4 MARCH 2011

“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.

“Gerard Henderson is big enough to take care of himself, but that doesn’t stop us worrying about him from time to time.  Lately it’s Hendo’s tendency to self-harm that has us losing sleep. For example, peruse the correspondence he’s published in his latest Media Watch Dog blog…..There’s a part of us that just wants to ask: “Hendo, are you OK?”

– James Jeffrey’s “Strewth!” column, The Australian, 8 November 2010.

“I realise this makes me practically retarded, but until five minutes ago I thought Nancy was Gerard Henderson’s wife, not his dog.”

– Byronbache via Twitter, Monday 7 February 2011

  • Stop Press: Paul Bongiorno Bags Aussie Voters
  • Nancy’s Quote of the Month Meets “A Deborah Cameron Moment”

  • Nancy’s Pick-of-the-Week:

Snobbery Watch –  Leigh Sales on Plumbers; Mike Carlton on the Thick-End of Town; Bruce Guthrie on Broadmeadows as a Middle-East Enclave; James Campbell on Scum

  • How Pretentious Can You Get?: Peter Craven’s Library & Julian Burnside’s Luncheon Menu

  • Can You Bear It? Bob Ellis’ Water; Peter Cundell’s Amnesia re Comrades Stalin and Mao; Why Marius Benson Needs a Fact-Checker

  • Nancy’s Five Paws Award: Step Forward Insiders (K-A Walsh) and Lateline (S. Junger & A. Moore)

  • Correspondence: Welcome Back Andrew Dyson & Let’s Hear From John Quiggin

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Bong As A Thinker – Pity About His (Allegedly) Thought-Free Viewers

What a terrific performance by Ten Network political editor Paul Bongiorno on the Friday Panel on this morning’s Radio National Breakfast, with Fran Kelly in the chair.  Fellow panellists were ABC News 24’s political editor Lyndal Curtis and The Australian’s political editor Dennis Shanahan.

First up, the left-of-centre Mr Bongiorno declared:

I think a lot of thinking people – and maybe there aren’t too many thinking voters, who knows? – can see that her [Julia Gillard’s] argument…that basically she came into a parliament and had to deal with people who wanted a fixed-price carbon tax, namely the Greens and [Andrew] Wilkie, is a reality that she had to grapple with.

How frightfully interesting. According to Channel 10’s political editor, the “thinking people” agree with the Gillard Government. The only problem being that “maybe there aren’t too many thinking voters”. It seems that thinking voters think like Paul Bongiorno and, as Bong himself opines, maybe there aren’t too many thinking types Down Under.  Dennis Shanahan criticised Channel 10’s political editor’s elitism but Bong continued in his opinionated way, later making this point:

Paul Bongiorno:  But the reality is that Julia Gillard…wouldn’t be in government without the Greens.

Terrific theory.  Pity about the facts.  Adam Bandt, who won Melbourne for the Greens on Liberal Party preferences, said before the election that he would support a Labor government led by Ms Gillard and oppose a Coalition government led by Tony Abbott.  So, even before the election on 21 August 2010, the Prime Minister could rely on the support of the MP for Melbourne – whether a Labor candidate or Adam Bandt.

The reality is (to use a Bongism) that the Greens did not put Julia Gillard into office.  Julia Gillard would not be in government without gaining the support of the Independent MPs Rob Oakeshott, Tony Windsor and Andrew Wilkie.  But she always had Adam Bandt on board.



By popular demand, Nancy will be monitoring media outpourings – on a monthly basis – to determine just who best channelled Charlie-Sheen-speak over the previous four weeks.

The inaugural gong (for February 2011) goes to ABC Metropolitan Radio 702 presenter Deborah Cameron, who had this to say just after 9 am on Thursday 24 February. Let’s go to the exchange between Ms Cameron and ABC journalist Alison Carabine, where the former did a you-beaut imitation of Mr Sheen:

Deborah Cameron: Now Alison, this um relationship that we have with New Zealand – that, you know, that you’ve set the, the – you’ve talked about there. Um, the sort of – how much?  I mean, you hate to see these things happen but, um, they really do put

Alison Carabine:  You do; you do Deborah.

Deborah Cameron: They put another but they put another sort of prop into the – into the, into the, into the sort of bonds, um, that it’s a, it’s a – that’s hard, you know, that makes it, sort, of um.  What am I trying to say, Alison?  That, you know, just sort of strengthens our ties actually – out of adversity comes even more strength.

