Psychologist, Clinical Psychologist, Doctor Or None Of The Above? Will The Real Bettina Arndt AM Please Stand Up!

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EXCLUSIVE: For many years, Bettina Arndt has been passed off by the Australian media as a “psychologist” and “clinical psychologist”. More recently, she’s been credited as “Dr Arndt” – in The Australian newspaper, during medical conferences, and in federal parliament. But a long-running New Matilda investigation has discovered that Ms Arndt is not a doctor, has never obtained a PhD and nor, as it turns out, is she a psychologist or clinical psychologist. NINA FUNNELL and CHRIS GRAHAM report.

Over the weekend, conservative commentator, mens’ rights activist and newspaper columnist for The Australian, Bettina Arndt, was made a Member of the Order of Australia – one of the highest honours available – for her “services to gender equity”.

It was a bold selection given Ms Arndt’s long history of public scandal.

Just last year, Ms Arndt was the focus of national outrage after she defended a twice-convicted paedophile, Nicolaas Bester, accusing his child-victim of behaving in a “sexually provocative” manner, adding that schoolgirls should not be “exploiting their seductive power to ruin the lives of men”. 

That story continues to plague Ms Arndt today, as anger grows at her Australia Day honours.

WATCH: An extensive montage of Bettina Arndt being falsely depicted as a psychologist, clinical psychologist and a doctor on Australian radio and television, and failing to correct the record.

Former 2015 Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty – an anti-domestic violence campaigner who was tragically thrust into the public limelight after her 11-year-old son, Luke was murdered by his father – has questioned the entire honours system. Additionally, the sexual assault victim at the centre of Arndt’s most recent public scandal, Grace Tame, has also weighed in.

Ms Tame, now an adult and living in the United States, told news.com.au* on Sunday, “I believe that honouring someone who actively defended a paedophile on a public platform is a blatant example of the protracted, systemic moral corruption that still hampers our society.”

Ms Arndt laughing while she interviews convicted paedophile, Nicolaas Bester, over the abuse of his victim, schoolgirl Grace Tame.

But as the debate rages on, a new challenge has presented itself to Ms Arndt… explaining to the Australian public how and why so many people believe she is a psychologist.

Ms Arndt, in a lengthy interview with New Matilda,acknowledged she is not a psychologist or clinical psychologist, despite hundreds of representations to the contrary, nor has she ever been registered as either, anywhere in Australia. Ms Arndt also confirmed she is not a doctor, and has never obtained a PhD.

“I don’t call myself a psychologist…I have no interest in being associated with psychology. I do my best to distance myself from that profession.

“I’m not remotely interested in titles. If I’d cared about that I’d have done a PhD to become a doctor of clinical psychology.

Despite these claims, a New Matilda investigation can reveal Ms Arndt has actively participated and shared in the promotion of material which portrays her falsely as a “psychologist”, “clinical psychologist” and “doctor”.

These false descriptions have been widely reproduced across hundreds of articles, radio, and television interviews, as well as on Ms Arndt’s own official website, YouTube Channel, and Facebook page. Ms Arndt has also curated and distributed multiple videos and images where others have falsely described her title, without any correction. The false claims have also appeared in material she has used to promote talks she has given at universities, medical conferences, and even the National Press Club.

Ms Arndt shares a 2018 brochure from the Sydney University Liberal Club on her personal Facebook page, where she is described as a “psychologist”.

While Ms Arndt strongly denies allegations she has ever sought to intentionally mislead people about her profession, video examples of Ms Arndt distributing material which falsely promotes her as a psychologist, and which were still live at the time of press, can be seen on her YouTube channel here with Mark Latham (at 0:57 seconds); here with Andrew Bolt (at 2:05s); here on Sunrise (“psychologist” at 0:25s and “clinical psychologist” at 2:49s); here with Andrew Bolt again (2:01s); here with Alan Jones (0:14s); here at the Sydney Festival of Dangerous Ideas (0:51s); here on the ABC’s Talking Heads program (0:01s); here with Peta Credlin on Sky News (0:07s); here on ABC Radio North Queensland (1:25s): and here in federal parliament during a Senate Estimates hearing when Ms Arndt was referred to as a psychologist and a doctor (at 0:54s, 1:22s and 4:00s). 

