ISSUE – NO. 645

28 July 2023

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Did any Media Watch Dog reader see the tweet that ABC Radio National Breakfast presenter Patricia Karvelas put on Twitter at Gin & Tonic Time yesterday?  Possibly not – for, as MWD has reported, PK (as she likes to be known) swore to go off Twitter  a couple of weeks ago. So, it appears that PK is off Twitter – except when she is on Twitter.  Or is it now just X? – since Elon Musk appears to have murdered the Blue Bird.  For the record, here is the tweet:

In any event, PK decided to circulate a statement put out by an anonymous ABC spokesperson titled “Response to The Australian, 27 July 2023”. It was a comment of a mere 112 words which criticised The Australian’s editorial of earlier that day which found fault with the soft interviews that PK gave to Sally Scales (an executive board member of the APY Art Centre Collective) and former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull (re which see today’s “Can You Bear It?” section) on the previous morning.

The ABC Communications Department – which is renowned for going into “no comment” mode – did not address even one of the criticisms in The Australian editorial. Not one.  Rather, the ABC simply declared that PK is a you-beaut journalist. That’s an understandable response – the ABC defending the ABC. Quelle Surprise!  The real surprise is that PK chose to circulate such a self-serving comment.  PK’s Tweet, sorry Xeet, runs the risk of giving self-promotion a bad name.

By the way, it was great to hear that the ABC now proclaims that PK is a skilled, balanced and rigorous interviewer.  Especially in view of the fact that, not so long ago, ABC managing director David Anderson told Senate Estimates that Ms Karvelas has been counselled for sending out a tweet on the night of the 2022 election which described the Labor Party’s Linda Burney as a “legend” and included a selfie with her.  Here’s the tweet – for old times’ sake:


Like other Australians, Media Watch Dog is barracking for the Matildas in the FIFA Women’s World Cup which once was called soccer in Australia and now is generally called football.  Consequently, Australia’s defeat at the hands – read feet and heads – of Nigeria last night is disappointing, to say the least.

However, ABC TV journalist Michael Rennie was able to look on the bright side of (football) life when talking to Lisa Millar and Michael Rowland on the ABC TV News Breakfast this morning.  Here’s an example:

Michael Rennie: ….overall, you’ve got to be pretty happy with the Australian performance. If you look at some of the stats. Look, 28 shots on goal. They had 65 per cent of the possession. 15 corners to 2. So, that’s pretty dominant.

What your man Rennie is saying is that Australia dominated Nigeria – but happened to go down 3 goals to 2.  It’s not clear what word usage he would have used if, perchance, Australia had won last night.  Let’s hope for victory against Canada on Monday to find out.


Stephen Mayne – Crikey founder, forever councillor (currently of the city of Manningham in eastern Melbourne) and continuing failed parliamentary candidate, is something of a Media Watch Dog fave, since he has provided lotsa copy over the years. Oh yes, your man Mayne presents as a shareholder activist – and also is an intellectual stalker of the (male) co-owner of the recently departed Jackie RIP (Dip Wellness, The Gunnedah Institute).

In his Weekend Australian  column on 22 July, Hendo had this to say about the Victorian Labor government under the socialist left premier Daniel Andrews:

The Cain Labor government elected in 1982 turned out to be an economic disaster, symbolised by the collapse of the once great State Bank of Victoria. Cain was succeeded in mid-1990 by Joan Kirner, who lost the October 1992 election to Jeff Kennett. Kennett revived the Victorian economy but was narrowly defeated by Labor’s Steve Bracks at the October 1999 election. Labor has been in office since then – except for the first four years of the 2010s. The Bracks government, which was followed by Labor premier John Brumby, ran an efficient social democratic administration. Not so the socialist left Andrews government, which has driven Victoria into a debt and deficit crisis unparalleled in similar-sized economies in Australia and elsewhere.

