ISSUE – NO. 428

19 October 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; RN Breakfast Where Everyone Agrees with Everyone Else (Again); The Irrelevance of The Drum; Bronwyn Bishop targets a Socialist on PML; Leigh Sales Informs 7.30 Viewers that Mark Humphries is Funny

  • Can You Bear It? Peter FitzSimons & The Royal Family; Patricia Karvelas & A Royal Watcher; The Drum’s Not so Respectful Discussion Starring Catherine McGregor; Julian Burnside’s Broken Promise

  • Report from Sandalista Land re The Saturday Paper: Richard Ackland as Oscar Wilde?; Erik Jensen Dharma/Sharma Joke; Sneering Mike Seccombe Corrected by David Hill

  • New Feature – Jackie’s Rant Of The Week: Jenna Price On Scott Morrison & Adolf Hitler

  • An ABC Update: Matt Bevan’s US Supreme Court Prophecy

  • Documentation: Tracing Australia’s First Self-Declared Political Outsider

  • The ABC and Paedophilia: A Timeline Updated

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This morning’s RN Breakfasts Friday Political Panel – with Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly in the presenter’s chair – spent time discussing the Australia/Israel relationship.  In particular, the statement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison that Australia will consider moving its embassy in Israel (currently at Tel Aviv) to Jerusalem.  West Jerusalem, in fact. Which is where the government of Israel is based.

Ms Kelly asked the questions of her panel – Malcolm Farr (national political editor,, Alice Workman (political editor, Buzzfeed) and Mark Kenny (national affairs editor, Sydney Morning Herald and The Age). Guess what?  All three members of the Canberra Parliamentary Press Gallery agreed with each other that this is a dud idea. Quelle surprise!

Mr Farr said that all of the Prime Minister’s announcements on this issue “would have been applauded by the Israeli government”.  Not so – since the government of Benjamin Netanyahu would be unlikely to agree with Mr Morrison’s suggestion that East Jerusalem might be the site of the capital of a Palestinian State.  In any event, your man Farr said that the Morrison government’s position was not credible.

Then it was over to Ms Workman who suggested that the decision “could come back to bite the prime minister”. Later she declared that Mr Morrison’s announcement was but a “thought bubble”.

Then it was over to Mr Kenny who accused Prime Minister Morrison of “firing from the lip”. Indeed it was a “sad reflection of the way politics has overcome policy in Australia”, he said.

Fran Kelly did not contest any of the above comments.  And so it came to pass that Malcolm agreed with Alice who agreed with Mark who agreed with Malcolm who agreed with himself. No other view was heard. That’s debate – brought to you by the taxpayer funded public broadcaster.

[Quite so.  I note that Fran Kelly interviewed Dave Sharma, the Liberal Party candidate for Wentworth, on Tuesday.  After a tough interview it was over to Paul Bongiorno, RN Breakfast’s regular Tuesday commentator.

The leftist Bonge piled into Dave Sharma.  Bonge accused the Liberal Party candidate of using “glib weasel words”.  He went on to accuse the Morrison government of “tormenting innocent men and women and children” on Nauru and described this as “appalling”.  Bonge added that the Morrison government was into “crass politics”. He also claimed that the Coalition parties are supporting “white supremacists”.

I note that RN Breakfast does not employ one conservative in its commentary team – which consists of Michelle Grattan (Monday), Paul Bongiorno (Tuesday), Peter van Onselen (Wednesday), Phil Coorey (Thursday) and Alice Workman (Friday).  Not one is a conservative.  PVO presents as a small “l” Liberal – not as a conservative. This is yet another example of a lack of political diversity in the ABC’s Conservative-Free-Zone. – MWD Editor.]


Did anyone watch ABC TV’s The Drum last night?  It was billed as a discussion about tomorrow’s Wentworth by-election, which some commentators maintain is the most important such event in Australian history.  This is how The Drum advertised last night’s discussion:

How important is it that Wentworth candidates have a plan to deal with climate change? We don’t usually have politicians on #TheDrum but tonight we’ll take a look at four candidates’ policies for the high-profile Wentworth by-election.

Interesting eh?  Julia Baird, The Drum’s presenter, and her producers only raised the issue of climate change. Apparently, they do not believe that voters are interested in such matters as energy prices, cost of living, employment and the like. This appears true of The Drum’s  viewers.  Some 40 tweets were posted on The Drum’s website after last night’s program started – most were on climate change and asylum seekers.

