ISSUE – NO. 682

24 May 2024

* * * *

* * * *


Quelle Surprise!  On her ABC Radio National Breakfast program on Friday 24 May, Patricia (“Please call me PK”) Karvelas announced, just after the 8 am news, that Phillip Adams was to hand over to David Marr as the presenter of ABC RN’s Late Night Live.  It was a matter of a secular leftist being replaced by another secular leftist on the taxpayer funded broadcaster which is a conservative free zone.  But that was enough to make PK excited.

Media Watch Dog is wont to quote Benjamin Disraeli’s comment about the Royal Family: “Everyone loves flattery; and when you come to Royalty you should lay it on with a trowel.”

Clearly, PK regards David Marr as media royalty. Certainly, Comrade Karvelas was delighted to have Comrade Marr back on the ABC.  PK also said she was excited (3 times).  And she described David Marr as variously (i) brilliant (3 times), (ii) well-loved or most loved, (iii) a great choice, (iv) a legend, (v) excellent and (vi) one of the most loved journalists in this country.  Phew.

Oh yes, PK said to DM (i) “I do love you”, (ii) “I love you David Marr” and (iii) “David, I love your work.”  PK also declared: “When I think of you [David] I think drama, wit and brilliance.”

It was at this moment that Gerard Henderson, Ellie’s (male) co-owner, blushed.

Meanwhile, David told RN listeners that the first two congratulatory texts were from Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly and Niki (“I can’t stand Peter Dutton”) Savva. Who would have expected this?

Meanwhile, in the excitement of the occasion, Peter FitzSimons had earlier posted on X that Hendo was taking over from the ABC’s Man-in-Black.  This is Fake News and was soon corrected by the Red Bandannaed One – see below:


Did anyone watch the ABC 7:30 program on 23 May where Sarah Ferguson interviewed Ron Dermer, the Israeli Minister for Strategic Affairs? Media Watch Dog admired Mr Dermer’s approach to Sarah (‘I almost interrupt as much as Speersy’) Ferguson. Let’s go to the transcript:

RON DERMER: Warfare… is terrible but if you look at the civilian versus combatant ratio in Israel, it is unprecedented in warfare. It’s much better than you saw in the United States and I’m sure Australia was part of those operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere. Many more civilians died –

SARAH FERGUSON:  I’m sorry to interrupt. I’m just conscious of getting through some material in the time. But let’s talk about, a little more about this, because the latest confirmed casualties, of children is more than 7,000, women nearly 5,000. But let’s just be frank, the world has seen the results of your bombing campaign, street after street after street, we’ve seen the destroyed apartment buildings. How are all of those, with their civilian inhabitants, legitimate military targets?

RON DERMER:  Do you see Berlin, the pictures from Berlin from 1945? Did you see what happened in Japan?

SARAH FERGUSON:  I’m asking you about Gaza.

RON DERMER:  No, because you’re in, fine and I’ll answer about Gaza. And if you let me finish a few sentences, I’ll actually be able to make a couple of points. If you want to interview yourself, you can go ahead and do that.

Enough said and well said.



What a stunning performance by Laura Tingle on ABC TV’s Insiders program on Sunday 19 May.  Her fellow panellists were Phil Coorey (the Australian Financial Review’s political correspondent) and Peter Hartcher (international editor for Nine’s The Age and Sydney Morning Herald). David (“Please call me Speersy”) Speers was in the presenter’s chair.

Early on, before the interview with Treasurer Jim Chalmers, discussion turned on the budget which was delivered on 14 May.

As avid readers know, Laura Tingle provides great copy for MWD in her two capacities as ABC TV 7.30 ’s political correspondent and as a Saturday columnist for the Australian Financial Review. Oh yes, La Tingle is also president of the National Press Club and the staff elected member of the ABC Board, plus she is a regular Insiders panellist.

It was evident early on Sunday 19 May that Comrade Tingle was angry with the Peter Dutton-led Coalition in opposition and, wait for it, the Australian Financial Review. Indeed, the AFR’s columnist fanged the AFR’s coverage of the 2024 budget. Let’s go to the transcript:

Laura Tingle:  Now, I think, in a lot of the somewhat hysterical coverage of the budget, there’s two things that have been overlooked. One of them is that the economy is forecast to barely have a pulse over the next couple of years. And that changes the dynamics of whether you spend, save, whatever the government has delivered a surplus. The sort of more sort of hysterical Hanrahan calls about too much spending – particularly from, dare one say, the Financial Review this week, overlooks a couple of things….

