ISSUE – NO. 582

1 April 2022

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The scaling down of COVID-19 restrictions has led to a return of the baying leftist mob – in this instance in the capacity of ABC TV Q&A  audiences. Last night in Canberra, the Q&A audience sounded like the annual general meeting of the Green Left Weekly praising Che Guevara as they cheered on any panellist who criticised Prime Minister Scott Morrison or the Coalition government.

Deputy prime minister and Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce was the focus of the baying mob’s attention. It was your typical unbalanced Q&A panel where there is one representative of the Morrison government – and three opponents.  Namely Labor’s Jim Chalmers, Warringah Independent MP Zali Steggall and Tasmanian Independent Senator Jacqui Lambie. Oh yes, The Australian’s  Paul Kelly was also on the panel but did not take an avowedly political position.   In short, it was Joyce versus the Chalmers/Steggall/Lambie team.

Around half-way through Q&A, a middle-aged bloke with a pony-tail asked this question – which was called by your man Speers and, presumably, cleared by Q&A executive producer Erin Vincent.

When Scott Morrison’s own party says that he is a liar, has no moral compass and is unfit to lead the country – how can he ask the Australian public to elect him to lead the country?

This statement is totally false.  The Liberal Party has never said that the PM is a liar, has no moral compass and is unfit to lead Australia. The pony-tailed questioner just made this up.  But he was not corrected by David (“Call me Speersy”) Speers.

Soon after, Jacqui Lambie weighed into the PM followed by Zali Steggall who also criticised Barnaby Joyce.  By the way, Ms Steggall described Scott Morrison as “head of state”.   In fact, he is Australia’s head of government.

Also earlier in the program, Senator Lambie declared that she was “one of the first girls trialled in those [Australian Army] combat units”.  This was breaking news. The Tasmanian senator’s website contains no reference to her having been trialled in a female combat unit.

Jacqui Lambie served in the Australian Defence Force for just over a decade from October 1989 – in the Army School of Transport and the Australian Military Defence Force.  She was medically discharged from the ADF after she injured her back.

By the way, in September 2011 the Australian government agreed to the removal of gender restrictions preventing women from taking up combat forces in the ADF – more than a decade after Jacqui Lambie left the Australian Army.


The ABC managing director and editor-in-chief is appointed by the ABC Board.  The government appoints the ABC Board, including the chair, apart from the managing director and the ABC staff representative.

On 31 March ABC managing director and editor-in-chief David Anderson announced that Justin Stevens, currently executive director of ABC TV’s 7.30, has been appointed to the position of Director, ABC News, Analysis and Investigations.  In other words, an internal appointment.

Now Media Watch Dog has no objection to this appointment.   After all, your man Stevens is an avid (but not uncritical) MWD reader.  However, the replacement of Gaven Morris (who resigned from the ABC recently) by Justin Stevens does not change the fact that the ABC remains a staff collective where the staff runs the taxpayer funded public broadcaster and senior management rarely exercises its authority as an employer.

In his role as 7.30  executive producer, Mr Stevens continued Laura Tingle in her role as 7.30 chief political correspondent – despite the fact that, in a late night tweet, she accused the Morrison government of “ideological bastardry”. And then Mr Stevens publicly objected to the fact that some senior Coalition ministers do not readily accept invitations to appear on 7.30.

MWD’s various dealings with the ABC’s new Director of ABC News, Analysis and Investigations indicate that he is professional and courteous. But Mr Stevens presides over a program which will not give airtime to books written on George Pell (after he was acquitted by a unanimous High Cout decision) by Keith Windschuttle, Frank Brennan and Gerard Henderson. Despite the fact that 7.30 led the media pile-on against Cardinal Pell.

7.30  has pulled its program of 27 July 2016 from all ABC outlets – transcripts and videos alike – which featured Louise Milligan’s 30 minute “case for the prosecution” against Pell. And Justin Stevens closed all debate on the 7.30 program itself.

ABC TV Media Watch presenter Paul Barry is rarely critical of his fellow ABC colleagues.  But on 20 April 2020, Barry criticised the fact that 7.30 gave inadequate coverage of Pell’s acquittal.  Barry said: “Having given so much time to Pell’s accusers since 2016, 7.30  should surely have devoted more than six minutes to his final acquittal”.  Justin Stevens was 7.30’s executive producer in 2020.

