GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG
ISSUE – NO. 617
9 December 2022
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NINE’S DAVID CROWE’S ENERGY METAMORPHOSIS IN A CAR YARD
Did anyone read the piece by David Crowe, Nine’s chief political correspondent, in today’s Age and Sydney Morning Herald? Titled “PM to pay dearly for cheaper power”, it started and ended with a bogged car and a car yard. Really. That’s what’s called a laboured analogy. Here’s how Comrade Crowe’s somewhat hyperbolic column commenced:
There are plenty of ditches and bogs for prime ministers to drive into when they try to deliver an election promise, but few of them are as galling or as painful as the ones where they need state premiers to help them get the car out of the mud.
Anthony Albanese has been stuck on a dirt road in a downpour in his quest to get energy prices down, spinning the wheels of the federal four-wheel drive while the premiers offer advice from the side of the road. And his only way out is to give the states what they want.
Nine’s chief political correspondent focused on the fact that, before the election, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese “promised…that his climate policies would cut $275 from energy prices, although he made this forecast for 2025 rather than a deal to be done by Christmas”. According to your man Crowe, “Prime Minister Albanese walked into a trap of raising expectations in a field where state premiers decide the outcome”.
So, according to Comrade Crowe, Anthony Albanese “walked into a trap” by setting high expectations that electricity prices would fall. But what about the journalists who fired up the expectations by repeating uncritically, sometimes as fact, the dubious assertion that more renewables would help lower energy prices. What about them?
Crowe maintains that the government made a mistake when “it told voters about a problem and realised, too late, that it needed a solution”. Maybe. But MWD does not recall your man Crowe having identified this mistake before this morning.
Reflecting on the discussions underway between the Commonwealth and States over energy prices, Crowe concludes that “in the end, every policy challenge ends up in the same place: a haggle in a car yard”. Really. MWD awaits to find out whether, having criticised the Albanese government’s mistake in this area, he will eventually recognise his error in failing to anticipate Australia’s energy problems – within or outside a car yard.
THE GRATTAN INSTITUTE’S TONY WOOD ON AUSTRALIA’S MIND-BOGGLING TASK
While on the topic of energy and all that, consider the performance of Tony Wood, the director of the energy program at the Grattan Institute, on ABC TV News Breakfast this morning.
Now Tony Wood regards Australia’s move to renewables as “the right answer” to the impact he sees from climate change. But talking to Madeleine Morris, he spoke about “the almost mind boggling” task ahead with respect to “what has to be done in a very short space of time”. He pointed out that “renewables – wind and solar – are intermittent and asked “How do you fill the gap”. Wood said that “batteries…will not be enough” and for pumped hydro to work would require “multiple versions of Snowy Hydro”. The interview continued:
Tony Wood: … it’s not yet clear to me how we’re going to be able to achieve this. Now, it’s not a problem for tomorrow, but it is a problem for the next decade. And it needs to be solved, because it will become increasingly challenging if we don’t have the capacity there to balance the system. This [capacity] mechanism may do it.
Madeleine Morris: Okay, it may do it. So you’re, you’re not totally in, and you’re not totally out. You say it could work.
Tony Wood: Well, we’re not seeing the detail. …Most of the time they [capacity markets] pay things like gas, or even diesel generators just to be there. We’re not going to do that. So how are we going to achieve this? And who’s going to be responsible for ensuring that we have a reliable system? Is it the companies? Is it the state governments? Or is the Commonwealth going to guarantee reliability? And that’s what we’re going to be worried about as consumers, that the lights might go out. I’m not saying they will. This is about making sure they don’t.
MWD does not recall that the Grattan Institute’s Tony Wood has spoken like this before about energy supply. We’ll keep you posted – provided the lights stay on.