Alison Carabine:  Yeah, yeah. That’s right….

Yeah, Yeah.  That’s right. Strength comes from diversity.  And so, on occasions, do clichés and verbal confusion. [What was she trying to say? Ed]

Truly, A Deborah Cameron Moment – of which more next week.



▪ Leigh Sales On Shonky Plumbers

MWD just loves Leigh Sales – even if she needs to brush up her reading on the Protestant Reformation guru Martin Luther – whom Ms Sales regards as a shy, retiring type. (see MWD passim) – and wishes her a “break-a-leg” scenario next Monday, when the new 7.30 program launches.  However, MWD was disturbed to hear the 7.30 co-presenter make the following declaration in one of the ABC TV’s on-air advertisements for the new program:

Leigh Sales: You’re not going to see shonky plumbers on our show.

MWD asks: What’s wrong with plumbers?  And queries: What about shonky professors? Will they be kept off 7.30 as well?   [I’ll bet a few of this lot will get a gig on 7.30. Remember Kerry O’Brien’s free kick to Professor Steve Keen on the 7.30 Report when the (shonky) professor (falsely) prophecised a dramatic fall in housing prices? – Ed  See MWD Issue 49.]

▪ Mike Carlton On The “Really Stupid People”

So Ms Sales does not want shonky plumbers on her show.  And Sydney Morning Herald house-leftist Mike Carlton does not want to deal with anyone who is less intelligent than he believes himself to be.  Writing in his Saturday column in the Herald on 19-20 February 2011, Mr Carlton opined:

One of the delights of my retirement from breakfast radio is that I no longer have to read The Daily Telegraph to see what the thick end of town, the really stupid people, are doing and saying. [Did your man Carlton retire from his 2UE breakfast slot or was he encouraged to leave because of dismal ratings? – Ed].

What a great life Mr Carlton must live in semi-retirement on Sydney’s northern beaches. He does not have to read The Daily Telegraph, let alone bother his mind with what “thick” types, the “really stupid” people in our midst, are on about. Mr Carlton was privately educated at Barker College, near fashionable Wahroonga, where at least thick and stupid young gentlemen had money and class.

The Daily Telegraph sells well in Sydney’s Western and South-western suburbs. Nancy, whose former abode was the Yagoona Pound and knows quite a bit about Sydney’s west, decided to ask residents of Liverpool for their opinions on Carlton. One replied – “better than Kogarah”.  The other, who had lived for a time in Victoria, said – “too close to Fitzroy”.

▪ Bruce Guthrie – No Longer Broadie Minded

While in Melbourne’s suburbs, didn’t you love Bruce Guthrie’s column in The Sunday Age on 13 February 2011 about Broadmeadows, where he grew up in Melbourne’s north?  Crikey banged on about how Mr Guthrie misspelt the name of Eddie McGuire, Broadmeadow’s most famous son.  MWD, on the other hand, was more interested in this part of Bruce Guthrie’s column where he reflected on his first trip back to Broadmeadows in 20 years:

My next stop was the street where I grew up.  The front lawn of our old home, which my father and I tended lovingly most weekends of my youth, is covered in cars.  The shopping centre, 200 metres away, is now a Middle Eastern enclave.

How shocking can that be?  The Guthrie abode of old now has cars, lotsa cars, on the front lawn.  [Age columnists seem obsessed about cars on lawns. Didn’t Catherine Deveny whinge about cars-on-blocks-on-lawns during her time as an Age columnist? – Ed].  What’s more, according to Mr Guthrie, the local shopping centre is “now a Middle Eastern enclave”. Just like, well, Beirut it seems. And the Global Learning Centre is a symbol of neglect.

In Bruce Guthrie’s eyes, Broadmeadows cannot win.  In “the mid-to-late ’50s” there were “tens of thousands of working-class people who became fodder for the factories springing up around them”.  In other words, in the 1950s Broadmeadows people had jobs in factories.  Shame. Now “the unemployment rate in Broadmeadows is about 15 per cent, almost three times the state average”. In other words, many Broadmeadows people do not have jobs anywhere. Shame.

