GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG

ISSUE – NO. 571

10 December 2021

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LOTSA THANKS – AS MWD GOES ON A WELL-EARNED BREAK

It is at this time of the year that many journalists take what they like to call a Well-Earned Break (or W.E.B.). The rest of us mere mortals go on holiday. Since many of the key TV and radio programs are currently on a W.E.B. – this is the last Media Watch Dog blog for this year. It will resume, God willing, on Friday 28 January 2022 – in an issue which, in part, will list winners of piss-poor journalism awards for 2021.

Unlike the ABC TV’s Media Watch  program (which has a staff around ten for a 15-minute weekly program), Media Watch Dog  is put together by a very small staff – assisted by a canine named Jackie along with the Mysterious Mr M who acts as a spell-checker. Every effort is made to get the blog up by around Gin & Tonic Time.

Jackie’s (male) co-owner attempts to answer as much correspondence as possible and to use as much material as possible that avid readers send in.  But all correspondence is read, and some material is held over for future issues. So, keep those emails and letters coming. And Happy Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and so on to all avid readers. In other words, Keep Morale High.


  • DAVID BRILL DEFAMES THE LATE ROBERT MENZIES AND HAROLD HOLT ON ABC TV

Did anyone see the interview between ABC TV News Breakfast co-presenter Michael Rowland and Australian-born cinematographer David Brill this morning?  In case you missed it, here’s how the interview commenced:

Michael Rowland: Let’s go to the Vietnam War. You are one of the most celebrated cinematographers, cameramen to cover that. How much of that, David, was the making of you as a cameraman?

David Brill: Well, I don’t know if it was the making of me, Michael. But I knew it was the biggest story in the world at the time. It affected everybody around the world in some way -and us in Australia. I was brought up in a period when Robert Menzies and Harold Holt were telling me how dreadful the Vietnamese people were and communism and so on.

What a load of absolute tosh – which passed without comment from the normally interventionist Michael Rowland.  There is not a shred of evidence to support David Brill’s assertion that Prime Minister Robert Menzies or Prime Minister Harold Holt ever said that the Vietnamese people were “dreadful”. Brill just made this up.

The Menzies government (in which Harold Holt was a senior cabinet member) committed Australian ground troops to South Vietnam in 1965 to support the government in Saigon against aggression from the communist regime in Hanoi, North Vietnam.  In other words, Australia supported one group of Vietnamese against another group of Vietnamese. If the likes of Menzies and Holt ever thought that Vietnamese were dreadful, then Australia’s commitment to South Vietnam would never have been entered into.

It may be that contemporary leftists do not regard Ho Chi Minh’s communist dictatorship in North Vietnam as dreadful.  But millions of Vietnamese literally voted with their feet and became refugees in the United States, Australia, Canada and the like following the fall of Saigon to the North Vietnam Army (which was supplied by the Soviet Union) in April 1975.

If the likes of Comrade Brill or Comrade Rowland have any doubt about this, they might have a word to Vietnamese-Australian and/or Vietnamese-American refugees who live with their families in Australia and the United States today.

  • ZOE DANIEL ATTEMPTS TO GO TO CANBERRA

Former ABC journalist Zoe Daniel is running as an Independent “Voices of” candidate in the Melbourne seat of Goldstein, currently held by Liberal MP Tim Wilson. The “Voices of” candidates are supported by wealthy donors intent on defeating sitting members of the Liberal Party’s moderate group.

Let’s go to the transcript of Trudy McIntosh’s report on Sky News on Thursday:

Presenter: In Melbourne former ABC journalist Zoe Daniel is looking to make history in Goldstein against Tim Wilson.

Tim Wilson: They actually don’t have a platform beyond being a puppet for the Labor Party and The Greens.

Zoe Daniel: Anyone who knows me well would know that I’m not a puppet. It so happens that I voted for Tim Wilson as a kind of proxy vote for Malcolm Turnbull in 2016. Then I voted Labor in 2019. I’m a true swinging voter.