The evidence suggests that Mr Stevens protected the 7.30 staff collective when he ran 7.30.  Let’s hope he discontinues such practices in his new position.


After its long silence on the civil case brought against the ABC by a victim of former ABC producer Jon Stephens – who pleaded guilty in 2017 to historical child sexual abuse while on an ABC assignment in 1981 – the ABC has finally settled a civil case brought by his victim. Stephens was facing additional charges of historical child sexual abuse with respect to two complainants when he died in December 2019.

As MWD has reported, the ABC did not cover its own serious case of historical child sexual abuse and has not reported the civil case against the public broadcaster with reference to Stephens.  MWD will provide a full report in the next edition.

Can You Bear It?


As avid Media Watch Dog readers are well aware, Hendo – aka Jackie’s (male) co-owner – is not a cliché kind of guy.  But there are exceptions to the rule (another cliché, to be sure – for which mea culpa). One occurred yesterday when a book arrived by parcel post in an envelope that bore the address of Nine’s old headquarters in Pyrmont, Sydney and got Hendo’s address wrong by several numbers.  So – thanks Australia Post.

Last year, as avid readers know, Nine moved from inner-city Pyrmont Sydney over the Harbour Bridge to North Sydney – where the likes of Network 9, the Sydney Morning Herald and Australian Financial Review are now based.  This initiated quite a culture shock for Nine’s leftist luvvie Kate McClymont who – having heard the shocking news – wondered out loud whether you could get good coffee on the non-fashionable side of Sydney Harbour along with whether the good people on the Lower North Shore spoke English there and so on. See MWD Issue 510.

But MWD digresses.  The said Australia Post envelope bore a hand-written address which resembled not a thumbnail dipped in tar (a la A.B. “Banjo” Patterson in his 1889 poem) but, rather, a ponytail dipped in hemp.  And, lo and behold, the contents inside demolished the cliché-myth that you can’t judge a book by its cover.  In this case you can – since the said tome titled Who Needs the ABC? Why taking it for granted is no longer an option, has a truly boring cover and, at first glance, is a truly boring publication.

Published by Henry Rosenbloom’s Scribe Publications in the Melbourne inner-city suburb of Brunswick, Who Needs the ABC? contains the names of the authors on the cover – in black on dark blue. Which means they are unreadable. Good one Henry – one of Hendo’s fave Marxists from his youth at Melbourne University in a previous century, but he’s not saying which one.

It turns out that the book is the work of Matthew (“Yawn”) Ricketson who identifies as a journalist and an academic at Deakin University and Patrick Mullins who identifies as a Canberra-based writer and adjunct professor at the University of Canberra. [I’m so impressed – but did you mean to write “a junk professor”? – MWD Editor.]  Needless to say, your man Ricketson has been a member of the Australian Research Council taxpayer funded projects on the media.  Well done Rick.  But – Yawn. Has anyone read any of the reports on these projects?

It turns out that – at first glance – this is one of the most boring books published in the Antipodes for eons.  It’s all words with no photos or artworks and paragraphs run for up to 330 words. Moreover, it seems that neither Scribe nor the authors could afford an index.  Oh yes, Who Needs the ABC? contains endorsements by Mark Scott – aka Nice Mr Scott, the former managing director and (so-called) editor-in-chief of the ABC – along with those of the leftist academic trio Judith Brett, Frank Bongiorno and Clare Wright.

It seems that this quartet believes that the ABC cannot get by on over $1 billion a year. Really. Also the book complains that the ABC has been criticised by Coalition government ministers.  It appears that the authors believe that leading ABC journalists – such as Laura Tingle – are entitled to criticise the Morrison government ministers but they are not entitled to retaliate.

It so happened that, while glancing through the Ricketson/Mullins tome at around Post-Dinner Drinks last night, it fell to the floor.  When it was retrieved, after some effort, it opened to Chapter 6 titled “Identifying Bias Everywhere but Yourself: the ABC and media watchdoggers”. A semi-literate phraseology – but you get the idea.

This truly boring chapter is so boring it would seem to have been written by Comrade (“Yawn”) Ricketson.  After all, young Mr Mullins had written lively books on former prime minister William McMahon and on the publication of Portnoy’s Complaint in Australia.  Whereas his co-author specialises in, well, sludge. By the way, your man Mullins has addressed The Sydney Institute, where he was treated with courtesy by Gerard Henderson AC (aka Always Courteous). Comrade Ricketson was invited to address the Institute, but the invitation must have got lost.