Bruce Guthrie’s snobbery was not lost on Dr Shelley O’Reilly, who wrote to The Sunday Age, from Glenroy, on 20 February 2011.  She objected to Mr Guthrie’s put-down and wrote that the Broadmeadows shopping centre “is massive, thriving, and would put many eastern suburb hubs to shame”. Dr O’Reilly also described the Global Learning Centre as “a huge sparkling wonder of a place buzzing with people and activities”.  Perhaps Mr Guthrie will discover his errors when he next travels to Broadmeadows in, say, 2031.

▪ James Campbell On The Underclass Scum

And then there is the normally sensible James Campbell, who had this to say in the Herald Sun on 20 February 2011:

Last week, the federal parliamentary Liberal Party acted with all the self-discipline of the underclass scum you see in those British airport reality shows.

Underclass scum?  Who does Mr Campbell have in mind?  He mentioned “the kind of customer who has a meltdown when they are told their flight has been delayed by an hour and a half” and go off and get drunk.  In MWD’s view, such behaviour is truly classless. [Does Mr Campbell have access to an airline lounge? – Ed].


▪ Peter Craven – Pensees On His Bookshelves

While on the topic of snobbery, what a fine piece by Melbourne literary critic Peter Craven in The Age on 1 March 2011.  Mr Craven made some good points condemning the snobbery of those book readers in Melbourne who have publicly rejoiced in the financial plight of the REDgroup, which operated the Borders and Angus & Robertson book stores.  Commented Craven:  “What’s difficult to understand is the snootiness and the failure to comprehend the value of what the Borders stores in particular gave to the community.”

Good point.  But, then, alas, Peter Craven just could not resist giving Age readers a glance at his personal library.  In an act of intellectual flashing, the literary critic declared:

When I did a quick glance at my bookshelves I found there various volumes that had emanated from the far-flung outer suburban branches of Borders that I had happened to visit. It was at this supposed discount emporium that I bought a new hardback translation by Richard Howard of Stendhal’s The Charterhouse of Parma, a complete spoken word recording of Hamlet with Kenneth Branagh and Judi Dench, the two volumes of the Everyman hardback edition of Henry James’s short stories introduced by John Bayley, and the complete poems of Wallace Stevens in the American Library edition. And that’s just in the burbs. When I had occasion to write a long piece about the 17th-century French philosopher Blaise Pascal for this newspaper, it was at the Carlton Borders that I happened to find his Pensees, not the independents.

Go on. For the record, MWD reads Pascal – but only in the original French.

▪ Julian Burnside At The MoVida Aqui – Will You Have Foupes With That?

That’s the reading side of the Melbourne literary scene.  What about the eating?  Well, it so happens that Julian Burnside QC made yet another media appearance – this time as a guest of Michael Shmith in last Saturday’s Age’s “The Good Lunch With” feature.

JBQC spoke, once again, about his favourite topic.  Namely, HIMSELF.  JBQC declared (once again) how he and his wife, the artist Kate Durham, had taken Afghan refugees into their home.  Your man Burnside is tops for humility. And JBQC spoke (once again) about how he had appeared in 1998 for the Maritime Union of Australia. How progressive can you get? And JBQC went on (once again) about his interest in human rights and language and HIMSELF and so on.

However, MWD was primarily interested in what the two had for lunch at the MoVida Aqui in Bourke Street – which, Michael Shmith told Age readers, is but “a statue’s throw away from JBQC’s chambers.  [Are they creating statues of Mr Burnside QC already? – Ed].

The luncheon commenced as follows:

Over the glasses of manzanilla and the tapas of hand-filleted anchovies, potato bombs, sardines and calamari sandwiches, we are talking of public apathy towards torture.

How appropriate.  Then, as JBQC talks his “immaculate phraseology” about language, Michael Shmith recorded the main course:

Main Course – Catalan pork and pepper sausage with white beans and piquillo peppers; confit of pork belly and morcilla with poached blood plums – have arrived, along with two glasses of strong Spanish red.  As we raise glasses, Burnside explains how this habit came into being.  “In 15th century England, poisoning your opponent was a favourite way of dispatching them.  So the practice arose of clinking glasses and slopping a little over into each other’s glass.  That’s why you look into the eyes of your opponent: if you see a look of alarm, you know he’s probably trying to kill you.” We clink, we gaze, we live.

