“Media Watch Dog on Fridays…is a sort of popular read in the Crikey office”

– Crikey’s Andrew Crook on ABC 2 News Breakfast, 24 September 2010.

· Stop Press: Q&A Does Not Deter Serial Pests

· Can You Bear It?  The Age’s Daniel Flitton Knows Nothing Of The 1955 Labor Split

· A Deborah Cameron Moment: Gail Kelly vs Ned Kelly

· Prophecy Watch: Locusts Send Regrets For Cup Day

· Paul Bloxham’s Inaugural Interest Rate Failed Prophecy

· Nancy’s Five Paws Award:

Ian Brown and Matthew Ricketson Step Up

· Historical Howlers: Thanks To Tim Elliott and Peter Butt

· Nancy’s Pick of the Week: Michelle Grattan Misses Phillip  Coorey’s Scoop

· Maurice Newman Segment Featuring the ABC’s Selective Coverage of American Commentators on the US Mid-Term Elections

Correspondence: Andrew Denton and Geraldine Willesee Write In


Mere mortals go on holidays.  Journalists, on the other hand, invariably take a well-earned break – or WEB.  This year such ABC1 programs as Media Watch and Q&A commence their WEBs at the end of Monday night.  This will make life harder for Media Watch Dog – since ABC1 provides such great copy on a regular basis – but we have to soldier on.

And now for an update on Peter Gray, shoe thrower.  The Newcastle based environmental activist obtained world wide attention recently when he threw his well-worn Dunlop Volleys at John Howard on Q&A on Monday 25 October.  The ABC declined to return Mr Gray’s footwear after the show and he disappeared into the Ultimo night in search of a pair of sandals or some such. Since the ABC TV studio is located close to the University of Technology (UTS), Peter Gray did not have to walk far before obtaining foot-relief.  The ABC declined a request to return the shoes in question but, believe it or not, there are media reports that the ABC intends to auction the weapons at a future date. [Yes, I believe this. – Ed].

MWD is very impressed by The Australian’s report on 27 October that Q&A executive director Peter McEvoy had declared: “Q&A is a battle of words and ideas, not shoes” and that he had defended the program’s security arrangements.

So, on 27 October 2010 MWD sent the following questions to Q&A’s executive producer:

Dear Mr McEvoy

I refer to the report in today’s Australian concerning Peter Gray’s actions on last Monday’s Q&A, viz:

Mr McEvoy said the audience – selected to represent a range of political views, with applicants registering via the website and declaring their party allegiances – had been briefed twice to remain “civil” and treat Mr Howard with respect. “Q&A is a battle of words and ideas, not shoes,” Mr McEvoy said. He also defended security arrangements, saying “even the US Secret Service couldn’t stop determined shoe throwers”. Determined – and experienced, too. Mr Gray, who refused to nominate an occupation or employer, is well known in the Newcastle region for his activism.

I would be grateful if you would respond to the following queries – especially in view of Mark Scott’s decision to sign up the ABC to the Right to Know Coalition.

1.    What did Mr Gray write on his application form when registering on the ABC website to be part of last Monday’s Q&A program?

2.    Did Q&A do any fact-checking of its own about Peter Gray before Tony Jones called on him to ask a question?

3.    In particular, does Q&A do any fact-checking about whether those registering to attend the program have been convicted for criminal offences?

Looking forward to your reply.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

Peter McEvoy advised that the matter was being handled by ABC management. On 3 November, the ABC Communications Director sent the following reply to MWD:

1.    The ABC’s commitment to RTK [the Right to Know Coalition] does not extend to publishing details of Q&A audience application requests. The ABC’s Privacy Policy obliges us to respect the confidentiality of personal information provided through the Q&A registration process.

2.    Each member of the audience is asked to register and the ABC collects basic information about the potential audience member’s demographics and political views. The relevant list of questions is published here. We do not conduct a forensic background check as the production team has neither the time nor the resources.

3.    No. As was discussed at Estimates, possession of a criminal record does not bar someone from attending Q&A or asking a question. As we have constantly stated, the aim of Q&A is to invite an audience that reflects a range of views. The rider is that people treat the panellists and fellow audience members with courtesy and respect. The behaviour of Peter Gray was unacceptable and he was ejected immediately.

