ISSUE – NO. 467

6 September 2019

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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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  • MWD Editorial meets MWD Exclusive – Yet another leftist lands a prominent job at the ABC

  • Can You Bear It? Bath time with Van Badham; A new theory on the Chunder Down Under; Niki Savva digs in; The Liberal Party’s vanishing problem with women

  • Ask Jackie (Dip. Wellness) On The Couch – With Peter FitzSimons & His Red Bandanna

  • A Jane Caro Moment – Jane prepares for the end of Australian democracy

  • The US[ELESS] Studies Centre – A useless study into how Australians would vote in US elections

  • Jackie Looks Back on False Prophecy – Stephen Mayne on Malcolm Turnbull’s new political party (which never was)

  • Your Taxes at Work – ABC renews the life of ABC Life

  • Five Paws Award – Step Forward Paul Barry re Tony Jones

  • The Kinder/Gentler Drum Bangs On – New evidence concerning the censored episode of The Drum

  • Hinch on Hinch – The Human Headline on The Dalai Lama (featuring a shout out to Gerald Henderson)

  • New Segment: A Bush Lawyer Examined – Step forward Jack Waterford

  • Documentation – A summary of the crimes of Carl Beech (aka “Nick”)

  • Correspondence – Paul Kennedy goes “under the bed” re The Melbourne Response

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The ABC is a Conservative Free Zone without a conservative presenter, producer or editor for any of its prominent television, radio or online outlets.  The likes of Julia Baird and Leigh Sales deny this – but have never been able to name even one conservative who presides over a prominent program or production.

In view of this, what the taxpayer funded public broadcaster does not need right now is yet another leftist or left-of-centre operative in a prominent role.

However, last Friday at around 2.30 pm, Bhakthi Puvanenthiran tweeted that she is taking up a position at ABC Life.  According to a report in Mumbrella on 30 August 2019, it is the role of ABC Life’s editor.

Ms Puvanenthiran is currently editor of the left-wing newsletter Crikey.  She has previously worked with Fairfax (now Nine) and the ABC.  It’s the familiar left-of-centre ABC-Fairfax-ABC Crikey circuit – where the left employs and promotes the left.  Those who read Crikey, or watch its managing editor’s appearances on ABC TV’s The Drum, will know Ms Puvanenthiran’s political views.  She ain’t a conservative – and will feel at home at the taxpayer funded Conservative Free Zone.

Can You Bear It


Jackie, a canine who feels the threat of male dominated dystopia, welcomes the announcement that Margaret Atwood will publish a new book The Testaments – a sequel to A Handmaid’s Tale.

Here Jackie is on a unity ticket with The Guardian’s Van Badham – who had this to say in support of A Handmaid’s Tale on ABC Radio’s The World Today yesterday:

Van Badham: I remember I read it in the bath – and I read it in one sitting. And only when I put down the book did I realise that the bath had gone completely cold.

MWD’s feminist adviser maintains that a fast reader could cover the 75,000 or so words in A Handmaid’s Tale in, say, four hours.

So, if Badham got into the bath at 8 pm she would have been out by midnight.  And if she got in the bath at 7 am she would have been out shortly before lunch.  It’s not clear whether this bath-marathon event took place in winter, spring, summer or fall (as the song goes). Let’s hope, not winter.  Can You Bear It?


There has been enormous interest in MWD’s attempt to get full disclosure in the Great Chunder Down Under event which occurred at the ABC’s Melbourne Southbank Studio on the night of Tuesday 6 August 2019 – or was it the morning after the night before?

As avid readers are aware, after the filming of Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell, your man Micallef – a teetotaller – went home, leaving behind a group of Mad As Hell types along with some ABC personnel to party into the night – and into the following morning, it seems.  The Australian’s “The Diary” broke the story that someone threw up in the Women’s Change Room – the detritus was discovered by Virginia Trioli on the morning of Wednesday 7 August.

Believe it or not, Shaun Micallef has not seen the occasion as good material for a comedy sketch on Mad As Hell – since he never makes fun of the Green Left which comprise Mad As Hell’s audience. In fact, the one-time school captain has gone into No Comment mode.  As has the ABC.

In any event, having visited the scene of the technicolour yawn last Sunday, Jackie’s (male) co-owner has a theory. In Melbourne, the ABC Green Room is located inside the security gate just off the entry hall. Entering the Green Room, the first room on the right is Make Up.  Then second is the Women’s Change Room.  Walk past this and you enter another room – on the left of which is the entry to a unisex toilet.

Could it be that the tired and emotional partygoer turned right instead of left and threw up in the Women’s Change Room by mistake? – instead of the (unisex) toilet bowl.  We may never know because the Mad As Hell team regard this as a NATIONAL SECRET.  Can You Bear It?

[Er, no. Not really.  I note that we have not been told who paid for the clean-up. Mad As Hell or the taxpayer? – MWD Editor.]


