GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG

ISSUE – NO. 496

15 May 2020

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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 – UNSW’s Lindy Edwards sees doom ahead for the Coalition; David Speers sees equivalence in the Commonwealth government’s pandemic borrowings and Queensland’s self-inflicted debt

  • A Double Standard Moment – Alan Jones on Julia Gillard & Jacinda Ardern vs Phillip Adams on Donald Trump & Miriam Margolyes on Boris Johnson

  • Can You Bear It? Sarah Ferguson’s Trump/Russia conspiracy debunked; Ellen Fanning’s Covid-19 “fun fact” word game; Bronwyn Bishop on Australia’s road to socialism (continued)

  • Bush Lawyers vs The Law – David Marr’s High Court confusion

  • Five Paws Award – Step Forward Deirdre Macken

  • You Must Remember This – Virginia Trioli before the 2019 election; Remembering Insiders morning after the election night before

  • History Corner – Grahame Morris forgets Joseph Lyons; Waleed Aly’s howlers on the building of the Sydney Harbour Bridge & The Great Ocean Road

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  • UNSW ACADEMIC LOOKS INTO CRYSTAL BALL AND SEES DOOM FOR THE COALITION – PER COURTESY OF NINE

What a stunning piece by University of New South Wales lecturer Lindy Edwards in today’s Nine Newspapers. The Sydney Morning Herald article by Dr Edwards (for a doctor she is) was headed “Fend for yourselves, people: it’s dangerous politics”. While The Age’s sub-editor went for “Jobless now collateral damage in culture war”. This is how the article started:

Something has changed in the Liberal Party since John Howard was prime minister. Key business lobbies now have such a grip they can frogmarch the government towards political suicide. It is only weeks since a million Australians lost their jobs by government decree to protect us all from a health crisis. Most are yet to receive their first benefits, but the government has said the guiding principles on the way out will be self-reliance and personal responsibility.

In a remarkable piece, the learned UNSW doctor (of something or other) did quite a job debunking the Coalition’s economic policy at a time of deflation by means of just one quote from a government source, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.  Just one.  For the rest there were references to unnamed “Coalition ideologues” and “tribal warriors” along with the claim that the Treasurer is “tone deaf”.

It came as no surprise that Lindy Edwards concluded that Prime Minister Scott Morrison “could face the same fate” as Tony Abbott (who lost his prime ministership after two years).  For the record, the next election is due in around two years’  time and Dr Edwards reckons that the Coalition is probably doomed.

  • DAVID SPEERS SEES EQUIVALENCE IN THE COMMONWEALTH’S PANDEMIC BORROWINGS AND QUEENSLAND’S SELF-INFLICTED DEBT

ABC TV Insiders presenter David (“Call me Speersy”) Speers took his usual slot on Radio National Breakfast  this morning to plug his Sunday program.  When discussion turned on the Queensland government’s decision to bid for part of a consortium that purchases Virgin Airlines, your man Speers said that this would be a “risky investment…in this environment”.  Sure would. He also conceded that “arguably governments should get out of the way in this situation”.  Sure should. But then Speersy had this to say:

David Speers:  I think for the Federal government though too –  I mean, you know, the fact that it’s been Peter Dutton and David Littleproud leading the attacks on Queensland for this. They’re both Queenslanders. That tells you, for their part, there is a fair bit of politics here as well. And I think it is a bit rich for the Commonwealth to be complaining about Queensland taking on too much debt when, well, the Commonwealth’s debt levels are going through the roof as we speak.

Cathy Van Extel: Indeed…

Turn it up.  The Queensland Labor government got into massive debt well before the pandemic because it chose to borrow partly to fund desk jobs in the Queensland Public Service. The Commonwealth Coalition government, on the other hand, has got into massive debt in response to COVID-19 and its dreadful adverse impact on the Australian economy.  The initiative is supported by the State governments, including Queensland. The two situations are not comparable.

