Long Way From No Go: A Memoir (Wild Dingo Press) – which was launched at the Brisbane Writers Festival on Sunday 9 September 2018.  The book was previewed in three articles (on 30 August, 31 August and 1 September) by Christine McKee in the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin.  Ms McKee’s articles were also published in some other News Corp papers including the Gladstone Observer and the Courier Mail.

Ms Goreng Goreng – when named Pamela Williams – was abused by a Catholic priest Fr Leo Wright – a convicted pedophile who pleaded guilty in the 1990s to child sexual abuse. She reached a settlement with the Catholic Church with respect to this assault.  However, she did not go to Queensland Police until 2015 with her accusations against Fr Johnson and Fr Hayes.  These allegations have been made public for the first time in A Long Way From No Go: A Memoir.

The day after the first article appeared in the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin, Fr Frank Brennan commenced an article in Eureka Street on 31 August 2018 – titled “Child abuse and the church, media and police” – as follows:

I write this column from a perspective born of longstanding personal relationships, but seeking to maintain objectivity. I’ve been a Catholic priest for almost 33 years. Two of the inspiring priests of my life have been Michael Hayes, long time chaplain to Aborigines in the diocese of Rockhampton, and Grove Johnson, my father’s first cousin who was rector of the seminary in Sydney and a very pastoral parish priest particularly at the bustling seaside parish of Yeppoon on the central Queensland coast. Mick died back in November 2011 and Grove died just in January this year.

On Thursday, the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin assassinated the public reputations of these deceased priests. I was on the phone immediately to the Morning Bulletin chief reporter Christine McKee. She disclosed that neither she nor the complainant quoted in the story knew whether Grove was alive or dead. I assured her that if he were alive, the paper would already have received an injunction. The chief reporter told me that I should accept that Catholic priests are doing this sort of thing all over the world and it’s time we accepted that these things would be revealed. Having chaired the committee that rewrote the journalists’ code of ethics for the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance in 1999, I was taken aback. Without even checking whether Grove was alive and in a position to defend himself, the Morning Bulletin had published these censorious claims.

Ms Goreng Goreng claims that she was raped by Fr Hayes and Fr Johnson on a number of occasions between 1964 and 1969 – and that the offending mostly took place in Longreach and on one occasion in Rockhampton.

Fr Hayes died in 2011 before the allegations were made to Queensland Police – consequently he could not defend himself.  However, Fr Johnson – who died in January 2018 – did engage a lawyer.  Fr Johnson, through his lawyer, told Queensland Police that he had never been to Longreach.

News Corp has now placed an editor’s note on all relevant websites with respect to Christine McKee’s report of Ms Goreng Goreng’s allegations concerning the late Fr Johnson:

Editor’s note:  As noted in Ms Goreng Goreng’s book, she reported to the Rockhampton police a number of allegations about Father Grove Johnson’s conduct in Longreach.  While Father Johnson declined to answer questions, he did, through his legal representatives, inform the police that he had never been to Longreach and denied any offending on his part. After the police conducted further investigations over a number of months, they found no evidence that Father Johnson had ever been to Longreach and they informed him that he would not be charged and that the investigation was closed.   No allegations about his conduct in Rockhampton were put to Father Johnson by police and his family deny he would have engaged in any local wrongdoing.

If Fran Kelly or her producer had done any research with respect to Tjanara Goreng Goreng’s allegations, she would have been aware that the claims concerning Fr Johnson and Fr Hayes had been contested by Fr Brennan.  But Ms Kelly simply assumed that the allegations of the Johnson/Hayes crimes, which allegedly happened half a century ago, were true.

During the interview Fran Kelly asserted that Fr Johnson was dead when Tjanara Goreng Goreng took her case to the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in 2015.  This is not so – Fr Johnson died in January 2018.  It is a matter of record that the Royal Commission did not raise Ms Goreng Goreng’s claims with Fr Johnson – it could have but it didn’t.

Unlike News Corp, the ABC has not placed a qualification on its program notes re the Kelly/Goreng Goreng interview.

It is not being suggested that Ms Goreng Goreng is lying.  Memory is fallible.  Some people have clear “recollections” of events that never happened. Others are involved in cases of mistaken identity.  As Fr Brennan has established in his pieces in Eureka Street, Goreng Goreng has changed her account of the alleged Johnson/Hayes rapes on several occasions. She even moved the venue of the alleged attack (when she was aged five or six) from Longreach to Rockhampton.