IT’S PASS-THE-FLATTERY TIME AS LA TINGLE & COMRADE SAVVA ARE VARIOUSLY DESCRIBED AS EXCELLENT, MARVELLOUS & SPLENDID
Could 7.30 presenter Sarah Ferguson be going on a Well Earned Break (or W.E.B.)? We mere mortals take holidays. This might well be the case since she wound up last night’s program as follows:
Sarah Ferguson: That’s the program for tonight. Next week my excellent colleague Laura Tingle will be in the chair. Thank you for your company, good night.
Media Watch Dog loves it when journalists praise other journalists about their journalism. A fine example of this occurred on the ABC Radio National Late Night Live program presided over by Phillip Adams on 5 December, shortly before the ABC’s Man-in-Black headed off on his very own W.E.B. This is how the Monday segment, titled “The Year in Canberra”, was introduced:
Phillip Adams: Our last mingle with Tingle for the year with Laura, chief political correspondent of 7.30. And she’ll be joined by Niki Savva, columnist with The Age and SMH and author of the marvellous book Bulldozed: Scott Morrison’s fall and Anthony Albanese’s rise.
Phillip (“Have I ever told you that I was a teenage commo”) Adams started off by comprehensively bagging former prime minister Scott Morrison and former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce. Laura (“I always said that the Morrison government was replete with ideological bastardry”) Tingle concurred.
La Tingle went on to say that everything that needed to be known about the 2022 election could be found in “Niki’s excellent book”. Phillip concurred and Phillip’s “Mingle with Tingle” continued as each agreed with each other on Australian politics and the “excellent” and “marvellous” and soon to be “splendid” Niki Savva book.
Comrade Savva entered the discussion. Let’s go to the transcript:
Phillip Adams: Now Niki, the ALP election review released this afternoon said and I quote “although several factors contributed to the outcome, the unpopularity of Scott Morrison and his government was the most significant”. You would wholeheartedly agree with that, I think that’s the overwhelming thrust of your splendid new book.
Needless to say, Comrade Savva wholeheartedly agreed saying it was impossible to disagree with this proposition. And so the discussion continued well into Post-Dinner Drinks Time as Phillip spoke to the excellent Tingle about Ms Savva’s splendid and marvellous book. No other view was heard.
PATRICIA KARVELAS’ CONDESCENDING LECTURE ON DEMOCRACY
Talk about giving condescension a bad name. The reference is to the interview on ABC Radio National Breakfast on 6 December with Warren Mundine by Patricia (“Please call me PK”) Karvelas concerning the proposed Voice to Parliament. Mr Mundine was described by RN Breakfast as an Indigenous Forum Director at the Centre for Independent Studies.
On 29 November PK had conducted a soft 17-minute interview with Noel Pearson who is an advocate of The Voice. Fair enough, except that she might have attempted to rein in the abuse directed by Mr Pearson at Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price and others.
In any event, it was appropriate that Comrade Karvelas – one of the ABC’s many activist journalists – interview Warren Mundine to present a different view. This interview went for some 13 minutes in which the interviewee was given the opportunity to state his case. Mr Mundine is opposed to The Voice but, if it is incorporated into the Constitution following a successful referendum, will support it.
It is a matter of record that PK treated Warren Mundine in a condescending manner – which would be regarded as unprofessional if not rude if directed by a teacher to, say, a Year 12 student. Let’s go to the transcript:
Patricia Karvelas: …You know, you know, we talk about views of the Aboriginal community. And I think it’s important to always say that there’s a diversity of views in every community, and every community has the right to have a diversity of views. It’s –
Warren Mundine: Correct.
Patricia Karvelas: And there’s not one thought in any community. But the purpose of democracy is coming to some sort of majority view. And, and when that happened with the Uluru dialogues, the majority of people consulted in your community said they wanted this proposal. So isn’t that on balance what we must accept? Yes, there is, there are you and Jacinta Price, and there will be others. But broadly, it’s about getting the majority of the community, isn’t it?
Warren Mundine: Well, in a democracy, you’re right. I’m a great believer in democracy. And that, you know, the voter always, is always right when they make their decisions. The –
Patricia Karvelas: [Interjecting]…
[I note that Comrade Karvelas interrupted her guest after he had said 28 words in response to her 115 words. – MWD Editor.]
