ISSUE – NO. 613

11 November 2022

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Wasn’t it great to see Laura Tingle on ABC TV 7:30 last night talking to Sarah Ferguson? Laura (“the Morrison government was replete with ideological bastardry”) Tingle responded to a question from Comrade Ferguson as to whether the Albanese government has “a proper Senate whisperer in its ranks”. The suggestion was that Labor wasn’t dealing as well as it could with the minor parties and Independents in the Senate. La Tingle replied as follows:

Laura Tingle: I think it’s [Labor’s] been exposed here, Sarah. Labor has traditionally been better at dealing with the Senate than the Coalition. The Coalition has always rather regarded the Senate with contempt.

What a load of tosh. Throughout much of the nine years of the former Coalition government, Liberal Party Minister Mathias Cormann did a first-rate job in negotiating government legislation through the Senate by dealing with minor parties and Independents. Moreover, it would seem that 7:30’s political correspondent has forgotten that Labor Party hero Paul Keating in November 1992 called senators “unrepresentative swill”. Somewhat contemptuous, don’t you think?


In recent times regular ABC TV Q&A presenter Stan Grant has been spruiking the program as a place for respectful and considered discussion.  Not last night, alas when the panel included the Chicago-born American-Australian dual national Joe Siracusa.

Let’s go to the transcript early in Q+A last night – David Speers was in the presenter’s chair and the audience identified as a left-stack from sandalista central at Fitzroy North or thereabouts:

David Speers:  Joe, let me come to you on this.  What – what are your thoughts on Elon Musk and Twitter.

Joe Siracusa:  I don’t like Elon Musk; I think he’s a fruitcake. [audience laughter/clapping] —

How respectful is that?  Joe Siracusa who presents as Adjunct Professor at Curtin University in Perth [Do you mean a “Junk Professor?” – MWD Editor] described a highly successful businessman as a “fruitcake” and the overwhelmingly leftist audience on the ABC’s Southbank studio in Melbourne just loved it.

Later on, your man Siracusa, who has said that he voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 US presidential election, declared that Donald Trump has “kind of unleashed all the fruitcakes in the hills of America”.   It would seem that either Comrade Siracusa has a limited vocabulary or he has an obsession with fruit and/or cake, perhaps both together.

As avid Media Watch Dog readers will know (see MWD 18 November 2016), Siracusa once called Ronald Reagan “dumb”.  What’s more, the learned adjunct professor once held the exalted role of national security adviser to, wait for it, (then) Queensland National Party premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen.

All this at a time in the mid-1980s when Australia’s very own lunar right was supporting the madness of the Joh Bjelke-Petersen for Prime Minister campaign.  This lot consisted of what Siracusa would today call “fruitcakes”.  And he was the national security adviser to the Fruitcake Supremo.

Needless to say, Siracusa’s brief role in the failed Joh-for-Canberra campaign was not mentioned in the bio of Joseph Siracusa released by Q+A. This fact would appear to have gone down what George Orwell called the memory hole.  But MWD remembers.

Professor Joseph Siracusa contributed to Q+A’s “respectful discussion” last night by describing Elon Musk and literally millions of Americns as “fruitcakes”

Can You Bear It?


Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa – Media Watch Dog has not kept its promise to report regularly on the ABC’s new show with its recycled presenter.  Yes, the reference is to Fran Kelly’s Frankly which airs at 8.30 pm on Fridays and concludes at 9 pm (this advice is provided in case MWD types have fallen asleep during the event).

Frankly is modelled on the BBC’s Graham Norton Show. The format and set are similar. But Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly ain’t no Graham Norton.  Your man Norton is zany, witty and, yes, a bit mad. And Comrade Kelly is, well, essentially a political activist of the leftist inner-city kind.

On Friday 4 November, the recycled presenter (Fran Kelly) had the recycled co-presenter of ABC’s Gruen (Wil Anderson) on her couch.  He was the second of three guests – after the singer Colin Hay and the biomedical engineer Jordan Nguyen.  All three were blokes dressed in inner-city black – as if they were attending a wake following a funeral for the old and tired – and now dead – jokes.