While on the topic of “The Diary”, this is what Nick Tabakoff had to say last Monday about the Canberra Writers’ Festival of recent memory:

A Savva savaging

Niki Savva, incidentally, wasn’t mincing her words about Bill Shorten a few days back at a special live episode of the ABC’s Insiders hosted by Fran Kelly, for the Canberra Writer’s Festival. Asked by Kelly what went wrong for Labor at the federal election, Savva called a spade a shovel:  “They had a dud leader, dud policies and they ran a dud campaign.”

A fascinating analysis to be sure – albeit with the benefit of hindsight.  For Ms Savva wasn’t doing much shovelling with respect to the Labor Party and its leader Bill Shorten in the lead-up to the 18 May election.

In her final column before the election – published in The Australian on 16 May 2019 – Niki Savva conceded that either the Coalition or Labor could win.  This is how she referred to Labor and its leader:

If Shorten wins, it will prove yet again that unity trumps unpopularity, just as it did in 2013 when Abbott won.  If Shorten loses, his political career will be over.  There will be a fierce battle for the leadership (Chris Bowen, Anthony Albanese, Tanya Plibersek).

The new leader will have to set a new direction for the party.  It’s difficult to see that Shorten’s soft socialism will survive two election defeats. It hasn’t worked for Jeremy Corbyn in Britain, nor has it worked for Bernie Sanders in the US, regardless of his longevity.

This is a long way short of an endorsement.  But also, a long way short of dismissing Mr Shorten as a dud, with dud policies who presided over a dud campaign.  In other words, Ms Savva was not into shovels about Labor before the election.  Can You Bear It?


While on the issue of the May election, did anyone read the report in Nine newspapers on Tuesday about research at the Australian National University concerning the election result?

This is how Harriet Alexander reported the matter:

They say it is a woman’s prerogative to change her mind. New research suggests women exercising that prerogative delivered Scott Morrison’s election victory with political polling failing to detect the switch. More than a quarter of people voted for a party other than the one they indicated they would support in the lead-up to the federal election, with those who changed their minds in the last month of the campaign aged under 55, from a relatively disadvantaged background and female.

So, there you have it – or not. MWD readers may remember that, for yonks before the election, the best and brightest at Nine newspapers and the ABC were telling us that the Coalition – and in particular the Liberal Party – had a problem with women.  There were not enough women in senior positions in the Liberal Party.  Females in the Liberal Party were subjected to bullying. The Liberals had not chosen Julie Bishop to succeed Malcolm Turnbull. And so on.

And now the very same outlets which suggested that Scott Morrison and his team would lose the election on account of the Coalition’s women’s problem – particularly with young females – are now telling us that the Morrison government was returned on the basis of the support it received from females under 55 years of age. Can You Bear It?


Over recent years, some avid readers have expressed disappointment that a segment on applied psychology, commenced by Nancy (2004-2017), had not been continued by Jackie. Especially since the late Nancy had no qualifications other than common sense – whereas Jackie has a Dip. Wellness from The Gunnedah Institute in addition to canine sense.

As avid readers are aware – after negotiations with Nancy’s estate – Jackie was able to take over this practice.  Jane Caro AM stepped forward to be the first of Jackie’s patients on the couch (See Issue 455).  Now Peter FitzSimons AM is the second.  Here’s an extract from the consultation transcript:

Jackie: Thank you for being my second patient.

Peter: The pleasure is all mine.  There is no more pleasurable way of pleasuring myself than talking about myself – in the morning, at night and frequently during the day.  I don’t know about you, but I find it cathartic.

Jackie: I don’t talk about you if I can avoid it – so I don’t find it car-

Peter: – No, I mean, do you enjoy talking about yourself?

Jackie:  No – but then I’m not a narcissist. Tell me, what’s the head of the Australian Republic Movement doing with an AM – a member in the General Division of the Australian Honours System?  Do you know that the Australian system of honours and awards was established by her Majesty the Queen (aka Mrs King) on 14 February 1975?

Peter:   Well, blow me down.  Was it really? I don’t recall learning about this during my school days at Knox Grammar on Sydney’s North Shore.  I will ask one of my dozen research assistants to check this out.  Currently they’re doing the first draft of my 94th book on some topic or other.  I’ll find out soon and get back to you. However, I like my gong and won’t be returning it. If I put the first person singular before by award – it goes “I AM”.  As in “I am the author of 94 books”. Impressive, don’t you think?

Jackie: What did you learn at Knox?

Peter: Well, I used to call it “The School of Hard Knox?” [Laughs] Get it?  Come to think of it, I might run this in the “Joke of the Week” segment in my Sun-Herald column next Sunday. Sorry, I forgot the question –

Jackie: What did you learn at Knox?

Peter: Not much – which is why I need a dozen researchers/writers to write my terrific, best-selling books.  But, come to think of it, I learnt to dislike and sneer at Catholics.  You know Rockchoppers, as we call them in Sydney.  Knox Grammar was originally Methodist before it became part of the Uniting Church.  As a young man there was Methodism in my madness – this helped to turn me into the anti-Catholic sectarian that I am today.

Jackie: And then?

