ISSUE – NO. 543

28 May 2021

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There was a time not so long ago when the ABC Q&A program pretended that it had live audiences that were politically balanced.  This was achieved by asking those attending the live broadcast, usually held at the ABC Soviet in Sydney’s inner-city Ultimo, to nominate which political party they supported. This invariably resulted in a “balanced” audience – despite the fact that, collectively, attendees resembled a Green/Left baying mob.

How did this come about? – Media Watch Dog hears readers cry.  Well, the easiest way for a leftist to gain admission was to pretend to be a conservative and fill the Coalition quota. So it was off with the Che Guevara t-shirt and the leather sandals and on with a plain shirt and sneakers.  The pretenders then joined the other members of the baying mob.

It seems that the powers that be at the ABC have junked this ruse.  In any event, last night’s audience was another leftist stack which hooted for the left-of-centre panellists – of which there were many.

Last night’s panel comprised – in the ABC’s chronological order – human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson, actor and performer Mitch Tambo, Liberal backbencher Dave Sharma, Labor frontbencher Ed Husic and Palestinian Egyptian Muslim writer and academic Randa Abdel-Fattah. Hamish Macdonald was in the presenter’s chair.  Another left-of-centre stack to appeal to – and resemble – the audience.

Take the discussion of the Israel/Gaza war, for example – which was billed as the lead topic. The panel comprised two well-known opponents of Israel – Randa Abdel-Fattah and Jennifer Robinson – along with two critics of contemporary Israel – Ed Husic and Mitch Tambo (who said that he didn’t know much about the topic but bagged Israel anyway while declaring that it was “not cool”.)

The baying mob that comprised the audience just loved this quartet.  Which left Dave Sharma – a former Australian ambassador to Israel who attempted to provide a balanced assessment about the Israeli government, the Hamas terrorist regime in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah – as a minority of one.

Comrade Macdonald called two questions – from Suzanne Rutland and Malcolm Bersten which were critical of Hamas.  But once the panel was invited to state their positions, Professor Rutland and Malcolm Bersten had no right of reply. There were no Jewish Australians on the panel but two audience members were allowed to ask a question each. How condescending can the ABC get?

And so, once again, a stacked panel urged on by a stacked audience which bagged the Coalition government on a range of issues, including Australia’s policy towards Israel.  Dave Sharma, who kept his cool, performed very well.  But it’s a wonder that the Coalition keeps putting up a representative most weeks on Q&A.   It’s a bit like attempting to state a case for the Sydney Swans or the Brisbane Lions at a meeting of the Collingwood Football Club’s cheer squad.


While on the topic of last night’s Q&A, this is what Mitch Tambo – who put in a great performance with his song Dreamtime Princess at the end of the program – had to say about an aspect of Indigenous history in Australia since 1788:

Mitch Tambo…There’s a lot of us even from my generation – when our parents were born, they were considered flora and fauna. And there’s also a lot of us today that haven’t had kids. So it’s, like, not getting over it, it’s preparing for what’s ahead because there’s babies that are about to be born and it was their grandmother and grandfather that were considered animals and plants and they’re about to feel that pain….

Q&A presenter Hamish Macdonald said nothing about Mitch Tambo’s statement. But it’s an urban myth.  Australian Aborigines were never considered “flora and fauna”- nor were they considered “animals and plants”.

Comrade Macdonald should have been aware that this mythology has been advanced before on Q&A – by Shareena Clanton on Monday 19 February 2018. This led to a tweet by Nyunggai Warren Mundine on 23 February 2018 in which he asked Fact Check  to check Ms Clanton’s statement on Q&A that: “My mother was born in 1965 and she was not considered a human being until the referendum came through from the Flora and Fauna Act in 1967”.

The RMIT ABC Fact Check Unit took up Warren Mundine’s request.  It made the following finding on 20 March 2018:

Ms Clanton’s claim is a myth. Aboriginal people in Australia have never been covered by a flora and fauna act, either under federal or state law.

But despite several attempts by various people to set the record straight, the myth continues to circulate, perhaps because, as one academic told Fact Check, it “embodies elements of a deeper truth about discrimination”.