So loquacious is JBQC’s “immaculate phraseology” that Michael Shmith seems blissfully unaware that in Melbourne, at this very lunch time, there were people living and working who neither clink nor gaze and who believe that a “potato bomb” is an antiquated weapon of Irish origin.

The Age printed a copy of the luncheon bill – a close reading suggests that Mr Shmith did not tip the waiter.  Michael Shmith concluded his piece in The Saturday Age of 26 February 2011 with a report on Julian Burnside QC doing an intellectual flash on his language skill. Wrote Michael Shmith:

He [Burnside] still reads dictionaries and has, in fact, written a book, Word Watching, that catalogues his joy in language. Suddenly, we’re into a cul-de-sac of weird and wonderful terms, and Burnside’s love of words like philtrum, foupe and dord – which  could be a legal firm if they didn’t already have definitions. [Is “dord” really a word or have Messers Burnside and Shmith been hoaxed? – Ed.]

Why bother ordering dessert when Age types can savour such words as philtrum and foupe and dord and, of course, pretension?


There have been so many applicants for a slot in this section that the queue now resembles a flight path into Heathrow Airport on a sunny Monday morning.  Set out below are Nancy’s choices for today.

Bob Ellis’ Water Theory – Mark 2

Writing in The Drum Unleashed on 1 March 2011, the (False) Prophet Bob Ellis suggested how to resolve the world’s ills by a number of means – including confiscating all ATM transfer fees, putting a levy on the Commonwealth Bank and placing an impost on all Australian taxpayers of $18 a week (being Bob Ellis’ estimate of the cost of a cinema ticket and a choc-top).

All these funds would go into an Australian Catastrophe Fund set-up which would finance certain Ellis-approved projects – including this one: “We could pipe a river in Tasmania into the Murray-Darling.”

This is the very same (False) Prophet who on Q&A in 2009 said that the only way to get water to Queensland was to build “a bloody great pipe” from the Fly River in New Guinea into the Darling River. Since then Queensland has been inundated with water – from the sky. Can you bear it?

▪ Peter Cundall – Yet Another Excuse For A Stalinist Past

Nancy’s co-owner always believed it was appropriate that the long-term presenter of the ABC’s gardening program should have served time in the Communist Party. It just seems fitting for the public broadcaster (See MWD Issue 84). Last Friday the Canberra Times ran a profile by Sally Pryor on Peter Cundall in which the veteran leftie spoke about ASIO’s one-time interest in him.  Declared the one-time red-greenie:

I even briefly joined the Communist Party in an effort to get the things that I believed in, which is racial equality, education for everyone, an end to poverty, an end to war, all these things, but of course I left when I found out it was getting nowhere.

When Peter Cundall joined the Communist Party circa 1960 the Communist leadership in Moscow was suppressing Eastern Europe by military power and the Communist leadership in Beijing had initiated a forced-famine which would leave literally millions dead.   Yet Peter Cundall really and truly believed that communist dictators circa 1960 were into peace and equality and hand-holding and all that. Can you bear it?

▪ Why Marius Benson – And The Drum – Need a Fact Checker When Writing About David Williamson and Gerard Henderson

When Jonathan Green edited the Crikey newsletter he did so without a fact-checker. Now that he edits the taxpayer funded The Drum, he is still without a fact-checker.

Writing inThe Drum on 25 February 2011, ABC staffer Marius Benson criticised Gerard Henderson’s Sydney Morning Herald column on 22 February 2011 which briefly mentioned David Williamson’s play Don Parties On.

Mr Benson wrote: “I presume Gerard Henderson saw the play before writing that column.”  If Mr Benson was not so lazy he could have phoned Gerard Henderson. Had he done so, he would have found out that Henderson saw Don Parties On twice before writing about it – once in Melbourne and then on opening night in Sydney.

Marius Benson might also have found reason to query his assertion that Henderson targeted Williamson and criticised his “latest production”.  This is not what David Williamson believes.  He emailed Gerard Henderson on 25 February 2011 as follows:

Gerard, thanks so much for the positive reference to my work in your column the other day.  Very best David Williamson

The taxpayer supported Marius Benson is now writing ignorance-fuelled theatre assessments for the taxpayer funded The Drum.  Can you bear it?


This week Nancy’s prestigious gong is shared between Insiders and Lateline.

