ISSUE – NO. 660

10 November 2023

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One of the most disturbing events in recent Australian history has been the evident rise of anti-semitism on the streets of Australia’s major cities – especially Sydney and Melbourne. Indeed, as former Labor MP Michael Danby has pointed out on Sky News, it was the anti-Israel demonstration in Sydney on Monday 9 October that initiated the contemporary anti-semitism that has afflicted many nations.

This was the occasion on which the term “Gas the Jews” was heard outside the Sydney Opera House. It was more than racial vilification. This was incitement to murder.

How disturbing, then, that the ABC – the taxpayer funded public broadcaster – has not addressed the rise of anti-semitism in Australia at any length on any of its major programs. This is an example of the public broadcaster in denial. Indeed, over the last month, ABC TV, radio and online has covered many stories of little or no interest while all but ignoring the most significant display of anti-semitism ever experienced in Australia.


Thanks to the avid Media Watch Dog reader who drew attention to the interview between presenter Patricia Karvelas and Mansour Shouman, the Palestinian-Canadian father who has decided to stay in Gaza. The date was 10 November.

It is well known that the ABC is very sensitive to LGBTQI+ causes. How then to explain this exchange between Patricia Karvelas and Mansour Shouman which took place on Radio National Breakfast on 10 November? Let’s go to the transcript.

Patricia Karvelas: You left Canada two years ago to live in Gaza. Just explain why you and your family decided to move back to Gaza.

Mansour Shouman: Unfortunately, the education system in Canada got overwhelmed with leftist agenda, LGBTQ propaganda. We couldn’t raise our children by the social norms and the religious values that we believe in They’re forcing their agenda, certain agenda, on the families – on the children…

Patricia Karvelas: That’s really interesting.

Just imagine what would have been Ms Karvelas’ reaction if a fundamentalist Christian man had said that he left a nation because it was forcing an LGBTQ agenda on “the families, the children”. Yet she said nothing in response to this claim – apart from commenting “That’s really interesting”. Interesting indeed.


Media Watch Dog has always maintained that the ABC is effectively a staff collective – or workers’ soviet.  So, it came as no surprise that the Nine newspapers reported on 9 November that more than 200 ABC journalists participated in a meeting about the taxpayer funded public broadcaster’s coverage of the Israel/Gaza war.  According to the report:

Journalists argued that the ABC’s coverage of Israel’s ground invasion of Gaza was too heavily reliant on the talking points of the Israel Defence Forces. They also raised concerns around the ABC’s unwillingness to use language such as “invasion”, “occupation”, “genocide”, “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing” regarding Israeli government policy and allegations made by human rights groups.

How about that?  The ABC is a Conservative Free Zone without one conservative presenter, producer or editor for any of its prominent television, radio or online outlets.  Moreover, it is difficult to think of any prominent ABC personality who openly supports Israel’s right to retaliate against terrorist Hamas’ murderous attacks on, and kidnappings of, Israeli citizens on 7 October.

And yet many ABC journalists are complaining that the ABC reporting of the current conflict is not sufficiently critical of Israel.  What a load of absolute tosh. Which demonstrates, once again, that the ABC is very much a captive of the left.


Can you believe (sic) it?  Since moving from The Australian to Nine Entertainment’s Age and Sydney Morning Herald in the lead-up to the May 2022 election, an overwhelming number of Niki Savva’s columns have bagged the Liberal Party in general and its leaders – Scott Morrison, followed by Peter Dutton – in particular.

So, it came as some surprise on 9 November when Comrade Savva came up with a fresh idea – and wrote about the late Labor Party leader Bill Hayden (1933-2023), who died recently.  It was a fine obituary about an important figure in Australian politics – whom the author described as a friend.