Although the claim has been repeated more frequently during the past 10 years, there is evidence to suggest the myth originated in the early 1970s…

Around half a century after the myth originated, it is being repeated on Q&A – without correction by presenter Hamish Macdonald. And Q&A is presented by the ABC as one of the public broadcaster’s most important news and current affairs programs.



As avid readers will be aware, in recent weeks MWD has (unsuccessfully) sought advice from the ABC’s Communications Department – which tends not to communicate – about the fate of Sebastien Maury, a senior in-house ABC lawyer.  Well he was a senior ABC lawyer – but not anymore.  At Senate Estimates on Wednesday, ABC managing director and editor-in-chief David Anderson revealed, in response to questioning, that your man Maury has resigned from the public broadcaster.

It seems that even the ABC would not continue to employ Mr Maury after it was revealed that he had once tweeted that the Coalition government was  “fascist” and was led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison who was an “awful human being”.

In most organisations, such behaviour would lead to instant dismissal – since it would be impossible that a  lawyer who expressed such public contempt for a government could continue to work at the taxpayer funded public broadcaster. But the ABC  bureaucracy got involved – meaning process took over. The Maury case was sent to the ABC’s People and Culture department or some such – read Human Resources – and the process commenced.

However, ABC management eventually decided to manage this issue.  Mr Anderson told Senate Estimates: “We did an investigation…, we followed the process, and Mr Maury resigned – he no longer works for the ABC.”  It would seem that the process took a mere three months which, in Process Land, is fairly quick when you think about it.

By the way, David Anderson also told Senate Estimates that he would not discourage staff from posting their opinions on Twitter – except, apparently, for those who describe the Morrison government as “fascist”.

So it has come to this.  It’s quite okay for Laura Tingle, ABC TV 7.30 political correspondent, in a late night tweet to accuse the Prime Minister of engaging in “ideological bastardry”.  But it’s not okay for an ABC lawyer to call the Morrison government “fascist”.   Yet Benito Mussolini, the prominent fascist, was into ideological bastardry in a big way.  Work that one out.

From MWD’s perspective, the more ABC comrades post their views on Twitter – the better. Especially if they post their views between Gin & Tonic time and Post-Dinner Drinks Time. By their (frank) tweets, we will know them. And the likes of La Tingle provide great copy for Jackie’s (male) co-owner at MWD writing time. As Comrade Maury once did but – alas – no longer will.

Can You Bear It?


Wasn’t it great to see the ABC/Guardian Axis in operation again at the weekend? – in this instance on the ABC TV Insiders  program. The line-up was three from the ABC – presenter David Speers, panellist Andrew Probyn and Shalailah Medhora (who appeared on “Talking Pictures”).  Plus two from The Guardian Australia – panellist Amy Remeikis and “Talking Pictures” host Michael Bowers.  Plus Perth Radio 6PR’s Gareth Parker.  That is – 50 per cent ABC comrades, 33 per cent Guardian comrades plus your man Parker.

That’s the ABC/Guardian Axis in action.  In fact, there is no member of the senior Guardian Australia staff who does not have a gig on Insiders – since the Insiders/Guardian Axis comprises Lenore Taylor (editor), Katharine Murphy (political editor), Sarah Martin (chief political correspondent) and MWD fave Amy Remeikis (political reporter). [Here’s hoping Insiders’  executive producer Samuel Clark can find a place on the Insiders’ couch for the Guardian Australia’s cleaners – at least they probably would have got the outcome of the 2019 election right. – MWD Editor.]

Come to think of it, didn’t Comrade Remeikis put on a stunning performance on Insiders last Sunday?

First up, Amy Remeikis gave her boss Comrade Murphy a plug – following the tradition of Comrade Taylor who also gave Murpharoo a plug (for a column in The Guardian on the Prime Minister and religion) during her 2 May 2021 appearance on Insiders. See MWD Issue 540.

Then Comrade Remeikis responded to what she acknowledged was a leading question from Comrade Speers – suggesting that the Morrison government’s decision to build a $600 million gas-fired energy plant at Kurri Kurri in north east NSW was not an appropriate means to drive down energy prices. In fact, the decision is aimed at both driving down energy prices and providing additional energy when there is a sudden reduction in energy to the grid.  Let’s go to the transcript:

David Speers: …So, is he [Energy Minister Angus Taylor] right that putting more energy into the market is going to drive down prices or not?