Moreover, Peter Dutton and David Littleproud are not criticising the Queensland government for political reasons.  They just happen to believe that, for a state government which is already in substantial debt, it would be most unwise to put the money of so many Queenslanders into an airline.  That’s all.


A DOUBLE-STANDARD MOMENT

  • STARRING PHILLIP ADAMS & DONALD TRUMP PLUS MIRIAM MARGOLYES & BORIS JOHNSON

There has been much moralising, in Nine Newspapers and on the ABC, about Alan Jones’ occasional language explosions – such as when he spoke figuratively but insensitively about what should happen to such political opponents as Julia Gillard and Jacinda Ardern.  The 2GB/4BC presenter apologised for his turn of phrase.

But the ABC and Nine have been remarkably quiet about recent rants by ABC Radio National presenter Phillip Adams and the British Australian actor Miriam Margolyes whose documentary Miriam Margolyes Almost Australian debuts on ABC TV next Tuesday.

In the BBC program The Last Leg on 8 May 2020 (which is also shown on ABC TV and on iView), Comrade Margolyes had this to say about how she responded on finding that Boris Johnson had COVID-19:

Adam Hills: How do you think the [Johnson] government have handled everything so far, Miriam?

Miriam Margolyes: Appalling of course. Appallingly, it’s a disgrace, it’s a scandal. It’s a public scandal. I mean, I had difficulty not wanting Boris Johnson to die. I wanted him to die and then I thought: “That reflects badly on me” and I don’t want to be the sort of person who wants people to die.” So, then I wanted him to get better, which he did do. He did get better. But he didn’t get better as a human being and I really would prefer that.

So there.  MM really wanted Prime Minister Boris Johnson to die.  But she stepped back when realising that such a wish would reflect badly on her. Yes MM herself.  Miriam Margolyes’ comment on The Last Leg has been removed from iView – but her new show will debut on ABC TV this Tuesday.  It seems that everything’s OK with Ms Margolyes’ language and no apology is required.

And then there is the ABC’s Man-in-Black. As avid readers will recall, this is what Dr (of the honorary kind many times over) Adams tweeted on learning of the fact that COVID-19 had entered 10 Downing Street:

It was not long after that COVID-19 rocked up at the White House. So far, President Donald J. Trump has been spared the virus.  Not so lucky have been Katie Miller (the  Vice-President’s spokesperson) and the National Guard Bureau’s General Joseph Lengyel.  Plus an anonymous member of the US military who serves as one of the President’s personal valets.

Your man Adams’ tweet has been deleted – apparently without apology.

Below are some images of Miriam Margolyes – as seen by ABC Viewers on The Last Leg & as seen by Jackie in her kennel last night.


Can You Bear It

  • SARAH FERGUSON TRUMP/RUSSIA CONSPIRACY DEBUNKED BY HER PRINCIPAL SOURCE JAMES CLAPPER

If the ABC is looking to save money after the COVID-19 travel bans are lifted, it might well examine its international travel budget and stop some of its high profile presenters travelling business class to North America and/or Europe to tell us viewers what we already know – or, for good reasons, don’t know because it’s FAKE NEWS.

Take ABC fave Sarah Ferguson’s expensive three part series “Trump/Russia” which ran for three successive weeks on the leading ABC TV Four Corners program during June 2018.  This saw Comrade Ferguson travelling from Sydney to New York, Washington DC, London and Moscow to investigate allegations that Donald J. Trump colluded with Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian regime in Russia in order to win the 2016 presidential election.

Nice gig if you can get it.  But this was hardly a story which required the ABC to send a highly paid journo from Australia to the Northern Hemisphere. After all, isn’t this why the taxpayer funded public broadcaster has journalists based in North America and Europe?

According to the ABC, the “Trump/Russia” series was “the story of the century”.  In fact, the Ferguson team discovered nothing that would link the Trump 2016 campaign with Russia.  This was demonstrated by the release of The Mueller Report in April 2019.  It found that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.  In short, Comrade Ferguson’s “story of the century” was a very expensive non-story.