Believe it or not, in Chapter 6 the Ricketson/Mullins tome authors (or one of the authors – presumably your man Ricketson) have devoted lotsa time analysing Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch Dog and its predecessor all the way back to 1988. Really. Has Comrade Ricketson got nothing better to do with his time? – than to focus on what he terms “the ABC and the media watchdoggers”.

And the conclusion is that Hendo writes a lot about the ABC – before and after Nice Mr Scott’s time. Quelle Surprise!  Put the authors up for a Walkley Award.  If the authors had asked Hendo, he would have advised that the Conservative Free Zone that is the ABC provides lotsa material for MWD each week which is very much appreciated.  By the way, the Ricketson/Mullins duo concluded that “in the decade to 2020 Henderson mentioned the ABC 987 times”. Who would have ever thought so?  In any event, on Hendo’s count, it was 988 times. So there. Apparently, this analysis passes for valuable research at Deakin and Canberra universities and is well worth funding by the Australian Research Council.  Which raises the question. Can You Bear It?


Did anyone hear the interview of Treasurer Josh Frydenberg by Patricia (“Call me PK”) Karvelas on ABC Radio National Breakfast  on Wednesday?  – the morning after the budget night before. Midway through the interview, the following exchange took place:

Patricia Karvelas: If you’re just tuning in, the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is my guest. Treasurer, the Budget papers include almost $3 billion in cuts to payments from 2024. No details regarding what you’ll be cutting. What’s the big secret?

Josh Frydenberg: Well, we’re actually seeing more investments in the essential services, more investment in schools, more investment in hospitals –

Patricia Karvelas: [interjecting] Yeah, but that wasn’t my question. What’s this $3 billion?

Josh Frydenberg: I don’t know what you’re actually referring to specifically. What I can tell you is we have not been cutting essential services. We’ve been investing more –

Patricia Karvelas: [interjecting] No, so –

Josh Frydenberg: – and what we saw last night –

Patricia Karvelas:  [interjecting] From 2024 in the Budget papers, $3 billion in savings. So what are they?

Josh Frydenberg: Well, again, I don’t know which page and which document you’re referring to.

Patricia Karvelas: When do we get to find out, Josh Frydenberg, about what that $3 billion is about?

And so it went on and on – with PK alleging that there are “$3 billion cuts from 2024” in the budget and the Treasurer not knowing what the interviewer was on about. Or, indeed, on.

It turned out that Comrade Karvelas was on the wrong tram, or wrong cart. It seems she took her “gotcha” question from Labor shadow finance minister Katy Gallagher’s tweet post-budget, who got it hopelessly wrong.  As assistant treasurer Michael Sukkar tweeted on Wednesday 30 March, the $3 billion that PK was banging on about was not a cut at all. Rather in the 2022 budget, $3 billion was moved from “decisions not announced” to “decisions announced”.  That’s all, folks.

So there you have it.  Comrade Karvelas and her team at RN Breakfast seem to take some “information” from Twitter.  Needless to say, PK has not corrected her howler on air direct – or online.  It’s another case of journalists never having to say they’re sorry. Can You Bear It?


While on the topic of Josh Frydenberg, the 2022 budget and all that – what a stunning performance from ABC Melbourne 774 Mornings presenter Virginia Trioli on Wednesday 30 March.

La Trioli, like so many of her colleagues at the ABC Soviet, is always banging on about how the ABC is Australia’s most trusted news source – despite the fact that every night it comes in third in the evening news ratings – behind Network 7 and Network 9.  Which suggests that Comrade Trioli is of the view that a clear majority of Australians watch the news which they trust less, rather than the news presented on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster.  How about that?  What fools they must be – but there you go.

By the way, as James Madden commented in The Australian on 10 March, in the Melbourne mornings radio time slot the ABC finishes fourth behind 3AW, GOLD104.3 and Fox FM. Moreover, Trioli’s show has an 8.9 per cent share in the latest ratings – well behind Neil Mitchell at 3AW with a 17.6 per cent audience share.

It appears that ABC Radio in Melbourne is increasingly becoming a radio of the Green Left, by the Green Left and for the Green Left.  In other words, it re-enforces views rather than challenges them.