In any event, of the three main candidates only Independent Kerryn Phelps fronted up.  The Liberal Party’s Dave Sharma and Labor’s Tim Murray were not available. So The Drum stumped up Kerryn Phelps (Independent) plus Licia Heath (Independent), Dominic WY Kanak (Greens) and Angela Vithoulkas (Independent). The latest example of Independence Day, it seems.

Imagine the Last Supper – which some commentators maintain is the most important dining event in history – with Peter and Judas as no-shows. It was a bit like that on The Drum  last night.

What’s the explanation? Well, as avid readers are aware, The Drum is increasingly resembling ABC TV’s Q&A – except for the fact that it does not have a baying Green/Left audience. As presenter Julia Baird has acknowledged, The Drum invariably has a deficit of conservatives on its panels which practise all sorts of diversity except political diversity.  Some conservatives will not appear on The Drum’s unbalanced panels – other conservatives are not invited to do so.

It’s not as if Mr Sharma is avoiding his opponents.  After all, he debated Dr Phelps (for a medical doctor she is) yesterday morning on Channel 9’s Today  program.  It’s just that if the Liberal Party candidate had turned up – he would have had to confront at least three opponents plus presenter Dr Baird (who is no conservative). Why would Dave Sharma bother?  Especially when The Drum goes to air live at 5.12 pm – Gin & Tonic time in the Henderson Household.  It’s a more enjoyable occasion than to be down 4 to 1 on a Drum panel.  What ABC management does not understand is that The Drum needs talent like Dave Sharma more than the likes of Mr Sharma need The Drum.


Jackie’s (male) co-owner invariably looks forward to Sky News’ Paul Murray Live on Thursdays – since former Howard government minister Bronwyn Bishop usually makes an appearance.   It’s a lively occasion – partly due to the fact that Ms Bishop has taken to labelling her political opponents as “socialists”, and occasionally, “communists”. In short, PML can be a lot of fun on a Thursday.

And so it came to pass last night when Bronwyn Bishop called former Liberal Party prime minister Malcolm Turnbull “a socialist” and said that he used to head the Turnbull Socialist government – or something like that.

As MWD records, Bronwyn Bishop voted for Tony Abbott over Malcolm Turnbull in the Liberal Party’s December 2009 leadership ballot.  But MWD believes that in September 2015 the Bishop vote went to Turnbull over Abbott.  So it seems that Ms Bishop bears some responsibility for the march of socialists and socialism across the land.  MWD is prepared to hear – and publish – submissions on this matter.  But, right now, Bronwyn Bishop stands accused of voting for “a socialist” to become prime minister of Australia only three years ago.


Believe it or not, but Hendo has quite a few contacts among young Australian comedians (who probably vote Greens). What they have in common with Jackie’s (male) co-owner is that few, if any, regard Mark Humphries as funny.

So it’s helpful that, in his new gig as 7.30 stand up/sit down comedian, your man Humphries is introduced by presenter Leigh Sales as proving “a satirical take”. It’s a kind of please-laugh invitation.

Last night, Leigh Sales introduced the segment as follows:

Leigh Sales:  This week in the Senate, One Nation leader Pauline Hanson caused headaches for the government after moving a motion declaring “It’s okay to be white”.  For a satirical take on those events, here’s Mark Humphries.

7.30’s stand-up/sit-down comedian had just one joke. To wit, that “people are finally coming to understand just how racist Australia is – against white people”. It went on and on and on – for three minutes.   [I wonder if Mr Humphries is being paid by the minute.  Just a thought – MWD Editor.]  By the way, last night Mark Humphries adopted the persona of the very white “Simon Drab – Race Discrimination Commissioner”. It was enough to drive Jackie’s (male) co-owner to drink.


 Can You Bear It


What a week it’s been for Peter FitzSimons, the Fairfax Media Sydney Morning Herald columnist who is also chair of the Australian Republic Movement.

Fitz recently led the campaign against the eight minute light-show of The Everest Horse Race which was projected on the Sydney Opera House sails.  How did this campaign go? Well, the second running of The Everest was as popular as MWD readers would expect the Second Coming to be.