How about that? Comrade Karvelas talked down to Warren Mundine by stating the following truisms. Namely (i) there is a diversity of views in the community and (ii) the purpose of democracy is to attain a majority view. She failed to mention that a change in government usually leads to a different majority view.
Who would have known that there is diversity of views in every community – without PK telling us? Also, thanks to Comrade Karvelas for informing listeners (if listeners there were) that the purpose of democracy is to come to some sort of majority view. What an insight. How great is The Thought of PK?
As for the view that the minority must always accept the view of the majority – well, as MWD recalls, PK did not hold such a position some time ago when a majority of Australians did not accept same sex marriage. Rather she argued – successfully as it turned out – for change.
It would seem that with her “Lesson on Democracy” directed at Warren Mundine, Comrade Karvelas sees herself as a contemporary embodiment of the likes of Socrates and Plato lecturing at large about the meaning of democracy to the less well-informed. Can You Bear It?
THE WHITE MAN GEORGE MEGALOGENIS RECKONS THAT THE LIBERAL PARTY IS TOO WHITE
Media Watch Dog does not always read The Thought of George Megalogenis in Nine newspapers every Saturday. After all, life is short and there are other things to do on a Saturday morning – like walking the dog, recovering from a hangover and so on.
But Jackie’s (male) co-owner happened to glance at the Megalogenis column on 3 December in the Sydney Morning Herald titled “It’s a map of misery in the Liberal heartland”. This is how it commenced:
Peter Dutton doesn’t expect a challenge to his leadership of the federal Liberal Party in this term of parliament. His calculation happens to be both logical, and potentially fatal for his side of politics following its second consecutive electoral humiliation in Victoria last Saturday.
The things that shield him at the moment – the absence of a viable alternative, and a cheer squad in the conservative media who read each defeat for their cause as the fault of the Australian people – are the very factors that continue to separate the Liberals from what remains of their base in the middle-class suburbs of the nation’s capital cities.
What a load of absolute tosh. Why is it “potentially fatal” for the Coalition side of politics if Liberal Party leader Peter Dutton is not challenged for the leadership before the next election scheduled for May 2025? After all, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was not challenged for the Labor Party leadership in the lead-up to the May 2022 election and he did okay on election night.
As to your man Megalogenis’ claim that a “cheer squad in the conservative media who read each defeat for their cause as the fault of the Australian people” – well, who are the members of this alleged cheer squad? GM did not name any names or provide any evidence for his assertion.
Also, at the federal level, the Coalition has won seven out of the last ten elections. Sure some commentators are predicting the demise of the Liberal Party – but similar crystal-ball readings were made after the Coalition’s defeats in 1993 and 2007. Democratic politics tends to be of the cyclical kind.
On four occasions in his article Comrade Megalogenis referred to the whiteness of the Liberal Party. There was reference to the “deaths and departures” of “the white populations” in Melbourne’s inner and outer east. And a reference to the fact that Melbourne was “predominantly white” in the 1950s and 1960s. Quelle surprise! And another one about “the white population” in parts of Sydney. And the Nine newspaper columnist referred to the contemporary Liberal Party as “a party that runs on the whim of one white man”.
Comrade Megalogenis overlooked the fact that the Liberals who lost their seats to Teal Independents were defeated by wealthy white women backed by the white multi-millionaire Simon Homes à Court of Climate 200. And then there is the fact that George Megalogenis often refers to his Greek background. Isn’t Greece the birthplace of Western civilisation? And are not Greeks white? Which raises the question – Does the Nine columnist have a self-hatred for his cultural heritage? More importantly – Can You Bear It?