So, Comrade Daniel voted for the Liberal Party in 2016 because it was led by the kind of Liberal Party prime minister that the luvvies at the ABC find acceptable. But she voted for the Labor Party in 2019 after Malcolm Turnbull had been replaced by Scott Morrison.

The question is – how did Comrade Daniel vote in, say, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2004, 2001, 1998 and 1996. It’s difficult to imagine that Zoe Daniel would have given what she terms a proxy vote to Tony Abbott or John Howard. So, if this is the case, then her one-off support for Malcolm Turnbull hardly makes her a swinging voter.


MEDIA FOOL OF THE YEAR

  • IN WHICH NINE’S SEAN KELLY RECKONS THAT HIS PSYCHOBABBLE DREAMING TELLS HIM MUCH ABOUT HIS NEMESIS THE PRIME MINISTER

There was enormous interest among avid Media Watch Dog readers about the reference in Gerard Henderson’s column in The Weekend Australian last Saturday that referred to Nine columnist Sean Kelly’s experience with dreams.  Yes – dreams.

Comrade Kelly, who worked for Labor prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, is one of a conga line of Age/Sydney Morning Herald columnists who bag Prime Minister Scott Morrison every morning, every night and frequently during the day (as the saying goes or went).  Along with Niki Savva – and more besides.

In his recently released book The Game: A Portrait of Scott Morrison (Black Inc), which is essentially an anti-Morrison rant, your man Kelly even told readers about his anti-Morrison dreams. Readers of The Game (if readers there are) will have noticed this Kelly-does-Freud moment at Pages 251-252:

One night, about halfway through the writing of this book, I had a drink with a writer who told me that he dreams about the subjects of his biographical works. He asked me if I did the same.  I told him no, and wondered, afterwards, if this was a poor reflection on my book – an indication that I had not sufficiently immersed myself in Scott Morrison’s world.

Then, a month or two later, I had a strange dream – in fact, a strange set of dreams.  I dreamed of Kevin Rudd, for whom I had worked. I dreamed, too, of Julia Gillard, for whom I had also worked.  Finally, that night, I dreamed of Morrison….

In this dream, I interacted with Morrison, but the more notable fact was that, after a little while, people began mistaking me for him.  People would come up to me on the street and ask to have their picture taken with me; I would have to remove my baseball cap to show them that I was not, in fact, Scott Morrison. At one point in the dream, I looked at myself in the mirror and I could see why this kept happening: the resemblance was uncanny.

Comrade Kelly’s dream tells us nothing about Scott Morrison.  But it does tell us heaps about Sean Kelly that he believes his dreamtime tells us something about the Prime Minister.

Sean Kelly – Media Fool Of The Year.

[Could it be that your man Kelly had somewhat more than a “drink” with a writer that led him on the path of analysing his own dreams? Just a thought. – MWD Editor.]


Can You Bear It?

  • FINALLY, A BREAK IN NIKI SAVVA’S LONG-RUNNING “THE PM IS HOPELESS” SERIES IN NINE NEWSPAPERS

In his “The Diary” column in The Australian on Monday, Nick Tabakoff wrote that the previous Monday (i.e. 29 November) Nine chief executive officer Mike Sneesby had visited Canberra and met with a range of senior politicians.

“The Diary” reported that Mr Sneesby had spoken with Scott Morrison for about 20 minutes and that the Prime Minister had no criticism of the political coverage from Canberra in Nine Newspapers – The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and Australian Financial Review. But, allegedly, the PM told Nine’s CEO that Nine’s columnists smash him every day.  Tabakoff continued:

While Morrison didn’t name names, a number of Nine columnists have sharpened the knives for the PM in recent weeks, including Sean Kelly, a former adviser to Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, Peter Hartcher, the SMH and Age political and international editor, AFR columnist Laura Tingle, and Nine papers’ Thursday political columnist, Niki Savva.

As avid readers are well aware, Jackie’s (male) co-owner has been on this case for some time.  Laura Tingle is on record as accusing the Morrison government of “ideological bastardry”. Enough said.  But at least the AFR has balance in its columnists. Not so The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald  which do not have a regular conservative columnist.  Sure, Chris Uhlmann is not a leftist or a Morrison hater. But he’s not a political conservative.