However, even in the midst of her account of relatively recent Labor Party history, Ms Savva could not resist having a go at political conservatives – the Nine scribbler only likes Liberals such as Malcolm Turnbull who identify as “moderate”  or “progressive”. Here’s what she had to say:

Hayden’s death and the reviews of his big life also coincided with the London jamboree of conservatives, where older participants seemed to believe the solution to their existential crisis was to find new ways of fighting old or lost causes. John Howard was still grappling with multiculturalism and Tony Abbott with climate change.

How about that?  A good friend was dead.  But the penultimate tribute to one of the Labor Party’s best leaders was devoted to fanging past Liberal Party prime ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott.  The former for discussing multiculturalism, the latter for querying Australia’s response to climate change – at the Alliance for Responsible Citizenship conference that met in London recently. Savva’s reference to a jamboree was just a sneer.

It so happened that Mr Howard’s comments were focused on street demonstrations in Sydney, London and elsewhere where anti-semitic chants were heard – while Abbott’s focus was on developments in Australia where there appears to be growing resistance to the cost and inconvenience of a rapid transition to renewable energy.

However, to Niki Savva it was a case of “Former Labor leader Bill Hayden is dead – so let’s not miss an opportunity to sneer at a couple of former Liberal leaders.”  Which raises the question: Can You Bear It?


While on the topic of the Sydney Morning Herald, there was enormous reader interest in the previous issue of this hugely popular segment – which drew attention to the SMH’s Letters Page.  Reference was made to the fact that, on 31 October 2023, the SMH ran seven letters on the Alliance for Responsible Citizenship conference in London – all of which bagged either John Howard (who spoke at the conference) or the ARC conference itself. Re which see above.

It would seem that, like the ABC, the Sydney Morning Herald has lost many of its conservative readers over the years. You be the judge.

  • On 3 November, under the heading “Abbott’s divisive climate change rhetoric should be extinct”, the SMH ran eight letters – all of which attacked and/or sneered at Tony Abbott, Australia’s 28th prime minister. Some of the SMH’s correspondents even called for Abbott to be censored. No other view was heard which suggests that either the SMH censors letters submitted by political conservatives or they no longer read the paper.

The intellectual level of the SMH’s Letters Page has dropped so low that it even published this 13-word sneer from a Rod Bartlett of Woonona:  “Your budgie smugglers are too tight, Tony. Cutting off circulation to your brain.” Now that’s not funny or clever – it’s just abuse. But abuse that’s fit to print in Nine Entertainment’s Sydney broadsheet.

  • On 4 November, under the heading “Price sold her soul to further her career” the SMH ran six out of six letters fanging Country Liberal Party Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price. The first abused the Country Liberal Party senator by describing her as adopting an ideology “based on ignorant, myopic and egoistical selfishness”. Another accused her of “political opportunism”, another one alleged that “her rise will be brief”, another claimed that she was “most inept” another stated: “She is showing an Aboriginal politician can be as ambitious, self-interested and scheming as any white politician”. No other view was heard.
  • On 7 November, under the heading “Why was former minister for everything in Israel?” the SMH ran seven out of eight letters criticising Scott Morrison for visiting Israel.
  • On 8 November, under the heading “Former PM’s visit to Israel is a weak publicity stunt”, the SMH returned to its Morrison obsession and ran eight out of nine letters fanging former prime minister Scott Morrison for visiting Israel – along with former United Kingdom prime minister Boris Johnson. There were references to the Three Stooges and Mr Morrison’s religious beliefs were mocked. More abuse.

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There was a time when the Sydney Morning Herald carried a high standard of written argument and comment along with diverse political opinion.  No longer. But the SMH boasts that it is “Independent. Always.”.  Can You Bear It?

[Interesting.  I note that on 4 November the SMH published three out of three letters attacking Anthony Fisher, the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney. – MWD Editor.]


Did anyone see the stunning performances – in a leftist kind of way – by Emma Shortis (on ABC TV The Drum on 9 November) and Ebony Bennett (on ABC TV’s News Breakfast on 10 November)?  What this duo have in common is that both work for the avowedly left-wing Australia Institute, based in Canberra.