Following her Frydenberg interview, La Trioli called for comments from listeners. There followed an anonymous caller plus “Kevin in Croydon” plus “Judy in Geelong”, plus someone else, plus Moira from somewhere or other.  All bagged either the Treasurer or the Prime Minister or Bill Shorten and Michael Danby (both of whom are members of Labor’s right-wing faction).  Here’s the text Virginia Trioli chose to read out re the death of Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching who told family members and friends that she had been bullied by Labor’s Senate leadership team whom she referred to as “Mean Girls”. Ms Kitching was a friend of Bill Shorten and former Labor MP Michael Danby:

Virginia Trioli:  This is Judy in Geelong: “Where’s the moral outrage by the media following Fierravanti-Wells’ accusations of bullying against the Prime Minister?   No doubt [Senator] Shorten, Danby and the rest of their cabal will be vociferous in this support of poor bullied Connie?  Oh, no?  So it [the reaction to Kimberley Kitching’s death] was all about factional politics after all”, says Judy in Geelong.  What do you make of that observation by Judy? You can call in and let me know.

Surprise, surprise!  No one disagreed with leftist Judy. A couple of Green/Left type listeners phoned in. They both agreed with earlier callers.  Little wonder that La Trioli has around half the listeners that Neil Mitchell enjoys.  After all, the Greens score only about 10 per cent of the vote in Victoria which roughly equates, on a per capita basis, with the listeners to ABC 774.  Can You Bear It?


As avid readers know, Dr Norman (“Trust me, I’m Australia’s most trusted doctor, despite the fact that I have not practised medicine for four decades”) Swan appears on ABC Radio National Breakfast every Monday morning.  Here is how the interview commenced on Monday 28  March:

Patricia Karvelas: So the Federal budget will be handed down of course tomorrow. It’s budget eve, one more sleep. What do you think the government will prioritise?

Norman Swan: I haven’t got a clue. I mean, the history of the government in the past was that they prioritise – they loved making announcements about very expensive new drugs, sometimes with dubious value. But the, to be fair to this government, they’ve done something really quite important. And at which really does have to be the priority, which is the reform of general practice….

How about that?  The Doctor-in-the-ABC-House reckons that some of the new drugs made available by the Coalition government over the last nine years or so have been “sometimes of dubious value”.  He didn’t name names.

Here are a few of the medications added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in the 2022 budget:

۰ Trodelvy, a treatment for triple negative breast cancer. It will save patients $80,000 per course of treatment and extend the life expectancy of many women for whom the drug was prohibitively expensive.

۰ Trikafta, a treatment for Cystic Fibrosis. Cystic Fibrosis, a progressive genetic disease, has a median life expectancy of 47 years. Trikafta – which patients currently have to pay more than $250,000 to access – will extend and improve the lives of around 1,900 Australians with Cystic Fibrosis.

۰ Zolgensma, a single-dose treatment to improve and extend the lives of children with the deadly genetic disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy – which in its most severe form has a life expectancy of two years. At $2.5 million, it is considered one of the most expensive drugs in the world.

It seems that your man Swan may regard at least some drugs like those listed above as having dubious value.  But then, he does not suffer from any such illnesses.  Can You Bear It?

[Er no.  Not really – now that you ask.  By the way, this week’s hugely popular Documentation section contains more material on Norman Swan – aka Australia’s most trusted doctor. – MWD Editor.]



On Monday 28 March, 7:30 aired yet another in a long series of stories concerning Australia’s vaccine rollout. Avid readers will recall that 7:30 has previously alleged that Australia’s vaccine rollout was delayed because health officials, and in particular Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, did not respond quickly enough to overtures from Pfizer regarding its still-in-development vaccine.

The latest 7:30 story by political reporter Dan Conifer concerns emails between Minister Hunt and (then) Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy from May 2020. Apparently 7:30 has been unable to obtain these emails under freedom of information laws because they were deemed to be not in the public interest, and this story appears to be an attempt to pressure the government to hand the emails over.

The report features comments from freedom of information advocate Peter Timmins and economist Stephen Duckett. Here is how Mr Duckett is introduced:

Dan Conifer: Stephen Duckett led the Federal Health Department in the 1990s during the Keating government and is now with the independent Grattan Institute thinktank.

Although the Grattan Institute has no formal political affiliation, a quick look at Mr Duckett’s Twitter account would leave no doubt as to his political leanings as he spends most of his time sledging the Morrison Government. Nevertheless, he is the only health “expert” interviewed and is allowed to have the final say at the end of the report:

Stephen Duckett: The vaccine strollout, as it is called, has been described as the greatest failure in public administration that Australia has ever had. So we’ve got to learn what went wrong and how to prevent that happening again.