Jackie’s (male) co-owner is of the view that Frankly could be re-named “Hugly”.  For starters, this would downplay the Kelly cult-of-personality, a useful move since Comrade Kelly is personality-lite.  Moreover, it would help explain why, in the show’s current format, everyone hugs everyone else.  Take the episode currently under discussion.  First up, Kelly appeared resembling a warm-up artist trying to enthuse an audience dragooned into watching a pre-recorded segment of, say, “Serial Murderers of Ultimo”.

Then Comrade Hay rocked up and, after a little dance, hugged Fran.  Then it was Comrade Anderson’s turn – he clapped himself and then hugged Colin and Fran. Then it was Jordan’s turn – he did a little jig – and then hugged Colin and Wil and Fran. Groan.

As to the content – well, there wasn’t much.  But the (non-live) audience just loved this exchange when Comrade Anderson bagged former prime minister Scott Morrison and the Coalition government about fires and floods and climate change and all that.  Quelle Surprise!  Let’s go to the transcript:

Wil Anderson: And – and – and – and people won’t talk about the real reason that these things are happening. You know, people still don’t talk about climate change. It didn’t – it didn’t surprise me with the previous government –  ‘cos they, of course, blame the bushfires on arsonists. At least you can’t blame floods on arsonists. [audience laughing] You know, you can’t say – you can’t say:  “Oh, no, no, no, it’s not, no, no, no” –

Colin Hay: [interjecting] “You’ve started a flood.”

Wil Anderson: Yeah. “Ah, no, there was teenagers mate. Big long hoses, they filled up – [audience laughing] filled up Lismore overnight”. You know, that’s not true, because there’s no long hoses in Lismore, if you know what I’m saying. [audience laughing and clapping]

What a hoot.  How funny can a recycled ABC comedian get?  Needless to say, Wil Anderson did not produce any evidence that any senior members of the Morrison government blamed the bushfires of late 2019/early 2020 in south-east Australia on arsonists – nor did he seem to know that fires and floods are common experiences in large parts of Australia, including Lismore (which is on a flood plain).  It might have spoilt his one-joke performance. Can You Bear It?

[No, not really – now that you ask.  By the way, does Comrade Anderson really believe that people don’t talk about climate change. What planet is he on? – or perhaps the question is – what is he on? – MWD Editor]


Did anyone hear the interview by ABC Radio National Breakfast presenter Patricia (“Please call me PK”) Karvelas and the American commentator Lee Foster on 9 November?  Your man Foster is senior vice-president of analysis at Alethea (whatever that is). Towards the end of the discussion, Comrade Karvelas raised the issue of Elon Musk – the Tesla king and now Twitter conqueror – who is deemed to be a threat to the left by the left.  Let’s go to the transcript:

Patricia Karvelas: There’s been a lot of discussion about free speech on – just generally, recently. And, of course, in relation to Twitter – with Elon Musk taking over. What are you expecting from his tenure? I saw him tweet, for instance, the other day, um, journal – something to the lines – I’m not quoting directly, but the spirit of it was:  “Journalists think they’re the only source of truth”. And this is something he wants to, um, disrupt. So, what does that mean?

Lee Foster: Uh, I don’t know where, you know, Elon is going, um, in particular. But I would say that obviously there’s been a lot of attention focussed on [inaudible] with Twitter, specifically, um, over the past couple of weeks. And I think what’s often missed in this conversation is that disinformation, misinformation is far bigger than even a social media problem.

Uh, you know, MWD does have an idea of where Elon Musk is going.  PK seems to be of the view that it would be wrong for your man Musk to disrupt the view that journalists are the only source of truth.  Lee Foster, in a somewhat confused ramble, seemed to be of a similar view and seemed to suggest that journalists are a bastion against both misinformation and disinformation.

What a load of self-indulgent absolute tosh.  Comrades Karvelas and Foster seem to be unaware of Walter Duranty – a Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times reporter who was one of the most famous journalists of his time.

