Top psychologist, Tim Watson-Munro, sees “huge numbers” of shooters as red-necked patriots.  That’s why we think he should be dumped from TV.

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Sunrise asked to dump Watson-Munro

POLITICS RELOADED has asked Seven’s Sunrise program to dump regular commentator, Tim Watson-Munro, from its program given his history – and polarising views on licensed shooters.

Tim Watson-Munro

Tim Watson-Munro

Watson-Munro certainly has a long history of work in the forensic psychology.

He’s handled or commented on thousands of cases including Julian Knight (Hoddle St shootings) Alphonse Gangitano (Melbourne underworld), Joel Cauchi (Bondi Stabbings), “Mr Cruel” and the NSW backpacker disappearances – and written books.

He is, or was, as one paper described, ‘the jailhouse shrink’ and even chaired the Forensic College of the Australian Psychological Society.

In many respects, you’d think that Watson-Munro would be a ‘top shelf operator‘, quite capable of seeing the “good and the bad” in people, and showing fairness where warranted.

Watson-Munro’s rant

However Watson-Munro didn’t seem interested in applying that standard towards licensed shooters.

In the late 90’s and in relation to a story about shooters after the turmoil that John Howard created in 1996, Watson-Munro told The Age on 20 September 1997 in an article about the buyback:

“They (shooters) are red-necked patriots who feel it is their God – given right to bear arms, that the country will not be able to defend itself unless they are armed and ready to go.

In their own minds they are responding to a higher calling to become a vigilante or join a citizen army to counter potential threats to this country. ….  

They are ready to defy the law and the will of a democratically elected  government in some strange belief they are defending democracy”

You can see the relevant part of the story here (click the image to expand):

Watson-Munro article in The Age 1997

Click to read article

To be clear (and out of fairness) Watson-Munro’s statement was in relation to gun owners he had had interactions with.

The article states Watson-Munro believed ‘there are “huge numbers” of people likely to be holding illegal weapons all over Australia, but especially so across the Murray(meaning Victoria).

The story quotes him as saying that ‘there were many extremists’ among gun owners “like Timothy McVeigh, the convicted Oklahoma bomber”

That’s when Watson-Munro made the statement we’ve highlighted. However, his failure to limit what he said to extremists, in our view, came across as a cheap shot at the broader shooting community.   

Watson-Munro may argue that his statement should not be taken that way, but he’s the one who came up with these words – before broadening of his comments to “huge numbers” of people (shooters) holding illegal firearms.

Intended or not, that’s how we believe shooters will interpret Watson-Munro’s words.   

Our view is reinforced by Watson-Munro’s failure to engage with our community or visit their ranges to test his perceptions (which is a common trait among those who oppose firearm ownership).

The white stuff, unprofessional conduct and a slap on the wrist

WATSON-MUNRO’S view of shooters is at the extreme end of the hatred that John Howard stirred up towards shooters at the time.

Perhaps it was the result of Watson-Munro’s line of work. Or maybe what he snorted.

That’s because, according to media reports, in September 1999, Watson-Munro was arrested for his $2,000 a week cocaine addiction which he pled guilty to.

Watson-Munro’s integrity problems didn’t end there.

He was also reprimanded by the Psychologists Registration Board of Victoria on two counts of unprofessional misconduct after being found to have formed a personal relationship with a female client.

This led to Watson-Munro’s deregistration, however he was able to regain his registration in 2003 – barely four years after losing it.

Lunch with crims 

The bad news just kept coming in for Watson-Munro.   In late 1998, the Herald Sun reported that he also attended lunch with a crime boss who pleaded guilty to 13 charges. 

The paper said that at the same lunch, were, allegedly, two standover men and a convicted drug dealer

Applying a different standard

Tim Watson-Munro podcast episode

As a licensed firearm owner, if you were found guilty of using cocaine or associating with crime bosses, standover men or convicted drug dealers, you would certainly lose your licence. 

In fact it would be lost for a significantly greater duration than the four years Watson-Munro got for his loss of registration.

Sunrise’s Watson-Munro’s link

Watson-Munro on Sunrise

WIND THE CLOCK forward to 2024, and Watson-Munro describes himself as a Consultant Psychologist with regular contributions to several media outlets.

Among them is Seven’s Sunrise program.

We’re disappointed that Sunrise continues to give Watson-Munro airtime, so we’ve written to them outlining his history and requested they dump him from the program.

Out of fairness, we contacted Watson-Munro in the preparation of this article for comment but have not yet heard back from him.

If he does respond, we will publish it for you. In fact, he’s more than welcome to come onto our podcast if he would like to refute anything that has been said.

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Jonathan Laird

Sunrise ought to be ashamed of themselves. Trash politicking

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