How about that?  The AFR columnist declared that the coverage by the AFR (editor Michael Stutchbury) of the 2024 budget was “hysterical”. Indeed, according to Tingle, it was hysterical in the Hanrahan kind of way.

For those who have never heard of Hanrahan, he was a character in the “Said Hanrahan” poem written by John O’Brien (aka the Catholic priest Patrick Joseph Hartigan). Hanrahan was the ultimate pessimist – hence the refrain: “We’ll all be rooned/said Hanrahan/before the year is out.”

Phil Coorey disagreed with La Tingle re the AFR.  But your man Coorey was obviously well brought up and, consequently, was too polite to make any impact on this issue.  If he had a choice, Michael Stutchbury would not want Gentle Phil next to him in the trench when a battle of ideas is raging.  Better to look for some kind of street fighter to match La Tingle.

It’s not so long ago that La Tingle accused Scott Morrison’s Coalition government of “ideological bastardry”.  It was, er, a late-night tweet.  On Sunday 19 May the ABC presenter and AFR columnist let fire at Opposition leader Peter Dutton in addition to the AFR. Let’s go to the transcript:

David Speers: You listen to any focus group, listen to any talkback radio, you’ll hear the concern about migration, concern that the budget’s propped up by it.

Laura Tingle: You will, and, but I think what was concerning is for a political leader [Peter Dutton] to come out and say not only is housing the fault of migrants, but you can’t get a childcare space, you can’t get through the traffic on the roads, you can’t get in to see the doctor because of migration. That is, that is lighting this thing up in a really disturbing way – regardless of the arguments about whether there’s, you know, there should be more or less migration. Regardless of whether his [Dutton’s] policies make sense. And I would say that they don’t make coherent sense in what he’s put out in his budget reply. You know, the – the hot buttons, he’s pressing there, I think, are very dangerous for our community.

David Speers: Let’s come back to the budget itself….

How about that?  The ABC TV 7.30 chief political correspondent believes that Mr Dutton is “very dangerous for our community”.  This is the word usage of an activist.

La Tingle also described the Opposition leader’s budget reply as a “pretty shoddy effort”.  That’s just abuse – passing as argument.

Then the National Press Club president had this to say about the forthcoming election: “I’m thinking January or February next year isn’t very early.”

Quite so. But for an election to be held on the last Saturday of January – it would have to be called just before Christmas Day. This would lead to an election campaign running right through the Christmas holiday period. How’s that for informed political commentary?  And here’s another question:  Can You Bear It?

[Imagine if, say, the AFR’s Phil Coorey had described Laura Tingle’s budget commentary as “hysterical”. Such a word usage would surely have been regarded as sexist, misogynist and the like. But Speersy did not move to protect the AFR’s male economic writers from La Tingle’s verbal assault.  MWD Editor.]


While on the topic of the 19 May edition of ABC TV’s Insiders, did anyone count the interruptions by presenter David (“Oh yes, I’m the great interrupter”) Speers?

As avid Media Watch Dog readers will recall, when interviewing Angus Taylor – the Shadow Treasurer – on 12 May, Speersy made 36 successful or unsuccessful interruptions. Well done, eh?  And what about his interview with the Treasurer Jim Chalmers on 19 May? – MWD hears avid readers cry. And the answer is – wait for it – just three. Yes, the number 3.

How’s that for political balance? Can You Bear It?


The ABC resembles the pre-Reformation Church – or perhaps the pre-Vatican II Church.  In that, it preaches certain “truths” across a range of matters concerning which no genuine debate is allowed.  That’s why the taxpayer funded public broadcaster focuses on a number of intellectually fashionable issues. One of which is the impact of climate change.

There is a tendency within the ABC to attribute all adverse weather matters to climate change.  This, most recently, occurred when a Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 ran into severe air turbulence on its way from London to Singapore.

On May 22, Patricia (“Please call me PK”) Karvelas interviewed Mark Hofmeyer – a Qantas pilot who is vice-president of the Australian and International Pilots Association. He explained what happens when an aircraft hits turbulence and spoke of the need for passengers to wear their seat belts whenever possible during a flight.

Towards the end of the interview, PK introduced the topic – you’ve guessed it – climate change. Let’s go to the transcript as the presenter announces what is on her mind and that of RN listeners (yes – some still exist) who tend to be eco-catastrophists.