This upset the leading shareholder activist of Templestowe (aka the Sage of Templestowe) who put out this tweet at Hangover Time that very morning:

What a load of absolute tosh.  Andrew Clark, the Australian Financial Review’s senior writer, is a left-of-centre kind of guy.  Writing in the AFR on 25 February 2022, Comrade Clark referred to the “collapse” of both the State Bank of South Australia in 1991 (in Adelaide) and the State Bank of Victoria (in Melbourne) the previous year.  In his article, Clark acknowledged the contemporary reporting of Robert Gottliebsen.

The State Bank of Victoria bought all of the trading bank Tricontinental which, in time, collapsed with losses of $1.5 billion. As Andrew Clark wrote: “The State Bank [of Victoria] collapsed due to the weight of the grossly irresponsible lending made in the 1980s, particularly by Trico [Tricontinental].”  Clark added that the collapse of the State Bank of Victoria “was a significant factor in the 1992 defeat of the Victorian Labor government led by Joan Kirner”.

Writing in the Reserve Bank of Australia’s A History of Last-resort Lending and Other Support for Troubled Financial Institutions in Australia, Bryan Fitz-Gibbon and Marianne Gizycki commented that in the 1990s recession “the largest losses were recorded by the State Bank of Victoria and the State Bank of South Australia; the state government owners of these banks provided significant capital injections in the resolution of these problems”.

In other words, the State Bank of Victoria received taxpayer funded injections of money.  Yet, according to the Sage of Templestowe, there was no-problem-at-all since the State Bank of Victoria was sold as an ongoing concern.

In August 1990, (then) Treasurer Paul Keating announced that the Commonwealth government would sell 30 per cent of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) to fund the purchase of the State Bank of Victoria by the CBA. There is a photo of The Age’s archives which depicts a woeful Premier Kirner and an equally despondent Treasurer Keating at the announcement, at The Regent Melbourne, about the demise of the State Bank of Victoria.  Speaking on the occasion, Ms Kirner said that it would have been “economically irresponsible” not to sell the State Bank of Victoria.

And yet Stephen Mayne reckons that no creditors lost money (forgetting, er, that taxpayers did) and no doors were shut (except, er, that the doors of the State Bank of Victoria were re-branded with the CBA logo) when the State Bank of Victoria went into Requiescat in Pace mode.

It would seem that the Sage of Templestowe is in denial about this unhappy time.  Can You Bear It?

[No, not really.  Now that you ask.  I note that your man Mayne’s main attack on your (not so) good self is that you are a “pedant”.  The point about pedants is that they are sticklers for accuracy.  Perhaps the councillor of the City of Manningham would be well advised to spend his Saturday morning filling potholes in the streets of Bulleen, Doncaster, Park Orchards (childhood home of the late Jackie’s female co-owner), Templestowe and the like – rather than defending the indefensible on Twitter.  Just a thought.  – MWD Editor.]


You’ve seen, no doubt, the 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off starring Matthew Broderick. Well, Media Watch Dog just loves “Malcolm Turnbull’s Day On” when the former prime minister rises from his Point Piper pile on Sydney Harbour and gets the urge to talk to Patricia (“Please call me PK”) Karvelas on the ABC Radio National Breakfast program.

As avid readers will be aware, MWD has tracked these occasions since Mr Turnbull – having lost the support of a majority of his colleagues in the Liberal Party Room in Canberra – for which he blamed the Murdoch media –  was replaced as prime minister by Scott Morrison in August 2018.

Now, PK is well known as an interrupter.  Indeed, on occasions, she has won MWD’s  prestigious “Interrupter of the Week” gong. But Comrade Karvelas goes into listening mode when Malcolm Turnbull is on the other side of the table – or on the other end of the phone.  And so it was on Wednesday 26 July when the Doyen of Point Piper decided it was time to rant against some of his perceived political enemies.  In this case Rupert Murdoch, News Corp and all that.  Groan.

It turned out that the Point Piper resident was riled that the previous evening saw the birth of Sky News’ continuing channel on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament and the executive in the lead-up to the forthcoming referendum later this year.  It had commenced the previous evening on Sky News Channel 603 on Foxtel.

