Freelance journalist Margaret Simons writes:


I
often disagree with Gerard Henderson and I have regard for Mungo
MacCallum, but it simply isn’t true, or fair, to say that the Sydney
Institute is a “grubby little propaganda machine.”

I know little
about the Institute’s funding. As a journalist, I would advocate
transparency in such matters. However a quick look at the list of
speakers at the Sydney Institute over the years shows considerable
diversity, including many from the left. Henderson is scrupulous at
making sure speakers get a fair go.

As well, both Hendersons are
known for their opposition to some Howard Government policies,
particularly on the treatment of asylum seekers.

I have no wish
to enter the argument between Williamson and Henderson. I haven’t read
the Williamson piece, for a start. But throwing inaccurate vitriol
won’t advance debate.

For the record, I have addressed the
Sydney Institute twice – once debating Ron Brunton on the Hindmarsh
Island affair following publication of my book, “The Meeting of the
Waters” (Hodder Headline, 2002). I got a fair go, it was quite a night,
and my paper was published in full in the Institute journal.

This
didn’t stop Henderson attacking me recently over my essay on Mark
Latham. Like I say, I often (though not always) disagree with
Henderson, but on most occasions I think he has an argument that
deserves rebutting. To pretend otherwise will get us nowhere.

And David Flint writes:

To
describe Gerard Henderson as boring or predictable, or to think he
needs directions to write his column, suggests that the critic has not
read him for long. He could not be fairly described as a constant
supporter of any party. He displays a meticulous attention to detail,
something which is all too rare among the commentariat. I find myself
sometimes in agreement with him, sometimes in disagreement-especially
when he criticises me.