Peter: Well I went to the University of Sydney where I was a resident at Wesley College.  It was there that I learnt to be a gentleman.  Gentlemen, we are told, only threw two rolls at dinner each night.  Whereas we were informed that the Rockchoppers at St John’s chucked at least half a dozen rolls. No manners – but what would one expect?

[This was a John-Laws-Style “Deliberate-Mistake”, due to Jackie’s fallible shorthand. Knox Grammar was originally Presbyterian before it became part of the Uniting Church. Wesley College, where Fitz resided when at Sydney University, was originally Methodist before it too became part of the Uniting Church. – MWD Editor, 9 September 2019]


Jackie: Relaxation?

Peter: Sure – I like thinking and talking about myself. It’s just so relaxing. And I also played Rugby. You know, “The Game They Play In Heaven” (but without the Catholics).  Rugby or Rugby Union, suited lads like me who came from private schools to university colleges without ever coming across a Rugby League type.  Come to think of it – a lot of Rockchoppers played League. But, again, what do you expect?

Jackie: Were you good at Rugby?

Peter:  Haven’t I told you that I played seven tests for the Wallabies?  Some players boast about a game when they were best in the field.  In one test, I was best-off-the-field.  I was red-carded by a referee (probably a Rockchopper) for starting a fight with a French player.  My colleague David Campese criticised me for undue violence – claiming that I had done “the game and its reputation enormous damage”.  But with an Italian/Catholic name like that – what would he know?

Jackie: Still interested in sport?

Peter: Sure. These days I lecture anyone who will listen about the danger of concussion suffered by footballers, boxers and the rest following punch-ups.  My brain now tells me to campaign against brain injuries – along with the construction of sports stadiums. I love lecturing others about the need for non-violence on and off the ground.

Jackie: But what about you and the French player?

Peter:  Oh, the frog – as they say, the past is another country.  At least when it involves me.  What’s more, I reckon that a fundamental Christian like sacked Rugby star Israel Folau does far more damage to The Game They Play In Heaven (without the Catholics), than I ever did.  You see, a tall and big bloke like me may have knocked out a smaller frog or two.  But the fundamentalist Folau quoted from St Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians.  What could be worse for Rugby than this?  Sometime I think that fundamentalist Christians are more dangerous than Rockchoppers – many of whom were brought up on the New Testament – and not the Old Testament. But not for long.

Jackie: I’ve just heard that you will deliver the 2019 Andrew Olle Media Lecture on All Saints’ Day. Congratulations. How are you coping?

Peter:  Great. Indeed I was so humbled by the invitation that I’ll be the third speaker in the series with an AM – after Ray Martin AM and John Doyle AM – that I haven’t stopped talking about it.  Both journos like me. What a hat trick of AMs. As in I am, Ray is and so on.

Jackie: And your message will be?

Peter:  To tell others how to live their lives.  I’ll be lecturing about all matters on which I’m an expert.

Jackie: Will it be a long speech?

Peter: Is the Pope a Catholic?  [laughs for a long time]. I’ll be lecturing about football stadiums and Israel Folau and the Vatican and violence and Ned Kelly and Eureka and the Republic and the Green Left (good) and the Liberal Party and Nationals (bad) and climate change and Rupert Murdoch (bad) and Lisa Wilkinson (what a sheila!) and Alan Jones (what a shocker!) and I’ll probably even name a date for the end of the world.

Jackie:  While on the issue of the republic, do you believe that a majority of Australians in a majority of states will vote for a republic – when its leader is a middle aged multi-millionaire who supports Green Left causes and walks around with a red rag on his head?

Peter: Sure.

Jackie: Anything you are not sure about?

Peter: Yep. I haven’t yet decided whether to front up for a black-tie dinner at the Ivy Ballroom in Sydney in my Red Bandanna when I deliver the Andrew Olle Media Lecture.  You see, I tend to wear it on Network Nine but not when I’m on ABC TV’s The Drum.  Also, I went Red-Bandannaless when my bestie Malcolm Turnbull spoke at the Australian Republic Movement’s annual dinner in 2016.  But I tend to wear it when mixing with my fellow Green-Left Sandalistas in my fave suburb of Mosman.  It can come in handy.  Have I told you how a red traffic light went out on Bradleys Head Road and the police needed a very tall man who could manage a Red Rag on his head and stop the traffic?  I stepped forward. I did it.  And I was wildly praised by doctors and doctors’ wives and doctors’ husbands all wearing their Saturday leather sandals –

Jackie: Time’s up.

Peter: That’s unfortunate.  I was about to tell you about my plan to save Australia.

Jackie: From what?

Peter: From disaster caused by Christians, clerics, climate change deniers, constitutional monarchists, Campeses –

Jackie: – Perhaps next time.


There was enormous positive feedback concerning the inaugural “A Jane Caro Moment” – published in Issue 461.  In fact, there was a call for “More, more”.  Here’s the latest segment.