Comrade Duranty was the Moscow bureau chief for the New York Times from soon after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 until the early 1930s.  He reported on the Soviet Union under the totalitarian dictators Lenin and Stalin – and presented the communist regime as an emerging utopia.  Duranty lied, knowingly, about Stalin’s forced famine in Ukraine and more besides – as Malcolm Muggeridge wrote at the time and S.J. Taylor has documented in Stalin’s Apologist (OUP, 1990).

And yet the likes of PK and Lee Foster seem to hold the view that it is somehow wrong to disrupt the view that journalists are bastions of truth and a bulwark on misinformation and disinformation. Can You Bear It?


When will it all stop?  Not long after it was revealed that leftist heroes Bob Ellis (1942-2016) and Martin Sharp (1942-2013) were pedophiles with an active sexual interest in underage girls – up steps Wendy Whiteley with a frank assessment of her late husband – the artist Brett Whiteley (1939-1992).

There is no evidence that Comrade Whiteley was in the Ellis/Sharp mode when it came to sex and all that.  However, as is revealed in Ashleigh Wilston’s book A Year with Wendy (Text Publishing, 2022), Brett Whiteley was what feminists of a certain age would call a male chauvinist pig.  In Good Weekend  on 29 October 2022, Ms Whiteley (nee Julius) was quoted as follows:

Free love was a lovely idea but only for its blokes.  He didn’t like me out of his sight.  He was very insecure with women. It’s unbelievable when I think of it now. At the time I thought it was funny, interesting and passionate.

Reviewing Wilston’s book in The Weekend Australian on 29 October, Rosemary Neill reported that Wendy Whiteley said that her husband was sometimes scary violent and once tried to drive her off the road.  How about that? When, as the saying goes, push came to shove and the Angel of Death arrived – the leftist libertarians of the Sydney Push and their acolytes have had their reputations pushed downhill.  And to think that Comrade Ellis, Sharp and Whiteley were once left-wing heroes. Can You Bear It?


Did any avid readers catch comedian/musician/actor Tim Minchin on Australian Story on Monday 7 September? It was quite a dull affair. Minchin, his family and friends banged on about his career as if it has been exceptionally interesting. If you missed it: Minchin was unsuccessful, then became successful. He has had some projects work out and others not.

In the midst of this, Minchin questions whether he should be talking to Australian Story or not. Or something like that. Let’s go to the transcript:

Tim Minchin: I am a straight white dude with a huge microphone speaking in a time that is at the end of hundreds of years of straight white dudes with microphones imposing their knowledge, their condescension, their unchecked privilege, their patriarchal blah, blah….

Tim Minchin: But I do not believe that my straight white maleness means that I have nothing to contribute on a whole variety of subjects if I have thought deeply about them….

Tim Minchin: But I am on the end of that line, and I am, of course, an inheritor of that. So, it is not so bad that people like me feel like we need to shut the f**k up for a little bit.

Blah blah indeed. You can see why your man Minchin has been previously featured in MWD’s prestigious Flann O’Brien Award for Literary or Verbal Sludge.

Straight white dude Tim Minchin continues to talk about himself and his struggles to stay faithful to his wife after finding fame and being surrounded by “shaking, beautiful crying girls who can’t believe they’re touching me”. He even wrote a song about it. As Minchin’s wife Sarah, who also appeared on the program said: “Well done, Tim.”

Minchin, who apparently doesn’t feel the need to shut the f**k up for a bit, also recently appeared in the Daily Telegraph’s Stellar magazine (27 October), to again talk about himself, to Siobhan Duck.

Comrade Minchin refers to his abusive song Come Home (Cardinal Pell) as “a hell of a moment in terms of art intersecting with culture”. Perhaps Minchin could write a follow up song about how the Royal Commission was not able to produce any independent witness or documentary evidence that Pell had knowledge of clerical child sexual assault. When he did, Pell immediately took action against pedophile priests. And when Pell came home voluntarily to face charges of child sexual abuse, he successfully had his conviction overturned in a unanimous decision in the High Court. None of this was mentioned on Australian Story.