Gerard Henderson wrote about Sean Kelly’s book The Game: A Portrait of Scott Morrison (Black Inc) in his Weekend Australian column last Saturday.  See also the “Media Fool of the Year” segment in this issue.  And then there is Niki Savva.

As pointed out in MWD issues 559, 560 and 562 – since becoming a Nine columnist on 5 August 2021, Comrade Savva has devoted all her columns to criticising the PM to a greater or lesser extent.  With one exception – when her Nine column was devoted to giving well-earned praise to Tony Smith, who recently stepped down as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

MWD has documented the variations of Ms Savva’s “The PM is hopeless because” series. Here’s an update:

▪ 21 October: The PM is hopeless – because he has been “outgunned, outpaced and outshone” by NSW Liberals.

▪ 28 October: The PM is hopeless – because he has “so many slogans, so little substance”.

▪ 4 November: The PM is hopeless – because he is devoid of “character, trust or integrity”.

▪ 11 November: The PM is hopeless – because he “has plunged” his colleagues “into a foul mess”.

▪ 18 November: The PM is hopeless – because “on so many issues, he’s like a circus performer trying to ride two horses”.

▪ 25 November: The PM is hopeless – because he recently “shred his own credibility on the floor of the Parliament”.

▪ 2 December: The PM is hopeless – because “he boasts about being good friends with people when really it’s just heavy duty Spakfilla patter, sealing up the cracks or covering his own poor behaviour”.

▪ 9 December: Trigger warning. Niki Savva, for once as a Nine columnist, writes a column on something other than the Liberal Party and the Prime Minister.  It’s a gentle piece on Labor leader Anthony Albanese.

So, there you have it. After more than three months as a Nine columnist, Niki Savva finally found a fresh subject. But will this fresh diversity last?  And – if not, Can You Bear It?

  • PETER FITZSIMONS’ “JOKE OF THE WEEK” SEGMENT IS BANISHED – BUT THE JOKE LIVES ON

While on the topic of Nine’s columnists, avid readers are wondering whether the Red Bandannaed One is okay. After all, the leftist millionaire commenced the year with his piss-poor column “Fitz on Sunday” occupying the entire back-page of Nine’s Sun-Herald every Sunday.  But before the year was out, Fitz – who wore a red rag on his head for a decade before he took it to the drycleaners where it was lost – was moved from the back-page to around the middle of the paper and his column renamed “5 Minutes with Fitz”.

It consists of an interview with anyone that Fitz can find who will talk to him. His “Quote of the Week” segment remains in situ but not his “Joke of the Week”. It would seem that the powers that be at the Nine Newspapers realised that the column was a joke enough – and no other jokes were required.  For the record, here is Fitz’s final joke which was published on 21 November: “When I got home from work last night, my wife demanded that I take her out to some place expensive.  So I took her to a petrol station.” How funny is that?

Like all leftist journalists, Fitz admires Independent Senator Jacqui Lambie these days because she has become a fierce critic of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Coalition.  Consequently, Comrade FitzSimons tends to overlook the inconsistencies of the PM-hating senator.

For example, in his “5 Minutes with Fitz” interview with Jacqui Lambie on 28 November 2021, Fitz avoided any reference to Senator Lambie’s inconsistency on COVID-19 border closures. For example, on Sky News on 20 May 2021, Senator Lambie said she was opposed to States “putting up borders” and supported the right of unvaccinated Australians to travel “at this point in time’.  But in the Senate on 22 November the Tasmanian senator supported the State premiers putting up borders “because they don’t want to be playing Russian roulette with their own people’s lives” and condemned those opposed to vaccines for any reason as “disgusting”.

Now, as avid readers know, five minutes with Fitz can seem like a very long time. But if the Red Bandannaed One is going to interview politicians he should be able to ask some probing questions.  Right now, “5 Minutes with Fitz” is the joke. Can You Bear It?

