Thursday, April 17, 2014

No joy, but plenty of plonk and weirdness on the ABC ...

(Above: screen cap only, you can find the fun here)

Prattling Polonius surfaced on the ABC last night - though why he graces that reprehensible mob of leftist tea trolley cardigan wearing greenies with his presence is inexplicable - and did his best to help Barry O'Farrell:

I mean, the idea that you would lose your job because you accepted and probably drank a bottle of wine, which you didn't try to sell and you didn't even try to pawn it, you probably drank it, the idea that ...

He probably drank it?


...I read the newspapers and listened to the news. But the point is this: that Barry O'Farrell's out, Australia's got a reputation of being corrupt, as has NSW, as has Sydney, over a bottle of wine which he probably drank - and I know Barry well over a long period; he's not particularly interested in wine, as I understand it. I wouldn't know the cost of a bottle of Grange. I would have no idea it was worth $3,000. If someone gave it to me, I'd probably drink it and I may or may not forget about it.

He probably drank it ...

And trust me, I should know, because I'm profoundly ignorant?

Depending on your point of view, it's either high or low comedy of the finest water ...

As for not knowing that Grange is the most expensive domestic red wine in the land - the pond can never afford to be tickled by its cheeky presumption - how does a plea of profound ignorance help O'Farrell or maintain Henderson's status as the vaguely sophisticated head of an inner city elitist Sydney Institute?

As for the rest, the pond refers you to a transcript here, along with the rolled gold moving pictures (and please remember the true meaning of rolled gold), but surely Sam Beckett is rolling in his grave:

KATE MCCLYMONT: Gerard - Gerard, that's what the note is all about. 
GERARD HENDERSON: No, it's not; he may have forgotten. 
KATE MCCLYMONT: No. Gerard, ... 
GERARD HENDERSON: You're confused. 
KATE MCCLYMONT: OK. No, no, no, no, Gerard, I think I was listening to the evidence; you may not have been. 
GERARD HENDERSON: But he never said he didn't tell the truth. 
KATE MCCLYMONT: No, Gerard, listen to me. Gerard, listen, listen, listen. 
GERARD HENDERSON: Well you're pretty confused about this. 
KATE MCCLYMONT: No, no, no. 
GERARD HENDERSON: Yes, you are. 
KATE MCCLYMONT: No, no. Gerard. 

Then out of this fog of babble came McClymont making a bleeding obvious point which put paid to at least one aspect of Henderson's specious pleading defence:

KATE MCCLYMONT: ...when he says, "If I had received this bottle of wine, not only would I remember because it was a vintage Penfolds Grange Hermitage, I would have also entered it into my pecuniary interest declaration."

The pond has a passing sympathy for O'Farrell, who left the gig more gracefully than some and certainly with more style than the wretchedly corrupt spivs of the Labor party who continue to deny they had their snouts in the trough, and still parade shamelessly, while John Robertson struts about, hardly able to believe his luck, babbling on about what a fierce corruption fighter he is ...

Well at least until the pond remembers that O'Farrell handed Barangaroo to James Packer on a silver platter ...

But with friends like Hendo, who needs enemies?

At least O'Farrell didn't claim the ignorance defence - he knew the value of a bottle of Grange, and who knows whether he drank it or not?

These casual defamations, in the name of mounting a defence and attacking ICAC were simply bizarre ...

And then it got even weirder.

GERARD HENDERSON: ... I'll just make my point. 
GERARD HENDERSON: Eddie Obeid was sacked by the Labor premier before ICAC got involved.

What sort of point is that? That sacking is all a corrupt politician need fear? That there should be no investigation of gross corruption?

So it seems:

GERARD HENDERSON: Hang on. Let me finish. Eddie Obeid was sacked by the Labor premier. ICAC didn't get Obeid; Labor got Obeid. 
KATE MCCLYMONT: That's not correct. 
GERARD HENDERSON: Ian Macdonald was sacked by the Labor premier too. 
KATE MCCLYMONT: That is not correct. I'm sorry, that's not ... 
GERARD HENDERSON: But they were not in government at that stage. 
KATE MCCLYMONT: That is not correct. 
GERARD HENDERSON: That is correct.