The “star” of the Four Corners’  “Trump/Russia” series was none other than James Clapper – the United States Director of National Intelligence between 2010 and early 2017.  Now your man Clapper is a first-class Trump-Hater. No surprise, then, that he appeared in all three episodes of “Trump/Russia”. Re which see MWD Issue 454, 7 June 2019.  As documented there, Mr Clapper was Sarah Ferguson’s first and last interview in her three-part series – and he appeared in between as well.

In “Trump/Russia”, Sarah Ferguson failed to produce any evidence to link Russia with the 2016 Trump campaign.  However, she tried hard enough – as this exchange  with James Clapper indicated:

Sarah Ferguson, Reporter: You saw your nation convulsed by division caused by the Watergate Scandal. How does this compare?

James Clapper, US Director Of National Intelligence 2010-2017 :  I don’t think –  I think what’s going on now makes that pale. That was purely a domestic thing.

We didn’t have the involvement of a foreign adversary, our prime foreign adversary, Russia, in that and so to me it’s much more worrisome.

Sarah Ferguson, Reporter: So, these are dangerous times?

James Clapper, US Director Of National Intelligence 2010-2017: They are.

What a load of absolute tosh.  In any event, late last week transcripts from the House Intelligence Committee meetings held in late 2017 were released.  They revealed that Trump-Hater Clapper told a series of porkies to the naïve Ferguson. For example this is what he told the House Intelligence Committee (but not to Comrade Ferguson):

James Clapper: I never saw any direct empirical evidence that the Trump campaign or someone in it was plotting or conspiring with the Russians to meddle with the election.

So in 2018, Clapper told Ferguson that the (alleged) involvement of Russia in the 2016 presidential election was worse than the Watergate scandal in that it involved the dangerous intervention of a foreign adversary in domestic US politics.

However, in late 2017 Clapper had told the US House Committee, under oath, that he never saw any evidence that the Trump campaign was plotting with Russia – a foreign power – to meddle in the US elections.  As mentioned, your man Clapper when giving evidence to the House Intelligence Committee – but not when talking to Four Corners and, consequently, had not taken any truth serum.

Has Four Corners or 7.30 or any of the leading ABC news and current affairs programs reported that Mr Clapper conned Ms Ferguson on anything at all about the release of these documents?  Not on your nelly. Can You Bear It?

  • ELLEN FANNING’S COVID-19 “FUN FACT” WORD GAME

While on the topic of the ABC, what about ABC TV’s The Drum co-presenter Ellen Fanning’s contribution to the discussion of COVID-19 which is currently decimating the Australian economy?  Comrade Fanning, presides over a kinder-gentler The Drum where panellists are expected to be nice to one another – assuming they can stay awake during the resultant boredom of a panel show which avoids argument and has black-listed quite a few conservatives.

Thanks to the avid Victorian reader who drew MWD’s attention to a tweet sent out yesterday afternoon by a certain Dale Drinkwater on the novel-coronavirus – whose website boasts that she “gets interviews on The Drum”.

The first responder who got into this word-game suggested “fire us”, “tire us”, “inspire us” and “papyrus” – and then asked “how am I doing”? Very well, according to Comrade Fanning who must have had nothing better to do in Australia’s very own Conservative Free Zone than to follow Twitter  after lunch. She had this to say:

 

Now, MWD is not sure that “hepatitis” really rhymes with “virus” – but there you go.  More to the point is the suggestion that Comrade Fanning thinks that the novel- coronavirus is worth having a laugh about.

Yesterday morning the Australian Bureau of Statistics released dreadful figures for unemployment and underemployment – caused by the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown on big, medium and small private sector businesses.

Many of Comrade Fanning’s colleagues at the taxpayer funded public broadcaster – none of whom have lost jobs due to the pandemic closures – have called for an even more extensive lockdown which would lead to even more unemployment and under-employment.  Most of this lot are working from home in their pyjamas while being paid by the taxpayer.