It’s rare indeed when the alienation of the left intelligentsia can be captured in so few words. Here’s what Ms Caro had to say at Hangover Time (5.36 am) on Wednesday:

Jane Caro‏ @JaneCaro Sep 2

Lost in admiration for the courage and discipline of the Hong Kong protesters. We should take notes, I fear that one day we may have to fight for our democracy too. @4corners

And now for some history. The Communist Party of China came to power – under Mao Zedong’s leadership – on 1 October 1949.  Shortly after, the purges commenced.  The forced famine – that was called the Great Leap Forward – commenced in 1958 and ran for four years.  It is estimated that some 45 million Chinese died as a direct result of Mao’s policies.  Then there was the Great Cultural Revolution which saw some 100 million Chinese purged and several million die.  Then there was the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989.  And so on.

Those protesting peacefully in Hong Kong do not want their rights reduced to the level that prevails in China.  And Jane Caro reckons that “one day” Australians may have to fight for our democracy just like the Hong Kong protestors.  As if the central government in Canberra is becoming like the central government in Beijing.  Turn it up.

Verily, A Jane Caro Moment.


Due to enormous reader demand, MWD takes another look at the taxpayer funded United States Studies Centre which is attached to the taxpayer funded University of Sydney.

As avid readers are aware, Professor Simon Jackman – the chief executive officer of the US[eless] Studies Centre – told Sky News in the wake of the 2016 US presidential election that not one of his colleagues had tipped Donald J. Trump to defeat Hillary Clinton in November 2016.  Not one. Moreover, he ’fessed up that no one at the USSC supported Mr (now President) Trump. No one. Yet USSC staff still present themselves as “experts” on politics in the United States of America.  Really.


When it comes to uselessness, set out below is the most useless research to emerge from the taxpayer funded University of Sydney in recent times. And that’s saying something.  Lotsa thanks to MWD’s US[eless] Studies Centre watcher who drew attention to this USSC media release, titled “Australians overwhelmingly do not want a second term of Trump”, on 27 August 2019:

Just over a year out from the next US presidential election, a new poll released by the United States Studies Centre and YouGov has provided the first major insight into who Australians want to occupy the White House and how this compares to American voters.

Key Points

    • One in five Australians, including one in three Coalition voters, do not [sic] want Donald Trump to win the US presidential election in 2020….

This was later corrected to read:

    • Only one in five Australians, including only one in three Coalition voters, want Donald Trump to win the US presidential election in 2020….

The key points continued:

Dr Shaun Ratcliff, a lecturer in political science, said the USSC-YouGov poll shows that Australians strongly support a Democratic win.

“By a ratio of two to one, Australian respondents preferred an unnamed Democrat to defeat Donald Trump in November 2020 and become the next US president. Young or old, Labor or Coalition, a Democratic win always appears to be the preferred option for most Australians,” Dr Ratcliff said

How useless can a media release be?  Here’s a news flash for the Trump-haters at the USSC.  The White House could not give a tinker’s cuss who Australians (allegedly) want to win the 2020 US presidential election.  For the obvious reason that Australians, who are not dual citizenship holders, do not get a vote in the United States.

Imagine a poll in the US which found that only one in five Americans want the Coalition to win in the 2022 Australian election.  Who would take any notice of so worthless an enquiry?  Come to think of it, no tertiary institution in the US would conduct such a useless poll.

The USSC media release also drew attention to the fact that its chief executive officer Professor Simon Jackman and USSC lecturer Dr Shaun Ratcliff (for a doctor he is) had written an article for the Sydney Morning Herald (on 27 August 2019). Well done.

Their point?  Well, according to the USSC’s best and brightest, US presidential elections are decided on which candidate acquires a majority in the Electoral College.  And not by the popular vote.  Who would have known?

It seems that writing 600 words was beyond the capacity of your man Jackman and your man Ratcliff.  So both worked together on the SMH article which stated the obvious – namely that Donald J Trump may be re-elected in 2020 without winning the popular vote.  Just as happened in 2016. Fancy that.

Professor Jackman did not say why he and all his colleagues at the USSC got the outcome of the 2016 election so wrong. But this time the USSC is predicting a likely victory for Trump in 2020. Who cares?

Due to popular demand, this segment re-appears this week – documenting false prophecy, and failed prophets, in the media.  It’s quite a challenge to get into this section of MWD – since so many a false prophet can be found in the land these days.  Including Stephen Mayne.


There was many a false prophet in the period leading up to the Liberal Party leadership change (24 August 2018) and the Coalition’s victory over Labor at the election (18 May 2019). But few so false as journalist and Crikey founder (and avid but not uncritical MWD reader) Stephen Mayne.

Here are the highlights of what your man Mayne had to say in Crikey on 22 August 2018 under the heading “How cash, profile and coup fatigue will save Malcolm Turnbull”.

▪ The Voice of the Prophet Mayne:

Do former Victorian moderates like [Greg] Hunt and [Alan] Tudge really want to potentially own the destruction of the modern Liberal Party as we know it?  Hunt appears to be positing for leadership advantage in opposition, as he knows that Dutton will probably lose his seat in the upcoming Labor landslide.

What Happened Next:  Scott Morrison replaced Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister – not Peter Dutton.  Mr Dutton won his seat of Dickson with an increased majority.  There was no Labor landslide in the election. The Liberal Party was returned to office – not destroyed.