Some 40,000 attended Royal Randwick Racecourse last Saturday in spite of the rain – compared with 22,000 who rocked up for the Caulfield Guineas horse race at Caulfield Race Course in Melbourne.  Moreover, The Everest was a huge wagering success partly due to the publicity engendered by Fitz and his fellow protesters. Seldom in recent times has a horse race received such international publicity. Well done Fitz.  So what about the Royal Tour? – MWD hears you cry.

On Tuesday, The Sydney Morning Herald published a piece by The Red Bandannaed One titled “Why republicans welcome the royal couple”. It read, in part, as follows – with reference to the current visit to Australia of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (aka Harry and Meghan).

The popularity of rock-star royals and the desire to continue being reigned over by a family of English aristocrats, are distinctly different things. Equally fatuous is the notion that Australia becoming a republic will have any effect whatsoever on the royal goings-on, that we of the ARM want to put a stop to it all. Never! See, for all the people that love the births, betrothals ballyhoo-tally-ho and bon temps of the royals, the good news is that all of that will go on, even when we are a proud independent country beneath the Southern Cross!

Yes, friends, the only connection between the young royals’ popularity and the fate of the Australian republic is that, despite appearances, a royal visit like this actually speeds the pace of our transition, because it encourages debate, and focus. For with both comes an increase in our popularity, particularly in the younger generation, which is savvy enough to know the difference between enjoying a British royal visit and voting for an Australian republic. And, make no mistake, a lot of the young’uns reel from the unseemly gushing.

What a load of absolute tosh – a bon temps of absolute tosh, to be sure.  The best attended Royal Visit to Australia occurred in early 1954 when Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh travelled to all States. Contrary to Fitz’s claim, the 1954 Royal Visit did not speed up Australia’s “transition” to a republic.

It seems that The Red Bandannaed One really believes that young Australians will reel away from unseemly gushing at the Monarchy’s Harry and Meghan – and support, instead, the ARM led by a middle-aged, Neutral Bay-residing millionaire bloke who wears a red rag on his head. It’s called delusion. Can You Bear It?

[Er, no. Not really.  I’m a republican but the Australian Republic Movement will never succeed if it’s led by such a divisive figure as Fitz.  The ARM would be well advised to retire the Red Bandannaed One and replace him with a young sheila who wears a fascinator. – MWD Editor.]


While on the topic of the (latest) Royal Tour, on Monday RN Drive presenter Patricia Karvelas spoke to British Royal-watcher Omid Scobie [Why? MWD Editor] who has a podcast titled “On Heir”. Get it?  It seems that Ms Karvelas’ listeners are interested in the visit to Australia of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. So, it was not long before Ms Karvelas asked that question:

Patricia Karvelas: I can’t believe I’m even going to ask this, but I’m going to ask this question.

Omid Scobie: Go on.

Patricia Karvelas: You know, all this speculation that Meghan might be pregnant.

Omid Scobie: [laughs].

Patricia Karvelas: You’re a Royal expert, what do you reckon?

Omid Scobie: Yeah you know, of course ever since the wedding happened in May, I would say the world and certainly the press has been on bump- watch since the very beginning. Anytime she steps out there’s always commentary on Twitter about “oh can I see a bump”. You know, it gets a little hysterical at times. It is worth noting that Meghan is travelling to Fiji and Tonga on this trip – both which have government advisory in the US and the UK about Zika warnings. So, you know, in the UK they recommend that if you’re pregnant or planning to get pregnant you don’t visit either of these places after, or before even planning to conceive. And so, just going with that fact alone, I would say that it’s highly unlikely.

Patricia Karvelas appeared to concur.  Around ten minutes after the interview concluded, Kensington Palace announced that the Duchess of Sussex is pregnant. Worth a Walkley, to be sure. Can You Bear It?


As avid readers are aware, Dr Julia Baird (for a doctor she is) – the main presenter of The Drum – boasts that her program encourages and endorses RESPECTFUL DISCUSSION.

So, how did Dr Baird’s respectful discussion go this week?  Here’s how – when Hobart-based Catherine McGregor appeared on The Drum last Monday in the capacity as a “cricket writer”.