Patricia Karvelas: The big question I’m getting on the RN Breakfast text line, and it’s been in my head all morning. [I] recently went overseas, turbulence was pretty full on, actually. Research is pointing towards turbulence increasing and becoming more intense as the climate warms. Tell me about that. Have you detected this as well?

Mark Hofmeyer: Look, no, I don’t think so. I mean, it’s, you know, it may be the case, I don’t know enough about it to talk on that with any knowledge….

As far as MWD can work out, air turbulence has been a problem since flight was invented.  And it would seem that international pilots have not been advised of any increase in the problem during recent years.  But PK was having none of this – as she had the last say:

Patricia Karvelas: There are certainly climate scientists warning about it… And we will probably, the next day or so, try and speak to someone about that. Because it is a genuine issue that, you know, scientists have been warning about. So, there will be implications for people who fly particularly those long-haul flights.

So, stand by for more preaching by the ABC on climate change and air turbulence. Do not expect any other view to be heard. Certainly, PK was dismissive of Captain Hofmeyer’s view on the issue – and he’s an experienced pilot.  But – in PK’s world, it’s what-would-Captain-Hofmeyer-know?  Can You Bear It?

[I note that on 23 May, the Sydney Morning Herald ran an article by former Qantas pilot David Evans.  He wrote that, at this time of the year, the route that the Singapore Airlines flight took is subjected to severe turbulence due to the effect of regular monsoons between the Indian subcontinent and the Malaysian Peninsula. He did not suggest that climate change was a problem in this instance. But what would Captain Evans know when compared to the collective wisdom of sandal-wearing RN listeners?  – MWD Editor.]


While on the topic of viewpoint diversity at the taxpayer funded public broadcaster, consider the decision of Karim Khan – the chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court – to seek arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant along with three members of the terrorist organisation Hamas.

What did the ABC’s The World Today do?  Well, it immediately contacted Regina Weiss.  Presenter Sally Sara described her as “an Australian barrister who has previously worked as a prosecutor at the ICC”. Asked about the significance of Khan’s decision, this was Ms Weiss’ response:

Regina Weiss:  Oh, it’s hugely significant, Sally.  And it’s about time. So what he’s done is sought an arrest warrant for five people.  So, at this point in time, there is actually no arrest yet. But he’s asked for them from both sides of the coin. So, there’s a common enemy at the moment. Which is the ICC. Hamas and Israel are seeing eye to eye, I guess, on that.

So, there you have it.  Rather than analyse what Khan did – Ms Weiss said that it was “about time” that he did it. That’s an opinion – which was not challenged by Comrade Sara. And Ms Weiss went on to make the grotesque claim that the democratic nation Israel and the terrorist organisation Hamas have a “common enemy” in the ICC. What a load of absolute tosh.

No other view was heard.  This was yet another example of the lack of viewpoint diversity at the ABC.  Can You Bear It?


Could it be that Sophie Elsworth, The Australian’s media writer, has a mole within ABC Friends Victoria (ABC FV)?   How else to explain her report in The Australian’s “Media” section on 20 May titled “Friends of the ABC put begging bowl out”?

Ms Elsworth got hold of an email by Mike Henry, president of ABC FV, appealing for a special one-off donation to the organisation to set it up for the next financial year.

Anyone who has attended an ABC Friends function or read its newsletter knows that, like the taxpayer funded broadcaster itself, the organisation is very much a conservative free zone.  In other words, the organisation is replete with social democrats, left-of-centre types, leftists, Guardian and Saturday Paper readers plus an occasional purchaser of Green Left Weekly.

In his time of woe, Mr Henry revealed that ABC FV “lost over 10 per cent of our members over the last year”. And he traces this back to dissatisfaction with the ABC itself.  This is what he had to say:

The ABC has had a rough year and has copped a lot of flak. It has been accused of bias (e.g. Gaza) or of axing the wrong programs (e.g. The Drum) or of losing the wrong people (e.g. someone liked) or of bringing in the wrong people (e.g. someone not liked). Some of the criticism demonstrates a level of intolerance and misunderstanding that is worrying…Dissatisfaction with the ABC flows over into attitudes to ABC Friends, and we lose donors and members whenever the ABC does something that they don’t like….

Since ABC FV’s membership base is overwhelmingly composed of Greens, Teals and Labor voters – the intolerance can only be coming from the left.

