Quadrant Online recently re-published an essay from Jan-Feb, 1983 on the origins of the lockstep leftism that continues to dominate thinking at the ABC, with author Anthony McAdam making mention of “Jon ‘Darce’ Cassidy (inset), ‘a Maoist and former revolutionary activist with secondary students and university students in Sydney and Melbourne in the late ’sixties and early ’seventies’ who held the position Supervisor, Radio Talks.’
In the latest edition of his Media Watch Dog, the Sydney Institute’s Gerard Henderson expands Cassidy’s profile:
…Cassidy commenced as a journalist at the ABC in Melbourne in 1964 and remained in this role until 1989. He was, variously, a radio and television broadcaster and, later, an executive producer. From 1989 until 1997, Cassidy was the ABC’s manager for South Australia.
During his time at Monash University, Cassidy called himself “Darce”. When at the ABC he was commonly known as “Jon”. And now Cassidy again goes by the name of Darce.
So, who looked after Darce/Jon Cassidy at the ABC? Well, the ABC’s house-leftist Allan Ashbolt (1921-2005) – who was responsible for commencing the stacking of ABC with leftists in the 1960s and 1970s – that’s who.
K.S. Inglis, in his book This is the ABC: The Australian Broadcasting Commission 1932-1983, lists “Jon Cassidy” as someone to whom Ashbolt was a “mentor and protector” and who came to produce “some very adventurous work”. According to Inglis, Alan Ashbolt also mentored and protected such ABC leftists as Malcolm Long and Marius Webb.
In his sympathetic obituary in Australian Policy Online (15 June 2005), David Bowman traced how Allan Ashbolt moved from being a “social democrat” to a “radical activist” who supported the causes advocated by such left-wing activists as Jim Cairns and Tom Uren and ended up a barracker for the communist dictator Ho Chi Minh – all the while enjoying permanent tenure at the ABC. Bowman added the names of Liz Fel and Mark Aarons to the list of what became known as “Ashbolt’s Kindergarten”. It was the first leftist stack at the ABC.
And so Darce (“Aunty calls me Jon”) Cassidy worked for the ABC while considering the possibility that he would need to kill Australians – come the … revolution.