So it’s come to this.  The pandemic is wreaking havoc on the private sector.  Meanwhile the taxpayer funded Comrade Fanning reckons it’s fun – and appropriate – to play games with the word “virus”. Can You Bear It?

  • BRONWYN BISHOP ON AUSTRALIA’S ROAD TO SOCIALISM (CONTINUED)

As avid readers will be aware, MWD just loves to hear Bronwyn Bishop expound on socialism. Which she does frequently as the carry-over-champion on Sky News’ Paul Murray Live on most Thursday nights (After Dark, of course).

Last Sunday, BB was a guest on Chris Smith’s new Sky News interview program. After a discussion on Ms Bishop’s long-time in the Commonwealth Parliament, the topic turned to leadership changes and, you bet, socialism.  Let’s go to the transcript:

Chris Smith: Were some of those leadership challenges some of the most dramatic times that you have experienced in the House?

Bronwyn Bishop: Yes, I guess when Gillard replaced Rudd just overnight. That was a shock to the parliament. And I guess it started a roller coaster of leadership changes which ended up with the amazing spectacle of a socialist Mr Turnbull leading the Liberal Party. Which was really quite a turn of events….

You bet, the Liberal Party’s decision to replace the incumbent prime minister Tony Abbott with Malcolm Turnbull in September 2015 was an “amazing spectacle”. Especially since the evidence suggests that Bronwyn Bishop voted for the (alleged) “socialist” Malcolm Turnbull in the leadership spill. How amazing can such a metamorphosis be?  Can You Bear It?


BUSH LAWYERS vs THE LAW

  • DAVID MARR’S HIGH COURT CONFUSION

MWD desperately hopes that The Guardian’s David Marr will return soon to the ABC’s Insiders couch – now a virtual couch due to COVID-19 and all that. At least it would liven up the program which invariably consists of life-long journalists talking to other life-long journalists with scant disagreement on topics of which they have no first-hand experience.  Like last Sunday’s oh-so-polite discussion which saw Jackie’s (male) co-owner pour an early Gin & Tonic to relieve the boredom.

From its perspective, MWD would like to hear the Sydney-based author’s current view on the George Pell case.  The word “current” is used since Mr Marr LLB’s views have changed on the topic over recent times. Here’s how.

Writing in The Guardian on 1 June 2019, David Marr said that Cardinal Pell had “a good chance” of winning his appeal to the Victorian Court of Appeal against his conviction in late 2018 on historical child sexual abuse charges.  However, he opined that, in such a situation, it was possible that the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions would appeal Pell’s acquittal to the High Court – and win.  In which case Cardinal Pell would go back into the slammer. As Marr wrote at the time:

A gap has opened up between the Canberra and Melbourne courts in the past few years in child abuse cases. The language of the High Court has been polite but its rebukes have been emphatic. Again and again it has backed trial judges and juries. Offenders set free on appeal in Melbourne find themselves behind bars once again. The Victorian public prosecutor is feeding the appeals to the High Court and winning.

In fact, the Victorian Court of Appeal (in a two to one majority judgment) upheld Pell’s conviction on 21 August 2019 and on 7 April 2020 the High Court overturned the Victorian Court of Appeal’s decision and quashed Pell’s conviction.  In short, Marr got it hopelessly wrong.

In an article in The Guardian on 7 April 2020, David Marr made no mention of his false predictions.  Rather he described how the High Court had rejected the Victorian DPP’s case and concluded:

Long term, the court’s decision reinforces scepticism in senior legal circles about prosecution of accusations of sex crimes committed a long time ago. The question that has yet to be fully explored is how the law operates here when time has placed everyone – the accused, accusers, police and prosecutors – at such a disadvantage.