Christine McKee emailed Frank Brennan on 30 August 2018 in the following terms: “She [Goreng Goreng] claims she was raped by Grove Johnson at 5/6 years old in the Presbytery in Rockhampton, not in Longreach where she lived”.  However, in A Long Way From No Go: A Memoir, Ms Goreng Goreng wrote that she was raped in Longreach by Fr Johnson (see pages 24-25). Since Fr Johnson never went to Longreach, the claim in A Long Way From No Go is clearly wrong. Attention was not drawn to this inconsistency by either Christine McKee or Fran Kelly.

Also Ms Goreng Goreng’s brother, lawyer Kevin Williams, has contested his sister’s memoir as it involves her family – particularly in relation to their late father.  He has written a paper titled “The Fiction That Is a Long Road to No Go” on behalf of the three oldest Williams children.

There is reason to feel sympathy for Ms Goreng Goreng in view of the fact that she was sexually assaulted as a child by Fr Leo Wright.  But it is unprofessional for the likes of Christine McKee and Fran Kelly to accept her claims about two deceased priests and the late Mr Williams without checking or qualification.

Fr Johnson and Fr Hayes have been defamed in Queensland due to Ms McKee’s newspaper reports – and both deceased priests have been defamed nationally by Ms Kelly on the public broadcaster. In the current climate of hostility to the Catholic Church, deceased Catholic priests and brothers are vulnerable to character assassination.



It is MWD’s on-going contention that the RMIT-ABC Fact Check unit should be re-assigned to checking what passes for “facts” on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster before they go to air. But, alas, Russell Skelton and his comrades at RMIT-Fact Check delight in casting the first stone at the howlers of others.

Here’s how Natasha Robinson, the ABC’s national education reporter, commenced her piece on the ABC website last Saturday – titled “How a Catholic school’s fight over a toilet evolved into high-stakes political warfare”.

There aren’t too many political movements that begin with a toilet block. But that’s the inauspicious origin of the Catholic political juggernaut that now finds its sharpest expression in school funding. In 1962, the children of Our Lady of Mercy Primary School in the NSW Southern Tablelands town of Goulburn suffered from inadequate amenities, but the Menzies government refused to build them a new toilet block.

In response, Catholic parents descended on the local primary school and enrolled 600 children. The local school was overwhelmed, and the children of Our Lady of Mercy got their toilet block. Fast forward 56 years, and the Catholic lobby is more powerful than ever.

What a load of absolute tosh.  In the early 1960s, the Commonwealth Government was not responsible for toilet blocks in government or non-government schools.  Moreover, the Commonwealth Government did not provide funding for Catholic or non-governmental schools.  Child education was the responsibility of State governments.  The Commonwealth only involved itself in school education with respect to territories of the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory.

The events surrounding what was called the Goulburn School Strike are set out in Chapter 5 of Michael Hogan’s The Catholic Campaign for State Aid (Catholic Theological Faculty, Sydney, 1978).  In 1957 the NSW Department of Education instructed Our Lady of Mercy Preparatory School in Goulburn to provide extra toilet facilities.  Nothing was done and another instruction was provided in December 1961. The principal of the school advised the NSW Department of Education that the work would be done when the school’s finances improved.  This was not accepted by the NSW Education department and it instructed Goulburn City Council to require that the school provide the extra facilities by the end of May 1962 or face financial penalties of £20 plus £5 per day. This was a significant penalty.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn accepted that State and local government authorities were entitled to determine health standards in Catholic schools.  However, it resented the style of the bureaucratic interference in this instance.   Bishop John Cullinane objected to the fact that NSW bureaucrats were attempting to determine his financial priorities.

At a meeting attended by 700 on the evening of 9 July 1962, it was decided – by 550 to 120 – to close “the Catholic Schools in Goulburn as a token of our determination to have our claim recognised in a satisfactory manner”. The claim referred to was the attempt to have Catholic parents receive “a fair share from the public purse” for the education of Catholic students.  The resolution was directed at the NSW State Labor government in Sydney – not to Prime Minister Robert Menzies’ Coalition government in Canberra.

On Friday 13 July, the six Catholic schools in Goulburn closed. On the following Monday (16 July 1962), some 2000 students attempted to enrol in NSW Education Department State schools.  Only 640 could be accommodated – some 1350 could not find a State school system. On Sunday 22 July, the point having been made, parents voted to re-open the Catholic schools with effect from Monday 23 July 1962.  The protest had lasted a week – and did much to publicise the long-term Catholic complaint that Catholics paid taxes to cover students in government schools – but received no government assistance for the education of their children in Catholic schools.