So there you have it.  Attendees at Q&A simply have to say who they are and declare their political views – no checking is undertaken.  It’s possible that Peter Gray claimed that he was an admirer of Genghis Khan and was attempting to implement a welfare cheque financial Genghisian revolution in Newcastle – or that he was an agent of St Francis of Assisi.  We simply don’t know.  But it’s interesting to know that the likes of serial murderer Ivan Milat would not be barred from attending Q&A functions – provided they can get day release from Her Majesty’s prison system – and receive the call to ask questions.  Mr Milat would certainly fit the ABC requirement that Q&A audience should reflect a range of views.  Peter Gray certainly met the Q&A diversity requirement – with a reported conviction for damaging a car carrying (then) NSW Premier Morris Iemma and other serial pest-style behaviour.

MWD just thought that you might like to know this.

MWD says – cut short Q&A’s WEB and get the program back on air as soon as possible.  It’s all great copy.


The Guardian-on-the-Yarra’s History Own-Goal on Charles Spry, ASIO and The Labor Split of 1956 [sic]

Believe it or not.  But the fact is that no one at The Age seems to be aware that the Labor Split of the 1950s took place in 1955.  Yet the 1955 Labor Split had a bigger impact on Victoria than any other state.  And The Age presents itself as Victoria’s broadsheet of record.  Now for some background.

On 3 November Daniel Flitton previewed the documentary I, Spry: The Rise and Fall of a Master Spy – which aired on ABC1 last night.  This leftist, howler-ridden rant by writer/director/producer Peter Butt was the occasion of some criticism by Nancy’s co-owner in last Tuesday’s Sydney Morning Herald (see here). But that is another matter.

Daniel Flitton was given virtually the whole of The Age’s Focus section on Wednesday to assess the film on Sir Charles Spry (1910-1994), who was the director-general of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation in the 1950s and 1960s.  The film initially focused on the defection of Soviet spy Vladimir Petrov and his wife Evdokia and went on to bag ASIO in general and Spry in particular.  Here’s what Mr Flitton had to say.

  • First up, Daniel Flitton referred to the “virulently anti-communist Spry”. What’s wrong with being virulently anti-communist? – in view of the mass murders which took place in the Soviet Union under Lenin and Stalin and in China under Mao Zedong. Would Flitton describe an opponent of the mass-murderous Nazi and fascist regimes as virulent? Almost certainly no. According to The Age’s mindset – opponents of Nazism and fascism are sensitive, considered types but opponents of communism are invariably “virulent”. [Don’t the powers-that-be at The-Guardian-on-the-Yarra recognise that anti-communists used to buy and read The Age? Ed.]
  • Then Daniel Flitton wrote that Charles Spry:

…was at the forefront of Australia’s anti-Soviet push during the first two decades of the Cold War – when the dark hand of communist subversion was seen behind every threat – real or imagined.

More hyperbole.  Australia did not “push” against the Soviet Union. ASIO was created by the Chifley Labor government – and its role was enhanced by the Menzies Coalition government – in order to protect Australia from Soviet espionage. That’s all.

If Daniel Flitton had done any research he would know that such historians as Robert Manne, David McKnight, Mark Aarons, Des Ball and David Horner have documented that the Soviet Union was conducting spying activities in Australia during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.  The Soviet threat was real – not imagined.  Moreover, the victims of communist totalitarianism would not have objected to the use of terms such as “dark hand” to describe communism.  The Soviet gulag, after all, was a pretty dark place.

  • According to Daniel Flitton:

…the accusations Petrov made of communist activity in the Labor movement eventually led to the disastrous split of 1956, where anti-communist Catholics broke from the party to form the Democratic Labor Party.

The Labor Party split in 1955 – not 1956 – and not all who left/were expelled from the ALP were Catholics.

The split in Victoria came to fruition on 19 April 1955 when a number of ALP parliamentarians crossed the floor in the Victorian Parliament and voted with the Opposition.  The Labor premier John Cain was compelled to go to an election which the ALP lost.  Preferences from the break-away party – then called the Anti-Communist Labor Party – went to the Liberal Country Party led by Henry Bolte.  A similar split took place within the Commonwealth Parliament in April 1955, except that Labor was in opposition at the time and the government did not change.  The Labor Split ensured the political longevity of Liberal Party leaders Robert Menzies in Canberra and Henry Bolte in Victoria.