The Voice of the Prophet Mayne:

The two other key points of leverage that Turnbull holds are the ability to determine the election date and his own financial capacity to bankroll the next Liberal campaign or start his own party.  If he gave himself a two month campaign, the Malcolm Turnbull Sensible Centre party could easily win a large number of seats off the Coalition in Victoria and NSW and potentially a couple off Labor and the Greens.

What Happened Next :  Malcolm Turnbull was too sensible to follow Stephen Mayne’s advice that he set up the Malcolm Turnbull Sensible Centre Party. The Coalition, under the leadership of Scott Morrison, won seats off Labor at the 2019 election in northern Tasmania, Sydney and Queensland.


As readers are aware, MWD admires the dictum attributed to Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin that “worse is better”. So, the decision by ABC management to continue to run ABC Life on the taxpayer funded broadcaster’s website comes as some relief.  More ABC Life equals more material for Hendo’s Media Watch Dog blog.

Currently, the ABC Life website contains such need-to-know items as:

٠ “What causes bunions and how to avoid them?”.

٠ “The dos and don’ts of wearing the right tie”.

٠ “How to get yourself out of bed (and be productive) when you’re not a morning person.”

In view of the wisdom imparted in these articles, no wonder that ABC management has decided to continue ABC Life.  After a review, of course. For a cost of up to $20 million a year for the publication of such absolute tosh.  Your Taxes at Work.

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 Academy Awards.


It’s a rare event when one prominent left-of-centre ABC presenter criticises another prominent left-of-centre ABC presenter, even if the occasion does not take place on one of the ABC’s prominent outlets.

But first, some background. On Monday 26 August, Q&A presenter Tony Jones asserted that Sky News After Dark (i.e. after 6 pm) had about 5,000 viewers. This was hopelessly wrong.  Indeed your man Jones was out by a factor of about twelve.

Last Monday, given the opportunity to apologise for and/or correct his howler, Tony Jones queried the figures supported by Sky News managing director Paul Whittaker – without providing any figures of his own.  Let’s go to the official transcript:

Before we go, last week I speculated that the audience for Sky News After Dark was perhaps 5,000. I asked Sky to fact check that, and of course they did. So, they claim that more than 60,000 viewers tune in at night, so I hereby turn over the issue to any other interested fact checkers. Until next Monday, goodnight.

Not even Paul Barry went along with Tony Jones’ denial.  Here is what the ABC TV Media Watch presenter had to say on his Media Bites web series yesterday:

Paul Barry: But now let’s go fact-checking Q&A’s Tony Jones on the touchy question of how many people tune into Sky After Dark.

Tony Jones: [clip] We’re probably talking about 5,000 people watching at that time.

Paul Barry: Hmmm not sure about that and nor was Tony.

Tony Jones: [clip] They can correct me on that, that’s a fact-check you can do Sky.

Paul Barry: And so they did, with Sky News boss Paul Whitaker telling the Aus that Sky’s average after dark was more like 44,000 plus another 21,000 on free-to-air WIN in the regions. So did Jones correct the record on Monday’s show? Uhh not exactly.

Tony Jones: [clip] So they claim that more than 60,000 viewers tune in at night, so I thereby turn over the issue to any other interested fact-checkers.

Paul Barry: Well, here we are! The facts are checked and Tony, you were wrong.

Paul Barry: Five Paws.

[Are you sure this is a good idea?  After all, this is only on Media Bites web series.  It remains to be seen whether Comrade Barry will correct Comrade Jones in his Media Watch program on Monday. – MWD Editor.]



As avid readers will be aware, ABC TV The Drum’s co-presenters Julia Baird and Ellen Fanning gave an interview to Nine newspapers’ Michael Gallo on 27 January 2019 in which they announced their intention to preside over a kinder/gentler Drum. Dr Baird said that guests who bludgeon their ideological foes into submission will not be invited back. And Ms Fanning declared that the best shows occurred when someone says to another guest: “Say that again, that’s interesting.” How frightfully nice – in a wellness consciousness kind of way.

As avid readers are aware, in recent times MWD has been busy chasing up (yet) another ABC secret.  In this case, who were the two panellists on The Drum on Wednesday 21 August 2019 who caused the 6 pm version of the program to be scrapped – and edited for showing on ABC’s second channel at 7 pm?

This is what “The Diary” in The Australian (2 September 2019) had to say on the matter:

The Drum’s pounding

Diary has learned more details of the ABC’s unprecedented decision 12 days ago to pull The Drum off the ABC’s main channel. A panellist on the night, barrister Richard Beasley SC, has now fessed up to delivering the comments about US President Donald Trump cut out of a heavily edited version of The Drum now running online. He said his remarks referred to Trump’s viral “Grab her by the pussy” quote that emerged on a tape released just before the 2016 presidential election.

“I was basically saying, ‘Why would we want to be normalising a president who is so abnormal?’ ” Beasley reveals of his comments on The Drum.

But Beasley’s words weren’t the main reason The Drum was pulled. That decision was down to ­remarks made by another panellist on the George Pell case….