Amy Remeikis: No, you just answered your own question there. We know that it’s not – right? And I think Katharine Murphy, who is my boss, did actually have I think probably one of the best takes on this. In that this is nothing but an insurance policy. Because it has been eight years of having no concrete energy policy, we haven’t given any confidence to the private sector of where they can invest in what they can invest in. We’re reaching a point where we’re seeing coal exit the market much quicker than even the government anticipated. It’s happening all over the world. And it’s happening here too. That’s why we’re seeing things and assets like Liddell closed down. So, we have this very short-term gap where the government’s gone “oh, goodness, what are we going to do if we have nothing to replace this in the next couple of years, if batteries aren’t up to the job of firming up the renewable power, what are we going to do?” What they’re doing is spending $600 million as an insurance policy, while simultaneously telling us things like the NDIS are unviable.

Here, as elsewhere on Insiders, The Guardian’s political correspondent sounded like she was reading from the Green/Left manifesto.  In fact, coal is not exiting the market quickly.

The International Energy Agency, in its recently released Global Energy Review 2021, said that it expected global coal demand to increase in 2021 by 4.5 per cent – pushing global coal demand above pre-pandemic 2019 levels.  Demand for coal is high in Asia, particularly China.

By the way, Comrade Remeikis did not say which member of the Morrison government has said that the National Disability Insurance Scheme is not viable.

Soon after, it was time for “Final Observations”. Here we go:

Amy Remeikis: Bit broader than what we’ve been talking about. But we have seen a huge shift in how we think about what’s happening in Palestine over the last couple of weeks because of everything that’s been happening there. I think Australia is in for some uncomfortable conversations about how we deal with Palestine and how we cover it as well. We’ve seen some flash points on that, and rightly so, and we do need to move to a point where we get more balanced coverage of what is happening in that region of the world.

David Speers: Okay…

Viewers of Insiders may have been surprised that, on two occasions, Ms Remeikis mispronounced the English pronunciation of Palestine with the word ending in “teen” – as in “Palesteen”, which happens to be closer to the Arabic pronunciation.  Some viewers may have come to the opinion that The Guardian’s  political correspondent knew so little of the Middle East that she did not know how to pronounce Palestine. But not so – apparently.  At 10.33 that very morning, the following tweet was sent out:

How about that?  MWD has not noticed that the oh-so-loquacious Amy Remeikis has a speech impediment.  Nor did she seem tired at around 9.55 am last Sunday when she put the “teen” into Palestine.  But there you go.

On a more substantial point, Comrade Remeikis failed to tell Insiders’ viewers that she was one of the signatories of the “DoBetterOnPalestine” open letter which was issued on 14 May 2021.  Gerard Henderson covered this in his column in The Weekend Australian  last Saturday – see here. The letter is signed by a soviet of left-wing activist journalists – including Antony Loewenstein, Osman Faruqi, Benjamin Law, Bridie Jabour, Clementine Ford and so on.

In her Insiders’ observation, Amy Remeikis called for a “more balanced” discussion on the issue of Israel, Hamas-led Gaza and so on.  But the open letter which she signed did not call for “more balance” – but for no balance.

The signatories advocated an end to what they called “both siderism”. In short, Remeikis and her fellow leftist signatories called for a media outcome whereby the situation in Israel, the occupied territories and Gaza be reported from the sides of Hamas and the Palestine Authority – but not from the side of Israel, irrespective of how many rockets Hamas fires indiscriminately from Gaza at the Jewish state. And Ms Remeikis reckons that this equates to “more balance”. Can You Bear It?

[Er, no.  Not really – now that you ask.  It would seem that Amy Remeikis believes that the Western media, in Australia and elsewhere, is soft on Israel.  Presumably she and her fellow DoBetterOnPalestine signatories do not watch the ABC or SBS or read, wait for it, The Guardian which are certainly not into “both siderism” when it comes to Israel – MWD Editor.]