Interesting, to be sure.  But to those who have read the High Court’s unanimous decision in George Pell v The Queen, it is evident that their honours believe that it was Cardinal Pell who was most put at a disadvantage, having served 405 days in prison before being found not guilty and, consequently, entitled to the presumption of innocence.


  • DEIRDRE MACKEN TAKES AIM AT THE SOCIAL KISS AND THE GROUP HUG

As far as hugging goes, Jackie’s (male) co-owner draws the line at canines.  Dogs need a hug from time to time. Moreover, their competitive nature and sense of ownership makes a canine group-hug almost an impossibility. So – no problem there. What’s more, the social canine kiss can result in teeth in a friendly face. So, few try it – especially those who know that dogs are descended from wolves.  Including Jackie – Australia’s second most famous blue-heeler, after the taxpayer funded ABC virtual dog Bluey.

Being a courteous and well brought up kind of guy, Hendo has behaved like a gentleman, or gentle person, when confronted with the prospect of a planted social kiss or being tackled in a hug.  So he was relieved to read last Saturday that at least one other felt the same.

Step forward Deirdre Macken – in the “Review” section of last Saturday’s Weekend Australian with a column titled “Social Distancing? There should be more of it”. It was a plea from the heart for us all to “rethink personal boundaries”.

Ms Macken has little time for the handshake – although she accepts that it will probably survive COVID-19.  Her preference is for the hat tip, the slow head nod, even the wink.  And she expects that the elbow bump and the ankle tap will not be with us for long.

Ms Macken’s anger was directed at the social kiss and the hug which invariably graduates into a group hug.  This is what she had to say:

Take the kiss. Until the 90s, only the French kissed everyone. Then, almost overnight, schoolgirls would kiss each other in the playground, friends began kissing and finally it got into ­offices, where vaguely familiar colleagues would make a lunge before you’d even remembered their names. By the time it got into the boardroom, people began to question it. If it was spreadsheets at 20 paces, why were they all smooching? If the discussion was about harassment, why did they begin it with a kiss?

While the kiss was uncontained, the handshake also began to break its boundaries. It morphed into the bro hug — a handshake that veers into a bump of shoulders and a pat on the back. It may have started on the footy field but quickly spread into the office.

Quite so.  Jackie’s (male) co-owner left the Catholic Church many decades ago when trendy clerics, in post Vatican II mode,  urged congregations to take part in the sign-of-peace, which soon advanced into the kiss-of-peace, with total strangers.  Only God knows what takes place these days. In any event, thank God that Deirdre Macken is on the case in the secular world and wants to ban the social kiss and the group hug.

[While she’s on the job, Ms Macken might cast a critical eye on the dreadful phenomenon of hand-holding. Hand-holders pass on as many germs as hand-shakers. And they occupy twice the space on footpaths. MWD Editor.]

Deirdre Macken: Five Paws


“You Must Remember This” is based on the chorus line in the song As Time Goes By which was popularised by the film Casablanca. It is devoted to reminding the usual suspects of what they and/or those they supported once wrote or said or did. On this occasion, MWD looks back on the media’s expectation of, and response to, the 2019 Federal result.

  •  REMEMBERING VIRGINIA TRIOLI’S TRAM STOP INTERVIEWS IN THE MAY 2019 ELECTION

Since Monday 18 May is the first anniversary of the Coalition’s victory, under Scott Morrison’s leadership, it’s appropriate to remember the occasion, albeit briefly.  Here are MWD’s favourite recollections.

  • In the lead up to 18 May 2019, virtually all ABC types believed the election would result in a loss for the Morrison government – and it affected some of the reporting.

MWD’s  favourite moment was when MWD fave Virginia Trioli (then co-presenter of ABC TV’s News Breakfast) interviewed the three main candidates for the Liberal Party held seat of Higgins in south-eastern Melbourne.  The seat had been held for the Coalition by Kelly O’Dwyer – who did not contest in 2019 – and was regarded by many as a likely victory for Labor, perhaps even the Greens.