  • ON RN’S SATURDAY EXTRA JOHN McCARTHY RE-STATES MYTH RE ZHOU ENLAI’S VIEW OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION

Jackie’s (male) co-owner, when walking the said canine last Saturday, turned on the ABC Radio National Saturday Extra  program in time to hear former Australian diplomat John McCarthy participate in a segment titled “A Foreign Affair: Year in Review”. This is how the occasion was described:

From the race to vaccinate, to the fall of Kabul, it’s been a big year in international affairs. Michael Wesley – Deputy Vice Chancellor International at the University of Melbourne, Dr Gorana Grgic – Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney and former diplomat John McCarthy unpack the big events of 2021 and where Australia has positioned itself on the global stage this year.

The unpacking was really and truly underway when presenter Geraldine Doogue raised the issue of trust. Let’s go to the transcript:

Geraldine Doogue: …Can we turn to Afghanistan, another huge international story this year. US and Australian forces withdrawing at the end of August. And then of course, seeing the devastating fall of Kabul. John, do you think we’re yet to see the full extent of the geopolitical impacts of these developments?

John McCarthy: Nowhere near. I think it’s, you know, a bit like Zhou Enlai being asked about the French Revolution allegedly – and then asked, you know, what the outcome is. He said: “Too early to say”. I think there are several aspects that we really need to think about….

Hold it there. What we really need to think about, first up, is whether your man McCarthy is spreading, well, fake news.  In short, did Zhou Enlai (1898-1976) ever say this about the French Revolution of 1789?

These are the known facts. Zhou, who was the second most important dictator in China under the communist totalitarian leader Mao Zedong, met with Henry Kissinger. During this meeting Zhou took part in a discussion about the uprising against the communist dictatorships in Hungary (1956) and Czechoslovakia (1968). There was also reference to the violent demonstrations in France in 1968 against Charles de Gaulle’s government in Paris.

When asked about his attitude to the French revolution, Zhou is reported to have said “Too early to say”.  It appears that Zhou was referring to the violent riots in France in 1968 – not to the events in France of 1789.

The misinterpretation went into mythology because it fitted the times.  The United States was engaged in détente with China and was soon to recognise Mao’s regime as the government of China. Until then, the government in Taiwan was recognised as the government of China by the United States and was one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

Zhou’s it’s “too early to say” response came to be regarded as a frightfully clever comment by a Chinese leader – suggesting that the communist leaders of China were more wise and far-sighted than those of Western democracies.

The tactic worked. Half a century after Zhou’s remarks about France in 1968, the likes of influential Australians such as John McCarthy are still suckers for the Zhou Enlai myth and refer to it, uncorrected, on Saturday Extra.  Can You Bear It?

  • SUPERANNUATED DIPLOMATS’ NEWSPAPER ADVERTISEMENT CALLS FOR AUSTRALIA TO CEASE SELLING COAL TO JAPAN, INDIA ETC BY 2035

While on the topic of former diplomats, the hard-copy issue of The Australian bounced on Jackie’s kennel on Wednesday – containing a somewhat pompous and misleading full-page advertisement titled “Diplomats for Climate Action Now: A Climate Focused Foreign Policy for Australia”.  Misleading in that those presenting as “Diplomats” are in fact “Former Diplomats” – but readers of the advertisement would have to get two thirds of the way down the page to find this out.  No surprise, really – since “Former Diplomats” for something or other does not sound quite so good as “Diplomats” – does it?

The list of some 90 ex-diplomats (at least some of whom appear not to have  represented Australia overseas – which is what most diplomats do) signed a statement using the word “should” on seven occasions covering some 20 proposals about what Australia SHOULD DO.  And on one occasion the “should” was an upgrade to “urge”. The signatories, who included such leftist-luvvies as Dr Alison Broinowski AM (for a doctor she is), Richard Broinowski AO and Bruce Haigh among others, urged Australia to “end coal-fired electricity generation and coal-mining by 2035”.