Combined, those 10 videos above have been watched more than 200,000 times (at the time of press) on Ms Arndt’s channel.

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Ms Arndt admits she is not a psychologist and claims that she has never sought to benefit from being falsely presented as one.

The smoking gun

By far the most damning evidence of Ms Arndt’s own practice of misleading people about her qualifications appears on the back cover of her international best-seller, The Sex Diaries, which was published by Melbourne University Press in 2009.

Ms Arndt initially denied her book described her as a “clinical psychologist”, but then conceded it did after being referred to the first edition (the second edition, published in 2010, corrects the false identification).

However, Ms Arndt strongly denied allegations by New Matilda that her book also claimed she worked as a psychologist for 35 years. The allegation sparked a heated exchange.

NEW MATILDA: You say you didn’t get it quite right on your book. You got it completely wrong. You described yourself as a ‘clinical psychologist’ and someone who worked as a ‘clinical psychologist’ for 35 years.
BETTINA ARNDT: I did not. I have never said that. I can’t believe you’ve got that.
NM: The book says that. I wouldn’t put it to you if it wasn’t true.
BA: I’ve got the first edition in front of me.
NM: I’m happy to send you what I’ve got… but it’s not the case that you didn’t get it quite right. It’s the case that you got it spectacularly wrong.
BA: I refuse to believe that I said I worked as a clinical psychologist for 35 years…No, I don’t believe it. I’d have to see it.

Above: The front and back cover of the first edition of Bettina Arndt’s international bestseller The Sex Diaries. published by Melbourne University Press in 2009, a full twenty years after it became a crime for her to call herself a psychologist or clinical psychologist.

The back cover of the 2009 edition of The Sex Diaries reads, “Bettina Arndt is a clinical psychologist, sex therapist and social commentator,” and, “she draws on her thirty-five years of experience as a sex therapist and psychologist to provide a provocative analysis that challenges our basic assumptions about sex”.

To this day, Amazon – the world’s largest book retailer – still describes Ms Arndt as a “clinical psychologist” who “draws on her thirty-five years of experience as a sex therapist and psychologist” in the creation of The Sex Diaries.

Google books – the largest online searchable database – does as well. So does eBooks.com – a “100% Australian” company which boasts of having nearly five million members. Booktopia also advertises Ms Arndt as a ‘clinical psychologist’ and working ‘psychologist’ of 35 years. As does Barnes & Noble.

To this day bookstores continue to falsely promote Ms Arndt as a “psychologist”.

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What the authorities say

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) – the statutory body charged with ensuring ‘protected titles’ are not misused – has confirmed that Ms Arndt is not currently registered as a psychologist or clinical psychologist. But AHPRA has also confirmed that there is no record of her ever having been registered at any point in time, anywhere in Australia. 

“Bettina Arndt is not a registered psychologist,” an AHPRA spokesperson told New Matilda. “A search has revealed no entry for Bettina Arndt on the public register of practitioners since the commencement of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme in 2010.”

A deep-dive by AHPRA into all state and territory-based records which existed prior to the creation of the national register also yielded no results. These registers date back to as far as the 1980s.

In 1989, it became a crime in NSW for an unregistered individual to use a ‘protected title’ – this was a full two decades before the release of The Sex Diaries, at which point Ms Arndt was described as both a “psychologist” and “clinical psychologist” on the book jacket.

In 2010, it also became an offence under the National Law for an unregistered person to knowingly or recklessly claim to be a psychologist. This can include “using a title, name, initial, symbol, word or description” which may lead a “reasonable person” to believe they hold the title of ‘psychologist’, ‘clinical psychologist’ or ‘doctor’.

Individuals found guilty of misusing a title can face up to three years jail, or a fine of up to $60,000 per offence. 

In an unrelated written statement in July last year when punishments were strengthened, AHPRA CEO, Martin Fletcher said: “When someone pretends to be a registered health practitioner, they pose a significant risk to the public…. If you claim to be registered when you’re not – you will face serious consequences when you are caught.”

For her part, Ms Arndt told New Matilda she has never been interested in being portrayed as a psychologist, despite describing herself in precisely those terms on her book cover a decade ago.

“I’m not remotely interested in presenting myself as a psychologist and never have been. It’s not relevant to the work I’ve been doing for the last 30 years.”