Apparently, the use of the term “strollout”, popularised in 2021 by ACTU president Sally McManus, did not give 7:30 any reason to doubt that Mr Duckett should be presented as a politically independent expert. Nor did his hyperbolic suggestion that the vaccine rollout represents the greatest failure in public administration in Australian history – a claim frequently advanced by former Prime Minister and current Morrison critic Malcolm Turnbull.

The 7:30 Twitter account posted the story. Here is how former Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth responded:

Dr Coatsworth is quite right. The Tweet by 7:30 presents what it claims is the relatively slow pace of Australia’s vaccine rollout as a direct result of the purchasing decisions made by the Federal Government. While this may be the view of many within the ABC, it has been disputed by the government and is, at the very least, a gross oversimplification of the issue.

As implied by Nick Coatsworth’s tweet, another partial cause of Australia’s delayed vaccine rollout was the damage done to the reputation of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Professor Greg Dore, an epidemiologist and infectious disease physician at the Kirby Institute, offered a similar assessment:

In May 2021, ABC COVID guru, and frequent 7:30 contributor, Dr Norman Swan admitted that he “probably did cause some vaccine hesitancy” with his coverage of AstraZeneca. It is easy then to see why 7:30 would be eager to place all of the blame on delays in vaccine purchasing by the Commonwealth Government. But this is a false analysis. Unfair to the both the Morrison Government and the Commonwealth Department of Health.



It was once something of a put-down to declare that a person had “more front” than Mark Foy’s or Myer.  The reference was to the long front display windows of the main department stores in the 1950s and 1960s in Sydney and Melbourne respectively. The term implied arrogance and over-confidence.

Well, it seems that Michael Williams, the artistic director of the 2022 Sydney Writers’ Festival, has more front than Mark Foy’s and Myer combined.  How else to explain the title of the 2022 SWF – “Change my Mind”?

The program for the 2022 SWF – which is scheduled to run from 16 to 22 May – indicates that there is almost no one on the program who is likely to force the leftist Comrade Williams to change his mind on any political, social or scientific issue. By the way, the 2022 SWF is primarily funded by the NSW Government (via taxpayers) and by the City of Sydney (via taxpayers).

As avid Media Watch Dog readers know only too well, literary or writers’ festivals are invariably occasions when a soviet of leftist activists obtains a bucket-load of other people’s money – i.e. taxpayers’ money – and uses the moolah to invite their fellow leftist comrades to get together and discuss issues where virtually everyone agrees with everyone else on virtually everything in a left-of-centre way. It’s a bit like a literary version of the Conservative Free Zone that is the ABC.

  • Michael Williams’ Epistle to the Literary Leftists

On Saturday 26 March 2022, the program for the 2022 SWF was published in the Sydney Morning Herald. It featured a “Message from the Artistic Director”, which contains the following literary sludge:

Change my mind with a stanza or a couplet, a jarring dissonance, a beautiful echo or a rhyme. Change it with a flight of fancy, an intricate, imagined world, a compelling character I’ll never meet but never forget. Turn it upside down with searing rhetoric, impeccable research, the knock-out argument that has me questioning everything I know and all that I believe….

How we talk to one another – what the process should be for disagreeing, persuading and changing minds – is front and centre in this year’s Festival. We dig deep into the mechanisms, the decision-making and the influences that define us, while our storytelling gala asks 12 writers to reflect on the art, people and experiences that have changed their minds…. Our public life has been reduced to culture wars and entrenched disagreement. Everyone knows best and nobody, it seems, is willing to listen to anything different.