That was a couple of days after The Australian published a story by Jess Malcolm and Greg Brown titled “Leftist think tank’s independence in doubt”.  This is how the report commenced:

The Australia Institute has extensive links with the Greens political party, undermining its claim of being “fiercely nonpartisan”, amid growing anger within federal Labor over the left-wing think tank’s attacks on the government’s tax, climate and environmental policies.

The Australian named three comrades who currently work for The Australia Institute and appear regularly on the ABC – Richard Denniss, Ebony Bennett and Chris Redman.  To this list MWD would add Emma Shortis, Polly Hemming and Rod Campbell. And Ben Oquist was an ABC fave until he left The Australia Institute last year.

MWD has always maintained that the ABC is critical of both the Coalition and Labor governments, but invariably from the left.  This comes as no surprise since, as The Australian documented, The Australia Institute and the Greens support the same policies on many political issues.

In short, the ABC is forever extending a platform to Australia Institute commentators.  However, most – if not all – political conservatives or right-of-centre think tanks are effectively cancelled by the taxpayer funded public broadcaster.

Ask yourself this: How often has anyone seen or heard a staffer from the Institute of Public Affairs, the Centre for Independent Studies, the Menzies Research Centre in Sydney or the Robert Menzies Institute in Melbourne on ABC TV or radio or online?  The answer is rarely, if ever.

For the record, on 8 November Comrade Shortis joined The Drum chorus in attacking Donald J. Trump and next morning Comrade Bennett criticised the Coalition for opposing the increasing number of Commonwealth public servants. Comrade Bennett lives in the public service city named Canberra. And Comrade Shortis would never support a non-Left politician.


Just when it seemed safe to assume that The Guardian/ABC Axis was falling apart due to fewer of the Guardian comrades appearing on RN Breakfast, Insiders and the like – the ABC TV Insiders program stepped up and resuscitated the entity.  Which is good news indeed for Media Watch Dog – since Speersy (as he likes to be called) and the Insiders team (executive producer Samuel Clark) provide lotsa copy for MWD when The Guardian is represented on the Insiders couch at Hangover Time on Sunday mornings.

Just like Sunday 5 November. First up, David Speers interviewed The Guardian Australia’s  political editor Katharine (“Malcolm calls me Murpharoo” ) Murphy in Shanghai about Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s visit to China.  By the way, Ellie’s (male) co-owner just loves it when journalists interview journalists.

Then there was the panel. On the Insiders couch back home were Jacob Greber (Australian Financial Review), Peter Hartcher (The Age & Sydney Morning Herald) and, wacko, Lenore Taylor (The Guardian Australia’s editor).

Since Speersy was in China, the panel discussion back in Canberra was chaired by the ABC’s very own Patricia (“I like to be called PK”) Karvelas. As usual, The Guardian Australia’s Michael Bowers presented the “Talking Pictures” segment – his guest was Mark Humphries.  In the late Barry Humphries’  term – Comrade Mark Humphries identifies as a comedian and his comedy material (for want of a better word) invariably finds its way to the taxpayer funded public broadcaster, perhaps because others will not use it.

How about that?  All up, six out of eight talking heads on Insiders on 5 November were part of The Guardian/ABC Axis.  That is, some 75 per cent.

As it turned out, it was a pretty boring Insiders.  Quelle Surprise! Only your man Greber made any fresh points – challenging the level of government expenditure on inland rail, the Snowy 2.0 hydro-electric scheme and “the 10,000 km of transmission lines build”, in light of Australia’s high level of inflation.  Needless to say, the latter reference upset Comrade Taylor who supports the construction of massive transmission lines through the rural properties of others.  The Guardian’s editor lives in inner-city Sydney – well away from commercial wind and solar farms and the environmental impact of Malcolm Turnbull’s fave Snowy 2.0 scheme.