Surprisingly, Minchin almost says something interesting at the end of the interview, expressing his concerns about cancel culture and being cancelled by his “own tribe” of progressives. Once again bringing up his white maleness, Minchin says: “And to have a straight, white, powerful man talking about cancel culture is unlikely to be taken in the spirit in which it’s meant; it’s not likely to be listened to charitably…Conversation about cancel culture coming out of my mouth is subject to cancel culture.”

Unfortunately, this is when your man Minchin decides to shut up. Can You Bear It?



No media outlet did more to publicise the activities of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse than the ABC. The Royal Commission was set up by Julia Gillard’s Labor government (in cooperation with the States and Territories) and operated between 2013 and 2017.

The Royal Commission was headed by former judge Peter McClellan KC and was run at a cost of around $342 million over five years – employing hundreds of staff at any one time.  In short, it had adequate resources – especially since its original three-year term was extended by two years. The final report was delivered in December 2017.

The Royal Commission did much to draw attention to historical cases of pedophilia within institutions.  But, like all organisations, it had its faults.  These have been covered in Chapter 9 of Gerard Henderson’s Cardinal Pell, The Media Pile-On & Collective Guilt (Connor Court, 2021) which has been effectively censored by the ABC – along with books by Frank Brennan and Keith Windschuttle published after the High Court acquitted George Pell in a unanimous decision.

But MWD digresses.  One valid criticism of the Royal Commission was that it focused on religious institutions. Particularly Christian institutions – with special emphasis on the Catholic Church and, to a lesser extent, the Anglican Church. Peter McClellan and his fellow commissioners all but ignored instances of historical child sexual abuse in government institutions and in such industries as the media. (The latter despite the knowledge of media personality Jimmy Savile’s offending in Britain).

Hence the current focus on Tasmania. The Royal Commission conducted 57 case studies.  But there was not one specific case study into government schools.  There were two case studies with respect to Tasmania. Namely, Case Study 20: The Hutchins School  (an independent school with connections to the Anglican diocese of Tasmania) and Case Study 36: Church of England Boys’ Society. However, Peter McClellan and his fellow commissioners totally overlooked government institutions.

Due to the Royal Commission’s neglect of this issue, in August 2020 the Tasmanian government established the Independent Inquiry into the Tasmanian Department of Education’s Responses to Child Sexual Abuse – which released its final report on 7 June 2021.  In October 2020, the Tasmanian government set up the Independent Investigation into the Tasmanian Health Service and the Management of Child Sexual Abuse. Then in March 2021, the Commission of Inquiry into the Tasmanian Government’s Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Institutional Settings was established.

The various inquiries have found numerous instances of historical child sexual abuse within Tasmanian government schools (where pedophile teachers were moved from school to school over decades) and government institutions (in particular the Launceston General Hospital and the Ashley Youth Detention Centre). All of these government institutions were overlooked by the Royal Commission headed by Peter McClellan – despite its substantial funding and well-resourced staffing. Instead it devoted all its Tasmanian resources to one independent school and one Christian society.

On 8 November 2022, ABC News reported the apology given by Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff to the victims-survivors of child sexual abuse in state government institutions.  But the ABC report did not mention that these crimes had been completely overlooked by the Royal Commission headed by Peter McClellan. A comprehensive fail if ever there was one.


As readers of Media Watch Dog’s hugely popular Correspondence segment are well aware, Jackie’s (male) co-owner has been in dispute with Melbourne University Press (aka MUP) concerning the publication of The Work Of History: Writing For Stuart Macintyre (MUP, 2022). It contains a piss-poor chapter by Professor Sean Scalmer (titled “Stuart Macintyre on Australian Historians”) who described Gerard Henderson as “a critic and former classmate” of Stuart Macintyre.

In fact, Hendo did not criticise Macintyre when he was alive (since he regarded much of his work as turgid) and he was never a bestie of Macintyre.  The fact is that Comrade Macintyre, who was a one-time member of the Communist Party in Australia and Britain, invented this alleged friendship to use as a weapon to criticise the anti-communist Henderson. It was a form of what these days, is fashionably called gas-lighting.