Your man Turnbull told RN Breakfast listeners (if listeners there were) that he had replaced former prime minister Kevin Rudd as co-chair of Australians for a Murdoch Royal Commission.  The other chair is one-time ACTU president and former general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation Sharan Burrow. In other words, a case of a capitalist/socialist unity ticket.

It was a vintage Turnbull performance.  He said that the purpose of News Corp’s “platforms in Australia, whether it’s Sky News or the tabloid newspapers, it’s all about riling people up”.   Your man Turnbull then got somewhat riled up himself – even to the extent of suggesting that one day Mr Murdoch could be responsible for inspiring a “coup d’état” in Australia.  Presumably at a time other than Melbourne Cup Day. Really.

It’s not clear that anyone for whom English is a second language would have known what a coup d’état was – except for Francophones.  Your man Turnbull just loves to use the word coup – he used it when he was replaced as prime minister in a party room ballot. But there you go. By the way, this is how PK’s soft interview commenced:

Patricia Karvelas: It’s hard to escape the news coverage surrounding the [Voice] debate – whether it’s here right on the ABC, on your socials or on any of the news websites. Sky News has just launched a new channel dedicated to covering the issue 24/7. Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is no fan of Rupert Murdoch’s media outlets and is raising what he says are serious concerns with the new channel. And he joins us this morning. Malcolm Turnbull, welcome.

Malcolm Turnbull: Good morning.

Patricia Karvelas: Have you watched Sky News’s 24/7 voice channel yet?

Malcolm Turnbull: Well, it hasn’t really started yet. But it’s, it’s just getting underway….

In fact, Sky News’ dedicated Voice channel (Channel 603 on Foxtel) commenced on Tuesday 25 July with a very balanced program on the voice presented by Matt Cunningham which included interviews with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Opposition leader Peter Dutton and more besides.

So there you have it.  Mr Turnbull got access to the airwaves of the taxpayer funded public broadcaster to bag a channel that he had not bothered to watch and before it had been in action for even 24 hours. In the process, the former Liberal Party prime minister – who is now alienated from the party that made it possible for him to assume Australia’s highest political office – sucked up to the ABC and its star presenter PK. Let’s go to the transcript:

Malcolm Turnbull: …And, you know, it’s [Sky News] just one scare after another. But you see, that’s their business model. I mean, Patricia, what you know, what you try to do on the ABC is present both sides of the argument and give everyone a fair go. So that people listen to, you know, RN Breakfast and come away saying”: “Oh, I’m well informed”. Sky’s model, and Fox News in the United States’ model, is very different. Its goal is to rile people up….

Turn it up.  Malcolm Turnbull told his journalist bestie Comrade Karvelas that the ABC presents “both sides of the argument”.  Overlooking the fact that the ABC is a Conservative Free Zone without one presenter, producer or editor for any of its prominent television, radio or online outlets.  This riles up quite a few (taxpaying) conservatives.  Also, there is more diversity on Sky News than on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster. For example, prominent Sky News presenter Chris Kenny is a strong supporter of the “Yes” case – but not one prominent ABC presenter openly supports the “No” case.

And so it went on. Mr Turnbull criticised his predecessor (Scott Morrison) and his successor (Peter Dutton). The (soft) interview concluded soon after PK offered Point Piper’s most famous resident a free kick by asking him how he sees the Liberal Party “as it stands right now, particularly its positioning on The Voice”.  Here’s the response:

Malcolm Turnbull: Well, the Liberal, the Liberal Party – look, the Liberal Party is entitled to take whatever view it likes, you know, on the, on The Voice… But look, generally the problem the Liberal Party faces is that it has swung too far to the right. It’s basically operating to get the approval of the right-wing media ecosystem, you know, Murdoch’s media in particular, and that has had the consequence that it has lost a large number of its safest seats to small “l” Liberal Independents, the so called Teals. Now, you know, this is literally, this is existential – right?

Patricia Karvelas: And we’re out of time. I’m gonna have to invite you back on to talk about that existential threat. Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull there.