And this is a major ABC problem.  Having lost so many of its traditional politically conservative viewers/listeners, the ABC has failed to replace them with a new, young audience.  Moreover, the problem with sections of the left is that they are profoundly intolerant.  To some, the ABC can never be left enough – so they are moving away from the ABC and, consequently, ABC Friends.

Mr Henry told his members that ABC Friends has cut costs and reduced staff and enters the new financial year with a balanced budget. But he advised: “We have no cushion with which to plan and execute an effective election campaign.” [I guess ABC Friends will not be supporting the Coalition. – MWD Editor.]  The money is needed to fund its “presence at writers’ festivals and other events in the coming months”.  Like the ABC, writers’ festivals are invariably conservative free zones.

In short, ABC Friends Victoria needs a $20,000 buffer to get it through the 2024-25 financial year.  Now hang on.   According to Sophie Elsworth, ABC Friends Victoria has close to 20,000 members. So, according to MWD’s calculations, Mr Henry could reach his $20,000 buffer target if each member kicked in a mere $1.  Yes, just one dollar.

Considering that the ABC has a considerable following in Australia’s most wealthy areas – this would be less than small change for many ABC FV members.  What’s more, if just 200 members kicked in $100 each, the $20,000 would be met.

So, there you have it.  ABC Friends are so tight that Mr Henry has to put out the begging bowl to get a total of $20,000 from 20,000 members.  Can You Bear It?

[No not really.  Now that you ask.  I note that the Inner Melbourne Group (aka Inner City Soviet) of ABC Friends Victoria has invited Justin Stevens to speak at an event in Melbourne on 24 August.  Your man Stevens is the ABC’s Director News.  Guess what?  The meeting will be held at – wait for it – the Collingwood Library in Melbourne’s Sandalista Central area. It might be a good idea to get Hendo to rock up outside the Collingwood Library and play the violin while his cattle dog Ellie stands guard over his cap on the footpath where cash can be deposited.  This could then be donated to Mr Henry as an act of good will. Enough funds could be raised to purchase an ABC Friends membership and provide a $1 donation – $41 all up. – MWD Editor.]



It was Hangover Time on the morning of Saturday 18 May when Ellie’s (male) co-owner was awakened by the noise of newspapers landing with a loud bang on the said Queensland Heeler’s kennel.  After taking some time to drink a black coffee (or several) washed down with a bucket of Holy Water, Hendo noticed a post on X by Media Watch Dog fave Phillip Adams AO, AM, Hon DUniv (Griffith), Hon DLitt (ECU), Hon DUniv (SA), DLitt [sic] (Syd), Hon. DUniv (Macquarie), FRSA, Hon FAHA.  It read as follows:

Good God! – or is it good god!?   Just when you thought it was safe to assume Comrade Adams would not write (yet) another column about how, once upon a time, he was a teenage member of the Communist Party of Australia – it happened.  Hendo decided not to re-visit your man Adams’ favourite story about himself. Until, sometime later, his attention was drawn to another post on Elon Musk’s X.  Here it is:

The reference was to Gerard Henderson’s article in The Weekend Australian on 18 May 2024 titled “Alienated left has a sorry history of spreading its hate”.

Now, here’s a problem.  By 2.36 pm, Comrade Adams must have read Hendo’s column. Consequently, on his own analysis, he could have been suffering from concussion or serious brain damage.  So, Ellie’s (male) co-owner thought it appropriate to read what could be P.A.A.O.’s last will and testament in The Weekend Australian Magazine on 18 May – titled “In Bed With The Reds” – which was written before there was any chance that he would be concussed or brain damaged.

There was the familiar tale of Phillip (“Have I told you I was a teenage commie?”) Adams. Except, following a suggestion in MWD Issue 672 (18 March 2024) that Comrade Adams might have fudged his CPA membership story since the party had a minimum age entry rule, the story changes a little.  Now the comrade says that, since he “was under the age of political consent” the rules were bent – and he joined the CPA at 16 years of age.  Being born in July 1939 – this means that he joined the CPA before July 1956.

Sure, PA has written about this in numerous columns and articles and occasional books and spoken about it ad nauseam on his little wireless program on ABC Radio National and in many an interview.  But MWD can never have enough of this story by the ABC’s Man-in-Black. So, here we go again back to PA AO etc:

My first job in journalism? Film critic for the Guardian. Not the international masthead but the CPA paper of the same name. I was also kept busy at Melbourne’s New Theatre, selling tickets and manning the projector to screen Soviet epics like Battleship Potemkin. As dutiful comrades we turned a deaf ear to stories of show trials and the gulags. It was only after Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin and the Soviet invasion of Hungary that the CPA imploded. Suddenly, everyone was quitting or being expelled – in my case both….