WITH PETER FRAY IN THE CRIKEY SIN-BIN, BERNARD KEANE STEPS FORWARD TO GIVE DISCOURTESY ANOTHER CHANCE
As avid Media Watch Dog readers are all only too well aware, Peter Fray, editor of the leftist Crikey newsletter – is currently in some kind of leftist re-education camp of the courtesy-enforcing kind. This follows the occasion of the Walkley Awards in Sydney of recent memory when a tired and emotional Crikey editor called out “What about Crikey?” when ABC TV’s Four Corners was awarded a Walkley for something or other. It seems that Comrade Fray believes that Crikey should have received this gong since it broke the story.
In any event, the very, very serious Justin Stevens, the head of ABC News and Current Affairs, complained to Eric Beecher – the head of Private Media which publishes Crikey – demanding an apology. Really. An apology was given and Peter Fray sent out to pasture to learn some manners, including not to heckle journalists from the taxpayer funded public broadcaster who are receiving gongs and taking themselves very seriously indeed.
But MWD digresses, again. Alas, the temporary departure of Peter Fray has not led to an improvement of manners in the Crikey bunker. Take, for example, this comment by Bernard Keane (Crikey’s politics editor, who was once a MWD fave) on 2 December but is getting increasingly bitter as the years pass by:
John Howard was once rather harshly dismissed by Mungo MacCallum as the “unflushable turd” of Australian politics. But it is now Morrison who has that status of the unwelcome presence in the political swimming pool, a lingering reminder of a sordid era of Australian politics….
How coarse could a Crikey scribbler get? It’s true that the late and unlamented Mungo MacCallum (1941-2020) once called John Howard an “unflushable turd”. Comrade MacCallum’s habit was to proffer abuse as analysis – after all, it saved time. But what’s our man Keane doing quoting Comrade Mungo and then going on to refer to Scott Morrison with reference to “an unwelcome presence in the political swimming pool”?
Is this the best that Crikey’s politics editor can do when abusing the former prime minister? In which case, Can You Bear It?
[No. Not really – now that you ask. By the way, I remember that Mungo’s partner Jenny Garrett once told the Good Weekend magazine that the reason Mungo was, er, hitting the bottle was all due to John Howard. Fair Dinkum. Re which see MWD Issue 306. –MWD Editor.]
THE GRATTAN INSTITUTE’S (INTELLECTUAL) CHRISTMAS KNEES-UP WHICH ADVISES THE PM ABOUT WHAT TO READ
It being Gin & Tonic time leading into pre-dinner drinks, Jackie’s (male) co-owner missed the Grattan Institute’s 2022 Prime Minister’s Summer Reading list launch which commenced at 5.30 pm on Thursday 8 December.
As mentioned in MWD last week, this is perhaps the most pompous event in the Australian literary calendar each year. The powers-that-be at the Grattan Institute (which was set up in 2008 with a taxpayer funded discretionary grant to the tune of $30 million from the Labor governments in Canberra and Melbourne, of the kind the Grattan Institute now opposes) believe that it is their duty to tell busy prime ministers what to read at Christmas.
The tradition continues even though there is no evidence that any prime minister has taken notice of what the inner-city Carlton intellectuals in Melbourne believe should be on their bedside tables.
This year’s Grattan Institute suggestions comprise Claudia Goldin Career and Family: Women’s Century Long Journey Towards Equality, Debra Dank We Come With This Place, Sam Vincent My Father and Other Animals, Jo Chandler Buried Treasure, Thomas Insel Our Path from Mental Illness to Mental Health and Jessica Au Cold Enough for Snow.
A worthy half-dozen, to be sure. But hardly tomes that would engage a prime minister seeking relaxation over the holiday period. It would seem that Danielle Wood, the Grattan Institute’s supremo, is blissfully unaware that when politicians get time to read books they usually go for non-fiction. Primarily history, autobiography/biography and national/international politics plus the occasional reading of the entertaining kind.
It so happens that The Australian columnist Troy Bramston asks Federal politicians annually what they have read in the year and what they intend to read at Christmas. His most recent account of what politicians say about their bookish interests can be found in The Australian on 6 December. Not one politician mentions any book on the Grattan Institute’s oh-so-worthy list.