Comrade Trioli took to the corner of Glenferrie Road and High Street, Armadale – as the trams passed by – and interviewed the three main candidates for Higgins.

First up, it was the Labor Party’s Fiona McLeod. La Trioli declared that Ms McLeod had been described by Bill Shorten as a “rock star candidate”. She referred to Fiona McLeod as “the former president of the Law Council of Australia” who “led the legal team at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse” and is a “highly accredited lawyer”. Pretty impressive, really.

Trioli’s first question was predictably soft:  “How does it feel being described as a rockstar candidate?” The answer was: “Oh, it’s pretty flattering.” Enough said.

Next it was the Greens’ candidate Jason Ball’s turn. There was some gushing about Mr Ball’s credentials as “Victoria’s 2017 Young Australian of the Year” and so on.  He was born in January 1988. The first question (another soft one) was this: “Why would someone who had a promising career as an Aussie Rules footballer go into politics?”  In fact, Comrade Ball never played football at a senior level, i.e. the Australian Football League or the Victoria Football League. And, at age 31, in May 2019 he was too old to enjoy a promising football career at this level. So La Trioli’s first question was so soft as to be meaningless.

Then it was time to hear from the Liberal Party’s Dr Katie Allen, who was described this way: “She’s a credentialled doctor, she’s a medical researcher and a paediatrician and now she’s taking on politics”. Then it was time for Virginia Trioli to climb-into Dr Allen, by reminding the Liberal Party of her failure to win the State seat of Prahran for the Liberal Party in the November 2018 election:

Virginia Trioli:  Welcome to News Breakfast. In the recent state election, I don’t think you delivered ANY primary votes for the seat of Prahran that you contested. In fact, the vote went backwards about 12 per cent there. So what makes you think you’ll be successful here?

Dr Allen responded, politely, that in Prahran at the 2018 Victorian election the swing against her was less than the state-wide swing against the Coalition.   She could have added that State and Federal elections are different.  But La Trioli was having none of this – and threw the switch to hostility:

Virginia Trioli: Well it ain’t that good a job when you aren’t delivering any primary vote [to the Liberal Party] and that’s the most important thing you need to do. And when you talk about swings that’s the issue isn’t it? There is a swing here that’s going in all directions. But the problem is it’s going away from the [Liberal] Party that’s held it for so long. Why do you think that is?

As it turned out, there was a small swing against Dr Allen.  But she defeated Labor’s “rockstar candidate” Fiona McLeod by 54 per cent to 46 per cent. Not bad for someone who, in La Trioli’s words, was not doing “that good a job” in her campaigning for the seat. The interview implied that the ABC presenter believed that Fiona McLeod or Jason Ball would win the Higgins election on 18 May 2019. Not so.

  • REMEMBERING INSIDERS’ MORNING AFTER THE ELECTION NIGHT BEFORE

On the morning after the election night before, there was a subdued mood on the set of the ABC TV Insiders program.  Barrie Cassidy was in the presenter’s chair – he had predicted a Labor victory with Bill Shorten becoming prime minister.  The panel consisted of David Crowe, Patricia Karvelas and Niki Savva.

When the polls closed on Saturday 18 May 2020, Comrade Karvelas told ABC viewers that Labor would do very well in Victoria and win seats. It didn’t.  Comrade Crowe seemed to have other things on his mind – probably to do with the title of his forthcoming book which had already been advertised as “Venom: The Vendettas and Betrayals that Broke a Party”.  The title needed to be changed – since Mr Turnbull’s replacement by Mr Morrison had not broken the Liberal Party. Quite the contrary.

 Likewise Ms Savva, the self-proclaimed conservative leftie (whatever that might mean) and Malcolm Turnbull supporter. Her task was what to do with the advertised title of her book, namely “Highway to Hell: The Coup that Destroyed Malcolm Turnbull and Left the Liberals in Ruins”.  The leadership change in August 2018 certainly destroyed Mr Turnbull’s career – but it did not leave the Liberal Party in ruins.