Not so.  It is true that quite a few comrades quit the CPA after the Hungarian Uprising was crushed by the Soviet Union in October 1956. But many stayed on, including leader Laurie Aarons, until 1968 when the CPA broke with Moscow. The remaining comrades formed the Socialist Party of Australia (headed by Bill and Freda Brown) and remained loyal to the Soviet Union’s totalitarian dictators.

So, Young Phillip resigned from/was expelled by the Communist Party in 1956. Or was he?  There is another version of Adams’ story – as told by Adams himself to Richard Fidler on 11 July 2019. The occasion of your man Adams’ 80th birthday when Adams spoke to Fidler on ABC Radio National Late Night Live.  Let’s go to the transcript:

Phillip Adams: Now when I was either expelled or resigned from the Communist Party. I think I was 17, I’m not quite sure. It was such a time of chaos because – it wasn’t Hungary; it was Czechoslovakia. That was the final straw.

Richard Fidler: ’68, hmm.

Phillip Adams: Yeah and so, what happens then is I floundered around for a while trying to find something else to join I guess. And there was a short-lived phenomenon called the New Left and I was, I dallied with that. And then I stumbled into the Labor Party and um and quickly became very embroiled in that.

There you have it.  PA reckons that he quit the CPA circa late 1956 following the Soviet Union’s crushing of the Hungarian Uprising in October 1956.  However, he also reckons that he quit the CPA sometime after the Soviet Union’s crushing of the Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia in August 1968.  This was around the time the New Left movement emerged in Australia – so this latter version has some credibility.

So, did Comrade Adams quit the Communist Party in 1956 or 1968?  If Phillip doesn’t know, how can MWD?

Here’s a modest proposal.  In telling his oh-so-familiar Communist Party story, PA is always banging on about his ASIO File – which he says he has.  Well – release it.  And then we can all go to our graves knowing when Comrade Adams ceased being in Bed with the Reds.



As avid Media Watch Dog readers are only too well aware, staff of the avowedly leftist Canberra-based Australia Institute invariably rock up as talking heads on the conservative free zone that is the ABC.  Most noticeably, Dr Richard Denniss (for a doctor he is) the Australia Institute’s executive director, and his deputy Ebony Bennett (for a doctor she is yet to be).

Indeed, Comrade Bennett makes regular appearances on the “Newspapers” segment of the ABC TV News Breakfast program. No politically conservative think tank gets a run on this program. The Institute of Public Affairs was banished from this segment some years ago.  As was Georgina Downer, the chief executive officer of the Melbourne-based Robert Menzies Institute.  The Sydney-based Menzies Research Centre does not get a guernsey, either.  Nor does the Sydney-based Centre for Independent Studies. Just the avowedly leftist Australia Institute.

But MWD digresses. Comrade Bennett appeared on RN Breakfast on 23 May.  She adopted the familiar leftist style of sneering/laughing at those with whom she disagrees. It’s called the Leftist Sneer.

First up, EB referred – in a sneering tone – to the Coalition’s “so-called nuclear energy plan”.  Get the “so-called” reference?  She went on to bag the idea that Australia should ever develop nuclear energy and concluded, in a mocking tone: “So yeah, very interesting election platform here.” Then EB ran the familiar put down: “I think it’s very difficult to talk about nuclear energy in the abstract compared to the idea of having one in your backyard and all the concerns that come with that.”  Neither of the presenters (Lisa Millar and Michael Rowland) asked Comrade Bennett about the name of the person who had suggested putting a nuclear plant in a backyard.  Or a wind turbine, for that matter.

EB went on to say that, under the Coalition’s nuclear energy plan, “the idea of doubling electricity costs is not going to be a pleasant one for most households”.  She provided no evidence to support this claim – nor did she state when such a doubling of electricity prices would occur.

EB then went on to praise the announcement by the Albanese Labor government that it would provide $500 million “to make Australia a leading battery manufacturer”. No smirking here. Then EB went on to sneer at the mining industry. Despite the fact that, as some Labor Party ministers have acknowledged, mining is making a huge contribution to the Australian economy via company tax and royalties.