So, what did The Guardian duo bring to the program?  Not much – except for the word “silly”.  Murpharoo reckoned that former prime minister Scott Morrison used “silly language” when talking about China when he was prime minister.  And Ms Taylor said that it was “silly” for the Opposition to criticise PM Albanese’s travel. Mr Greber was interrupted by Comrades Taylor and Karvelas and also your man Hartcher for raising this point.  To enlarge the word usage somewhat, Nine’s Mr Hartcher said that the Coalition was into “nonsense” when criticising the PM’s travel.

In spite of being classified as political “insiders”, the likes of Taylor, PK, Murpharoo and Hartcher have never worked inside politics.  They’re journalists – who seem ignorant of the fact that oppositions of whatever political persuasion, rightly or wrongly, tend to criticise government leaders for travelling too much. It’s called politics.

Here’s hoping for another episode of The Guardian/ABC Axis at the soonest. Media Watch Dog needs the material.


Thanks to Ben Fordham’s Breakfast Show on Sydney Radio 2GB for drawing attention on 9 November 2023 to the Commonwealth’s defence in the case of Pabai Pabai and Guy Paul Kabai v. Commonwealth of Australia. The case involves two men of Torres Strait Islander descent who are taking legal action against Australia – claiming that Australia’s carbon emissions are leading to sea level rises in the Torres Strait.

It so happens that the Australian Government Solicitor – on behalf of the Commonwealth Government – in its Notice of Filing maintains (i) that Australia’s emissions are themselves not capable of holding the global temperature increase to 1.5o Celsius or any other figure and (ii) that there is a lack of precise quantitative studies of projected impacts of sea level rise at Global Temperature Increase of 1.5o Celsius and 2Celsius.

The initial defence was filed on 25 February 2022 under the Morrison Government but later amended filings offering up the same arguments have been made under the Albanese Government.

In other words, in layman’s language, Australia’s emissions – at just over 1 per cent of global emissions – only have a small impact on global warming, not sufficient enough to affect sea levels in the Torres Strait or elsewhere.

Needless to say, the fact that Australia’s impact on global temperatures is minimal was not raised when ABC Radio National presenter Patricia Karvelas interviewed Pabai Pabai and Guy Paul Kabai (8 November) or when ABC 7.30 presenter Sarah Ferguson interviewed Jennifer Morgan, Germany’s special envoy for International Climate Action and former executive director of Greenpeace International (6 November).  This is the kind of “truth” that the ABC tends not to report.

This overwhelmingly popular segment of Media Watch Dog usually works like this. Someone or other thinks it would be a you-beaut idea to write to Gerard Henderson AC (Always Courteous) about something or other. And Hendo, being a courteous and well-brought-up kind of guy, replies. Then, hey presto, the correspondence is published in MWD – much to the delight of its avid readers.

There are occasions, however, when (the late) Jackie’s (male) co-owner decides to write a polite note to someone or other – who, in turn, believes that a reply is in order. Publication in MWD invariably follows. There are, alas, some occasions where your man Henderson sends a polite missive – but does not receive the courtesy of a reply. Nevertheless, publication of this one-sided correspondence still takes place. For the record – and in the public interest, of course.


In MWD on 27 October, the hugely popular “Can You Bear It?” segment ran an item under the heading “AFR columnist Oliver Hartwich’s False Prophecy and the New Zealand Election”. Your man Hartwich threw the switch to denial on learning about his newfound fame per courtesy of Media Watch Dog and wrote to Hendo.  Now read on, if you wish:

Oliver Hartwich to Gerard Henderson – 7 November 2023

Dear Mr Henderson,

I only just stumbled across your Media Watch column of 27 October.

You took issue with my AFR column in which I pointed out that the New Zealand election is tighter than it should have been, given the state of the country and the public’s dissatisfaction with the Ardern/Hipkins Labour government:

As it turned out, the New Zealand opposition – headed by National Party leader Christopher Luxon – had a comfortable victory. Comfortable in view of New Zealand’s complicated electoral system.  Labour prime minister Chris Hipkins conceded defeat on the night of the election and it looks like the Luxon-led National Party will be able to form a government with the right-of-centre ACT Party, led by David Seymour.

