On Australia Day honours

Gerard Henderson writes: Re: “Lots of Libs joining the Prince in Australia Day honours” (January 27). Glenn Dyer, in his inaugural paragraph, referred to “some particularly offensive gongs handed out in the regular Australia Day honours list”. In his seventh paragraph, Glenn Dyer criticised the fact that Anne Henderson received an AM in the Australia Day Honours list.  The reference was as follows:

“Former NSW Labor minister Craig Knowles also received an AM, as did Gerard Henderson’s wife, Anne Henderson, ‘For significant service to literature in the field of political history and to the community by fostering public debate and discussion’ — and making their Sydney Institute run on time … “

So, in January 2015 you regard it as proper for a woman to be described as the wife of a man.  Glenn Dyer’s reference is extraordinarily bitter and unprofessional, even by Crikey’s standards.  Moreover, Dyer’s reference to Anne making the Sydney Institute’s functions “run on time” is just a low-grade sneering attempt at ridicule.

In relation to Glenn Dyer’s article in Crikey, I make the following points:

  • Anne Henderson is the author of nine books, viz: From All Corners: Six Migrant Stories (1993), Educating Johannah: A Year in Year 12 (1995), Mary Mackillop’s Sisters: A Life Unveiled (1997), Getting Even: Women MPs on Life, Power and Politics (1999), The Killing of Sister McCormack (2002), An Angel in the Court: A Life of Major Joyce Harmer (2005), Enid Lyons: Leading Lady to a Nation (2008), Joseph Lyons: The People’s Prime Minister (2009) and Menzies at War (2014). She has also co-edited, with Ross Fitzgerald, the book Partners and contributed to Michelle Grattan’s edited collection Australian Prime Minister’s  as well as to the United Kingdom’s New Dictionary of Biography.
  • Anne Henderson’s work as an historian has been praised by Geoffrey Blainey, Barry O. Jones, Ross Fitzgerald, John Howard, Paul Keating and Susan Ryan, among others.

And yet, according to Glenn Dyer and Crikey, Anne Henderson is just “Gerard Henderson’s wife”.

  • Anne Henderson has been involved in assisting asylum seekers and refugees for over a decade.  She visited Villawood Detention Centre in Sydney on a weekly basis for many years and advocated on behalf of asylum seekers, Christians and Muslim alike.  One refugee lived at our house for some three years while she completed secondary school and commenced her university studies.  Some of Anne’s activities with respect to refugees is covered in Margot O’Neill’s book Blind Conscience.
  • Currently Anne Henderson is involved with the Sanctuary Movement Lower North Shore (SMLNS) which raises money to bring refugees to Australia under the humanitarian part of the refugee and humanitarian intake which provides visas but not travel expenses for individuals accepted by the UNHCR for settlement by Australia. The SMLNS raises money for airfares and emergency expenses for some of these refugees.

And yet, according to Glenn Dyer and Crikey, Anne Henderson is just “Gerard Henderson’s wife”.

  • Anne Henderson was for some years deputy chair of the Australian Republican Movement and remains a member who works on fundraising for the ARM.

And yet, according to Glenn Dyer and Crikey, Anne Henderson is just “Gerard Henderson’s wife”.

  • Anne Henderson, as deputy director of the Sydney Institute, plays a key role in organising the Institute’s program (of about 60 functions a year) along with an extremely well attended Annual Dinner Lecture.  Past speakers at the Annual Dinner Lecture include Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott.  In his ignorance, Glenn Dyer seems unaware that the Sydney Institute is a genuinely pluralistic organisation  which covers a range of issues and provides great opportunities for prominent and not-so prominent speakers alike.

And yet, according to Glenn Dyer and Crikey, Anne Henderson is just “Gerard Henderson’s wife”.

In conclusion, I should correct the implication in Crikey’s heading.  Contrary to Glenn Dyer’s assertion, Anne Henderson is not and has never been a member of the Liberal Party of Australia. Dyer just made this up without checking with Anne Henderson. Moreover, as Dyer would be aware if he did any research, the Order of Australia’s Honours Secretariat operates independently of government.  Apart, that is, from the Knight/ Dame category which is decided by the Prime Minister.

I would be grateful if you would publish this letter in full. I will not accept an it’s-too-long excuse. After all, you published some 4500 turgid words from the oh-so-turgid Guy Rundle (my favourite Marxist comedian) on 16 January 2015.

Less than superb

Derryn Hinch writes: Re. “Superbowl’s super audiences” (yesterday). Glenn should stick to writing about Oz TV.  The Superbowl was obviously not his strong point. “The Patriots stormed home 14-0 to win” — jeez, he must have gulped his hot-dog in a hurry and switched off before half-time when the score reached 14-all.

Peter Fray

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