Comrade Scalmer is in denial about all this and is unlikely to correct his error.  But at least the published correspondence between Hendo, Nathan Hollier (MUP) and Sean Scalmer on this matter has entertained some avid readers of MWD’s Correspondence segment. And, what’s more, it’s been good fun.

The final chapter of The Work Of History is by the book’s editors Peter Beilharz and Sian Supski titled “What if?”. This is the same title as the book What If?:  Australian History as it might have been (MUP, 2006) which was edited by Stuart Macintyre and his intellectual comrade in arms, wait for it, Sean Scalmer.

Believe it or not, in The Work Of History the editors raise three Macintyre/Scalmer style questions with respect to the oh-so-adored Stuart Macintyre. Here they are – MWD kids you not:

  • First, what if Stuart had joined the Liberal Party?
  • Second, what if Stuart had remained in England?…What if he moved to the USA?…What if he stayed in Perth?
  • Third, what if Stuart had become a sociologist?

What a load of absolute tosh.  Here are MWD’s equally ridiculous “What if?” questions:

  • First, what if Stuart had been run over by a bus at age 221/2 on his way to visit Karl Marx’s grave in Highgate Cemetery? How would he have written the (unfinished) multi-volume and multi-boring history of the Communist Party of Australia?
  • Second, what if Stuart had been born a Catholic, joined the Society of Jesus (i.e. Jesuits) and become a Pope (like Francis)? Would his encyclicals have been as boring as Stuart’s tedious tome A Proletarian Science: Marxism in Britain 1917-1939 (Cambridge University Press)?
  • Third, what if Stuart and Hendo had really and truly been schoolmates and remained life-long friends, how would MWD have filled its Correspondence section in recent times?

And here’s a final question.  What if MUP didn’t produce such literary and historical sludge?

Melbourne University Press – Media Fool of the Week.


As avid readers are well aware, a certain William (Bill) Thompson – a Melburnian who identifies as the ABC’s Southbank Correspondent – set up the “Outside Insiders” video segment in pre-pandemic times some years ago.  This is a print edition of the Bill Thompson initiative to report on the ABC TV Insiders program.


Could it be that – like some other ABC programs – ABC TV Insiders is having trouble getting political conservatives to appear, in this case Coalition politicians?  How else to explain the fact that Kate Chaney – the Independent MP for Curtin and one time (albeit briefly) Labor Party member – scored the interview slot on Insiders  on Sunday 6 November?

For the fact is that Ms Chaney – along with other Independents in the House of Representatives – has scant political influence.  The Albanese Labor government has a majority of two in the House of Representatives and is not dependent on the Independents to get legislation passed. The minor parties and Independents are important in the Senate – where the government does not have a majority. But not in the House.  The aim of the Teal Independents to gain the balance-of-power in the House of Representatives was not successful – even though some ABC types would like to believe otherwise.

As it turned out, Kate Chaney emerged as an Insiders fave – having been interrupted on only three occasions by presenter David (“Oh yes – I’m the great interrupter – usually”) Speers.  Insiders  executive producer Samuel Clark likes having green/leftish ineffectual Independents on the program – Zoe Daniel has also been interviewed this year after the election and Allegra Spender was interviewed before the election. They all received soft interviews.

Highlights of Insiders on 6 November were as follows:

  • It was great to see The Guardian/ABC Axis at work again. The Guardian Australia’s political reporter Amy Remeikis was on the panel with Dana Morse (ABC News) with the ABC’s Speersy (as he likes to be called) in the presenter’s chair. The Guardian’s  Mike Bowers presented the “Talking Pictures” segment.  Clare Armstrong (Daily Telegraph) was the third member of the panel and Fleur Anderson (89 Degrees East) spoke to Comrade Bowers.  Ms Anderson is the author of the booklet On Sleep – a handy tome indeed if Speersy is about to interview a Teal Independent on Insiders. So it was a 66 per cent representation for The Guardian/ABC Axis.
  • Amy Remeikis was the star of the (panel) show. Early on, The Guardian’s political reporter declared with respect to the Stage 3 tax cuts scheduled to come into operation in 2024: “There is no moral, common sense, economic, anything justification [sic] for these tax cuts – they were bad policy when introduced”. That’s pretty clear, then. Comrade Remeikis called on “the media” not “to hound” Labor if it breaks its promise to introduce the Stage 3 tax cuts. She spoke of journalists as “we” and “we’ve” and urged her colleagues to act responsibly.  Spoken like an activist journalist, don’t you think?
  • Amy Remeikis went on to quote “my boss Katharine Murphy” for her most recent column in The Guardian. How nice.  Comrade R then declared “people really need wages to start moving”.

As MWD readers are aware, The Guardian’s  political reporter told Insiders’ viewers not so long ago that she simply could not ask for a 5 per cent pay rise from The Guardian. As MWD has stated in the past, The Guardian Australia has a reputation for paying low – perhaps lousy is a better word – wages. In short, in Marxist terminology so beloved of The Guardian, Amy Remeikis is a wage slave.

The article The Guardian’s wage slave was pushing on Insiders was the political column by Murpharoo (as she likes to be called) published on 4 November at 7 pm.  In sneering mode, Murpharoo (i) described those she disagreed with as being into foot-stamping and pearl-clutching, (ii) referred to “a sticky date pudding on a cold Saturday night” and (iii) used the word “cacophonous”.

With form like this, Comrade Murpharoo will be on the Insiders panel soon – where she is part of the Guardian tag team – consisting of Lenore Taylor (editor), Katharine Murphy (political editor), Sarah Martin (chief political correspondent), Amy Remeikis (political reporter) and Gabrielle Chan (rural and regional editor).

The Guardian is an avowedly leftist publication.  Yet it provides five comrades to the Insiders couch – thus consummating The Guardian/ABC Axis on a regular basis on a Sunday morning. It is a rare Sunday indeed when a conservative appears on the Insiders couch as befits the taxpayer funded public broadcaster as a Conservative Free Zone.


Lotsa thanks to the avid Media Watch Dog  reader who drew attention to a couple of U-Turns by David Crowe – Nine Newspapers’ chief political correspondent, who is a panellist on ABC TV’s Insiders  and president of the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery.

Writing in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald on 27 October, your man Crowe reported that, during his address to the National Press Club on 26 October, Treasurer Jim Chalmers “highlighted a Labor weakness”. Namely, that the Albanese government “cannot tell voters if it stands by the $275 claim”.   The reference was to Labor’s pre-election promise that, if elected, it would reduce energy bills by $275 a year by 2025.

Comrade Crowe went on to give some (gratuitous) advice to the Labor Party.  He maintained that “it is too late for the government to back away from the claim” and added “the number was fundamental to the Labor promise last December that Australians would be better off from a mammoth investment in upgrading the electricity grid and speeding up the shift to renewable energy”.

That was the Wisdom of Crowe – as stated on 27 October 2022. However, on 5 August 2022 Crowe had welcomed Labor’s “decision to upgrade the electricity grid and speed up the shift to renewables”.  Also, on 17 June, Crowe wrote that “the crisis in the energy market has strengthened the case for Australia to reduce its reliance on gas and coal in favour of renewables”.

So, for eons, David Crowe ran the line that the problem with Australia’s energy market is that it does not contain enough renewables.  Until 27 October 2022, when the matter did not rate a mention.

And then there is the matter of the blow-out in costs of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). On Insiders on 30 October, David Crowe interrupted fellow panellist Patricia Karvelas to agree with her that the states were not doing their share in funding the NDIS.  He continued:

David Crowe:  They [the states] were meant to fund it 50/50, and it’s not being funded 50/50 federal/state. So, it’s – I mean, this is one of the frustrations I have with this whole debate. I mean, if I’d known ten years ago that I was writing about a policy that was going to cost $50 billion a year, my coverage would have been different. We were assured, when we were writing about this, that it wasn’t going to cost that much….