The only problem with your man Williams’ claim is that the SWF’s program does not match the SWF’s artistic director’s pitch.  You be the judge.  Here’s a list of Australians scheduled to appear at the 2022 SWF who take part in the public debate on political, economic and social issues:

Yasmin Abdel-Magied, Michael Mohammed Ahmad, Julia Baird, Caroline Baum, Larissa Behrendt, Sophie Black, Judith Brett, Jane Caro, Barrie Cassidy, Kaz Cooke, Annabel Crabb, Sophie Cunningham, Michelle de Kretser, Richard Denniss,  Jo Dyer, Anton Enus, Jon Faine, Ellen Fanning, Mahreen Faruqi, Osman Faruqi, Nick Feik, Clementine Ford, Jan Fran, Ross Gittins, Richard Glover, Marieke Hardy, Bridie Jabour, Linda Jaivin, Erik Jensen, Patricia Karvelas,  Fran Kelly, Sean Kelly, Paul Kennedy, Benjamin Law, John Lyons, Jacqueline Maley, David Marr, Wendy McCarthy, Kate McClymont, Karen Middleton, Louise Milligan, Rick Morton, Amy Remeikis, Peter Rose, Tom Tilley, Laura Tingle, Niki Savva, Julianne Schultz, Yumi Stynes, David Williamson, Clare Wright.

Not a conservative among this lot. And no one who is likely to change Comrade Williams’ mind on anything or to provide “anything different” to the public debate. In short, it’s another leftist stack.  A bit like the SWF leftist stacks which Michael Williams presided over in 2020 and 2021 – re which see MWD Issues 490 and 535 respectively.

As far as MWD can work out, there are only two right-of-centre types on the 2022 SWF program who are scheduled to discuss politics, economics or religion.  Namely The Australian’s Greg Sheridan (who is scheduled to discuss Church & State at midday on Thursday 19 May along with Stephanie Dowrick and Elle Hardy) and The Australian’s Judith Sloan (who is scheduled to discuss the New Economic Order with Rosalind Dixon, Ross Gittins and Richard Holden at midday on Sunday 22 May).

The Church & State segment clashes with the PEN Lecture which will be delivered by Senator Mehreen Faruqi – the program does not mention that she is the Greens senator for NSW. Enough said.

  • Comrades David Marr, Louise Milligan and Barrie Cassidy get SWF Gig

MWD fave David Marr is listed on the program to appear in event number 127.  This is advertised as follows:


May 22, 4-5pm

A series of Festival guests reveal a topic that deepened their learning, evolved their thinking or flat out changed their mind.

Note. No one is named as speaking in this session. Not even The Guardian’s David Marr. If Saint Marr of The Left appears, it seems unlikely that he will ‘fess up that he was hopelessly wrong concerning the case of Cardinal George Pell – whose conviction for historical child sexual assault was quashed by a 7 to Zip decision in the High Court of Australia, despite your man Marr’s prediction to the contrary.

Which brings MWD to the ABC’s Louise Milligan – whose 7.30  “scoop” of 26 July 2017 exposing Cardinal Pell’s alleged crimes has been sent down the memory hole by the ABC.  The transcript of the 7.30 program has been deleted by the ABC without explanation. Ditto the iview video of the program. It is as if Milligan’s report on 26 July 2017, which occupied the whole 7.30 program, never happened. Comrade Milligan is scheduled to appear in event number 25 which is advertised as follows:


May 19, 4-5pm

What are the topics that that the Australian media doesn’t, can’t or won’t handle?  John Lyons (Dateline Jerusalem), Nessa Turnbull-Roberts and Louise Milligan, (Witness) discuss self-censorship and pervasive silences, with host Sophie Black.

The ABC’s Louis Milligan and the ABC’s John Lyons were both involved in the media pile-on against George Pell. MWD is no prophet.  However, it’s unlikely that Comrades Lyons and Milligan will talk about why it is too hard for either of them to address the fact that they were hopelessly wrong on the Pell Case. Surely a case of self-censorship, don’t you think? Also John Lyons and Louise Milligan hold senior positions within the ABC – which has refused to discuss books on the Pell Case written by Keith Windschuttle, Frank Brennan and Gerard Henderson.  Re which see MWD Issue 580. Another case of self-censorship – but one which is most unlikely to be discussed at the 2022 SWF.

Of special interest to MWD is event number 4:

Barrie Cassidy & Friends: Independents’ Day

May 19, 10-11am

Barrie Cassidy speaks with some of the candidates whose presence  shaped the 2022 federal election campaign: the independents.

It is not clear who Comrade Cassidy’s “friends” will be – presumably other green/left journalists.  It is notable that the overwhelming majority of (so called) Independent “Voices of” candidates are running against Coalition candidates in Coalition seats – and not attempting to win seats currently held by Labor or Greens members. How Independent is that?

So the 2022 SWF will give a gig to Greens and Independents candidates – but not to the Liberal Party, Nationals and Labor Party politicians. In short, with respect to politics – the 2022 SWF is a green/left front.