The pond understands that at the time of a passing of a friend, at the time of personal stress and unhappiness, things can be said that perhaps shouldn't have been said, that points are made that on reflection shouldn't have been made, but at that point, really, appearing on the ABC should be considered the wrong option ... as opposed to mourning in private, or doing a little bonsai or origami until the stress has passed.

Because, near the end, Henderson's still maintaining the "it's all a flagon of piss, this plonk" defence:

If someone gave me a bottle of Grange, I would have no idea. I would certainly drink it. I would have no idea what it was worth. And according to the Sydney Morning Herald, the authoritative Sydney Morning Herald, the wine's no good any rate. It was like drinking old rags, according to someone.

Please, enough of Hendo's personal ignorance. Even Bazza knew the value of a bottle of Grange plonk.

Eventually, after all Polonius's pleading about memory failure and media attention, he made a lunge for the metaphor of the week:'s like walking into the library and all the books suddenly fall on you

And then came the wrap up:

GERARD HENDERSON: Well that's consistent with having a bad memory, that's what it is. So the Premier's gone and he's got a bad memory. Well there you go. Over something that happened to him at a very, very busy time in his life three years ago. 

KATE MCCLYMONT: But you can give that evidence. You can say exactly what you just said. STEVE CANNANE: Alright. We've run out of time. Thanks very much to both of you. 
GERARD HENDERSON: It's an absolute pleasure.

An absolute pleasure?

After that performance, the pond was in need of a very rough red ...


  1. It seems cruelly unfair that the ABC put Mr Polonious on a desk set adjacent to a competent, knowledgeable journalist. Typical of the vicious, biased ABC.

  2. Methinks Hendo was in need of a nice glass of red to calm his nerves before that interview.

  3. Polonius likes to dredge up student indiscretions in the 1960s by his enemies. So you'd think he'd remember the chronicle of Watergate and Richard Nixon. It wasn't the Watergate break-in that did Nixon. It was the cover-up.

    O'Farrell's position is somewhat similar. The gift might have raised eyebrows but passed muster if it had been included in the pecuniary interests declaration. His evidence at ICAC left him no choice, and he did go with some grace. It matters little whether he was lying or genuinely had a major memory failure.

    Compared with the other Liberal leaders around the country, O'Farrell seems passably competent and has acted in the public interest in education. The Packer deal, which unfortunately would have got up with Labor too, does remain as a black mark even before we get to all the lobbyist connections.

  4. Hockey’s plan to raise the retirement age from 65 to 70 can instigate unmanageable torment in some, eg., Gerard Henderson is 68 yrs old and still working.

  5. Where is Gerard's evidence to support his assertion that it was merely a memory lapse? A laughable performance. When you are sucking on the teats of undisclosed donors, it must be hard to recognise actions that can be considered by a reasonable member of the public to be corrupt.

  6. Good old ABC with their news and documentary programs like Lateline and Rake.

  7. Matt Taibbi in Griftopia describes David Brooks (NYT) as "the archpriest of American conventional wisdom" (p232). Who would best fit the Oz version?

  8. Why do I get the feeling that Hendo is adrift in a world where reality keeps giving him a slap around the head? Desperate times for professional media men without real jobs....

  9. The bottle of red was at the end of a long list of lies uttered by O'Farrel that he had never met the donor and hardly knew him.

    ICAC slowly destroyed all his lies and the Grange 59 and thank you letter was just another coffin nail.

    I can't understand why ABC have participated so strongly in the 'he's a great, honest guy' meme.

    Clearly he is not. I reckon there's far,far more to come out.


Comments older than two days are moderated and there will be a delay in publishing them.