Julia Baird said nothing when Ms McGregor made the following comments – in a sneering/mocking tone:

Catherine McGregor: [The Morrison Government’s] quixotic attempt to pursue religious freedom has now become ScoMo’s 18c [Racial Discrimination Act] humiliation. He’s now running to say that he’s looked on God’s creation and found it good and he’s now going to take a rest on this kind of Jihad that he was launched on to preserve religious freedom. So, let me know what the [Liberal Party] base have to say about that in the next couple of weeks. I can’t wait to see the provisional wing of the St Pius X Society over at Quadrant next week when they get to digest this news about uh, with Roger Franklin and his Symbionese Liberation Army guys. I’d like to see what they have to say at this back down. You know, two weeks ago he [Prime Minister Scott Morrison] was worried about gender whisperers. Now he can’t fawn over gay kids fast enough and presumably gay teachers are okay too.

Catherine McGregor went on to refer to Lyle Shelton, of the Australian Conservative Party, as a “white sepulchre” and a “pharisee”.  How’s all that for a respectful discussion? Can You Bear It?

[Does Julia Baird or Catherine McGregor really expect that most of The Drum viewers know about Pius X or Roger Franklin or the Symbionese Liberation Army or Pharisees? – MWD Editor.]


Julian (“I just love flashing my post-nominals”) Burnside AO QC presents as someone with a superior morality to most of us mere mortals.  That’s why JB AO QC concludes his email correspondence with the following quotes from H.L. Mencken:

“A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.” – H.L. Mencken

“The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.”  – H.L. Mencken

“Don’t overestimate the decency of the human race.”  – H.L. Mencken

This suggests that your man Burnside still retains some of the Christian doctrine he was taught at Melbourne Grammar School all those years ago about The Fall, Original Sin, the imperfectability of mankind and all that stuff.  Even though these days JB AO QC is a born-again secularist.

As avid readers will be aware, JB AO QC is one of the six ambassadors of the somewhat blokey National Secular Lobby – along with Mr Phillip Adams, Ms Jane Caro, Mr Chris Schacht, Mr Paul Willis and Mr David Zyngier. [Sounds a bit like a Men’s Shed which a lady has visited to pour the tea – don’t you think? – MWD Editor.

The NSL’s inaugural media release, issued on 17 September 2018, commenced as follows:

The National Secular Lobby is voicing the deep concerns of the secular majority and urging Australians to call out the Prime Minister on his misleading and outrageous comments on religious freedom.

So JB AO QC and his (fellow) secular comrades accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison of making “misleading and outrageous comments”. Yet JB AO QC signed on to the statement which (falsely) claimed that there is a “secular majority” in Australia.

In fact, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, data from the 2016 Census reveals that 52 per cent of Australians are Christians – and other religious believers amount to 8 per cent.  That is, 60 per cent of Australians are religious believers – while some 30 per cent describe themselves are having “no religion”.  This was an optional question which was not answered by all.

Now, since 30 per cent is a long way south of a majority – Hendo wrote to JB AO QC on 20 September 2018 suggesting that he might correct the Australian Secular Lobby’s howler – which is misleading.

On 20 September 2018, Julian Burnside emailed that he would “write later” about this matter.  He didn’t. Another broken promise. What would H. L. Mencken have said?  Can You Bear It?




Whatever Morry Schwartz’s The Saturday Paper is – it is not a newspaper, in that it contains scant news. More like a weekly leftist house-journal which is read by Green/Left sandal wearers in coffee shops in Fitzroy North and Newtown.  The problem is that The Saturday Paper goes to press on Thursday evenings. So when it comes out on Saturday morning its “news” is already 36 hours old.  That’s why Hendo reads it on Monday – what’s the hurry?


It is MWD’s  contention that you can judge a newspaper by its Letters Page.  For example, MWD never publishes supportive correspondence – and prefers critical letters.  Unlike The Saturday Paper, editor-in-chief Erik Jensen. This is the letter that The Saturday Paper ran on 8 September 2018 concerning its “Gadfly” columnist – aka Richard Ackland.

In reading The Saturday Paper my first port of call is invariably Gadfly and his Oscar-like Wilderness. Now he has an apprentice Gadfly. Pip, pip, young chap.

-Pam Connor, Mollymook Beach, NSW

So in the coffee shops of fashionable Mollymook Beach, Pam Connor reads Richard Ackland – whose wit she equates with Oscar Wilde (1854-1900). The reference to “an apprentice Gadfly” was a shout-out to Alex McKinnon who stepped up as author of the “Gadfly” column when your man Ackland was on what journalists like to call a well-earned break.