While on the topic of the media and Israel – here’s what Sydney Morning Herald cartoonist Cathy Wilcox had to say about the Israel/Hamas conflict of recent memory.  Sitting on a park bench a man says to a woman: “Did they [i.e. Israelis] think Gaza was terra nullius before settling there?”  And the woman replies:  “I don’t know but at this rate it soon will be.”

Contrary to Comrade Wilcox’s assertion, there have been Arabs living in Gaza for eons.  It was never settled by Israel – but Gaza was occupied by Israel between the end of the Six Day War in 1967 and 2005 when Israel withdrew its military forces along with its settlements from what was called the Gaza Strip. After that, Gaza was run by the Palestinian Authority until effectively taken over by Hamas.  Since it took control of Gaza, Hamas has fought four wars with Israel – 2008, 2012, 2014 and 2021 – all of which commenced following Hamas’ decision to launch rockets at that part of Israel which became the Jewish state with the authorisation of the United Nations in 1948.

It seems that Comrade Wilcox is unaware that Hamas’ attacks on Israel affect that part of the Middle East which has been part of Israel since the United Nations authorised the creation of Israel in 1948.  In other words, the likes of Sderot and Tel Aviv are within, not outside of, what is termed, the Green Line – i.e. Israel since 1948.

Looking at Comrade Wilcox’s cartoon, it would seem that being an anti-Israel cartoonist means never having to learn about the history of the Middle East over the past century.  Can You Bear It?


It was early in the afternoon last Sunday that the Scone-based Pitt Street farmer Phillip [“I was a teenage commo”] Adams lamented the idiocy of so many of his neighbours in the Upper Hunter in New South Wales.

It was the afternoon after the night before when the ABC’s man-in-black and The Weekend Australian Magazine columnist reflected on how his neighbours had voted in the NSW  by-election in Upper Hunter last Saturday.  It turned out that the seat was retained by the Nationals with a swing to the party and that Labor experienced a dreadful result for a major party in opposition.  Here are the primary votes for the key candidates:

David Layzell – Nationals – 31.2 per cent

Jeff Drayton – Labor Party – 21.3 per cent

Dale McNamara – One Nation Party – 12.3 per cent

Sue Gilroy – Shooters, Fishers and Farmers – 11.9 per cent

Kirsty O’Connell – Independent – 8.8 per cent

Tracy Norman – Independent – 4.1 per cent

Sue Abbott – Greens – 3.4 per cent

The first four candidates supported the continuation of coal mining in the Upper Hunter along with the Commonwealth government’s decision to build a gas-fired power plant in Kurri Kurri.  Their combined primary vote totalled 77 per cent. Whereas the votes of Kirsty O’ Connell (who was supported by Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull), Tracey Norman (whose policies were broadly in line with O’Connell’s) and the Greens’ Sue Abbott totalled 17 per cent.

But MWD digresses. This is what the Sage of Scone had to say last Sunday afternoon:

So there you have it.  Phillip Adams AO, AM, Hon DUniv (Griffith), Hon DLitt (ECU), Hon DUniv (SA), DLitt [sic] (Syd), Hon. DUniv (Macquarie), FRSA, Hon FAHA – who has a post-nominals list as along as a python – reckons that some 80 per cent of his neighbours are right-wing ratbags. Needless to say, none of the ABC’s man-in-black’s ratbags have so many post-nominals as the Sage of Scone. How elitist can you get?  Can You Bear It?



The front cover of the Sunday 23 May edition of The Sun-Herald featured a photo of the ABC’s resident COVID-19 expert Dr Norman Swan beneath the headline:

Norman Swan: “You can’t keep secrets from people”

It seems Dr Swan found time to sit down with Nine’s Michael Koziol for a long chat about “vaccine hesitancy, celebrity and annoying the government”. How Swan found the time between his frequent appearances on ABC TV and his frequent appearances on ABC radio and recording his podcast and his recent appearance at the Sydney Writers’ Festival is anyone’s guess. Koziol diplomatically notes towards the end of the piece that there are some at the ABC “who express some scepticism of his [Swan’s] professed ambivalence toward fame”.

