Residents of the Sydney riverside retreat of Coba Point have backed environmentalist Tim Flannery in his bitter climate spat with 2GB presenter Ray Hadley and a dissenting neighbour David.
And notes of a crucial August rendezvous between David and Flannery, compiled by the former Australian of the Year’s anthropologist wife Alex, appear to lend weight to the Professor’s version of events.
Hadley and David have accused Flannery of hypocrisy because he purchased a house close to a river while simultaneously warning about sea level rises stemming from global temperature increases. They say the professor pilots a polluting boat and regularly speeds through “no wash” zones around Berowra Waters.
This week Hadley has repeatedly called Flannery a “low bastard” on his high-rating 2GB mornings show after his attention was drawn to a Crikey item quoting from the November edition of Quarterly Essay.
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A letter penned by Flannery in the storied journal accused the duo of cooking up a plot to discredit him. Flannery wrote David had told him that he had once worked for Hadley and that the “slander was based on a completely manufactured story”.
Flannery said that David had admitted to him in the face-to-face meeting that the shock jock was “out to get” him because he was “on the other side of the fence” on climate change.
But this week David, 39, claimed point-blank on Hadley’s program that he had never met or worked for the presenter.
Coba Point resident Bruce Foot, who owns a substantial chunk of the inlet, told Crikey this morning that his close neighbour, whose wife’s name is Hope Martyn, told him directly that he once washed and detailed Ray Hadley’s car.
“To hear himself say on radio the other day that he didn’t work for Ray is an out and out lie and that’s what’s so shocking,” he said.
Foot said David had previously “parroted the Andrew Bolt line on climate change” over a few beers at a neighbourhood get-together.
He told Crikey that Flannery had bought his house in 1997, well before he began agitating to curb climate emissions due to prevent sea level rises and that David was no-longer working for Hadley but was now “selling papers”. Foot added that another neighbour, Stu, had also been directly told by David that he worked for Hadley.
According to Hope Martyn’s Facebook page, David and his wife moved to Coba Point in September 2009. On her public wall, Martyn includes a link to a podcast of her husband speaking on Hadley’s show.
“How imbarrasing!! [sic],” she wrote. “So typical of Dave though …”
Tim Flannery’s wife’s notes of the mid-jetty encounter in August appear to confirm that David indeed stated that he once undertook “car detailing” for Hadley. According to the notes, David says Hadley had called him and that it was all a setup. The notes make for compelling reading:
21.viii.11 Sunday afternoon
Tim pulls up at pontoon — v crowded with debris — revs motor to reverse.
Man appears on verandah, shirtless, comes down pulling on sweater.
T calls out: Are you David? I’d like a word.
Man walks down, diffidently but expecting us (?) Tells barking dog to be quiet.
Man & T meet mid-jetty.
T: Are you David?
T: You’re the caller David who called Ray Hadley?
D: That’s me.
T explains visit. D is barely coherent [does he have a speech impediment?] T asks re call to 2GB?
D, matter of factly: They called me … They had it all arranged. I just called in.
D: … You’re on the other side of the fence [re climate change], they [2GB] hate you, they’re out to get you. I didn’t call them, they called me.
Alex (surprised): Why would they call you?
D (flatly): I work for them.
A (politely): What is your work?
D (softly): Card [incoherent]
A (gently): Sorry?
D (clearly): Car detailing. I do car detailing for them at 2GB. I know them all.
T (firmly, fairly): Well, we’d like the podcast permanently removed rom the public domain. Could you ask Ray Hadley to do that.
D (hesitating, uncertain): Well, I won’t see him for another fortnight, another two weeks.
A (quietly): You’re a newcomer here. We don’t do this sort of thing to each other. We’re a small community & just respect each other’s privacy.
T (gently): It’s OK, leave this to me. (firmly, fairly): OK David, the decent thing to do is to get the podcast removed. It’s untrue & it’s dangerous. That’s all.
On air yesterday, Hadley said his wife’s car had been detailed by Garry Smith Detailing in Haberfield and that his was occasionally “dry washed” by someone called Sharon in the 2GB car park. But enquiries over David’s presence at either company drew a blank.