To get an Oscar Wilde hit, Hendo had a glance at Richard Ackland’s “Gadfly” column published last Saturday titled “Lord and hosts”. Laugh?  Jackie’s male co-owner could not stop laughing at the Wit of Ackland and his (alleged) Oscar-like Wildeness. There were references to “the Nasty Party” (the Liberal Party), “Skin Curling SloMo” (Prime Minister Scott Morrison), “Fabulous Phil Ruddock” (Philip Ruddock), “Our Father of the Blessed Grecian” (Kevin Andrews) and “The Toadstool-in-Chief” (Donald J. Trump). How funny is that?

The only person to be treated with respect by Gadfly last Saturday was Sydney activist Jessie Street (1889-1970).  Richard (“they call me Oscar”) Ackland, failed to advise readers that Comrade Street was a notorious Stalinist who never came across a communist purge or show trial or gulag or execution site that she didn’t embrace.

But MWD digresses. It seems that Ms Connor (of Mollymook) and Mr Jensen (of Fitzroy North, via Collingwood) reckon that your man Ackland’s confected nicknames are as satirical as, say, Lady Windermere’s Fan. Really.


While on the topic of The [Boring] Saturday Paper, can anyone explain the meaning of the sub-heading which appeared at the top of Page 4 on last week’s edition?

This was the continuation of Mike (“The Sneerer”) Seccombe’s Page One lead titled “The race that stopped the nation” on the Wentworth by-election.   “Sharma bums” – what could this mean?  Could it be an oh-so-clever reference to Jack Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums – since Dharma rhymes with Sharma?  Surely not.  And would anyone know outside of Fitzroy North? – or even inside Sandalista Central.


While on the topic of Sneering Mike Seccombe, this is what one-time ABC managing director David Hill wrote about The Saturday Paper’s national correspondent in the Letters Page last weekend:

Hawke didn’t want Doogue sacked

I refer to your highly inaccurate story (Mike Seccombe, “Charges stacking up”, October 6-12) suggesting that as managing director of the ABC during the Gulf War I wanted Geraldine Doogue sacked. Your story is a rehash of a story originally published in 2003 and refuted at the time. Had your correspondent bothered to contact me – as basic journalistic standards would have required – I would have happily provided him with the accurate background information.

It is true that in 1991 the then prime minister Bob Hawke was highly critical of aspects of the ABC coverage of the Gulf War. When the ABC chair Bob Somervaille and I went to discuss his concerns in Canberra, Hawke complained our coverage was “biased and disgraceful”. I was a fan – and a supporter – of Doogue, and only the previous year had agreed to her resuming a senior TV presenter role after she had left the ABC to work in commercial TV.

At the time of the Gulf War Hawke did not ask for her to be sacked and I certainly would not have agreed to it anyway. Doogue acknowledged the sole source of the fiction that I wanted her removed was her then boss Peter Manning.

In the almost 10 years I was at the ABC, as board chairman and then MD, I never once considered removing anyone because of complaints from politicians. Incidentally, your article is also wrong in describing me as “Labor’s hand-picked managing director”. The selection of the MD was then, as it is now, a decision for the ABC board.

– David Hill, Randwick, NSW 

Quite so.  It seems that The Saturday Paper’s national correspondent tries his hand at fiction every now and then – including when attacking Labor Party leaders from a Green/Left perspective. Note that there is a comprehensive coverage of Mr Hawke’s argument with the ABC over the First Gulf War in Ken Inglis’ This Is The ABC (MUP, 1983)



In these times of disruption, the rant is all the rage.  We’re used to rants on social media and in the electronic media.  But the phenomenon is also found in newspapers – which, traditionally, have been more considered and reflective than other forms of media.  MWD will be watching out for rants-in-print and reporting them to avid readers.  This week MWD fave Jenna Price helped out – with a stunning piece comparing the early Scott Morrison with the early Adolf Hitler. Really.

On 12 October 2018, the Canberra Times carried Jenna Price’s column titled: “Enough of pollies prying”.  It turned on a discussion of the leaked recommendations of the Religious Freedom Review, which was commissioned by former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and chaired by Philip Ruddock. The report has neither been released nor considered by government.  Even so, Ms Price elected to do a rant about it – seemingly unaware that it appears that the Religious Freedom Review has recommended giving additional rights for LGBTI students than those currently in existence under legislation passed by Julia Gillard’s Labor government in 2013.