Much of the article is concerned with Dr Swan’s past controversial contributions to Australia’s COVID discourse. To his credit, Dr Swan admits that he “probably did cause some vaccine hesitancy” through his coverage of vaccine side-effects. Though perhaps Swan should share this revelation with his ABC comrade, News Breakfast co-host Michael Rowland, who huffily tweeted on Tuesday that “the ABC’s role, indeed the broader media’s role, is to hold decision makers to account. And, no Minister [Greg Hunt], we are not promoting hesitancy.”

However, when it came to his failed COVID predictions Dr Swan (and Koziol) are less straight forward. This is what the Sun-Herald report said:

On March 21 last year, the day after Morrison closed the borders and the day before the states enacted mass lockdowns, Swan predicted as many as 8000 cases by the following weekend, with the “true number” being as high as 80,000.

“No magic fairy will bring that down. Fourteen to 20 days behind Italy. Believe in maths not magic,” he tweeted. For his fans, the stark warning made him a hero telling truth to power. To critics, it was unjustified fear-mongering.

People who harbour doubts about Swan tend to point to this tweet as evidence, because Australia clearly avoided the doom he predicted. Swan says it’s the tweet his “trolls” keep regurgitating. But he makes no apology. The warning came before Morrison was dragged into a lockdown of non-essential services by the premiers. It is entirely feasible if governments had resisted lockdowns for longer we would have ended up closer to where Swan expected.

It is bizarre, over a year into this pandemic, to see journalists still unable to grasp the basic reality of COVID transmission and detection. On 21 March 2020, Swan predicted that Australia would have a total of 7,000 to 8,000 cases by the weekend of 28-29 March. The true number was 3,180 on the 28th and 3,640 on the 29th. Swan and Koziol want you to believe that the closing of some non-essential services (which Koziol describes as “mass lockdowns”) on 22 March foiled Dr Swan’s otherwise plausible prediction.

There is simply no way the restrictions enacted on 22 March could have had that significant an impact on the total number of cases detected in the following week – the timeframe of Dr Swan’s prediction is just not long enough. Many of the people who tested positive during that week would have caught the virus prior to 22 March. If you make a prediction about how many cases will be detected in the next week you are only partially trying to forecast future transmission of COVID. More important to your prediction, you are trying to estimate how much the virus has been spread recently and how much it is currently spreading. Dr Swan badly misjudged Australia’s COVID situation on 21 March 2020 but he has not owned up to this.

Swan is also in excuse mode when it comes to his comments on Sydney’s Christmas 2020 outbreak. As reported by Koziol:

The other example Swan’s critics highlight is his response to Sydney’s Avalon and Berala clusters just before Christmas. On December 21, he said it was “breathtaking” the NSW government hadn’t made masks mandatory and called for all of Sydney to be locked down.

“You’ve just got to lock down greater metropolitan Sydney,” he said. “Christmas, let me tell you, will be a super-spreading event in Sydney if we don’t get this under control.”

The government had already locked down the northern beaches and imposed limits on Christmas gatherings. It was ultimately able to control the outbreak. So was Swan wrong? He says no, because a lockdown could have curtailed things faster. “It grumbled on for about six or seven weeks. Would we have just gotten rid of it [and] shortened the whole process? We’ll never know the answer to it.”

It is worth pointing out that the December-January outbreak in Sydney lasted around a month, not six or seven weeks as Dr Swan states. And here Dr Swan is very obviously shifting the goalposts. In December 2020, he claimed Sydney would see a super-spreading event at Christmas without a citywide lockdown. Now he merely claims that a lockdown may have stopped the outbreak from “grumbling on”. Of course, the Victorian second wave “grumbled on” for months despite the imposition of a severe state-wide lockdown. Perhaps that’s why Swan qualifies his already weak claim with “We’ll never know the answer”.

The piece ends with a quote by immunologist Peter Doherty: “We’ve all been on a learning curve and Norman’s no different”. This is a fair point, Dr Swan should not be forever banished from the airwaves for getting something wrong about COVID-19. But wouldn’t it be nice if, for once, he fessed up to it?



Due to enormous demand, MWD will occasionally update readers with the latest on the Prophecy Front – which invariably becomes, in time, material for filing under the title “False Prophecy”.