The Anti-Communist Labor Party became part of the Democratic Labor Party which was formed in New South Wales in 1956.  The event occurred a year after the Labor Split. Moreover, ALP members in the early 1950s did not need Vladimir Petrov’s advice to be aware of the fact that there was communist activity in the Labor movement.

The evidence suggests that no one at The Age knows enough about history to fact-check Daniel Flitton’s writing or to encourage him to scale back on his hyperbole.

Can you bear it?

A DEBORAH CAMERON MOMENT  – In Which the Inner-City’s Luvvies’ Luvvie Reflects on Monetary Policy, Gail Kelly and (wait for it) Ned Kelly

Gosh. There has been just so much angst on ABC Local Radio 702’s Mornings with Deborah Cameron program this week.  The outrage focused on the decision of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia to increase its interest rates beyond the increase in the official interest rate which was announced by the Reserve Bank on Melbourne Cup Day.  Deborah Cameron and many of her listeners were shocked by the CBA’s decision and the suggestion that one or more of the ANZ, NAB and Westpac might do likewise, some time after Cup Day.

Ever since Wednesday Ms Cameron had been carrying on about greed and some of her listeners have advocated the de-privatisation of the CBA and the nationalisation of the private banks. Ms Cameron herself has called for the re-regulation of the banking system and turning banks into not-for-profit enterprises of social concern. MWD was particularly impressed by two of Deborah Cameron’s most evocative moments during the week. Here we go:

On Wednesday Ms Cameron asked the following question of one of her guests:

Deborah Cameron : Now what’s your response, um, lastly, to the banks’ off, off sort of pace increases of interest – “over and above” is what I’m trying to say – the RBA’s, um, mandate or permitted increase? So the response by the Commonwealth Bank yesterday, there’s some suggestion that Westpac might match it today. What’s your reaction to banks overpricing interest?

When it became clear just what Ms Cameron was trying to say, [how long did that take? – Ed] it was obvious that she had no idea whatsoever about the operation of monetary policy in Australia.

Ms Cameron seemed totally unaware that the Reserve Bank of Australia does not “mandate” interest rates for private banks.  Nor does the RBA “permit” – or refuse – interest rate rises by the private banks.  This news may not have reached the sandal wearing/garage sale shopping classes in the inner-cities.  However, the Australian financial sector was deregulated some decades ago.

Then, yesterday, during her “Spin Doctors” segment, Ms Cameron compared the successful chief executive officer Gail Kelly – who heads Westpac – with the late Ned Kelly (1854-1880) of Victorian Bushranger fame.  Let’s go to the audio tape – which features Deborah Cameron in (somewhat incomprehensible) conversation with a Spin Doctor, no less:

Deborah Cameron: I mean, Gail Kelly did say: “Look everybody needs to steady up. We need, there’s plenty of room to have a quiet conversation about this.”  But, you know, she’s a, she’s a serial offender here. They [Westpac] make, they’ve made profits year on year on year. It’s ironic that she’s a Kelly, I reckon, you know. [There followed a burst of Ms Cameron’s laughter].

So there you have it. Gail Kelly (banker) is a bit like Ned Kelly (armed robber of banks, notorious horse thief and murderer of three police officers).  What’s more, Ms Kelly would presumably be more acceptable to Ms Cameron if only Westpac made losses year on year on year.

Truly, a Deborah Cameron Moment (squared).


Nancy believes that all we know about the future is that we don’t know anything about the future.  The frank admission is never delivered by forecasters or the emerging profession of those who call themselves futurists.

This week MWD notes:

  • Melbourne Cup Day came and went without a locust in sight. This despite the prophecy of Victorian Premier John Brumby – and advanced by The Age – that the 2010 Melbourne Cup might have to be cancelled due to an anticipated locust plague. (See Issue 73). It seems that locusts took the public holiday that prevails in Victoria on Melbourne Cup Day and attended the occasional barbecues.
  • Paul Bloxham has just left the Reserve Bank to take up a position with the HSBC Bank. Mr Bloxham is one of the few senior RBA staff who have left the bank to work in the private sector in recent years. MWD was most impressed by Paul Bloxham’s prediction – reported in The Australian Financial Review last Saturday – that the RBA would not increase official interest rates the following Tuesday. It did. MWD’s gratuitous advice to Mr Bloxham is this – leave crystal ball gazing to futurists like Bob (”My Cheques Bounce Higher”) Ellis.