In her rant, Ms Price looked at the report of mild-mannered Philip Ruddock and saw Nazism:

This proposal is a nod to Nazism. Not even a nod. It’s a straight lift from the Hitlerian playbook. Mike Godwin, the man who brought us Godwin’s Law, is pretty clear about the comparison between contemporary Australian events and Nazi Germany. “There was a lot of doctrine which was pretty overt about children, church and family and that poisoned anything which didn’t fit the paradigm.”

That is the role of this government, to poison and divide us, instead of nurturing and uniting us.

For those of you who don’t know, those who’ve avoided the internet for decades, Godwin’s Law says that in any protracted debate, someone will eventually resort to pulling out Hitler at which point the argument is over. But as Godwin, a US lawyer, writer and first staff counsel of the Electronic Frontier Foundation says, “Writ large there is the fact that at some point in the development of Nazism it was decided to purge homosexuals and to persecute them.”

Which is what these devastating amendments would do. It would persecute young gay people who already, in many instances, struggle. Godwin’s giving me a leave pass to break his rule because in this case, it is Nazism.

Confused?  No surprise.   Jenna Price seems to be saying (i) that the Ruddock recommendation is “straight from the Hitler playbook”, (ii) that Mike Godwin reckons that when someone resorts to mentioning Hitler, the argument is over but (iii) it’s okay to mention Hitler when discussing contemporary Australia since Mike Godwin has given Jenna Price permission to do so.  So there you have it – or not.

In fact, there is no evidence that any LGBTI student has been expelled from a private school due to their sexuality – and the Religious Freedom Review recommends that the existing provisions in the legislation be altered to give greater protection to students.

Yet the Price rant states that Prime Minister Scott Morrison is intent on purging and persecuting homosexuals in the tradition of Adolf Hitler.  Jenna Price is an academic who teaches media students. [Perhaps this should have been placed in your hugely popular Can You Bear It? segment. Just a thought.  – MWD Editor.]




Meet Matt Bevan – he is one of the bevy of left-wing journalists at the Conservative Free Zone that is the ABC.  Currently Comrade Bevan is a newsreader and commentator on the ABC Radio National Breakfast program – presenter Fran Kelly.

In his daily news commentary, your man Bevan presents as one of a number of ABC journalists who are obsessed with President Donald J. Trump and frequently exhibits manifestations of Trump-phobia.

On Sunday, a comment appeared on the ABC News site by Matt Bevan – titled “Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment may have undermined the US Supreme Court for years to come”. The piece commenced with praise for the Indian Supreme Court and concluded that “it may not be long before the Indian Supreme Court overtakes its US counterpart as a fairer, more trusted institution.”

Well, it may.  Or it may not.  We don’t know.  What we do know is that Bevan is of the view that the United States Supreme Court “has entered an era of unprecedented crisis”. He alleges that over several decades the court has gradually become more polarised.  Bevan’s main gripe turns on the appointment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy:

The fight over Kavanaugh was always going to be dirty. Democrats hadn’t forgotten Senate Republicans’ year-long campaign to hold open a Supreme Court seat to prevent President Barack Obama making a final appointment before the 2016 election. Democrats call that the “stolen seat”, and their liberal base demanded they do everything possible to make the process difficult for Trump and Senate leader Mitch McConnell.

This meant when allegations of sexual assault emerged after the regular confirmation hearings had concluded, the Republican party felt confident in declaring that the Democratic party had cooked up a plot to bring down Kavanaugh. After all, Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer had said he would fight the nomination “with everything I’ve got”. In the age of Trump, touting a conspiracy theory that Democratic senators were trying to pin false sexual assault charges on their nominee is par for the course. But Kavanaugh’s decision to join the chorus was the one which pushed the Supreme Court past a point of no return.

So, according to the ABC newsreader, the US Supreme Court has passed “a point of no return” – since, according to Bevan, it now has a clearly partisan judge sitting on the court.  Due to this (alleged) fact, every decision the court makes will be questioned for whether it is motivated by party affiliates.