Try this for starters.  On 15 May 2021 Brisbane-based journalist – and former Labor Party staffer – Dennis Atkins had this to say in The New Daily concerning the line that Scott Morrison ran when interviewed by 7.30’s Leigh Sales on 15 May 2021.

Take note of it and get used to it. This is the [Coalition] script for election 2021 – and it will be an election later this year, most probably just a week after the NRL grand final. Put a ring around Saturday, October 9. There’s always an outside chance the election will be delayed if unforeseen events arise, but it’s been widely felt since last spring the Morrison government has been working to a plan for an election at the beginning of the last quarter of 2021…

The grand finals are September 25 for Aussie Rules and October 3 for [Rugby] League, making any probable voting date beyond those weeks. That’s why October 9 is the day to mark down.

Yep – go to it, avid reader.  Put down Saturday 9 October 2021 as the date for the next Federal election. For its part, MWD will put down Friday 15 October 2021 as the date on which to assess whether Comrade Atkins got the election day right – or whether he is yet another honorary member of The Late Bob Ellis’ False Prophets Club.

In his 1937 book The Road to Wigan Pier, George Orwell defended “the ordinary decent person” against “the intellectual, book-trained socialist”. He wrote that the latter “type is drawn, to begin with, entirely from the middle class, and from a rootless town-bred section of that middle class at that. …It includes…the foaming denouncers of the bourgeoisie, and the more-water-in your- beer reformers of whom [George Bernard] Shaw is the prototype, and the astute young social-literary climbers…and all that dreary tribe of high-minded women and sandal-wearers and bearded fruit juice drinkers who come flocking towards the smell of “progress” like bluebottles to a dead cat.”


This week was big for news.  But not so big as to prevent the luvvies at News Breakfast from picking up the latest goss from London – from Kathy (“The Punster”) Lette. Let’s go to the program yesterday where co-presenters Michael Rowland and Lisa Millar saw it as a BIG STORY that Ms Lette had met up with some of the London Sandalista Set in the presence of Julia Gillard:

Michael Rowland: Our attention was drawn yesterday to this tweet from author Kathy Lette, great friend of the show. She’s in London at the moment.

Lisa Millar: Her mum will be watching this morning, for sure.

Michael Rowland: Hello, Kathy’s mum. So and this is a dinner party she [Kathy] threw once restrictions were eased in London –  you can invite people over to your house. What a dinner party selection of guests. Lisa, can you run through who we’ve got there?

Lisa Millar: Yeah. Well, we’ve got well Kathy on the left. We’ve got Salman Rushdie, we’ve got Stephen Fry. We’ve got Julia Gillard. Who’s that?

Michael Rowland: Terry Gilliam.  Python, one of The Pythons.

Lisa Millar: Terry Gilliam. Oh, and then who’s on the right?

Michael Rowland: We’re not sure, actually.

Lisa Millar: If you could help us out with that.

Michael Rowland: The woman on the far right of the screen, if you could let us know. But I’m sure she’s famous as well, over there. Which led us to toss out to you, if you had the opportunity to invite five living famous people to a dinner party. Whom would it be? Who would you choose Lisa?

Not long after, the News Breakfast presenters returned to the topic.  Comrade Rowland referred to the Lette collective of luvvies as “the electric group of people”. Overlooking the likelihood that everyone would agree with everyone else on almost everything.  The woman on the right of the picture was described as “anonymous” and “random”. That’s all.

Then Lisa Millar named her ideal dinner list:

Lisa Millar: Yes. Well, my list, and do we have a graphic of my list? Yes. Richard Flanagan, Bob Dylan, Mitch Tambo, Kate Winslet. And Theresa May. Michael’s bothered by the Theresa May aspect.

Michael Rowland: Bit boring isn’t she?

Fancy that.  Comrade Rowland reckons that Theresa May is a “bit boring”.  Well at least she would possibly have a different opinion from the Flanagan/Dylan/Tambo/Winslet Sandalista Set.  And how strange that your man Rowland describes a person who became Britain’s second female prime minister as boring – no doubt because she was not a member of the Sandalista Set and has never been asked to dinner by Kathy Lette.