Currently around 55 per cent of electricity in Australia is produced by coal.  The self-proclaimed “Diplomats” reckon – without evidence – that  Australia can go from 55 per cent to zero in just over a decade.  A load of absolute tosh if ever there was one.

The retired diplomats also reckon that Australia can simply cut off all supplies of the world’s best quality coal to such nations as Japan, India and South Korea – along with Taiwan – in just 13 years’ time.  How are Australia’s current diplomats in such nations going to explain this to foreign governments?

The good news is that neither the Coalition nor the Labor Party supports such an extreme proposal to end coal-fired electricity generation and close all coal mines by 2035. Only the Greens back such policy positions.  MWD’s view is that it’s just as well this self-important superannuated lot are all former diplomats. Which raises the question – Can You Bear It?


NEW FEATURE – THE GUARDIAN/ABC AXIS AT WORK

  • AMANDA MEADE’S FAWNING COVERAGE OF GAVEN MORRIS’ ABC EXIT

It was around just after Gin & Tonic Time last Friday, as the clock moved toward Pre-Dinner Drinks Time, when Amanda Meade, The Guardian Australia’s  media editor put out this tweet:

The reference was to last week’s Media Watch Dog  which carried a Stop Press item titled “A School Break-Up Day Experience as the ABC pays homage to the cult of Fran Kelly”. The headline was as follows:  “Fran Kelly gets the usual self-indulgent ABC send off.”

And so she did. After all, as an ABC Radio National statement dated 4 December by Annika Blau, titled “We’ll miss you Fran”, revealed Comrade Kelly is not really going anywhere.  As Ms Blau put it: “Lucky for us, Fran is staying on at the ABC to work on new and exciting projects, alongside her popular RN podcast, The Party  Room.

In other words, Fran Kelly had an ABC send-off, despite the fact that she’s staying on at the ABC.  At least Australia’s favourite exit queen – Dame Nellie Melba – took a few weeks off between her various send-offs.

But MWD digresses. Comrade Meade’s “Predictable” tweet encouraged more than one predictable response. Here’s the best – all the way from Tony Koch in Queensland:  “Gerard Henderson has to be the most sour, humourless apology for a human being ever put on earth…A nasty, untalented pig of a man who should just slither back under the rock from which [sic] emerged.” A terrific endorsement, don’t you think?  Lotsa thanks to the born-again Comrade Koch and to Comrade Meade (an avid, but not uncritical, MWD reader).

Shortly before sending out her predictable “Predictable” tweet, Amanda Meade had put out her Weekly Beast  Friday blog.  It covered Fran Kelly’s farewell [Groan – MWD Editor] and also reported on the speech by Gaven Morris, the outgoing head of ABC News and Current Affairs, to the Melbourne Press Club which was mentioned in last Friday’s MWD.

Comrade Meade reported Comrade Morris’ speech as follows:

Morris told the Melbourne Press Club that ABC News was setting the standard for reflecting the full diversity of modern Australia in its workforce and content. “The ABC has made more progress here in the past five years than we made in the 50 years before,” Morris said. “And it’s about time”. Nas Campanella is disability affairs correspondent and the chair of ABC Inclusive. Charles Brice is an excellent reporter in SA for News Breakfast. Both with lived experience of having a disability.” Earlier in the week Campanella revealed on air that she was pregnant. Perhaps Morris’s tribute to the improvements in diversity was a nod to the likely appointment of the ABC’s managing editor of coverage, who is also diversity lead, Gavin Fang, as his replacement.

Talk about the ABC/Guardian  Axis in action. Comrade Meade accepted Comrade Morris’ assertion that the ABC has set the standard for reflecting the full diversity of modern Australia in its workforce and content.  This despite the fact that, for eons, Comrade Morris presided over the ABC’s Conservative Free Zone – where there is not one conservative presenter, producer or editor for any of its taxpayer funded public broadcaster’s prominent television, radio or online outlets.  Not one.