This seems somewhat hyperbolic – even for an ABC Trump-hater. It has been known for eons that there are liberals and conservatives on the Supreme Court and that, on occasions, some judges take unexpected positions in their judgments.

It seems that Matt Bevan holds the view that Brett Kavanaugh was not entitled to defend himself vigorously against the historic sexual abuse allegations of Dr Christine Blasey Ford, which were not supported by evidence. Also, the ABC journalist failed to mention that Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein did nothing until September 2018 about a letter she received from Dr Ford in July 2018 – a period of around six weeks.  She did not give it to the Senate or to the FBI until the eve of the Senate Judiciary Committee vote – when it was leaked to the media, allegedly by the Senator’s office.

Mr Bevan failed to tell ABC online readers (if readers there were) that the reason why the sexual allegations emerged after the regular confirmation hearings had concluded was due to the fact that Senator Feinstein held on to the material in order to delay the process as long as possible with a view to the appointment being unconfirmed at the time of the November 2018 mid-term elections.

Currently ABC management regards Matt Bevan as some sort of objective expert on the United States.


Who was Down Under’s first self-proclaimed Outsider?  MWD is not certain. Sure, one-time Labor Party leader Mark Latham declared himself an Outsider around the time he left politics.  Outsiders was the name of the program which he commenced on Sky News with Ross Cameron and Rowan Dean in 2016.  As avid readers are all too well aware, Mr Latham left the program in 2017, which continues with just two blokes  – Ross (“I’m a Marcus Aurelius Fan Boy”) Cameron and Rowan Dean.

The word “outsider” has been around for many, many decades.  However, its use as a political label in Australia seems to be relatively new. Mark Latham used it in the first decade of the 21st Century while Messrs Cameron and Dean have used it in more recent years.  However, MWD is of the view that the term was popularised in Australia by B.A. Santamaria (1915-1998) – who is best remembered as an anti-communist and socially conservative Catholic activist.

In the preface to his 1987 collection of essays titled Australia at the Crossroads: Reflections of an Outsider, Bob Santamaria quoted Professor Hedley Bull’s comment that he was an “outsider’ due to the fact that he was “too Cartesian and doctrinaire in his manner of argument”. BAS also quoted Mark Thomas, who wrote that Mr Santamaria was “alien” in the sense that “his notions of the life of the mind and the potency of ideas fit into no Australian tradition, party, ideology”.

B.A. Santamaria – like Messrs Latham, Cameron and Dean in contemporary times – was happy to embrace the title Outsider – as the cover of his 1987 book makes clear.

B.A. Santamaria Reflections of an Outsider


There was enormous interest in last week’s “Jackie’s Old Bones” segment. Readers remarked how the ABC’s reluctance to accept criticism has flowed through the generations.  In 1973, the Four Corners collective [Don’t you mean soviet? MWD Editor] threw the switch to defensive when (then) ABC chairman Richard Downing made a slight criticism of the program.  Professor Downing believes that Four Corners had erred in focusing on former Labor leader Arthur Calwell’s Catholicism rather than on his political views on social and economic policy in addition to foreign affairs.  Four Corners personnel got angry, alleged a gross misinterpretation had taken place and so on. Shucks.

In any event, the very mention of Professor Richard Downing’s name sparked lotsa avid readers to ask that MWD publish an updated version of The ABC & Pedophilia: A Timeline – focusing only on Professor Downing and two of his successors, namely James Spigelman and Justin Milne.  Mr Spigelman was ABC chairman between 1 April 2012 and 31 March 2017. Mr Milne was ABC chairman between 1 April 2017 and 27 September 2018.


1970: Richard Neville’s memoir Play Power is released.  In his chapter titled “Group Grope”, Neville boasts about having a “hurricane f-ck” with a “moderately attractive, intelligent, cherubic fourteen-year-old girl from a nearby London comprehensive school”.  At the time Neville (born in Sydney in 1941) was in his late twenties – i.e. he was about twice the age of his schoolgirl victim. Sex with an under-age girl or boy was a criminal offence in England at the time – and still is.

1975: Despite being a self-confessed pedophile, Richard Neville obtains a presenter’s job on the ABC radio program titled Lateline which runs on the public broadcaster’s second radio network (the equivalent of Radio National today). Lateline comes within the domain of the ABC left-wing producer Allan Ashbolt.