How naïve can a Nine chief political correspondent get?  First up, Comrade Crowe simply believed what he was told about NDIS costs – based on the imprecise “art” of modelling for situations years in the future.  Moreover, the President of the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery should have been aware some time ago that NDIS costs were destined to explode.

On 9 July 2021, the Sydney Morning Herald  published an article by Dr Andrew Charlton headed “The fatal flaw in the NDIS: it cries wolf but has no shepherd to control its spending”. Dr Charlton was an economic adviser to Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. He was elected the Labor MP for Parramatta at the May 2022 election.

In his July 2021 SMH article, Dr Charlton described the “design flaw” in the NDIS, which was set up by Julia Gillard’s Labor government in 2013, as “one of the most serious governance failures in Australian politics”.  He identified the problem as follows:

The Gillard Labor government created the NDIS in 2013 in the lead-up to an election it expected to lose. Labor worried that the incoming Liberals, led by Tony Abbott, would try to cut it back. So instead of the normal practice of creating an agency within a department reporting to a federal minister, Labor created a hybrid institution which reported through a board to both the Commonwealth and the states.

Gillard was hoping state Labor governments would be a bulwark against future attempts to ransack the scheme. But like Victor Frankenstein’s unorthodox creation, the NDIA [National Disability Insurance Agency] board has slipped the control of its masters. Because of the difficulty in getting state and federal governments to agree, the NDIA board effectively reports to neither. This design flaw is becoming one of the most serious governance failures in Australian politics.

At the very least, David Crowe should have been aware of the massive cost increases in the NDIS by July 2021. But he told Insiders’  viewers on 30 October 2022, that the cost of the NDIS, as revealed in the October 2022 budget papers, came as a surprise.

Verily, two Great Media U-Turns of Our Time



There was enormous interest in the “Jackie’s Old Bones” segment in the last edition of Media Watch Dog.  As avid readers will recall, Jackie’s digging up of old ground revealed the existence of the 1976 book Kerr’s King Hit! (Cassell Australia, 1976) written by Clem Lloyd and Andrew Clark (currently a senior writer at the Australian Financial Review).

Comrades Lloyd and Clark had one big SCOOP in Kerr’s King Hit!   Namely, that the Governor-General Sir John Kerr consulted with the NSW Chief Justice Laurence Street before dismissing Gough Whitlam’s Labor government on 11 November 1975.  The authors alleged that Street advised Kerr not to dismiss Whitlam.

The Lloyd/Clark duo produced no evidence whatsoever in support of their conspiracy theory.  It would seem that the authors picked up some gossip and ran it as fact.

Lotsa thanks to a Sydney reader who reminded Jackie’s (male) co-owner that the matter was dealt with by Sir John Kerr in his memoir Matters For Judgment: An Autobiography (Macmillan, 1978) at pages 384-386. Kerr published a letter written to him by Street on 20 March 1976 (the date the Lloyd/Clark “scoop” first appeared in the media) – in which the Chief Justice wrote that there was “not a shadow of justification” for the statements in Kerr’s King Hit!  He also wrote:

So far from your seeking, or my proffering you, any advice on any aspect of the situation at any time prior to the events of 11 November 1975, there was no discussion or communication whatever, direct or indirect, between us in any way touching on this matter.

In his autobiography, Sir John wrote that the authors of Kerr’s King Hit! had not checked their story with Chief Justice Street before publication or with the Governor-General’s Office.

Gough Whitlam launched Kerr’s King Hit! in Sydney on 22 March 1976. In his speech, Whitlam accused Kerr of deception – without acknowledging that Street had emphatically denied the Lloyd/Clark conspiracy theory shortly before the official launch.

Kerr’s King Hit! was reprinted several times in 1976. The author’s false claim concerning Sir John Kerr was not expunged from the text. The copy of Kerr’s King Hit! in Gerard Henderson’s library is the third re-print of Kerr’s King Hit! – it does not contain an erratum.

Jackie’s Old Bones:  A MWD Special.




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Until Next Time.

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