Gerard Henderson

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Gerard Henderson
Born1945 (age 73–74)
Balwyn, Victoria, Australia
OccupationAuthor, columnist and political commentator
EducationXavier College
Alma materUniversity of Melbourne
SpouseAnne Henderson

Gerard Henderson (born 1945) is an Australian author, columnist and political commentator.[1] He founded and runs the Sydney Institute, a privately funded Australian current affairs forum.[2]

Henderson's columns defended the former Howard government policy on Iraq and national security since the September 11 attacks. He has a particular interest in the history of the Catholic Church in Australia and the Communist Party of Australia.[citation needed]

Education and earlier career[edit]

Henderson attended Xavier College, a Jesuit school in Melbourne, before studying arts and law at the University of Melbourne and completing a PhD. At the university, Henderson was president of the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) students' club.[citation needed] Like other political clubs at the university during the 1960s, the DLP Club was not affiliated with the political party of the same name, but supported DLP policies and hosted speeches by DLP parliamentarians on campus.

Henderson taught at the Tasmania and La Trobe universities before working for four years on the staff of Kevin Newman in Malcolm Fraser's Coalition government. He moved to the Department of Industrial Relations in 1980; from 1984 to 1986 he was chief-of-staff to John Howard, during which time Howard was deputy leader, then leader, of the Liberal Party of Australia.[1]

The Keating government appointed Henderson to the board of the Australia Foundation for Culture and the Humanities. Later, the Howard government appointed him to the Foreign Affairs Council. He was one of the people invited to Kevin Rudd's Australia 2020 Summit held in April 2008.[1]


For several years, Henderson had a weekly column in The Sydney Morning Herald. He also writes "Media Watch Dog", a weekly compendium of media criticism, written from the perspective of a blue heeler named Nancy.[3] In December 2013, his column moved to The Weekend Australian, which also carries Media Watch Dog.

He has written several books.

  • Mr Santamaria and the Bishops (Hale & Iremonger, 1982; ISBN 9780868060590)
  • Australian Answers (Random House Australia, 1990; ISBN 9780091699314)
  • Gerard Henderson Scribbles On (Wilkinson Books, 1993; ISBN 9781863501323)
  • Menzies' Child: The Liberal Party of Australia (Harper Collins, 1994; second edition 1998: ISBN 9780732259235)
  • A Howard Government? Inside the Coalition (Harper Collins, 1995; ISBN 9780732256395)
  • Santamaria: A Most Unusual Man (MUP, 2015; ISBN 9780522868586)

Media appearances[edit]

In 1994, Henderson profiled former prime minister Bob Hawke for the ABC TV program Four Corners.[1] He is a regular political commentator on radio, and appears occasionally on Insiders, another ABC TV program.[1]


In 2006, Henderson said John Howard had lost the ongoing culture wars, writing, "In my view, there is only one area where the Coalition has failed to have a significant impact—namely, in what some have termed 'the culture wars'."[4] He has supported the movement for Australia to become a republic.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e Gerard Henderson biography at Sydney Institute website
  2. ^ Ewin Hannan and Shaun Carney (10 December 2005). "Thinkers of influence". The Age. While not a think tank, it operates as a forum for debate. It does not commission research or have policies." "The institute is privately funded, with all papers delivered to it published in The Sydney Papers.
  3. ^ "Media Watch Dog – Full Archive". The Sydney Institute. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  4. ^ Henderson, Gerard (2006). "The Howard Government and the Culture Wars" (PDF). Sydney Institute Quarterly. 27: 11–22.
  5. ^ Republicans may feel entitled to sneer, but it won't help their cause, Gerard Henderson's Weekly Column, 29 March 2014

External links[edit]