14 July 1975: Richard Neville presents a program titled “Pederasty” on Lateline.  Three pederasts are interviewed in the ABC studio in Sydney by Neville, who adopts a non-judgmental attitude to their child sexual abuse. A couple of young male victims are also interviewed for the program. The program is reported in detail in The National Times in its issue dated 21 July 1975 (but which is distributed at an earlier date).

1975: When the “Pederasty” program becomes a matter of controversy, the tapes of the program are destroyed along with any transcripts.  Neither Allan Ashbolt nor Richard Neville nor any member of the ABC management report the pederasts to NSW Police or adopt a duty-of-care to the pederasts’ victims who, if alive today, would be in their fifties – i.e. around the same age as some complainants/victims who gave evidence to the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in recent years.

19 July 1975: In the wake of the “Pederasty” controversy, the ABC chairman Professor Richard Downing writes a letter to the Sydney Morning Herald defending the “Pederasty” program and calling on Australians to “understand” the urges of pederasts.  Professor Downing’s letter is signed in his capacity as ABC chairman.

19 July 1975:   The Sydney Morning Herald quotes Professor Downing as saying that “in general, men will sleep with young boys”.

1983: This is the ABC: The Australian Broadcasting Commission: 1932-1983 is published by Melbourne University Press. Its author, Ken Inglis, is given access to ABC records.  In a segment titled “Permissiveness and Politics”, Ken Inglis documents the controversy concerning Richard Neville’s “Pederasty” program of eight years earlier but does not mention Neville’s name.

3 September 2015:  Following the ABC’s widescale coverage of historical child sexual abuse in religious, secular and government organisations, Gerard Henderson writes to ABC chairman Jim Spigelman AO QC on 3 September 2015. His letter includes the following questions:

Professor Downing – one of your predecessors as ABC chairman – once called for an understanding of pederasty in his official capacity as ABC chairman.  Are you prepared – on behalf of the ABC – to renounce the view expressed by Professor Downing in 1975?  If not, why not?

On 4 September 2015, the ABC chairman replied as follows:

Dear Mr Henderson

I can think of nothing polite to say about your suggestion. I will content myself with the observation that mine is not an Apostolic Succession.

Yours sincerely

          Jim Spigelman


10 May 2017: Following the appointment of Justin Milne as ABC chairman, Gerard Henderson writes to him as follows:

In July 1975, Richard Downing – acting in his position as ABC chairman – took a public stand on the issue of pederasty.  In a letter to the Sydney Morning Herald – published on 19 July 1975 – he called on Australians to “understand” the urges of pederasts.  The letter was signed “Prof. R. Downing, Chairman, Australian Broadcasting Commission”. As you know, what was the Australian Broadcasting Commission was renamed the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in 1983. On the same day, the Sydney Morning Herald quoted the (then) ABC chairman as saying: “In general, men will sleep with young boys…”.

As the ABC’s contemporary chairman, will you disassociate the public broadcaster from comments made by Professor Downing – one of your predecessors – in 1975?  If not, why not?

Does the ABC have any intention of ascertaining whether the victims of the three pederasts who appeared on the 1975 “Pederasty” program are alive today?  If so, does the public broadcaster regard itself as having a duty of care with respect to these victims?  If not, why not?

17 May 2017: Michael Millett, the ABC Director Government Relations, writes to Gerard Henderson on behalf of the ABC as follows:

The ABC feels there is nothing to be gained in revisiting this matter. The program and subsequent debate took place a long time ago and did not indicate nor set any kind of policy.

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The ABC & Pedophilia: A Time Line leads to the following conclusions:

Both Jim Spigelman (the ABC’s past chairman) and Justin Milne (the ABC’s past chairman) did not accept any responsibility for the statements and inaction on pedophilia by Professor Richard Downing (when he was ABC chairman).  This despite the fact that some ABC presenters and journalists have demanded that Anglican Church and Catholic Church leaders take responsibility for any inaction on pedophilia by their predecessors going back to the 1950s.  There is no evidence that any Church leader made sympathetic statements on pedophilia of the kind made by Professor Downing, on behalf of the ABC, in 1975.  If this had been the case, it surely would have been reported on the ABC.

Gerard Henderson will take up the statement of former ABC chairman Richard Downing with the new chair of the ABC when he or she is appointed.


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Until next time.


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