So, there you have it.  The leftist Australia Institute deputy director spent time on the taxpayer funded broadcaster with an opinion about – rather than a report on what was in –  that morning’s newspapers.  The Australia Institute/ABC Entente at work.

Media Fool Of The Week


Media Watch Dog is a republican – if a model can be developed which retains the Westminster system – whereby prime ministers are chosen by their party rooms and where the governor-general or a future president, is appointed, not elected.

Australia will never become a republic if the Australian Republic Movement is chaired by people like Peter FitzSimons (aka the Red Bandannaed One) or his successor the somewhat loquacious Craig Foster. The idea that Australians would unite behind a very wealthy man – who felt the need to wear a red rag on his head for a decade until it was sent to the dry cleaners where it was lost, is unsound. The same can be said of Comrade Foster – he’s too left-wing to unite Australia.

But MWD digresses. In recent times Foster has been talking at (great) length about the Israel-Hamas war and taking the leftist line that Israel is into apartheid and genocide. It’s not clear whether the sports broadcaster has been to Israel or Gaza or, indeed, whether he knows anything much about the Middle East.

In any event, Foster’s criticism of Israel upset his ARM co-chair Nova Peris – the former sporting identity and former Labor politician. She quit the ARM in protest and he followed soon after.

Believe it or not [I’m sure to believe it. – MWD Editor], Comrade Foster was invited on to Radio National Breakfast on 23 May where he was interviewed, at length, by presenter Patricia Karvelas. Or, rather, Foster talked and talked for some 11 minutes – but said very little.

Comrade Foster spoke about the subject he knows best – HIMSELF.  He used the words “I” and “I’ve” on numerous occasions. And he was condescending towards Ms Peris – declaring on two occasions his “love” for her. What’s love got to do with it? – as the saying goes.

Foster’s rant was only interrupted once by PK.  He declared on numerous occasions that he was being silenced in spite of the fact that he was on national radio and could not say who was silencing him.  Foster declared that Israel was into apartheid and genocide without defining what he meant by either term.

And there was this exchange:

Patricia Karvelas: Do you acknowledge though that the Jewish community at the moment in Australia is feeling under incredible pressure and is facing antisemitism? Do you accept that anti-semitism has risen significantly?

Craig Foster: No question about it. Anti-semitism and Islamophobia have both risen significantly in Australia. But we have to define what that means. And the problem with what we’ve seen as this kind of weaponisation of antisemitism, meaning as soon as you criticise the government of Israel, or as soon as you criticise Netanyahu, who now has a request for an arrest warrant.

This is arrant ignorant nonsense. First, anti-semitism is rife in contemporary Australia – this is not the case with Islamophobia. Moreover, it is intellectually dishonest to use the term anti-semitism against the Israeli government.

Foster bored on and on – in both senses of the word – for an awfully long time – without citing facts.  Then, believe it or not, in full narcissistic mode, he suggested that he be invited back for another self-obsessed rant.  This is how the interview ended:

Craig Foster: What I’m saying, Patricia is, I’m happy to come on anytime and have these –  because I believe we need to have this conversation as a country.

Patricia Karvelas: Okay. Craig Foster, thank you for joining us.

[I believe you have been too tough on the comrade.  After all, who other than Foster can make the Red Bandannaed One look good in comparison?  MWD Editor.]

Craig Foster –  Media Fool Of The Week.


The “Elephant in the Room” cliché is fast becoming perhaps the most over-used platitude in the English language.  The term is supposed to refer to an obvious matter which is being overlooked.  However, it invariably is used to refer to an issue which is not being ignored – by someone who wishes to pretend otherwise. And, so, assert their (perceived) cleverness. Alas, it is but one of all-pervading clichés in our midst.  Here is another – the reference is to the mythical Achilles as popularised in Homer’s Iliad.


When asked on the ABC TV Insiders program on 19 May in the debate concerning the appropriate level of immigration in Australia, Peter Hartcher (international editor of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald) made this declaration:

Peter Hartcher: Well, it’s turned into a Dutch auction between the two parties, isn’t it? With Labor saying: “Yeah, we’ve we realised it’s been overcooked, we’re going to bring the numbers way back.” Because there’s – and this is really a big issue in the community. Dutton’s said: “Okay, but I’ve got to go further than you guys have gone.” Now, what you’ve just touched on is the Achilles heel or one of the Achilles, I don’t know. How many heels did Achilles have?

David Speers: One that mattered.