The Goulburn School Strike had nothing to do with Prime Minister Robert Menzies or the Commonwealth government. In 1963 the Menzies government broke the stalemate by providing Commonwealth funding for science blocks in all schools – including Catholic schools. Gradually the various State governments – led by Henry Bolte’s Liberal Party government in Victoria in 1967 – introduced state aid for non-government schools.




Jackie’s (male) co-owner has never got over two disappointments in his life.  Firstly, the fact that star Essendon full-forward John Coleman was disqualified for four matches having been found guilty by the Victorian Football League Tribunal of striking Carlton’s Harry Caspar in the last home-and-away game for 1951 – at Princes Park in Carlton.  Caspar hit Coleman first – he was suspended for four matches.  And Coleman received the same penalty for retaliating.  Shame.

This meant that John Coleman could not play in the 1951 Grand Final – when Geelong defeated Essendon by a mere 11 points.  The score was 11-15 (81) to 10-10 (70).

Gerard Henderson’s pain was made unbearable by virtue of the fact that Geelong’s full-forward George Goninon kicked 4 goals on the day.  Goninon had been cleared by Essendon to play for Geelong since he struggled to get a game at Essendon due to Coleman’s dominance.

Gerard Henderson’s anguish is documented in his essay “John Coleman & The Ghosts of Princes Park” which is published in Ross Fitzgerald’s edited collection Heartfelt Moments in Australian Rules Football (Connor Court).

And then there was Essendon’s defeat by Carlton in the 1968 Grand Final on Saturday 28 September 1968 – exactly 50 years ago.  On this occasion, Essendon could not field its best side due to injuries to star centre-half-forward Ken Fraser and full-back Greg Brown.

The 1968 Grand Final was marred by strong winds – which made marking difficult and kept scores low.  In the event, a record crowd of 116,828 (including Hendo) saw Carlton defeat Essendon by 7-14 (56) to 8.5 (53). A mere 3 points.  This was the first occasion in a Grand Final where the losing side kicked more goals than the winning one.

In the final moments of the game, a kick into the Essendon forward line saw Essendon centre-half-forward Alan Noonan and Carlton full-back Wes Lofts contest a mark – 20 metres out and almost in front of goal.  Noonan was set to mark and kick for goal – when he received an enormous push-in-the-back from Lofts and dropped the ball.  A goal would have seen Essendon’s score move to 9-5 (59) – a win by 3 points.   However, umpire Jeff Crouch was in nothing-to-see-here mode and called “play on”.  Carlton cleared the football and, shortly after, the final siren sounded. Shame.

It was at this moment that Hendo came to completely comprehend the real meaning of The Fall – Original Sin and all that.  There on the MCG in front of a crowd of 116,827 (Hendo’s uncle William – a Carlton supporter – left the MCG at three quarter time) was evidence of the fact that no man is born without stain. And that we are all sinners – especially Carlton full-backs and indecisive umpires.

All this was made harder to accept when, addressing the Carlton Football Club in March 1983, Carlton tragic B.A. Santamaria boasted about the fact that Lofts got away with his push-in-the-back.  This is what Santa had to say:

I remember the 1968 Grand Final, in which we beat Essendon by three points.  It was won, of course, by the whole team: but if one player can claim to have turned the game, it was Wes Lofts.  When Geoff Blethyn flew for the mark only a few yards from the goal, Wes Lofts gave him a gentle push in the back, which unbalanced him. It should, of course, have been a free kick: but the umpire was in front of Blethyn and he missed it.  I cannot condone illegality, but there are occasions when one may justifiably follow Nelson’s example and turn his blind eye to the telescope.

In fact, Lofts pushed Noonan – not Essendon’s full-forward Geoff Blethyn.  Same sinner, wrong victim.  The point here is that Santa rationalised Lofts’ push-in-the-back.  So Lofts’ sin was endorsed by Bob Santamaria – another sin.

Santa was a Catholic who learnt about The Fall as a young boy at St Ambrose Primary School in Sydney Road, Brunswick – not far up the road from Princes Park – but exhibited lotsa stain when barracking for Carlton. Shame.


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 Jackie’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).


On Monday, The Australian ran a column by Mark Day which was critical in part of the ABC. He wrote inter alia:

The 24/7 television news service established by Ms Guthrie’s predecessor Mark Scott is a flop. It does not provide rolling news in the style of the ABC’s news radio service; rather, it is home to multiple repeats of main channel programs and its editors display a reluctance to go live into important events as they break. Its commentary and analysis programs frequently demonstrate the ABC’s unquestionable bias to the Left.