Yet in articles written by Ms Arndt in 2014, she flogged her services as a paid “online dating coach”, while also described as a “psychologist” – a point she now concedes.

“There have been occasions when the way I was described was not 100 per cent accurate. But I would expect you to also include the fact that doctors constantly continue to be referred to as doctors, even though they’re not practising as doctors…. There are dozens of them. And the media is full of them.”

“I attempt to find the right language and I don’t always get it right. But I’ve got better at it as the years have gone by,” Ms Arndt said.

In 2014, Bettina Arndt set up a business charging clients upwards of $100 per session for “online dating advice”. At the same time, she was widely promoted in the media as a trained “clinical psychologist”, including in her own articles about her dating-advice service.


What the media says

New Matilda does not allege that Ms Arndt is in breach of the National Law, and Ms Arndt herself claims multiple investigations by authorities have resulted in no action against her.

However, according to AHPRA, it is also a crime for organisations – including media outlets – to falsely imply that an individual holds a protected title if they are not registered. 

Organisations found responsible can be fined up to $120,000 per offence.

New Matilda’s investigation has documented 179 examples where Ms Arndt has been falsely portrayed by media as either a ‘doctor’, ‘psychologist’ or ‘clinical psychologist’ – sometimes a combination of them.

The list immediately below is predominantly focussed on print and online publications where Ms Arndt was falsely identified between 2006 and 2020. However, radio and television interviews account for many more incidents, and involve mostly conservative commentators and presenters such as Andrew Bolt, Alan Jones, Miranda Devine, Peta Credlin, Peter Beattie, Samantha Armytage and Steve Price.

Bettina-Arndt-Media-List-FINAL

ABOVE: If you would like to receive a copy of this list, you can email New Matilda here.

Of the 179 false representations compiled by New Matilda:

  • More than half of the false representations (107) occurred within the last two years.
  • Two-thirds of the errors (118) came from News Corp publications. Of those, a single masthead – The Australian – accounted for 20 per cent of News Corp publications’ total number of errors. 
  • The Australian has falsely described Ms Arndt as a psychologist or clinical psychologist at least 24 times since 2006, although 21 of those errors occurred in just six months (August-December 2018) and seven of them were in The Australian’s editorial.
  • During the same period, The Australian also falsely described Ms Arndt as a doctor twice. This is despite Ms Arndt working as an occasional columnist for the masthead.
  • Because of News Corp’s syndication of his writing and broadcasts, in a three year period (2016-2019), conservative columnist Andrew Bolt wrongly described Ms Arndt as a “psychologist” or “clinical psychologist” in at least 49 individually published articles or programs. In a single month – September 2018 – it happened 30 times. And that’s just in print.
  • Since 2016, on Sky News program The Bolt Report, Ms Arndt has been interviewed by Mr Bolt on 11 occasions. She was falsely identified as a ‘psychologist’ or ‘clinical psychologist’ in nine of them.
  • Fairfax publications have falsely described Ms Arndt as a “psychologist” or “clinical psychologist” at least 19 times since 2006.
  • Almost every article published on the Daily Mail website which includes Ms Arndt falsely identifies her (eight out of 10 articles). Several times that appears to have simply been because the Daily Mail took the story from another publication, which also misrepresented Ms Arndt’s qualifications.
  • New Matilda could find only four occasions when the false claim has been corrected. The first is an ABC radio story published in 2014. A print version of the story, however, still contains the error and refers to Ms Arndt in the headline as a “psychologist”, and in the story as a “clinical psychologist” (the ABC has also since continued to introduce Ms Arndt as a psychologist on various ABC programs around the country.
  • The second is a story that appeared in New Matilda in June 2007. The error was discovered as a result of New Matilda’s investigation into Ms Arndt.
  • The third and fourth corrected stories, ironically, were written by Nina Funnell, the co-author of this investigation, on January 26 this year. Ms Funnell wrote an article for news.com.au about Ms Arndt’s Australia Day honour. A sub editor captioned two images describing Ms Arndt as a “psychologist” and a “clinical psychologist”, without Ms Funnell’s knowledge. Ms Funnell sought and received an urgent correction, however the errors were reproduced on the Gold Coast Bulletin.
Bettina Arndt at National Press Club - What Men Want in Bed ...
Bettina Arndt has been widely misrepresented in the Australian media as a “doctor” or “psychologist” including at the National Press Club.