Also, it was on Gaven Morris’ watch that the ABC ran its pile-on against Cardinal Pell, whose convictions were either thrown out before trial or quashed by the High Court of Australia in an unanimous decision.   And then there was Sarah Ferguson’s ridiculous – and expensive – three part Four Corners  series which alleged that Donald J. Trump conspired with Russia to win the 2016 US presidential election. This conspiracy theory has been totally discredited but remain unaltered on ABC’s iview.

And then there was the ABC’s admission that its fave (and deeply flawed) reporter Louise Milligan made allegations against Liberal MP Christian Porter which did not meet either the criminal (beyond reasonable doubt) or civil (on the balance of probabilities) evidentiary burden.

And Gaven Morris told the Melbourne Press Club that these are the ABC’s finest hours.   A boast which The Guardian Australia’s media reporter lapped up.

Next year, MWD will continue to cover what the ABC/Guardian Axis is up to. So stay tuned.


  • PK FINDS OUT THAT WARRINGAH MP ZALI STEGGALL DOES NOT WANT TO BE OPPOSED BY A POPULAR LIBERAL PARTY CANDIDATE

Former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian announced earlier today that she intended to quit politics and, consequently, has rejected any suggestion that she should run as the Liberal Party candidate for the seat of Warringah in Sydney – currently held by Independent MP Zali Steggall. Ms Berejiklian remains a very popular figure in NSW – despite the fact that the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is currently inquiring into her time in office with respect to certain grants to projects within the state.

Some commentators are of the view that only a candidate like Berejiklian can defeat Steggall. The issue was discussed on ABC Radio National Drive on Monday – which is presented by Patricia (“Call me PK”) Karvelas. The ABC’s program notes for the interview are headed as follows: “Prime Minister backs former premier Gladys Berejiklian for federal seat”.

So, which informed and impartial commentator did the taxpayer funded public broadcaster go to for a balanced view as to whether “Berejiklian for Warringah” was a you-beaut idea, or not?  Why, none other than Zali Steggall herself.  The interview went for nearly six minutes, believe it or not.

In her introduction to the pre-recorded interview, PK declared: “I spoke with her [Zali Steggall] a short time ago and asked what she thought about the Prime Minister’s backing of Ms Berejiklian before the release of the ICAC findings”.  And – guess what?  Ms Steggall did not think that this was a good idea at all.

The interview broke no new ground.  PK asked four questions and Steggall gave four similar replies.  All that was interesting turned on Ms Steggall’s tendency to end sentences with the word “right’ – followed by a question mark.  Her first answer commenced: “Look, I think everyone needs to remember the issues that matter – and here in Warringah, trust and integrity are really important, right?”

Yeah, right.  And so it went on and on as listeners to RN Drive, if listeners there were, learnt that the Independent MP Zali Steggall did not want to be opposed in Warringah by a popular and experienced former Liberal Party politician.  Quelle Surprise!

[This was a bit like a sports journalist interviewing a Collingwood or South Sydney fan, at the commencement of the season, as to who will win the premiership – right? – MWD Editor.]


DOCUMENTATION

  • RAF EPSTEIN STILL QUIET ON 2021 NSW-VIC COMPARISONS & DECIDES POLITICIANS SHOULD BE BLAMED FOR DISPROPORTIONATE DEATHS AMONG THEIR CONSTITUENTS

In October of this year, ABC Radio Melbourne Drive presenter Raf Epstein twice sent out condescending tweets about the number of COVID cases and deaths in 2021, comparing New South Wales unfavourably to Victoria. This was previously covered in MWD Issue 565, where it was noted that Comrade Epstein had stopped updating his Twitter followers once the number of new cases and deaths in Victoria had begun to greatly exceed those seen in NSW. Evidently, once this comparison stopped being favourable to the Victorian Labor government, Raf Epstein lost interest in it.

Since the last time MWD checked in on Raf, the Daniel Andrews government’s favourite radio host has still not updated his Twitter followers on how the NSW-Victorian 2021 comparison has evolved. Here is how it stands today:

  • NSW 2021 cases: around 80,000
  • Victoria 2021 cases: around 113,000
  • NSW 2021 deaths: 580
  • Victoria 2021 deaths: 588

As Raf once smugly noted, comparisons are useful.