Patricia Karvelas did not indicate an intention to invite Malcolm Turnbull back on to RN Breakfast to discuss The Voice. Which would have provided an opportunity to discuss why his position has changed so much since he wrote his autobiography A Bigger Picture (Hardie Grant, 2020 – see pages 569 to 574)­­­. Rather, PK intends to ask Mr Turnbull back on RN Breakfast to, yet again, rail against the Liberal Party in a soft interview. Can You Bear It?


There was enormous interest in Media Watch Dog’s coverage in the last issue about Nine columnist Niki Savva – which reported her (false) prophecy that the Liberal National Party would not get a swing to it in the Fadden by-election held on 15 July.  It did – of around 2.8 per cent, a reasonable outcome during the time of a recently elected popular Labor government.

MWD readers were also fascinated that in her column of 20 July in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, Comrade Savva reported that Teal Independents who won seats from the Liberal Party at the May 2022 election had found a “hardening of sentiment against the Liberals”.  Fancy that.  What more authoritative source could there possibly be? Who would have thought that the likes of Teal Independent Monique Ryan would find that there is a continuing mood against the Liberal Party in the Kooyong electorate?   Which raises the question – how naïve can an Age/SMH columnist get?

In any event, the readers of the Sydney Morning Herald just loved Ms Savva’s most recent rant against the Liberal Party.  On 21 July, the SMH Letters Page ran six letters under the heading “Dutton for punishment: Libs fail to learn lessons”. Every one of which bagged the Liberal Party leader.

This reminded MWD of the SMH’s Letters Page on 24 May 2023 which was headed: “Dutton’s attack on the Voice proves he is not fit to lead”.  On this occasion, seven out of seven SMH correspondents bagged the Opposition.

The Sydney Morning Herald (along with The Age) proclaims on its front page that it is “Independent. Always.”. However, the SMH’s Letters Page indicates that the Sydney Morning Herald has lost many of its one-time political conservative readers. It’s understandable that a paper like the SMH will run criticism of the Liberal Party and its leaders. But a 100 per cent pile-on on the Letters Page indicates that the paper is not as “independent” as it likes to boast.  Can You Bear It?


Airing this week on the ABC was the first episode of the third season of War on Waste, with one of the former Chaser Boys (average age 48½) returning as host. The ABC describes Reucassel as “Planet advocate and prankster”. How about that?

The first episode of the new season explored, among other waste-related problems, the difficulty of medication blister packs to be recycled. Reucassel picks up a truckful of boxes of blister packs from individuals who have been attempting to recycle them, and decides to take them to the head offices of pharmaceutical companies such as Sanofi, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca.

With the help of two assistants wearing masks of his face, Comrade Reucassel then proceeded to dump the blister packs on the floor of reception in one case, and in another leave the boxes at the front doors. It is unclear what this is supposed to achieve – it is neither funny nor productive. Reucassel later encourages viewers (if viewers there were) to contact the companies via social media and encourage a national recycling program – something more likely to have an impact than leaving some security guards to clean up garbage.

Unless Reucassel and his masked Comrades know something we don’t, receptionists and security guards of large pharmaceutical companies will not have any influence over the development of a recycling program. They were simply trying to go about their workday and found themselves being hassled by one of the least funny Chaser Boys. It would be like (the late) Jackie running into the ABC office and barking at reception about the ABC being a Conservative Free Zone. These sorts of stunts grew tired quickly when a part of The Chaser many years ago. But, apparently Reucassel isn’t going to let them die.

For any avid readers with some blister packs lying around, there is a blister pack recycling program available in some local chemists. Perhaps Reucassel would be better served promoting the expansion of that program, rather than making the day of a receptionist more difficult. Can You Bear It?



Here’s how the new presenter (for the rest of the year at least) of ABC TV’s Q+A introduced the program on Monday 24 July:

Hello. I’m Patricia Karvelas. It’s terrific to be back with you after a brief mid-year break….To get us started tonight, here’s a question from Joy Kingston.

Hang on a minute.  As avid Media Watch Dog readers know, journalists have well-earned breaks (or WEBs) whereas mere mortals take holidays. Believe it or not, Q+A’s “brief mid-year break” took a full month – four programs in all.  Which sounds more like long service leave than a mid-year break.