Peter Hartcher: Yeah, one that mattered. And in the permanent migration intake, he [Dutton] has said that they’re going to cut 45,000 of those positions….

Groan. What’s Achilles’ (mythological) heel got to do with anything? For the record, as the myth goes, baby Achilles was dipped in the River Styx by his Mum (Thetis) in order to make him immortal. Alas, she held Achilles by a heel – and all his body was immortalised, except for one heel.  As the British Museum puts it: “The one part of his body left untouched by the waters becomes his only point of weakness.” Hence the phrase “Achilles heel”.

Now you know. Or perhaps, you always knew. Achilles had two heels – one mortal, the other immortal.  But what’s this Achilles heel cliché got to do with the 2024  budget?

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



Media Watch Dog is So Excited It Cannot Hide It (in the words of the song) about the taxpayer payer subsidised Sydney Writers Festival which concludes on Sunday 26 May.  Ellie’s (male) co-owner would have loved to attend one session – but, alas, it clashes with Sunday Mass.  Here it is:



Sunday 26 May

10am to 11 am

Relive the year in AusPol at this Festival favourite

Relive all the thrills and spills of the year in Australian politics with veteran journo Barrie Cassidy and his hand-picked squad of the country’s sharpest pundits.

Bridget Brennan, Amy Remeikis, Niki Savva and Laura Tingle.

What a hoot.  Barrie Cassidy has hand-picked a squad of “the country’s sharpest pundits”- to review the year in Australian politics. Despite the fact that it’s not yet Winter.  This is the team:

Barrie Cassidy – journalist, former Bob Hawke staffer, one-time Insiders presenter (before Speersy).

Bridget Brennan – ABC journalist who urged Australians to vote “Yes” in the Referendum on the Voice which she said should be “feared”.

Amy Remeikis – The Guardian Australia’s wage-slave who is hostile to political conservatives.

Niki Savva – columnist for Nine’s The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. A Peter Dutton antagonist.

Laura Tingle – ABC 7.30 political correspondent and columnist for Nine’s AFR. Another Peter Dutton antagonist.

What a bunch of comrades.  It’s an ABC/Nine/Guardian soviet.  And every member of Comrade Cassidy’s team is a critic of such Liberal Party leaders as Tony Abbott, Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton – but not Malcolm Turnbull. Say no more – as the saying goes (or went).

And how does this group go with respect to punditry?  Not too well, alas. For example, your man Cassidy got the result of the 2016 presidential election hopelessly wrong.  Ms Savva got the result of the 2019 Australian Federal election hopelessly wrong – as did La Tingle.

Stand by for one of those oh-so-familiar ABC-style events.  Bridget will agree with Barrie and Barrie will agree with Amy who will agree with Laura who will agree with Niki who will agree with Barrie who will agree with himself. Or something like that.

There is no viewpoint diversity in this lot. It’s a Conservative Free Zone. And another example of Your Taxes At Work.

Nine’s Shane Wright has risen without trace (as the late Kitty Muggeridge once said about the late David Frost) to become the senior economics correspondent for Nine’s The Age and Sydney Morning Herald – not having published anything of note apart from newspaper articles and columns plus the occasional essay. Even so, you would expect a person in such an elevated position to know about the international energy market.

It’s only a few years since your man Wright ridiculed anyone who said that coal had any future as a part of energy supply – even in such markets as India, China and Indonesia. He declared on ABC TV Insiders on 11 June 2017 that “coal is like candlesticks” and compared those who said that there is still a demand for Australian coal exports with members of the Candle Makers Union circa 1870 who (allegedly) argued the case for candles over electricity. Now read on.


The 3 May edition of MWD mentioned reports that the NSW Labor government was closing in on a deal to keep the Eraring Coal Plant, located near Newcastle and operated by Origin Energy, open past its planned closing date of August 2025. Allowing Eraring to close next year would risk black-outs and price surges in the near future.

On 23 May, the final deal was publicly announced, with the Minns government offering a “risk-sharing” arrangement to keep the plant open for an extra two years. A further extension of the plant’s life beyond 2027 is entirely possible, though both the NSW government and Origin Energy have set 2030 emission reduction targets.

2027 will mark the 10-year anniversary of Shane Wright’s “coal is like candlesticks” comment and it seems coal will still be crucial to Australia’s energy market at that time. Meanwhile word has not reached MWD of any urgent negotiations between any Australian governments and the manufacturers of candles.




Until Next Time