So, what has Raf been tweeting about instead? He has taken great interest in the figures released by the Victorian government showing that a few dozen COVID-19 cases can be linked back to the protests taking place in Victoria in recent weeks. That these cases represent around 1 per cent of 1 per cent of the cases recorded in Victoria in the last month was not mentioned.

Yesterday Raf offered up the following tweet:

The tweet links to an analysis conducted by the American National Public Radio (NPR) which claims that counties in the United States which voted heavily for Trump in the 2020 election have experienced around three times as many deaths per capita since 1 May 2021. Your man Epstein apparently agrees with this analysis and lays the blame at the feet of former President Trump.

Perhaps it would shock Raf to learn that Victorians, who voted heavily for Daniel Andrews at the 2018 Victorian state election, have been almost six times as likely as non-Victorians to die of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. It seems unlikely Raf would be so quick to blame these deaths on Premier Andrews. But there you go.


OBITUARY

  • VALE ROBIN MARSDEN (1936-2021)

Robin Marsden (nee Brown) died in August after a long illness. A brilliant student, she was dux of Canberra High School – specialising in English, languages (German and French) and economics, pursuits she continued at Sydney University where she completed her B.A.(Hons).   Robin taught at Women’s College at Sydney University and worked as a librarian in the Economics Faculty.

Marriage followed – and children.  Robin was a wonderful mother to Marina and Justine –  both of whom have enjoyed highly successful careers as musicians.  Soon after graduating, Robin commenced research about the German and French influences on the Australian poet and scholar Christopher Brennan (1870-1932). This was intended to result in a Ph.D. thesis – a work that was never finished.  But the research has not died. As Robin’s brother Roger Brown has written in the January/February 2022 edition of Quadrant, it has been donated to the Rare Books and Special Collections Library at Sydney University’s Fisher Library for use by scholars.

As Justine Marsden mentioned in her eulogy, Robin had a tough life which she handled with great resilience.  After the breakdown of her marriage. which interrupted research for her PhD., Robin brought up two children as a single mother with not much money. In the four decades that I knew Robin, she never complained and always looked on the bright side of life – however difficult it may have been.  At social gatherings she was always welcoming and generous.

From 1976 for over two decades, Robin Marsden worked for Quadrant as managing or associate editor. The pay was not high and the editorial and production work was demanding. On occasions, she did unpaid work.

There are many significant Australians who have been associated with Quadrant since it was set up by Richard Krygier as publisher with the academic and poet James McAuley as inaugural editor in 1956.  But no one was more responsible than Robin Marsden in keeping Quadrant  going during its difficult years – through grinding work and unwarranted optimism.

There was an upside.  Robin reflected on her good fortune having worked with some of Australia’s finest writers and poets – she named Vivian Smith, Les Murray, A.D. Hope, Barry Humphries, David Malouf and Pierre Ryckmans (Simon Leys).  And there were more who contributed to Quadrant during the two decades Robin was at Quadrant. Some were easy to work with – others not so. But Robin Marsden got through.  In one sense, she was at times too nice and too polite – but there are more serious character flaws than these.

Robin worked part-time with Gerard Henderson in the lead-up to, and immediately after, the formation of The Sydney Institute in 1989.  Her duties involved editing which she fulfilled to a high standard.  She remained a member of The Sydney Institute and was a most valued friend of Gerard and Anne Henderson.

Gerard Henderson’s executive assistant, Lalita Mathias, remembers her fondly.  Having migrated to Australia as a new resident in 1989 and joining The Sydney Institute immediately after, Robin was very kind to Lalita and took her around parts of Sydney CBD during the lunch break – to familiarise Lalita with her new country. A small but thoughtful gesture. That’s the kind of person Robin was.

Quadrant’s lot has never been an easy one.  However, one of the reasons it remains extant turns on the contribution of Robin Marsden in perhaps the magazine’s most difficult decades.

Robin Marsden – Requiescat in Pace.

Gerard Henderson

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Until next time – circa 28 January 2022

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