NANCY’S FIVE PAWS AWARD – Ian Brown and Matthew Ricketson Step Up

This week’s prestigious gong is shared between businessman Ian Brown (who reads the Australian Financial Revieweditorials and knows his Old Testament) and academic Matthew Ricketson (who has read Bruce Guthrie’s book Man Bites Murdoch and appears to know more about the author than the author knows about himself).

  • Ian Brown noticed that last Friday the AFR opined that Agricultural Minister Tony Burke had engaged in “a washing of the hands worthy of King Herod”. The AFR editorialist also referred to Julia Gillard’s theological inhibitions to undertaking economic reform. [Perhaps “ideological” was meant]. On Monday the AFR published this letter from Mr Brown:

The next time your leader writer has recourse to biblical allusions he may care to keep a Testament handy.  Your “Labor must sell reform, not carp” (Editorial, October 28) excoriation of the Gillard reform agenda likens Agricultural Minister Tony Burke to King Herod in the hand-washing stakes.  Now while Herod may well have needed to wash his hands after slaughtering all those first-born, I think Pontius Pilate was the guy you had in mind. You also suggested that our atheist Prime Minister’s infrastructure and labour market reform program may be impeded by her “theological” inhibitions – an unlikely prospect, I think.

Ian Brown

Hunters Hill, NSW

Quite so.

  • MWD has referred to Bruce Guthrie’s habit of reporting private conversations in his self-indulgent tome Man Bites Murdoch. Reviewing the Guthrie memoirs for the Canberra Times last Saturday, Matthew Ricketson made the point that Bruce Guthrie needs a fact-checker, viz:

It is a trope of reviewing to lament the poor state of editing in publishing these days but Guthrie does make simple errors about dates.  On page 254 he writes that Blunden took over as managing director of the Herald and Weekly Times Ltd on December 1, 2008, instead of 2007. On page 282 he writes that he was paid out by News Limited in December 2007, instead of 2008, and on page 303 he writes that he was negotiating about the editorship on January 7, 2006, instead of 2007.

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, to make one error in a book may be regarded as misfortune: to make two errors about the chronology of your own career looks like carelessness and to make three about simple dates that QCs and a judge have crawled over for six days looks, Mr Guthrie, like you were out to lunch when the proof pages were presented.

Quite so, again.  Five Paws.  Or Ten Paws All Up.

HISTORICAL HOWLERS OF THE WEEK – With Thanks to Tim Elliott and Peter Butt

It was a busy week for factual errors – a sample of which are presented here:

  • Reviewing I, Spry in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age this week, Tim Elliott wrote:

In 1949, he [Charles Spry] was made head of ASIO, set up by prime minister Menzies under pressure from the US and Britain…

In fact, ASIO was set up in 1949 when Ben Chifley was Labor prime minister.  Robert Menzies did not become prime minister until December 1949, by which time ASIO was already in operation.

  • In the I, Spry film, Peter Butt maintained that before Petrov defected, Labor was ahead of the Coalition in the opinion polls. This is not the case – as Robert Manne documented in his book The Petrov Affair.

  • In his screen notes for the documentary I, Spry: The Rise and Fall of a Master Spy, writer/director/producer Peter Butt claims that Robert Menzies retired in 1965 (he retired in January 1966) and that, after Menzies’ retirement, Australia joined the war in Vietnam (in fact Australian combat forces were committed to Vietnam in 1965 when Menzies was prime minister).


Michelle Grattan Misses Someone Else’s Scoop

Perhaps the biggest scoop of the week was Phillip Coorey’s report on Tuesday’s Sydney Morning Herald that Kevin Rudd and his senior ministers (Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan) were so suspicious of then finance minister Lindsay Tanner that they excluded him from some pre-budget meetings. The story – which was not denied by Ms Gillard – was that Tanner’s exclusion from the meetings turned on his opposition to the amount of government spending being undertaken by the Rudd government.

Every morning The Age’s political editor Michelle Grattan is interviewed about Australian national politics on Radio National Breakfast.  She picks the stories she wants to discuss in consultation with RNB producers – then she turns up at the ABC studios and answers questions on the running sheet.

So what did Michelle Grattan (of Fairfax Media’s The Age) say about the Phillip Coorey story (reported in Fairfax Media’s Sydney Morning Herald)?  The answer is – zip. Absolutely zip.