Kerry-Anne Walsh Nails The “We’re All Racists Now” Mantra

On last Sunday’s Insiders, Kerry-Anne Walsh made this comment about yet another taxpayer funded survey by yet another taxpayer funded academic seeking to prove that, yet again, Australia is a racist country. Spoke Ms Walsh:

Kerry-Anne Walsh : But what’s it all about? What is this navel-gazing, this constant looking at ourselves and asking ourselves who we are and what we are? I mean, there’s much more domestic violence in this country – and biffos between drunken blokes on a Saturday night in the pub – than there is racist attacks on each other.

Right on. Five Paws.

Sebastian Junger Reminds Lateline Viewers Of The Taliban – With A Little Help From Ali Moore.

Then on Monday the final exchange between Lateline presenter Ali Moore and author and documentary maker Sebastian Junger, whose film Restrepo was nominated for an Academy Award, went as follows:

Ali Moore : By the very nature of what you were showing, were you making an anti-war documentary?

Sebastian Junger : Um, that is such a complicated issue. When is it morally correct to go to war and when is it not? We all know that war causes an enormous amount of suffering, and on that level, any realistic movie about war by default is an anti-war statement. But I’ve been covering Afghanistan since the mid-’90s. My primary concern as a journalist is human suffering. I mean, that’s what drives my work and most of the foreign press corps that I know, and that’s where it gets complicated.

The chaos in Afghanistan of the ’90s, the civil war, the bloodshed there killed 400,000 Afghan civilians. That era ended on 9/11 when the US and NATO forces entered Afghanistan and more or less stabilised it.  And in the decade since NATO’s been in Afghanistan, 30,000 Afghan civilians have been killed, two-thirds of them from Taliban attacks. So we’ve gone from 400,000 to 30,000. This is the lowest level of civilian casualties in 30 years in Afghanistan.

So, on one level I think you could say our film is sort of a statement about the horrors of war. On another level, if you broaden the picture a little bit, it’s very, very hard for anyone concerned with the welfare of the Afghan people to say we must pull out now, because it certainly will go back to the level of violence of the 1990s and that would be an absolute tragedy for that country. So it’s very, very complicated.

Quite so. Five Paws.


▪ DYSON V HENDO (Continued) – On Double Standards, Cartoons And Filthy Lucre

Last week’s correspondence between The Age’s cartoonist Andrew (“call me Dyson”) Dyson and Nancy’s co-owner raised considerable interest. Some MWD readers were fascinated to learn that Dyson is prepared to draw ironic images of Christ but not of the Prophet – since the former activity will not “foment civil unrest” but the latter activity might.  Other MWD readers were taken by Dyson’s campaign against the commercial “contamination” of Easter Sunday by “filthy lucre” – which, in Dyson’s view, seems to apply to all commercial operations on Easter Sunday except, wait for it, the publication of The Sunday Age.

However, one MWD reader was not at all happy about the publication of the Dyson/Hendo Letters.  Nancy’s co-owner had just returned from his canine-centred walk last Friday night when the following missive arrived from the bowels of “The-Guardian-on-the-Yarra”.  It is published below – along with the response:

Email from Andrew Dyson to Gerard Henderson – 25 February 2011

Mr Henderson,

Do you usually publish private correspondence? Without prior agreement? What a highly moral upstanding fellow you are..

Andrew Dyson

Email from Gerard Henderson to Andrew Dyson – 28 February 2011


I refer to your email which arrived on Friday evening.

I note that you have objected to the fact that, in last Friday’s Media Watch Dog, I published your “private correspondence without prior agreement”. You ask whether I “usually” do this.

My responses are as follows:

▪ The fact is that there was nothing private or personal in the correspondence. Rather, it was an exchange between a columnist and a cartoonist/columnist about a matter of public debate. You work for The Age, which supports the Right to Know Coalition.

▪ I have been buying and reading The Age for close on half a century.  I know that many of The Age’s big stories over this time have come about due to private/personal correspondence which has been leaked or otherwise acquired – this is the case with virtually all newspapers.  I do not recall that you have ever objected to The Age publishing the private correspondence of others without prior agreement.  If you did, let me know.

▪ This year The Age has led the Australian media in the coverage of WikiLeaks. As you will be aware, much of the WikiLeaks material involves private documents, including private correspondence.  Even though much of this material is hearsay, The Age has used this private/personal correspondence against the likes of Senator Mark Arbib.  I do not recall you objecting to the publication in The Age of such private material. If you did, let me know.

