by Dr. Jim Saleam
These days, Dr. Gerard Henderson of the Sydney Institute scribbles for the Peking People’s Daily of Australian capitalism (better known as ‘The Australian’ newspaper) and he can always be expected to serve well. If it isn’t peddling the virtues of free trade or the gains (sic) of an integrated multiracial society, it’ll be something of an ideological nature.
So today it was History Wars (Part 222). This time, Dr. Gerard took time to indict Ned Kelly as a murderer, turning history about and explaining what a cop killer he was. Ooops: he forgot both the Royal Commission of 1881 which sort of found most of Kelly’s charges against the local police to have been borne out and a Justice of the Supreme Court who legally-reasoned Kelly innocent of the police ‘murders’ at Stringybark Creek. Dr. Gerard saw Kelly a plain criminal bastard, a scion of bad seed criminals, a grotty fellow not like his sort of respectable folk. The heroes in Dr. Gerard’s story are the forces of authority.
But then Dr. Gerard jumped off the deep end, suggesting Kelly by today’s standards – was a terrorist. One can only suppose anyone who likes Ned is a terrorist too? Poor Ned.
Why this? Dr. Gerard wants to debunk the Kelly Myth and bury it. This is History Wars stuff. Just as one other nobody a few years back said that the Eureka Stockade uprising was terrorism, so the Kelly Gang are now written up as terrorists, men who looked at the state and the law and opted to fight it. One can’t do that in Dr. Gerard’s script.
It is only a short step from delegitimizing our historical past and by implication any Australian who finds strength in it to shutting down people who stand up for it.
In this way, I just love to say, Dr. Gerard is part of his own script.
I first crossed Dr. Gerard’s path in March 1989 after he wrote some Fairfax dribble about Lunar Right’s baying at cosmic moons about immigration from Asia and that they had to be brought to heel. I got a free mention. So, being me, I phoned the little man’s office and told his secretary I would make it the business of National Action (of which I was the Chairman at the time) to picket his meetings.
What a reaction I received. No less than PM Bob Hawke rose in Parliament to denounce National Action as a blight on democracy and a danger to our standing in Asia. I might now reason Hawke’s $370 million fortune says what democracy is really about.
Of course, I then met the other end of democracy – the toilet end. Two Special Branch detectives (then Detective Sergeant Neville Ireland and Detective Senior Constable John Garvey who both rose to be Superintendents) arrived at my building. The conversation went something like this (spoken over a wall):
Garvey: you are not to go anywhere near Gerard Henderson
Saleam: why, it’s a democracy?
Garvey: if you go to his meetings, you’ll be arrested.
Saleam: on what charge?
Garvey: I’ll think of something.
These two later went on to great heights, if you call appearing at the New South Wales Royal Commission Into The New South Wales Police Service, a real CV achievement. It seems Ireland and Garvey were rorting the Informant’s Fund and as Neville told it, he had two informants and was signing out lots of dollars to himself as supposed payments to them. John became upset, so Neville ‘gave’ John an informant on the books, so he could have money too.
I suppose that Dr. Gerard who believes in the free market as the cure of all economic maladies, might see this as the privatisation of the police or something similar?
Hard to say! Nonetheless, I heard the two fearless Special Branch cockroaches were in Dr. Gerard’s offices all those years ago, making promises to protect him and drinking his coffee – or in Neville’s case, cleaning out the bar fridge (as evidence at the Royal Commission mentioned as Special Branch practise was in their own office). It seems Dr. Gerard kept good company. Forgot too: while Neville was protecting Dr. Gerard from me, he was ‘protecting’ Justice David Yeldham from being arrested and ‘exposed’ (sic) over offences in public lavatories (and perhaps more, if the paedophile accusation is correct). Might, Dr. Gerard comment on those who were protecting him? I doubt he will.
It can be concluded that Dr. Gerard’s free market economy, in an Australia of open borders with free trade in goods and labour, might need a secret police to protect it, although he could hardly look at the Special Branch model as effective. It does mean for him, that all opposition must be criminalized and one way to start on that project is to take away that part of their national history and mythology which set out it was right to rebel.
I suppose that as the political struggle in Australia for our Identity, Independence and Freedom develops, we will hear more about that bad guy Ned Kelly. Maybe we will be compared to his supposed wickedness? Is it just one reason to keep Ned’s historical memory alive? That we can act in the broad Australian tradition in a moral cause!
No man single handed can hope to break the bars,
It’s a thousand like Ned Kelly, who’ll hoist the Flag of Stars.