  • Comrade Williams Likely to be Replaced at SWF by Another Comrade

It has been announced that this will be Comrade Williams’ last Sydney Writers’ Festival. It is likely he will be replaced by the SWF’s board – chaired by Mark Scott, vice-chancellor of Sydney University and former managing director and (so-called) editor-in-chief of the ABC – with a like-minded comrade.  After all, Nice Mr Scott presided over the Conservative Free Zone that is the taxpayer funded public broadcaster for a decade and he has presided over the leftist stack that is the SWF for some years.

And what is Comrade Williams’ background? – MWD hears avid readers ask.  Well, he worked at the taxpayer funded left-of-centre Wheeler Centre in Melbourne and has hosted shows on ABC Radio National and appears regularly on the public broadcaster.  He’s also worked in the Melbourne leftist radio station 3RRR (based at Sandalista Central in the suburb of Fitzroy) and has written extensively for The Guardian, The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald  and currently hosts the leftist Guardian Australia  book club. A man of the left, to be sure.

Comrade Williams reckons he is going to be challenged by the leftist stack that is the 2022 SWF. You would have to have a background in the Wheeler Centre, the ABC, The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald along with the avowedly leftist Guardian Australia  and be the SWF’s artistic director to be so deluded as to believe this.

The 2022 Sydney Writers’ Festival – Your Taxes At Work.

[I just loved the way the 2022 SWF referred to its fave speakers.  Notably the “beloved Annabel Crabb” (ABC), the “beloved [ABC] broadcasters Paul Kennedy and Jason Om” and “much loved long-running podcast The Party Room” by the Green/Left ABC duo Fran Kelly and Patricia Karvelas.  Obviously, there’s lotsa love to go around among the comrades at the taxpayer funded Sydney Writers’ Festival.  MWD Editor.]


As avid MWD readers are well aware, the ABC frequently goes into denial when it makes errors.  As befits a staff-collective or soviet, the taxpayer funded public broadcaster invariably refuses to recognise errors of commission or omission – primarily in order to protect its journalists from embarrassment. Now read on.


This is the promo for ABC TV’s election coverage which aired on Thursday 31 March – featuring ABC TV Insiders presenter David Speers, ABC TV 7.30 presenter Leigh Sales and ABC Radio National Breakfast  presenter Patricia Karvelas:

David Speers: The ABC election team is so well plugged in.

Leigh Sales: There’s just no other team that brings that level of depth.

Patricia Karvelas: With enormous brain[sic]

Leigh Sales: There’s journalists all around the country.

Patricia Karvelas: Regional, remote.

David Speers: On election night, we all come together.

Patricia Karvelas: You will get the most candid reflections.

David Speers: You just won’t find anywhere else.

Leigh Sales: Accurate, clear, fast.

Patricia Karvelas: And we’re fearless.

Antony Green: Experience matters.

David Speers: No one’s going to concede defeat or declare victory until Antony Green has called it.

According to MWD’s sources within the ABC Soviet, ABC management remains highly embarrassed about the fact that the “experts” at the ABC got the outcome of the 2019 election hopelessly wrong. Including (then) Insiders presenter Barrie Cassidy, 7.30 chief political correspondent Laura Tingle (when in discussion with Leigh Sales) and Patricia Karvelas (when introducing ABC TV’s election coverage just after 6 pm on Saturday 18 May 2019).

Clearly the ABC is in denial about all this.  The ABC election team was not “well plugged in” in 2019 and its report of the election was neither “accurate, clear or fast”. Moreover, the “experience” of the ABC election team did not assist in providing the “level of depth” which would have made it possible for the public broadcaster to get it right on the night.

This was documented in the ABC Editorial Review No 19 Impartiality of the Federal Election  report, which was commissioned by the ABC Board and undertaken by former BBC journalist Kerry Blackburn.  It is dated October 2019. The Blackburn Report  did case studies of ABC TV’s Insiders and The Drum programs.

ABC chair Ita Buttrose fought very hard to keep the Blackburn Report secret – but was forced to table it in the Senate in December 2020.  A further example of the ABC’s attempt to protect its journalists from legitimate criticism.  But if you believed Comrades Speers, Sales and Karvelas on the promo for the 2022 election, you would not know about the ABC’s 2019 failure.  It’s called denial.


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Until Next Time

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