The Grattan Institute is tops for telling political leaders what they should do. And it continues telling prime ministers what they should read. Here’s MWD’s gratuitous advice. Comrade Wood and the Grattan staff book club (yes, such an entity exists) should desist from intellectual flashing and spend what’s left of the $30 million taxpayer handout it received some years ago in a less pretentious manner. Like collecting used Christmas wrappings from the streets of Carlton – or finding and recycling wine bottles left over from the end-of-the-year parties at nearby Melbourne University.
[How frightfully interesting. This reminds me of the joke of the late anti-communist trade union leader Laurie Short. He told a story that when a departing trade union official was asked if he would like a book as an acknowledgement of his contribution to the union’s cause he replied – “Not really, I already have a book.” – MWD Editor.]
MARK HUMPHRIES CAN’T QUITE QUIT SCOTT MORRISON
Avid readers may have noticed that 7:30’s resident self-described satirist Mark Humphries has been absent from MWD in recent weeks. For reasons unknown Comrade Humphries’ sketches have become an even more irregular than normal occurrence. He returned to 7:30 on 8 December, with his appearance even being teased at the start of the program by presenter Sarah Ferguson. When it came time for Humphries’ sketch, Ferguson, as usual, made sure to warn the audience to expect satire.
Last we checked in on Humphries, he had finally managed to make a sketch, which aired on 13 October, mocking the Albanese Labor government. Though, of course, the attack came from the left. Prior to that, Humphries’ only sketch about the new government was a light-hearted effort framing the relationship between Labor and the Greens as a romantic comedy, not exactly hard-hitting satire. Most of his post-election sketches have veered away from federal politics, in contrast to his sketches after the 2019 federal election which remained focused on the Morrison Coalition government.
So, what target did the latest sketch from 7:30’s crack satirical team take on? The federal Labor government? The recent Victorian election? The Greens? The Teals? No. As has been true countless times before, the target of Mr Humphries’ particularly lazy brand of satire was once again Scott Morrison. This is the second time since the May election that 7:30 has aired a sketch mocking the former Prime Minister. That’s the same amount as has been focused on the new Labor government.
At the end of the sketch, Humphries does at least manage to talk about a current federal party leader. No prizes for guessing that it was Peter Dutton. One Labor leader does receive a glancing blow, but it is Mark Latham, who left federal parliament almost eighteen years ago and has since joined One Nation.
Most Australians, including most conservatives, have come to terms with the results of this year’s election. Maybe it’s time 7:30’s satirical sketches caught up?
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 some years ago. This is a print edition of the Bill Thompson initiative to report on the ABC TV Insiders program.
ALL QUIET ON THE INSIDERS’ FRONT AS ZZZZZzzzz
Could it be that the ABC Insiders program is going the way of ABC’s The Drum – where the various chosen panellists are oh-so-polite but somewhat boring and where it is a rare moment indeed when someone disagrees with someone else on anything?
Alas, this could be the case. On Sunday 3 December, David (“Call me Speersy”) Speers (ABC) was in the presenter’s chair for the final program of the year and the panel comprised Dan Bourchier (ABC), Samantha (“Please don’t call me Zany”) Maiden (news.com.au) and Andrew Probyn (ABC). A bit like a get-together in the ABC tea room where Ms Maiden dropped in for a cuppa. The topics, chosen by the executive producer , were The Voice, Scott Morrison, energy and the discontinued Lehrmann case concerning an alleged sexual assault in Parliament House, Canberra in 2018.
Comrade Maiden had some valuable comments to make on the Lehrmann case in which she canvassed some different views which had been expressed on this matter. But there was little debate on the program in which everyone essentially agreed with everyone else on essentially everything. And since David (“Oh yes, I’m a great interrupter”) Speers interviewed a Labor minister – Linda Burney – there were not enough interruptions to warrant MWD doing an interruption count.
And so Insiders ended 2022 not with a whimper but a really big whimper. Zzzzzzzzzz.