So there you have it. Everyone on Insiders on Sunday 19 May 2019 had not anticipated the election outcome. Which explains why all are back on the ABC this year for more expert commentary.  The three panellists remain on the Insiders team. And former presenter Barrie Cassidy is doing an ABC interview series on, yes, leadership – a trait which he failed to see in Scott Morrison.


HISTORY CORNER

After what journalists call a W.E.B. (aka a Well Earned Break), in response to enormous reader demand – “History Corner” returns this week.  Alas it has been a victim of sorts to the pandemic – since the avalanche of COVID-19 news has led to a slightly smaller MWD in recent months.

  • JOSEPH LYONS’ SUCCESSFUL CAREER IN STATE AND FEDERAL POLITICS

On The Bolt Report last Friday, panellist Grahame Morris had this to say about the political shambles that led NSW Nationals  leader John Barilaro to announce that he was dropping his bid to run for the Nationals in the by-election for the Federal seat of Eden Monaro scheduled in the next few months.

Grahame Morris: I worked it out, Mr Barilaro would come in at about number 8 in the National Party pecking order [in Canberra]. He’s got a few [potential] ministers in front of him. He’s got Barnaby [Joyce] in front of him, he’s got Matt Canavan in front of him, he was never going to be leader.  But the interesting thing to me is, State people moving into politics. I can only think of three that have been a success. Menzies, Bob Carr and John Fahey. All the others have flopped.

Former NSW premiers Bob Carr and John Fahey were successful in Federal politics.  As was former Victorian attorney-general Robert Menzies – who became prime minister for a total of 18 years, namely mid-1939 to mid-1941 and December 1949 to January 1966.

What’s important turns on who was missing.  Joseph Lyons, no less. He moved from being a Labor premier of Tasmania to Federal treasurer in the Scullin Labor government and on to prime minister leading the conservative United Australia Party (the predecessor of the Liberal Party) from January 1931 to April 1939 (when he died in office).

Joseph Lyons was the only State premier to become prime minister after the first decade of the Commonwealth of Australia. He was no political flop.

  • WALEED ALY’S CONFUSION RE THE CONSTRUCTION OF VICTORIA’S GREAT OCEAN ROAD & THE SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE

The leftist presenters at Network 10’s The Project want to use the recession/depression that is the consequence of COVID-19 to lead to a greater role for government in the economy.  This is what The Project’s  co-presenter and Monash University academic Waleed Aly had to say on 30 April 2020:

Waleed Aly: Right now is a chance for our politicians to focus on the next century, not just the next election cycle. Australia could be dealing with the fallout from this crisis for decades to come. That’s what we saw after the Great Depression. But that period also saw the creation of some of our greatest national treasures, the Great Ocean Road, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, both built in the 30s by workers desperately in need of a job. Both projects helping keep local economies afloat.

Australia forged back then by our government and our people, is the Australia we treasure now. And the nation we build in these extraordinary times will define this country for generations to come.

Sometimes MWD wonders what type of history is taught at Monash University. It seems that Dr Aly (for a doctor he is) is a bit confused about Australia in the 20th Century. Here’s why:

۰ The Great Depression is broadly accepted as having taken place between late 1929 and early 1933. In Australia, unemployment reached 32 per cent (its peak) in 1932. The official ceremony to mark the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge took place on 28 July 1923 and actual construction began in October 1928 – i.e. before the Wall Street crash of 1929.

۰ In Victoria, the Great Ocean Road project between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Warrnambool commenced in 1918 – and construction began in 1919.  It was envisaged as a work scheme for soldiers returning from the First World War. The final stage of the Great Ocean Road was completed in 1932, a bit before the end of the Great Depression.

In short, Comrade Aly’s claim that the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Great Ocean Road were built as job creation schemes in response to the Great Depression is just, well, BUNK.

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Until next time.

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