MWD knows the identity of the other panellist – but believes that the ABC should be the first to name the name.

And there is another question. Will Dr Baird (for a doctor she is) and Ms Fanning stand by their commitment not to invite back on the panel anyone who loses it on the program?  In which case, your man Richard Beasley should receive a permanent red card.  As should the other panellist when revealed.  We’ll keep you posted.


There has been overwhelming demand for more news on the “Spin a Yarn” segment – presented by Derryn (“I got a whopping 2.8% of the primary vote in the Victorian Senate election”) Hinch on Sky News every Thursday. After Dark, of course. Towards the end of the program, a turn-table determines what (boring) story The Human Mumble will tell about famous people who have had the privilege of meeting the even more famous Hinch. Last night it was the Dalai Lama – but more of this later.

According to your man Hinch, the idea of the turn-table came from Canberra Press Gallery journalists Annika Smethurst (News Corp) and Rob Harris (Nine newspapers). MWD does not doubt this.  However, MWD believes that the journos are pulling Hinch’s leg in getting him to tell yet more of his oh-so-boring and inconsequential stories about himself.  It’s just that The Human Mumble does not understand when people are laughing at him. It’s a narcissistic trait.

You be the judge. Let’s go to the transcript:

Derryn Hinch: Now if you’ve tuned in for the first time this is where we play Spin a Yarn this time of the week. These guys [Annika Smethurst and Rob Harris] came up with the idea. Each week they stack heaps of names onto the wheel and I have to come up with a yarn about the celebrity it lands on. Now obviously I don’t know where it will land so here goes.

[Spin a Yarn intro plays, it lands on the Dalai Lama]

Annika Smethurst: My.

Derryn Hinch: Okay, the Dalai Lama, umm, okay.

Rob Harris: [smiling] It’s the Dalai Lama.

Derryn Hinch: [laughing] The Dalai Lama.

Annika Smethurst: [smiling] Have you met him, Derryn?

Derryn Hinch: I have indeed, about three times actually. He came first of all in 19-

Rob Harris: [smiling] What a surprise!

Derryn Hinch: 1994 was his first trip here. And he was only going to do one interview and he thought, back in those days he might get Phillip Adams or George Negus or uh um or Richard Carlton. And he must have seen me on television or something because he said: “No-no”. And he has a very high-pitched voice he said: “No-no-no, I want the bearded-“

Annika Smethurst: [smiling] He was listening to 3AW obviously.

Derryn Hinch: He said: “I want the bearded one” and they said “no you don’t, noo you don’t” – and in the end he got the bearded one. And when I, as I walked out one of his staff handed me a white silk scarf that he wears all the time and he gave me this scarf. And being an atheist when I got home uhh I sort of had letters and things from various Buddhists and I chopped it up and sent them pieces of the Dalai Lama’s scarf.

Some years later, about five years later I interviewed him again on another trip to Australia and we had a very good interview, a good nice chat and uhh.  And at the very end of it he looked at me and he smiled and he reached around his own neck and he took his own scarf off, draped it around my neck and he said: “Don’t cut this one up! Don’t you cut this one up!”. [laughing] So somebody had whispered to him that I’d-

Rob Harris: So where is it now?

Annika Smethurst: Yeah.

Derryn Hinch: It’s in my home, hanging in my wardrobe with all my other scarves, so there you go.

Rob Harris: Wonderful.

Derryn Hinch: [laughs] There we are, alright now that’s about all from the panel, Annika good to have you back, thanks very much. I love it, I love Spin a Yarn, I know Gerard doesn’t but never mind umm, Gerald.

At this stage, Gerard (aka Gerald) Henderson had nodded off, post-dinner port in hand, with a recorder running. On waking he asked: “Did senators have to put up with Derryn Hinch’s boring stories about himself when he was in the Senate. If so, they deserved a pay increase.”


  • MWD v Jack Waterford

On Monday John Menadue’s Pearls and Irritations website published an article by Ramesh Thakur titled “Cardinal Pell’s guilty verdict is deeply troubling”. Professor Thakur is not a Catholic. This is how the piece ended:

We hope that the Australian criminal justice system gets it right in almost all cases. But no legal system is infallible and presumably no one would be silly enough to claim that Australia’s criminal justice system is foolproof against mistakes. In the Witness K and Bernard Collaery case, regardless of the eventual legal outcome, I will remain convinced that the guilty ones have not even been put on trial. In the Cardinal Pell case, if his appeal is heard by the High Court and he is acquitted, many will lose faith in the ability of the legal system to deliver justice on historical sexual abuses by the clergy. Equally, however, if the High Court declines leave to appeal as Jack Waterford recommends, or takes it up and upholds the conviction, sufficient doubt will remain to turn it into a global cause célèbre….

Already its most consequential lesson is that any one of us can be convicted on the uncorroborated testimony of a single complainant recalling events as a child, decades after they are alleged to have happened, no matter how implausible the alleged offence and how improbable the concatenation of circumstantial evidence. We all have fathers, brothers and sons. Inverting the fundamental canon of criminal justice into ‘guilty unless proven innocent’ could destroy any of our families. There but for the grace of God indeed.