THE AGE REPORTER SUMEYYA ILANBEY’S BOOK ON VICTORIAN PREMIER DANIEL ANDREWS OVERLOOKS THE CLOSE ASSOCIATION BETWEEN THE ANDREWS GOVERNMENT AND VICTORIA POLICE
Thanks to Tony Thomas for his article of 12 November in Quadrant Online which drew attention to Age journalist Sumeyya Ilanbey’s book Daniel Andrews: The Revealing Biography of Australia’s Most Powerful Premier (Allen & Unwin, 2022).
As long time avid readers will recall, Media Watch Dog used to refer to The Age as “The Guardian on The Yarra” until – with a little help from Malcolm Turnbull (see MWD passim ad nauseam) the real Guardian arrived in Australia – under the title The Guardian Australia.
The Guardian – the real thing in London and its colonial counterpart in Sydney – is an avowedly leftist newspaper. The Age, these days, is also a paper of the left – it’s just that Jackie’s (male) co-owner can no longer refer to it as “The Guardian on The Yarra” since there is a “Guardian on Sydney Harbour” these days.
But MWD digresses. Tony Thomas described Ms Ilanbey’s biography as “good in parts” – he particularly liked her “chronicle of Andrews’ background and machinations within the party system”. But Thomas is critical of the author’s oh-so-soft coverage of Victoria Police – perhaps Australia’s most politicised police force since the Queensland Police Service during the premiership of Country Party premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen from the late 1960s until the late 1980s.
MWD has purchased a copy of the Ilanbey tome which is well written and contains both photographs and an index. A quick check of the index reveals that Cardinal George Pell does not receive a mention in Daniel Andrews. Not one.
This is letting the Andrews Government off the hook since Victoria Police’s role in the Pell case was unprofessional. Look at it this way. VicPol (as it likes to be called) laid 26 charges of historical child sexual abuse against Cardinal Pell. All were either dropped by Victoria Police, thrown out by the Magistrates Court or the Victorian County Court, or quashed by the High Court of Australia in a 7 to zip decision.
All of this is documented in Gerard Henderson’s Cardinal Pell, The Media Pile-on & Collective Guilt (Connor Court, November 2021). Sumeyya Ilanbey may not be aware of this book since it has been censored by the ABC and The Age – which led the Pell pile-on.
If The Age’s state political reporter had read Gerard Henderson’s book or Frank Brennan’s Observations on The Pell Proceedings (Connor Court 2021) – which also has been censored by the ABC and The Age – she would be aware of the close co-operation between the Andrews government and VicPol in a campaign against Pell. Indeed, Louise Milligan’s seriously flawed book Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell (MUP, 2017) was launched by a member of the Andrews cabinet just days before Pell was charged by VicPol. A quite improper intervention in legal proceedings.
In the event, after a hung jury, the jury in a second trial found Pell guilty (after deliberating for over four days) on five charges. The first four charges related to complainants who, in the High Court, were referred to as A and B. The fifth charge related to A only. A senior member of Victoria Police gave sworn evidence in the Magistrates Court that the fifth charge had not been investigated before charges were laid. How unprofessional can a police force be?
If Ms Ilanbey has read the High Court’s unanimous judgement in George Pell V The Queen – or Justice Mark Weinberg’s devastating judgement in his dissent in the Victorian Court of Appeal – she would be aware that the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions could not explain how the crimes alleged against Pell, and concerning which Pell was charged by Victoria Police, could have occurred.
Shortly after the High Court’s decision, Premier Andrews made a quite improper statement in which he distanced himself from the High Court’s decision, declaring: “I make no comment about today’s High Court decision. But I have a message for every single victim and survivor of child sexual abuse. I see you. I hear you. I believe you.” This statement was criticised by – among others – Melbourne University Professor Jeremy Gans. Clearly the Victorian Premier did not accept the High Court’s unanimous decision.