You may be interested to hear that last Friday, we were told the final result of the NZ election (after special votes were counted). National got 38.06% – 6 percentage points below their result under Bill English in 2017 (after three terms in office!). ACT (sadly) only got 8.64% – considerably below polling in the month before the election (in which one poll had ACT as high as 18%).

Combined, National and ACT failed to win a parliamentary majority. They have 59 seats in a Parliament of 122 (or 123 after the Port Waikato byelection later this month).

National and ACT will now need Winston Peters’ New Zealand First party to form a government. Even more than three weeks on from the election, negotiations are still ongoing. Whether David Seymour will become Deputy PM, remains to be seen. He may even end up on the crossbenches, as Seymour keeps telling the media.

No-one would not [sic] call this a comfortable victory. After six disastrous years under Labour, the National/ACT opposition should have had a landslide. But that did not happen. Instead, it was a moderate swing to the right, but a fracturing of the left with a now strengthened Green party and a Māori Party now holding six seats.

So, well, it might turn out that your column was written just a tad prematurely. But anyway, that is just as you wrote:

As MWD readers are aware, Ellie’s (male) co-owner abides by the teaching that it’s unwise to make predictions – especially about the future.

It would have been wise to abide by that teaching. Instead, you now look like the False Prophet you accused me to be.

Incidentally, I wish you had been right with your prediction of 27 October. New Zealand would have need [sic] an emphatic opposition victory.

With best collegial wishes from across the Tasman,

Oliver Hartwich


Gerard Henderson to Oliver Hartwich – 10 November 2023

Dear Dr Hartwich (for a doctor you are, as your very own website makes clear).

How wonderful to learn that you are an avid (albeit not uncritical) reader of Media Watch Dog – from across the Tasman.  Your email of 7 November refers.

I note that in your email, forwarded on Melbourne Cup Day, you claim that, in your Australian Financial Review column on 12 October 2023 you stated that the New Zealand election is “tighter than it should be”. It would seem that the 26-day break between the publication of your AFR column and Melbourne Cup Day has witnessed a memory loss on your behalf.

In fact, you wrote in the AFR on 12 October 2023, that the outcome of the New Zealand election on 14 October “could be a major surprise” and that “despite current trends, we cannot dismiss the possibility of another Labour government”.  That was a load of absolute tosh – concerning which you are now in denial.

As it turned out, the New Zealand Labour prime minister Chris Hipkins conceded defeat on the night of 14 October. And the Labour Party received a mere 26.9 per cent of the primary vote – something that you fail to mention in your Melbourne Cup email. Quelle Surprise!

Contrary to your assertion, in my MWD blog of 27 October 2023, I did not make a prophecy about the future.  Rather, I made an assessment about the past. Somewhat different don’t you think?  Based on the election count as at 27 October, I wrote that “it looks like the Luxon-led National Party will be able to form a government with the right-of-centre party ACT with Mr Luxon as prime minister and Mr Seymour as his deputy”.

Such word usage as “looks like” does not amount to a prophecy. Rather they are assessments of established data.  In any event, as I understand it Mr Luxon holds the position of “Prime Minister designate”.

As to Winston Peters and his NZ First Party – well, as you know, it often takes a while to negotiate political outcomes. Mr Seymour and Mr Peters have met in person twice in recent days.  I doubt that Mr Peters will support the return of a Labour government – but we shall see. In any event, it seems certain that Chris Luxon will be prime minister. What do you think?

By the way, I never predicted that New Zealand would experience an “emphatic Opposition victory” on 14 October.  You just made this up.

Best wishes – and Keep Morale High.

Gerard Henderson AC (aka Always Courteous)



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Until Next Time.

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