Gerard Henderson labelled a ‘bigot’ following ABC debate
A POLITICAL commentator made an awkward appearance on ABC program Insiders after suggesting only Muslims were allowed out of jail on bail.
Insiders host Barrie Cassidy was discussing Australian parole restrictions with the show's panel, following the revelation that Yacqub Khayre was on parole.
Khayre killed a man and took a woman hostage in the up-market Melbourne suburb of Brighton last week and Islamic State claimed he was one of the group's soldiers.
But his argument soon became unstuck after Cassidy raised the issue of Adrian Bayley who was out on parole when he raped and killed Melbourne woman Jill Meagher in 2012.
"(Man) Monis, the terrorist in Sydney, why did he get bail? I think he got bail because he dressed as an Imam and pretended he was a persecuted Muslim and he got bail despite the fact he was on very serious charges," Mr Henderson said.
"On charge of 40 sexual assaults. If his name had been Gerard Henderson he wouldn't have got bail. This guy in Victoria (Khayre) much the same.
"The idea of parole as I understand from my legal studies is it encourages prisoners to behave.
"(Khayre) as I understand it, committed crimes in prison, engaged in one or two arson attempts within prison. If his name had been Gerard Henderson he wouldn't have got out on parole, he would've served a full term.
"Why did he get out? Because he presented as a Muslim, as an African, because he presented as a persecuted person."
Fellow panellist and political journalist, Karen Middleton, said to Mr Henderson: "I think that's going a bit far isn't it?" and Cassidy asked Mr Henderson if he believed this was the attitude of parole boards across the country.
"I'm not generalising about parole boards across the country, I don't know anything about parole boards across the country," Mr Henderson said.
Mr Cassidy was perplexed and said "but you're saying there's a pro-Muslim bias in favour".
Mr Henderson then referred back to Man Monis, who took customers and staff hostage inside Sydney's Lindt Cafe.
"How do you explain Monis?" Mr Henderson said.
"Everyone virtually in Australia concedes he shouldn't have got bail. Everyone can see this guy in Melbourne (Khayre) shouldn't have got parole, now why did they get them?"
Mr Cassidy then suggested it wasn't just a case of Muslims getting parole in Australia who then went on to commit murder.
"The same happened with white Christians in this country, they were given bail when they shouldn't have been given bail and they went out and committed murders so I don't see how it's ..." Mr Cassidy said.
He was interrupted by Mr Henderson who said "just a minute. If that were the case I'd condemn it but who were the white Christians in Australia who were given bail and went out and committed murders?".
Referring to Melbourne ABC worker Ms Meagher, who was murdered by Bayley while he was on parole, Mr Cassidy said "there's one very close to the ABC".
"Who committed a murder?" Mr Henderson said.
Mr Cassidy replied, "no an ABC employee" before Ms Middleton interrupted "he's talking about the Jill Meagher case".
"Sure, well that was soft too, he's not a Muslim," Mr Henderson said awkwardly.
Mr Cassidy fired up and said "I'm not saying he is a Muslim".
Viewers reacted to the awkward exchange on Twitter with one saying Mr Henderson had a "bigoted viewpoint".