Enter bush lawyer Jack Waterford, a former editor of The Canberra Times who writes a weekly column for the paper. On 24 August the Canberra Times published his column titled “High Court should leave Pell alone”. Mr Waterford joins a group of commentators providing gratuitous advice to the High Court as to whether it should grant leave of appeal in this instance.

In his piece, the bush lawyer Waterford made several errors.

  • Waterford alleged that “Pell apologists have merely been parroting the defence summing up”. Not so. Many supporters of Cardinal Pell have identified with the dissenting judgement of Justice Mark Weinberg who is one of the most qualified and experienced criminal jurists in Australia.
  • Waterford wrote condescendingly of the dissenting judgement: “Weinberg was rather more subjective [than the majority] and somewhat inclined to regard himself as the 13thjuror, rather than the assessor willing, reluctantly, to throw the jury verdict out if it were demonstrably cockeyed.” There is no such “demonstrably cockeyed” test in Australian law.
  • Waterford overlooked the fact that all mainland Australian states – except Victoria – provide an option of trial by judge alone. There is a reason for this.
  • Waterford wrote that Pell’s arguments have been “rejected by three judges and a jury”. Not so. It’s true that two judges (out of three) in the Court of Appeal upheld the jury’s decision of guilty. But the trial judge made it clear in his sentencing, on two occasions, that his role was to follow, not second guess, the jury.
  • Waterford, towards the end of his article, threw the switch to emote. There were references to the “well-heeled” defendant along with the assertion that the defendant “would almost certainly have failed to get a hearing if he were a common or garden-variety sexual molester”. This comment does a grave disservice to the Australian legal system – from the magistrate’s court up.
  • Waterford wrote: “There will be some who for political, ecclesiastical or personal reasons would deny Pell’s guilt even if there were 1000 witnesses.” More emoting – there were no witnesses against Pell and no forensic or other objective evidence. Only the statement of the complainant. This is evident by reading both the majority and minority judgments.


MWD readers are well aware about the case of “Nick” – later to be revealed as Carl Beech.  In late October 2012, Nick claimed that – when a boy – he had been sexually abused by a number of high profile British men.  Some of the alleged offenders were living – others (like former prime minister Edward Heath) were dead.

Nick’s allegations led to a situation where police in Britain adopted a policy of believing the complainant in cases of historical child sexual abuse.  This was followed by a practice of calling a complainant a “victim” – before the alleged offender was found guilty.  These matters are also relevant in Australia.

As time went by, Nick was revealed as a liar and a fantasist. Carl Beech was tried and convicted in Newcastle Crown Court in July 2019 of perverting the course of justice (re his false claims) and a fraud (for receiving financial compensation when he was not a victim of child sexual abuse).

In its “In the Back” segment on 9 August 2019, Private Eye – which followed Nick’s case – provided the following summary of events.


A Brief History of Belief with Carl Beech

Private Eye, 9-22 August, 2019 – Page 37

Detective Supt Kenny McDonald announced in December 2014 that allegations made by “Nick”, aka Carl Beech, were “credible and true” – before the Met had conducted any­ basic investigation into his claims of three murders and gang rape over nine years by a dozen sadistic abusers he dubbed “The Group”, said to include a former prime minister, home secretary, chief of the armed forces and the heads of MI5 and MI6.

A jury at Newcastle crown court quickly concluded two weeks ago that the allegations were incredible and untrue, finding Beech guilty of 12 charges of perverting the course of justice and one count of fraudulently obtaining £22,000 criminal injuries compensation for his claimed abuse. He had already previously pleaded guilty to voyeurism and possessing indecent images of children.

How did Inspector Knacker fall for these far-fetched and uncorroborated fantasies? The answer lies at the door of the Labour Party’s shadow Brexit secretary, Sir Keir Starmer QC who as director of public prosecutions (DPP) six years ago created the mantra “Believe the Victim”, which was officially adopted by the police and caused devastating damage to the innocent men whom Carl Beech accused.

The calamitous saga began on 3 October 2012 with an ITV documentary exposing the late Sir Jimmy Savile as a serial paedophile. The NSPCC [National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children] promptly opened a helpline and the Met launched Operation Yewtree. Beech contacted the NSPCC claiming he had been abused by Savile and by his late stepfather; he was referred to Operation Yewtree, which referred him to police in Wiltshire, where the abuse allegedly occurred.

24 October 2012

Labour MP Tom Watson tells a stunned David Cameron at prime minister’s questions that he has evidence of “a powerful paedophile network linked to parliament and Number 10”.

6 December 2012

Beech is interviewed by Wiltshire police, who conclude that since both suspects are dead there is no evidence to proceed. Nevertheless he obtains a crime reference number which enables him to claim compensation.

11 January 2013

The NSPCC and Met publish a joint report, Giving Victims a Voice, which reveals that 450 men and women have alleged they too were Savile victims. A judge orders national publicity for a £3m compensation scheme from Savile’s estate, and another 50 people come forward.