What Premier Andrews was saying was that every complainant in a sexual abuse case should be believed without investigation. In which case, there would be no point in conducting trials and courts should only determine sentences in such cases. In short, Premier Andrews appears not to believe in the presumption of innocence – which is central to the Australian legal system.
A check of the index in Daniel Andrews reveals that the author does not mention that (i) Victoria Police fired rubber bullets at demonstrators who were protesting against Covid-19 lockdowns, (ii) handcuffed a pregnant mother of two when arresting her for referring to a planned protest on Facebook and (iii) body-slammed to the ground a credentialled reporter covering a protest.
Moreover, there is no mention in the book of Victoria Police’s involvement in the Lawyer X case where VicPol arranged for a lawyer to inform on her clients to police – a grossly improper thwarting of the lawyer-client relationship as applies in the law. The matter is the subject of an inquiry.
Premier Andrews runs the most dominant administration in Australia in which the relationship between the government and Victoria Police is unprofessionally close. Moreover, the current leadership of Victoria Police has been appointed by the Andrews government.
Yet, you would never know this if all you knew about Victoria Police is what The Age’s state political reporter has written in her political biography of Victoria’s socialist left premier.
As avid readers will recall, Jackie’s (male co-owner) has always been a fan of British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-90) since he read Muggeridge’s 1940 book The Thirties. Writing in the New Statesman on 11 February 1956, Saint Mug (as he sometimes was called in later life) had this to say about the British Conservative parliamentarian Sir Anthony Eden: “He is a Disraeli hero who has moved into a service flat, or perhaps a deep shelter; a Bertie Wooster who has turned from the Drones Club to Toynbee Hall. As has been truly said, he is not only a bore but he bores for England.”
This segment is devoted to those who – as citizens, residents or visitors – bore for Australia.
THE GUARDIAN’S PAUL DALEY BORES ON ABOUT HIS PARENTS & GOUGH WHITLAM
Question: What to do when a journalist wants to write about his (late) parents but has no real reason to do so? Answer: Wait for one of the late Gough Whitlam’s political anniversaries.
As Media Watch Dog readers are well aware, 2 December 2022 was the 50th anniversary of Labor Party leader Gough Whitlam’s victory over the Coalition led by William McMahon. This was the first election Labor had won since 1946 – suffering defeats in 1949 and 1951 (under the leadership of Ben Chifley), 1954, 1955, and 1958 (Bert Evatt), 1961, 1963 and 1966 (Arthur Calwell) and Gough Whitlam (1969).
Sure, the Whitlam victory at the 2 December 1972 election was a triumph for Labor. And, half a century later, it provided an opportunity for Paul Daley to write about his mother and father. Groan. Comrade Daley’s piece in The Guardian Australia on 1 December commenced as follows:
I grew up hating politics. No good could ever come of it, I knew that for certain. For as a kid I’d heard my parents arguing all those times about Gough Whitlam.
It turns out that Paul Daley’s old man was a Melbourne-based Australian Labor Party supporter while his mum supported the breakaway Democratic Labor Party after the Labor Split in 1955. Papa Daley was a left-winger who “loved Whitlam”. While Mama Daley’s “favourite” was one of the anti-communist Industrial Groupers “who helped form, then sought re-election as, a candidate for the Democratic Labor Party” but “lost his seat in the fallout from the Split”.
Only seven former MPs fit into this category – and one was based in Ballarat. It would seem that Paul Daley is referring to Bill Bourke (1913-1981), the one-time MP for Fawkner. Later on, Daley refers to his mother’s “DLP brother”. Could it be the same person? In MWD’s view – probably so. But it would seem that the historian Daley does not name names when he is talking about his family – even when the person may be his uncle.
The DLP was formally wound up in May 1978 – just shortly after Whitlam lost the December 1977 election to the Malcolm Fraser-led Coalition and resigned as Labor leader. Comrade Daley would have readers believe that there was constant animosity between his parents over Gough Whitlam until his father died in 2007. Yet they remained married for half a century after the Labor Split of 1955.
