Quick Post: Hendo claims he admits errors. Can you bear it?

henderson 1

In yesterday’s edition of Media Watch Dog, Gerard Henderson claims that he — unlike Black Inc. types such as David Marr, Robert Manne, and Morry Schwartz — is ‘willing to acknowledge errors’.

A few weeks ago, I wrote to Gerard to correct some of his errors.  They remain uncorrected.  Here’s the relevant exchange:

e-Mail from Mark Fletcher to Gerard Henderson, 18 May 2014

You further claim that Fraser’s statement ‘razor-wire detention centres were established [in Australia] in the late 1980s’ was incorrect because Keating introduced mandatory detention in 1992.  You have confused ‘razor-wire detention centres’ with ‘mandatory detention’.  Prior to 1992, Australia gave officers discretion when detaining unlawful non-citizens.  What we now know as Villawood Detention Centre was built in the 1980s.  The detention centres were there (with razor-wire); mandatory detention was not.  The date on which mandatory detention was introduced says nothing about the date when razor-wire detention centres were established.

And this returns me to the original reason for writing this letter: why should we conservatives get particular attention on the ABC when we fail so often to lift ourselves higher than the petty and the absurd?

e-Mail from Henderson to Fletcher, 20 May 2014

On detention centres you are simply wrong.  The Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre opened in 1966 – not the late 1980s (as you incorrectly claim). And you have produce no evidence whatsoever to support your assertion that there was a razor wire (as distinct from other wires) on the Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre between the 1960s and 1980s. This is just your assertion – unsupported by evidence.

As far as I am concerned, this correspondence is concluded.  I hope you can find something better to do next Sunday night rather than write to me.

e-Mail from Fletcher to Henderson, 20 May 2014

Apologies for contacting you after you’d declared the conversation over, but I couldn’t help but correct your error: I’ve never mentioned Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre.  I’ve only mentioned Villawood.  Further, I only mentioned it to demonstrate that your argument ‘Malcolm Fraser is incorrect about razor wire because mandatory detention started in 1992’ was flawed.

Thank you for the correspondence nevertheless.  As a young conservative, it is interesting to see how older conservatives — who are supposed to be the role models for younger generations — deal with criticism.

e-Mail from Henderson to Fletcher, 20 May 2014

Immigration detention centres were established in Australia in the mid-1960s. Villawood Detention Centre was opened in Sydney in 1984. It’s planning commenced under Malcolm Fraser’s government. There is no evidence that any detention centre in Australia had razor-wires in the 1980s or earlier – contrary to Malcolm Fraser’s current claim.

e-Mail from Fletcher to Henderson, 20 May 2014

I’m glad that we agree the introduction of mandatory detention in 1992 says nothing about the existence of razor wire detention centres in the late 1980s.  A shame that we couldn’t agree that conservatives aren’t entitled by right to a spot on the ABC.

e-Mail from Henderson to Fletcher, 20 May 204

Neither you nor Malcolm Fraser have produced any evidence that there was any razor wire on any detention centre in Australia during any part of the 1980s.

e-Mail from Fletcher to Henderson, 20 May 2014

I’m not saying that we have.  I’m simply stating that your argument — mandatory detention was introduced in 1992, therefore there was no razor wire in the 1980s — doesn’t make sense.  It is, to use the Latin, a non sequitur.

e-Mail from Henderson to Fletcher, 21 May 2014

If Malcolm Fraser makes a statement he is expected to support it with evidence. It’s the same with you. I am not required to produce evidence to refute a claim concerning which there is no evidence.

e-Mail from Fletcher to Henderson, 21 May 2014

I haven’t made any statements related to this matter.  I was criticising your statement ‘According to MF, “razor-wire detention centres were established [in Australia] in the late 1980s”. In fact, Paul Keating’s Labor government established mandatory detention in 1991.‘  According to your own rules, you’re supposed to provide evidence that Mr Fraser has erred.  I said that your evidence was faulty and drew attention to discretionary detention existing in the 1980s (facilitated by centres such as Villawood).  It just seems odd that you wouldn’t retract your obvious mistake.  It seems even more odd that you’d draw attention to Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre (another non sequitur).

This has been an enlightening experience.  It makes me wonder more about what the point of having conservatives on the ABC would be.

And, at that point, we concluded our robust exchange of ideas.

Remember, Tony Abbott has appointed this guy to be a literary judge of non-fiction writing…

 

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