6 March 2013

The DPP Keir Starmer announces a review of guidelines for prosecutors and police investigating allegations of child sexual abuse. Complaining of an “over-cautious” approach to victims, he says: “At the moment there is a great deal of focus on whether the victim is telling the truth…we cannot afford another Savile moment.”

11 June 2013

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and newly created College of Policing publish interim guidelines stating prosecutors and investigators should focus on the credibility of the allegations rather than perceived weaknesses.

17 October 2013

Just before Starmer steps down as DPP, the final guidelines are published. He hails them as “the biggest shift for a generation”, saying victims should be encouraged to come forward confident that they will be believed. The mantra is taking shape.

2 January 2014

Starmer is given a knighthood for services to law and criminal justice.

22 and 23 October 2014

Met Police conduct formal interviews with Carl Beech, following reports published by the (now defunct and discredited) “investigative” website Exaro of his claims about a murderous Westminster paedophile ring.

18 November 2014

Her majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) publishes Crime-Recording: Making the Victim Count. Overseen by HM’s chief inspector Tom Winsor, the report advises: “Immediately, forces should ensure that, in crime-recording…the presumption that the victim should always be believed is institutionalised.”

18 December 2014

Detective Supt Kenny McDonald of Operation Midland announces publicly that Beech’s allegations, which include three child murders, are “credible and true”.

4 March 2015

Police raid the homes of Lord Bramall, Lord Brittan and former Tory MP Harvey Proctor. Their names are leaked to the media as suspects in the alleged paedophile ring.

21 March 2016

The Met announces the closure of Operation Midland, with no arrests. It has cost £2.5m. Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe orders an independent review by retired high court judge Sir Richard Henriques.

8 November 2016

The Met publishes extracts – just 67 pages – from the 491 page report submitted by Henriques. He is unequivocal: “The policy of ‘believing victims’ strikes at the very core of the criminal justice process. It has and will generate miscarriages of justice on a considerable scale…Requiring an investigator to believe a complaint which may or may not be true is a recipe for injustice.” He also recommends that people making such allegations be referred to as “complainants” not “victims”. Northumbria Police is called in to investigate Beech’s claims; in September 2017 it sends a file of evidence to the CPS.

21 April 2018

The Mail on Sunday reveals that the College of Policing has agreed to amend its policy – up to a point. “The intention is that victims are believed” is to be replaced by “The intention is that victims can be confident they will be listened to and their crime taken seriously.”

3 July 2018

The CPS announces that Beech has been charged with perverting the course of justice.

22 July 2019

Beech, the consummate “victim”, is exposed as a fraud.

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 was 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.

On 20 June 2019, ABC TV’s 7.30’s executive producer Justin Stevens wrote to Hendo and stated – with evident irony – “you have a habit of publishing private email correspondence like this”. Quite so – and so it came to pass that his emails were published in Issues 455 and 456.  For his part, Jackie’s (male) co-owner reckons it’s a bit much for journalists who spend a large part of their professional life receiving leaked information – including private correspondence – to lecture others about good manners with respect to the handling of private correspondence.

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, on occasions, Ms Murphy herself (See MWD Issue 297).


The Melbourne based ABC journalist Paul Kennedy has been a George Pell antagonist for many years.  This did not prevent ABC management assigning him to report the decision of the Victorian Court of Appeal in George Pell v The Queen.  In the course of his report, Paul Kennedy made a misleading statement.  However, like so many journalists, he has gone under the bed and declines to answer correspondence – presumably because he has no explanation for his error. Here we go:

Gerard Henderson to Paul Kennedy – 2 September 2019


As you may recall, when commenting on ABC TV about the outcome of the Victorian Court of Appeal’s decision in George Pell v The Queen on the morning of Wednesday 21 August 2019, you made a comment about the Melbourne Response.  As you know, George Pell established the Melbourne Response – to deal with child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy – soon after he became Archbishop of Melbourne on 16 July 1996.

You told ABC TV viewers that the Melbourne Response was established “around the same time” as the date on which the second jury found that Pell had attacked “J” in St Patrick’s Cathedral.

The implication was that Pell established Melbourne Response as a cover for his earlier behaviour.  Shortly before you made your statement, Christine Foster made an allegation along these lines.

The facts are as follows. The Melbourne Response was created – with the support of the Victoria Police – in late October 1996. The assaults for which Pell was convicted took place on one or another Sunday in the second half of December 1996.

In other words, the Melbourne Response was created at least six weeks before – not around the same time as – the matters on which Pell was subsequently convicted.  In other words, there was no causal connection between the two. Moreover, in October 1996, there were no allegations against Pell before secular or clerical authorities.

In view of the fact that you have been one of the leading Pell critics in the media – and that you assisted Christine Foster with her book Hell on the way to Heaven – you have a responsibility to be precise when commenting on both The Queen v George Pell  and George Pell v The Queen.

The fact is that the Melbourne Response could not have been created to deal with any events in St Patrick’s Cathedral in December 1996.

Gerard Henderson

[If Mr Kennedy emerges from under the bed and supports his comments on ABC TV with evidence, MWD will let you know. Don’t hold your breath.]

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Until next time

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