For the record, Q+A’s “break” in 2022 occupied two weeks – and that involved moving the program from Thursdays to Mondays with a new presenter. The way it’s going, Q+A will take an eight-week “brief” break in 2024 followed by a 16-week “brief” mid-year break in 2025 – you get the picture.  Which would see the program’s demise by no later than mid-2026.

By the way, Joy Kingston asked this question – which would have been approved by Q+A executive producer Erin Vincent (who has just quit the ABC to take up a job at the leftists-only taxpayer funded The Wheeler Centre in leftist Melbourne):

Joy Kingston:  Yes, I was wondering if this recent pushback against cricket etiquette craziness and the Commonwealth Games signal the end of conquerors deciding Australia’s future. Or will we as Australians feel unable to change our future because of the weight of the conquerors’ legacy of high inflation and unaffordable housing?

The Q+A team was so impressed with this effort that Ms Kingston got a second go:

Joy Kingston: Oh, OK. So, I don’t know if it’s “our games” – when you say it’s “our games”, my thought is that, you know, the original concept of the Commonwealth Games is the Empire Games. So if you look at that word, “empire”, that’s spells “king”, yes? So how does someone achieve an empire? They conquer it….And then these games are at the pleasure of the King and to celebrate the King using all the conquered countries to compete against each other.

Needless to say, Joy Kingston’s contribution was welcomed by the (usual) baying leftist mob who invariably dominate Q+A audiences in Melbourne.

But if Australia is a conquered nation – and Ms Kingston objects to this – then what is she doing trespassing on what she would regard as land conquered by the King of Great Britain? – to wit, the ABC Melbourne studio in inner-city Southbank.

Moreover, if the King in Buckingham Palace is somehow responsible for high inflation – then he must also be thanked for Australia’s low unemployment. Which raises the question – can Q+A survive into 2026 while it provides such a low level of debate and is as boring as The Drum?


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.  Mr Thompson remains in situ in Melbourne but Insiders has fled Melbourne for the (media) safety of the Canberra Bubble and, consequently, will now be loosed from the troublesome Mr Thompson. [Maybe that’s why Insiders junked Melbourne – just a thought. – MWD Editor]


ABC TV Insiders  presenter David (“Please call me Speersy”) Speers was in full sneering mode, as was his executive producer Samuel Clark,  when the program went to air from Canberra on Sunday 23 July. And the Insiders’ sneers were directed at Sussan Ley – the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party. Quelle Surprise!

Early on, the following exchange took place:

David Speers: Let’s turn to, uh, cost of living pressures. You’ve been, uh, flying around the country this week, uh, talking about cost of living. You’ve visited the Scarborough Boat Harbour Brewery up in Queensland – uh, the Brunetti Cake Shop up in Melbourne as well. Amongst those lining up for boutique beers and tiramisu, did you run into anyone really struggling on JobSeeker?

Sussan Ley: I did. I ran into small businesses who are really struggling. I was in Malvern in Melbourne, and I saw a strip of shops, which were just one “for lease” sign after the other. I walk into small businesses every day and the places you’ve mentioned, and in other locations, where people say they haven’t had any customers. They show me their electricity bill, they show me their rent bill. They tell me how difficult it is. And I don’t think this government is taking the cost of living seriously….

So, there you have it.  To Speersy, who has recently returned to Canberra after living for a few years in Melbourne not all that far from Sandalista Central in Fitzroy North, it’s okay to joke about boutique beer drinkers in the Queensland town of Scarborough or cake-eaters in the Melbourne suburb of Malvern.  He just doesn’t appear to understand that retailers and customers alike are doing it tough at a time of high interest rates, high inflation and rising energy costs.

However, in spite of Sussan Ley telling Speersy about the realities of life outside of Canberra, Insiders executive producer Samuel Clark decided to go ahead with the sneer at Ms Ley with a previously recorded grab, when the show ended. Let’s go to the transcript:

David Speers: Now, we mentioned earlier the Wellbeing Budget. One measure that wasn’t included was the “Pub Test”. Or more precisely, the schooner test. We’ll leave you with Sussan Ley’s front bar concern about the cost-of-living squeeze. Thanks for watching.