Rather Ms Grattan discussed (alleged) problems of the Liberal Party’s fund raising, followed by (alleged) leadership tension within the Liberal Party, followed by Julia Gillard’s discussions in Malaysia and Indonesia about the possibility of setting up a regional processing centre for asylum seekers.

What’s the explanation for this? Could it be that  Ms Grattan was upset that Mr Coorey obtained the Tanner story and spat-the-dummy (so to speak)?  Or could it be that neither Ms Grattan nor anyone at the Sydney-based RNB studio had read the Coorey story that morning?  Will keep you posted.

MAURICE NEWMAN SEGMENT (CONTINUED ONCE AGAIN) – With A Special Feature on Phillip Adams and Glenn Beck

Didn’t  you just love the ABC’s coverage of the United States’ Congressional elections?  It seems that the ABC cannot find one conservative commentator in the US who can comment on American politics.  Following ABC TV and ABC Radio, you would get the impression that the only commentators in the US stem from the social democrats to the leftists.

And so it came to pass on Wednesday and Thursday that the ABC rolled out the usual left-of-centre suspects to comment on the fate that befell the Democrats. Here we go:

7.30 Report: James Fellows of The Atlantic Monthly. Kerry O’Brien (who does not talk about the fact that he once worked for Gough Whitlam) did not mention that James Fellows once worked for Democrat President Jimmy Carter.

Lateline: Michael Duffy of Time Magazine – another left-of-centre commentator.

Radio National Breakfast: E. J. Dionne – another left-of-centre commentator.

Late Night Live: Bruce Shapiro – a leftist who writes for The Nation.

On Tuesday night – shortly before the polls opened in the US – Phillip Adams (AO, AM, Hon. DUniv, Hon. DLitt, Hon DUniv, DLitt, FRSA) had interviewed Sean Wilentz, where the following exchange took place:

Phillip Adams : Let’s start with Glenn Beck. Now I’m painfully aware of Mr Beck and I suspect that most of our listeners are. But would you be kind enough to tell those that don’t know him, a little bit about him and his influence in the current chicanery.

Sean Wilentz : Right. Well Beck has become the great demagogue of the right-wing on the television in the United States. Um, he himself was kind of a loser, um, a top 40 radio rock-and-roll personality, um, who succumbed to various addictions.  And his career went downhill. Then he saw the light, he entered recovery, he found the Mormon church and found himself in Florida, actually, during the 2000 election. And it was during the Bush/ Gore crisis actually that he made his, first made his name. He was truly demagogic then. He was holding rallies in his radio station parking lot, and whipping up a frenzy for the Republicans, saying the Democrats were about to steal the election, etcetera. From then on in it’s been a kind of irresistible rise of Glenn Beck, due to no small degree by the, ah, what shall we say, the um, complicity, the greed, the, the, the, ability of major television stations in the country, cable stations um –

Phillip Adams : You can, you can, you can say “Fox News”. It’s okay.

Stop the tape.  Here Phillip Adams simply assumed that Glenn Beck got his break in cable television through Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News.  Wrong of course – as soon became evident. Let’s go back to the tape:

Sean Wilentz : Well, first, CNN – I mean it was actually CNN, was the culprit at first. So it was a less obviously ideologically driven station. And then, of course, Fox came along. CNN was the incubator of Glenn Beck. Um, but now he’s on Fox. His first show on Fox was the day before Obama was inaugurated and he has, he used that first year to become the, what, really the central spokesman for this right-wing upsurge.

Anyone who has followed the rise and rise of Glenn Beck would know he went from CNN to Fox News.  Then there is the ABC’s Man-in-Black.



Due to public demand, MWD publishes what’s left of Andrew Denton’s correspondence with Gerard Henderson concerning ASIO, Sir Charles Spry, John Gorton, the Hungry Beast and so on (See Issue 77).  Here were go:

Email to Gerard Henderson from Andrew Denton – 29 October 2010


Do not underestimate yourself. Your assumption that someone who disagrees with you must be in denial is the stuff of grand comic creation. John Clarke, our greatest satirist – a man whose Royal Commission Into The State Of the Australian Economy you once cited as though he were making serious economic arguments –  would love to have invented you, if you hadn’t already done so yourself.