Later that morning, Fran Kelly interviewed Mark Day on ABC Radio National Breakfast.  There he repeated his claim that the ABC lacks political balance (see below). This annoyed Ellen Fanning, a co-presenter of ABC TV’s The Drum, who put out the following tweet at 8.16 am:

Gerard Henderson wrote a (courteous) note to Ellen Fanning pointing out that she had verballed Mark Day.  As is the case with oh-so-many ABC presenters – Ms Fanning likes asking questions of others but goes into “no comment” mode when asked to support her own comments with evidence.  On this occasion Ms Fanning told Hendo to piss-off. Shucks.  Now read on:

Gerard Henderson to Ellen Fanning – 25 September 2018


I have just read your (angry and almost incoherent) tweet which went out this morning – shortly after Mark Day was interviewed by Fran Kelly on RN Breakfast.

You described as “garbage” a claim you attributed to Mark Day – namely that there are “no conservative commentators on abc”.

In fact, what Mark Day had to say was this:

…the old Gerard Henderson line about there’s no conservative commentators on the ABC – well that’s broadly true.  You know, you could probably name one or two….

Any fair interpretation of Mark Day’s comment would acknowledge that he was talking about ABC staff or paid contractors who are commentators – not individuals who appear occasionally on such programs as The Drum and Q&A in an unpaid capacity.

In short, Mark Day was broadly supporting my long term claim, viz: “The ABC is a Conservative Free Zone with not one conservative presenter, producer or editor for any of its prominent television, radio or online outlets.”

This statement is true.  No one at the ABC has been able to name the name of one conservative presenter, producer or editor who presides over a prominent program.  The list of those not able to name a conservative in this context includes Leigh Sales, Julia Baird and Richard Glover.

If you can nominate a conservative in this category which I have overlooked – just name the name.

I have never claimed that no conservatives appear as (unpaid) commentators on such panels as The Drum and Q&A.  However, it is a fact that there are usually more left-of-centre than right-of-centre panellists on Q&A.  Likewise there are occasions on The Drum where all the panellists agree with each other in criticising conservative positions.  If you have any doubts check out The Drum’s coverage of Prime Minister Morrison’s recent decision with respect to the funding of non-government Catholic and independent schools.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson


Ellen Fanning to Gerard Henderson – 26 September 2018

Please cease sending material to my personal email account.


Gerard Henderson to Ellen Fanning – 28 September 2018


I refer to your somewhat rude reply to my email of 25 September 2018.

As you will be aware, Julia Baird and you – when hosting The Drum – frequently call for a considered and respectful debate.  And you both give the impression that you really want feedback from viewers of The Drum.

I wrote you a considered email on Tuesday pointing out that you had verballed Mark Day (and, by implication, me) in your tweet of 25 September in which you referred specifically to The Drum.

You ignored all my points (supported by evidence) and simply replied: “Please cease sending material to my personal email account.”

This was an unprofessional response – especially from someone at the taxpayer funded public broadcaster who calls for a respectful debate.  As you are aware, my email was also sent to your work account – this was ignored.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson


Ellen Fanning to Gerard Henderson – 28 September 2018

Do not email my private email account. It is used by my entire family and visible to all members. If this continues I will lodge a complaint with your employer.


Gerard Henderson to Ellen Fanning – 28 September 2018


That seems an over-the-top response.  I did not send my current email to your personal “bigpond” account.  I only sent it to your ABC work email and the Colvin Production work email which you drew my attention to.  What is it that you regard as your “personal account”?

In any event, there were no personal matters referred to in my email.

Any “complaint” which you lodge with The Sydney Institute will certainly be handled more rapidly than complaints forwarded to the ABC – which invariably take a minimum of six weeks to be dealt with.

Keep morale high.

In the meantime, I patiently await a response to my considered email.

Gerard Henderson


Sally Jackson to Gerard Henderson – 28 September 2018

Hi Gerard, I’m getting in touch about your emails to Ellen Fanning. Ellen is under no obligation to respond to you. She wishes you to stop emailing her, so I ask that you please respect that.

If you have any concerns about the performance of her job for the ABC you are welcome to put in an official complaint.

If you have any queries, please direct them to me.




Gerard Henderson to Sally Jackson – 28 September 2018


That’s fine.

I note that Ellen Fanning has joined the ABC’s “No Comment” Club.

This seems to be growing within the taxpayer funded organisation committed to the “Right to Know” campaign. How strange.

Have a wonderful Labour Day long weekend

Gerard Henderson


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Until next time.


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