Sussan Ley: I visit businesses where their electricity bill has jumped 30 per cent. I talk to people who are sitting having a quiet beer in a pub on a Sunday afternoon and working out that, you know, they’ll get three schooners from their jug of beer and then they might have to go home. I mean, this is awful for a lot of Australian families.

To Comrades Speers and Clark, the fact that some Australian men and women cannot afford to buy more than a jug of beer on a Sunday afternoon in sunny Scarborough or wherever is a bit of a joke and worth a sneer at the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party.  To others, it’s a harsh reality – beyond what the well-paid  Moët-drinking comrades at the taxpayer funded public broadcaster would understand.

[Good point.  Perhaps you should have placed this in your hugely popular “Can You Bear It?” segment. – MWD Editor.]



Five minutes with the millionaire leftist Peter FitzSimons (aka the Red Bandannaed One) – who wore a red rag on his head for a decade until it needed to go to the dry cleaners for urgent (downwind) washing where it was lost – is a very long time.  So, it comes as no surprise that Comrade FitzSimons is choosing from low-hanging fruit for those willing to be interviewed for his “5 Minutes with Fitz” column in Nine’s NSW Sunday paper the Sun-Herald.

On 16 July, Fitz chose to interview a certain Adjunct Professor Everald Compton AO (Do you mean he’s A junk professor? MWD Editor.]  The learned professor presents as the founder of National Seniors Australia and a co-founder of the Brisbane Lions. Fitz did not tell his readers (if readers there were) that the Brisbane Lions is an AFL football team.

When he’s not founding or co-founding things, your man Compton seems to spend lotsa time name-dropping, including his own name. In this Sun-Herald interview, Compton dropped the name of John Howard whom he claimed to know “well enough”. And he told Comrade FitzSimons that he had raised half a billion dollars in fundraising over 40 years.

It turned out that Fitz chose to talk to Compton for 5 minutes, about his you-beaut idea that every Australian should receive a Universal Basic Income (UBI) of $500 a week – regardless of job status or wealth.  Even Fitz said he was “more than a little stunned” at Compton’s unfunded proposal.  Let’s go to an excerpt from the article:

EC:  Why are you stunned?

Fitz: Well, for one thing, when I knew you well, courting your fine daughter in the early ’80s, you were a great supporter of Queensland premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen and I know you to be a close friend of John Howard – a friendship which included you fundraising for him, for free. All up, I would have had you marked down as a strong conservative. But this UBI sounds a lot like socialism….

It’s hard to know what the real news is here.  Could it be that The Red Bandannaed One dated young Miss Compton some four decades ago?  Or that the somewhat garrulous Compton is a “close friend” of John Howard?  Maybe the latter – except that it probably falls into the category of fake news.  Just like the Universal Basic Income dream is fake economics – which even Fitz didn’t embrace.

In the meantime, lotsa thanks to the avid reader who, having glanced at the FitzSimons/Compton exchange in the Sun-Herald , wondered whether the one-time Joh for Prime Minister (circa 1987) supporter might have had something to say about the Fadden by-election in outer metropolitan Brisbane on 15 July.  He sure did initially – on Tuesday 11 July. Here it is:

And on the morning of the by-election, Saturday 15 July, there was more prophecy:

This is the kind of (false) prophecy which rivals the predictions of the late (and unlamented) writer/pedophile Bob Ellis.

Belinda Jones scored a mere 927 votes in the Fadden by-election.  Or 1.05 per cent.  Which is somewhat way south of “one of the biggest swings in Australian political history”. But there you go.  By the way, the Liberal National Party (LNP) candidate Cameron Caldwell comfortably won Fadden and scored a swing to the LNP of 2.8 per cent.

Look at it this way. Peter (“Mr Compton, you’ve got a lovely daughter”) FitzSimons reckons that Everald Compton was worth interviewing for the Sun-Herald about economics and politics. Really.

Peter FitzSimons:  Media Fool of the Week – er, the previous week.


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Until Next Time

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