Jackie’s (male) co-owner was just so excited when the following message popped up on his computer on Tuesday.  Here it is:

Tomorrow we’re going to label the prime minister something no leader would want to be called.  We don’t really want to do it.  But the time has come. (Oh, and by the way, we’d do the same to a Labor leader.)

It’s a big story so we’ll be rolling it out over the coming days as a new series at Crikey.  Plus, we’re making it free to read and sharing it with all our Crikey readers – we hope you do the same.

Don’t miss tomorrow’s first instalment in your inbox.


Peter Fray

Editor-in-chief of Crikey

25 May 2021

In his excitement, Hendo could barely sleep on the evening of 25 May – even after Post Dinner Drinks Time.  He tossed and turned – and turned and tossed – wondering just how the leftists at the Crikey Soviet would label the Prime Minister. An “ideological bastard” (à la Tingle) perhaps? Or maybe “Scotty from Marketing” (an oldie but a goodie to the likes of Comrade Fray)? Would “Reality Denier” work? And so on.

Then it was Dawn – sometimes known as Hangover Time.  And the answer was – the PM was labelled, wait for it, a liar. How original can you get?  Crikey’s big story is that, according to the Morrison-haters at Crikey, the Prime Minister is a liar. And it produced a document titled “A dossier of lies and falsehoods: How Scott Morrison manipulates the truth” – accompanied by a bundle of papers which, if printed, would keep a worm farm going until, say, 2050.

In short, the BIG STORY is that Crikey does not believe Scott Morrison. Quelle Surprise!


The much heralded move of David Speers from Sky News to the ABC – which took place in early 2020 – has not changed either organisation much at all.

Sky News’ Kieran Gilbert, Andrew Clennell and Sharri Markson seem to be breaking more stories than David Speers ever did and the Sky News Channel is rating well.  At Sky News, Speersy, as he likes to be called, became best known when – usually relatively junior – politicians slipped up during interviews. Often in response to gotcha questions.  Sure, your man Speers did very well at Sky News – but his exit didn’t lead to a drop in ratings.  Moreover, these days Insiders – according to Crikey’s figures – is rating well, but no better than it did in pre-pandemic 2019 when Barrie Cassidy was in the presenter’s chair.

As it turns out, your man Speers has fitted well into the left-of-centre fashions that pervade the taxpayer funded public broadcaster – which remains a Conservative Free Zone without one conservative presenter, producer or editor for any of its prominent television, radio or online outlets.

Moreover, Speersy has not brought any considerable depth to the ABC.  By the time they reached their mid-forties, such leading political journalists of their generation as Michelle Grattan, Paul Kelly and Laurie Oakes had authored important works. For his part, Speersy has published just the slight booklet On Mutiny which made little impact – and not much else.

Except, of course, some articles and columns.  Which brings MWD to Comrade Speers’ article “The International Energy Agency’s shift away from coal and gas makes things awkward for the government” – which was published on the ABC News website on 20 May 2021.

Your man Speers wrote that the recent report from the International Energy Agency is a “very big deal” because it says all coal and gas projects have to be cancelled to stop temperatures rising more than 1.5 degrees by 2050. This is mainly awkward for the Morrison government, Speers maintains, even though the Federal Labor Party doesn’t support a moratorium on new coal mines and nor does the Queensland Labor government.

Sure, the IEA report does advocate an end to fossil fuels in 30 years. What’s really interesting, though, is that it predicts that by 2050 some 70 per cent of energy will come from wind and solar – and most of the rest from nuclear.  That is, up to 30 per cent of energy will have to come from nuclear energy by 2050 to meet the 2050 target.

However, nuclear power doesn’t get a mention in Speers’ ABC News piece, even though it is one of the IEA’s most important predictions. He also missed an important qualification in the IEA Report. Namely, this statement:

The pathway laid out in our Roadmap is global in scope, but each country will need to design its own strategy, taking into account its own specific circumstances.

Right now, Australia’s specific circumstances turn on the fact that, unlike most G20 economies, it does not have access to energy produced by nuclear power. But you would not know this from reading Speers’ ABC News column.


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Until next time.

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