As to the level of ALP-DLP intensity within the Daley family – this is what Daley had to say:
The events of 1955 also fissured my mother’s family, across the generations. She and her siblings divided roughly between being pro- and anti-DLP. There were arguments – especially at Christmas when the extended family got together after lunch at an aunt’s house. There was yelling. Once or twice a ruffled lapel. I recall Mum once being so upset she had a cigarette (she didn’t smoke).
Well, fancy that. A Christmas knees-up where there was “yelling” and once or twice a “ruffled lapel”. Is that all? Well, apparently so. Your man Daley needs to get out more if the trauma in his young life centres on a political argument at Christmas where his (non-smoking) mother puffed a fag (to use an old-fashioned Irish term).
Paul Daley – Boring for Australia.
[I note that Comrade Daley claims that he was the beneficiary of the introduction by the Whitlam Labor government of free tertiary education. More tosh. In 1951, the Robert Menzies led Coalition introduced the Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme – which provided for free tertiary education including a generous means-tested living allowance for talented students. Someone like your man Daley would almost certainly have won a Commonwealth Scholarship.
By the way, Comrade Daley did not mention that free tertiary education was junked by Bob Hawke’s Labor government – since, among other matters, it did not believe that lower socio-economic types who do not have university degrees should pay with their taxes for the likes of Paul Daley to receive a free education. – MWD Editor.]
NINE’S DAMIAN RYAN REMEMBERS THE HOUSE OF FORMER LABOR LEADERS BUT NOT THAT OF JOSEPH & ENID LYONS
On the evening of Friday 2 December Nine News’ Damian Ryan reported on the decision to open the family home of Labor Party hero Gough Whitlam. Let’s go to the transcript:
Damian Ryan: In Labor heartland and for the Prime Minister [Anthony Albanese] a trip down memory lane, 32 Albert Street Cabramatta. The former home of a towering Gough Whitlam, and in the same lounge room where he celebrated his historic election win 50 years ago today. Architecturally designed, it was home for the Whitlams from 1956 to 1978, three years after Gough’s controversial dismissal.
The tall doorframes and an emphasis on learning. But after they moved on, the house was neglected and fell into ruin, until some Labor stalwarts purchased the property and the Commonwealth helped restore it. Preserving a place a leader calls home, Gough Whitlam’s private residence is the latest edition joining John Curtin, Bob Hawke and Ben Chifley.
Soon the rest of the public will be invited into the Whitlams’ to see how a prime minister ran a country from his humble home and in his backyard. Damian Ryan, Nine News.
What a load of absolute tosh. When prime minister, Gough Whitlam lived at The Lodge in Canberra. And, when in Sydney, stayed at Kirribilli House. The idea that Mr Whitlam ran Australia from a backyard in Cabramatta is pure mythology.
Likewise your man Ryan’s claim that Whitlam’s Cabramatta home is the latest addition to the homes of former prime ministers John Curtin, Ben Chifley and Bob Hawke overlooks one fact. The former prime minister Joseph Lyons, who held Australia’s highest office between January 1932 until his death in April 1939, lived at Home Hill in Devonport, Tasmania. Lyons headed a United Australia Party government – the predecessor to the Liberal Party of Australia (and nothing to do with Clive Palmer, who appropriated the name UAP in recent times).
The Lyons’ family home (also the domicile of Dame Enid Lyons who was the first Australian woman to sit in cabinet – she was a Liberal Party member) is preserved and open for inspection in Devonport, Tasmania. It was bought by Devonport City Council in 1976. Home Hill, along with its contents, was taken over by the National Trust in 1984 and opened as a museum soon after. It is understood that the Curtin and Chifley houses were opened as museums in the early 2000s – and the Hawke house more recently.
The problem with so many Australian journalists is that they focus on Labor leaders – Curtin, Chifley, Hawke, Whitlam – to the exclusion of political conservatives like Joseph Lyons who won more elections as Prime Minister than Curtin, Chifley or Whitlam.
Until next time – for the final MWD of 2022