In conclusion, I note that your last email did not advise whether or not you will oppose the publication of The Sunday Age this Easter Sunday – as a contribution to your campaign against the “contamination” of this day of Christian celebration by what you term “filthy lucre”. Let me know how this campaign is going. I also look forward to any campaign you might run to prevent The Age publishing the private correspondence of others without their prior agreement.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

▪ HENDO v QUIGGIN and the Coalition’s “Alarmist Cranks”

Nancy’s co-owner is a regular reader of Professor John Quiggin’s column in the Australian Financial Review. This correspondence followed John Quiggin’s  article in yesterday’s AFR titled “Tax alert for real alarmists” in which Professor Quiggin bagged Andrew Bolt, Tony Abbott, Terry McCrann, John Roskam, Cardinal George Pell (whom he claimed, without any supporting evidence, had been “persuaded” to enter the climate change debate) and Ian Plimer.  All were depicted as “alarmist cranks”.

John Quiggin (an Australian Research Council fellow in economics and political science at the University of Queensland) concluded his column in praise of Malcolm Turnbull, the Opposition frontbencher who favours an emissions trading scheme. This led to the following correspondence:

Email from Gerard Henderson to John Quiggin – 3 March 2011 – 12.50 pm


I read with interest your column in today’s Australian Financial Review.

However, I became somewhat confused by your final paragraph where you wrote: “The near-majority vote for Malcolm Turnbull a year ago shows that not all conservatives are alarmist cranks.”

My question is: When, a year ago, did Malcolm Turnbull obtain “a near majority vote” concerning the climate change issue?

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

Email from John Quiggin to Gerard Henderson – 3 March 2011 – 2.21 pm


Obviously in a 750 column it is not possible to spell out one’s reasoning at every point in detail. The “near-majority vote for Malcolm Turnbull” is a reference to the leadership challenge which he lost by one vote.  Since this challenge arose from Turnbull’s support for the ETS, I take it that those voting for him were not climate cranks, or at least not so cranky as to allow this to dictate their vote on the leadership. I hope this resolves your confusion.

Best wishes

John Quiggin

Email from Gerard Henderson to John Quiggin – 3 March 2011 – 3.15 pm



I know you only have 750 words but the comment is misleading.

On 1 December 2009 Malcolm Turnbull’s “near-majority vote” was in fact a significant defeat since he lost the Liberal Party leadership to Tony Abbott.  I have heard it said that a majority of one is a landslide but I’ve never heard it said that a minority of one is a “near-majority vote”.  It’s just a defeat.

Immediately after the Liberal leadership ballot, Tony Abbott put the issue of an ETS to a secret ballot.  The party voted – 54 votes to 29 votes – to refer the ETS to a Senate committee. This meant that Kevin Rudd’s legislation would not pass the Senate.

In other words, Tony Abbott prevailed over Malcolm Turnbull’s position on climate change by 65 per cent to 35 per cent.  This is counting Liberals alone.  If you added the Liberals to  the Nationals – in other words, if you looked at the view of the Joint Party Room –  Malcolm Turnbull’s support for an ETS in December 2009 was around 25 per cent.  When I did arithmetic, no one regarded 25 per cent as constituting a “near-majority”.  In passing, I note that you apparently regard 75 per cent of Coalition MPs as “alarmist cranks”

I always read your column with interest – including the occasional dodgy statistics and hyperbole.

Best wishes


Email from John Quiggin to Gerard Henderson – 3 March 2011 – 3.42 pm

Dear Gerard,

Obviously I am more optimistic about the prevalence of sane conservatives than you are! If you take the view that voting for Abbott’s position entails support for one or both of the propositions that

(i)  Mainstream climate science is a gigantic fraud; or

(ii) A carbon tax equivalent to 25 per cent of the GST would destroy the Australian economy then it does indeed follow that 75 per cent of the Coalition are alarmist cranks.

I take it that you don’t agree with either of these propositions, and would therefore suggest to you that you might be happier with the more charitable interpretation that those who voted for Turnbull but then endorsed Abbott’s position did so out of party loyalty rather than on the basis of delusional conspiracy theories. (As you say, the picture is not so happy when the Nationals are included).

Best wishes


* * * * *

Until next time – when, promise, the much promised piece on Alan Ramsey will appear.