But if you prefer, I will be serious: Your response to the news that a group of new, young journalists had been acknowledged for the quality of their work by their peers was – your word – to sneer. Unlike you, I don’t see this as evidence of denial. I see it as an expression of who you are. A senior journalist so caught up in old feuds and imagined conspiracies that you have lost any sense of professional generosity. You are most likely a splendid man to get to know. But from a distance I can only wonder at the sad, Grinch-like figure you have allowed yourself to become.



Email to Andrew Denton from Gerard Henderson – 1 November 2010


I refer to your note of last Friday.  I make the following responses – for the record:

1.    I do not assume that if someone disagrees with me, he/she must be in denial.  All I said was that your decision to throw the switch to ridicule – rather than respond to my considered critique of the Hungry Beast’s segment on ASIO – was an example of denial.  And it was.

2.     I admire much of John Clarke’s satire.  But it is a fact that John Clarke opposed virtually all the economic reforms of the 1980s and 1990s.  He has some serious moments, I believe.  Which explains why he satirises both social democrats (Labor) and political conservatives (the Coalition) – but rarely, if ever, the Greens.

3.     My reference to journalists’ obsession with gongs was, in fact, a reference to your boast that Hungry Beast – of which you were executive producer – was nominated for a Walkley.

4.     Your concern for young journalists is noble.  But you should consider that a lot of young men and women work for ASIO – which was ridiculed on Hungry Beast (without evidence) in February.

5.    You should remember that this correspondence commenced when you wrote to me implying that I should apologise to Hungry Beast for comments I made about the program in Media Watch Dog. When I documented that theHungry Beast’s claims about ASIO and John Gorton are mere assertions – you went into angry mode.

6.     I just love psychological depictions from afar.  I note that you believe that I am sad.  How sad.  But I don’t really care how you regard me.

Best wishes.  And if you or the Hungry Beast team ever come up with any evidence to support the assertions about ASIO on the program in February, remember to get in touch.

Lotsa luck with the Walkleys.

Gerard Henderson


Email from Geraldine Willesee to Gerard Henderson –  4 November 2010

Dear Mr Henderson,

Your dialogue with Andrew Denton has been brought to my attention. (not by Denton, I should add).

I am distressed that you have publicly claimed that I agree with you.  I do not.  And I am unhappy that you have tried to convince anyone of this defamatory untruth.

The purpose of the SMH story I wrote was to ensure that Australians knew that ASIO had spied on the prime minister.  You have misrepresented me in your claim that I support the far-fetched contention that Gorton was not spied on.

I provided all the help I could to biographer Ian Hancock, and I simply do not believe he said that there is “no evidence” of ASIO spying on Gorton.  He didn’t look for any evidence.  And journalists know that if you don’t ask the right questions, you don’t get the story.   And it is disingenuous of you to say that Gorton never claimed that ASIO spied on him. ASIO says that Gorton believed the CIA was behind the attacks  on him.

There was more than one ASIO agent in the press gallery back then who was reporting on Gorton.  If you read all the documents carefully, it will become obvious.  Meanwhile, don’t tar me!

ASIO knew lots about Gorton.  And if collecting information from different agents is not spying….what would you call it?


Geraldine Willesee

Email from Gerard Henderson to Geraldine Willesee –  5 November 2010

Dear Ms Willesee

I refer to your email of yesterday evening, which has just come to my attention.

In my letter to Andrew Denton dated 28 October 2010, I did not claim that you agreed with me on ASIO’s relationship with the late John Gorton. What I wrote was that “there is no evidence in Ms Willesee’s article that ASIO spied on John Gorton”.

This is accurate. To establish the allegation you would need to document who spied on Gorton, when Gorton was spied on and how Gorton was spied on. There is no evidence of phone intercepts or surveillance in the ASIO file titled “Attempts to Discredit the Prime Minister” which you cited in your Sydney Morning Herald article on 22 October 2010.

I spoke to Ian Hancock about this matter recently and he advised me that there was no evidence that ASIO spied on John Gorton. Also, Dr. Hancock does not make this claim in his biography of John Gorton.

For the record, I am not aware of any evidence to support your assertion that Gorton “claimed that ASIO spied on him”. When did Mr. Gorton say this? – and where was this reported?

I am happy to publish this correspondence in Media Watch Dog. But I am an historian by trade and I only change my position if documentary evidence is brought to my attention.

Yours sincerely

Gerard Henderson

* * * *

Until next time when the delayed History Corner may – or may not – be delayed again.