Parliament and beyond 

Ms Arndt’s true credentials are so widely misrepresented that she has also been falsely portrayed in federal parliament, including during a Senate Estimates hearing in October 2018, when Liberal National Party Senator Amanda Stoker referred to her as ‘psychologist, Dr Bettina Arndt’. That false portrayal was later shared in a video published on Ms Arndt’s own website and on her Youtube Channel.

She was also introduced at a number of conferences and events as a “clinical psychologist” including the Sydney Festival of Dangerous Ideas and LibertyFest in 2018. Eight years earlier, Ms Arndt was promoted to delegates at the Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) National Convention as “clinical psychologist Dr Bettina Arndt”. That conference, which is reportedly the largest medical conference for medical students in the Southern Hemisphere was opened by former NSW Governor Professor Marie Bashir and included other high-profile individuals such as Dr Charlie Teo.

Bettina Arndt AM, falsely described as a clinical psychologist during an interview with Mark Latham on Sky News’ Jones & Co program, on November 29, 2016.

Other false portrayals of Ms Arndt include:

  • In the Australian National University’s promotional material featuring notable alumni, including “psychologist” Bettina Arndt; 
  • In promotional material used by Ms Arndt on her Facebook page to spruik her speaking events, including her recent ‘Fake Rape Crisis Campus Tour’, where she was advertised as a “psychologist”;
  • In numerous other videos curated and published on Ms Arndt’s YouTube channel, and shared on Ms Arndt’s other social media accounts.
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In official publications put out by the Australian National University, Ms Arndt has been described as a “psychologist” while listed among their top 17 Notable Alumni, which also includes former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.

An AM for ‘services to gender equity through advocacy for men’

This is far from the first time the AM recipient has found herself in professional hot water. Ms Arndt has been the subject of a number of ABC Media Watch investigations during her career, including serious claims of misreporting and plagiarism in 2007.

Last year, she also faced a huge public backlash after she released a video of a sympathetic interview she conducted with twice-convicted paedophile Nicolaas Bester, who had groomed and repeatedly raped a 15-year-old schoolgirl, Grace Tame, when he was her 58-year-old high school maths teacher. On arrest, Bester was also found to be in possession of 28 items of child pornography. He later bragged online about the rapes saying that they were “awesome” and that other men would “envy” him.

In her interview, Ms Arndt accused the girl of engaging in “sexually provocative behaviour”, and she laughed while discussing Bester’s second conviction for producing child exploitation material, saying, “I can imagine how easily this happens” (Bester used Facebook to describe in graphic and lewd detail the rapes of Ms Tame, which the courts ultimately found constituted production of child exploitation material).

Following widespread public outrage, Ms Arndt acknowledged the interview was in poor taste and apologised for her tone, but then later doubled down: “He is not a pederast. He is not praying on kids”, Ms Arndt told Youtube comedian Isaac Butterfield.

She also repeated the claim that “there is a real problem [that]teachers can sometimes be targeted by really provocative girls…. Male teachers are really vulnerable. And girls can be very seductive. They can come on deliberately”.

WATCH: Grace Tame responds to revelations that Ms Arndt is not a psychologist in this pre-recorded exclusive interview with New Matilda.

In an exclusive pre-recorded interview with New Matilda, Ms Tame responded to the latest allegations regarding Ms Arndt.

“It’s incredibly ironic that [sexual assault]victims so often get accused of lying and now it’s become apparent that Bettina has been lying for decades,” Ms Tame said.

“It’s a pretty big concern because people put a lot of stock in the opinions and advice of people who are supposedly experts.

“She’s going around… calling herself a professional, registered psychologist. People take the words of people like that as gospel and don’t think to question it because they don’t think they have to.

“It’s very dangerous. It’s highly dangerous.”

Ms Tame is not the first to raise concerns about Ms Arndt’s public commentary on matters connected with gender and sexual abuse. In the past two decades, Ms Arndt has taken out the ‘female category’ of the Ernie Awards – an annual event which recognises ‘achievements in misogyny’ – four times: in 1998, 2002, 2007 and 2019, making her the current reigning champion.

Other incidents which have sparked widespread condemnation include:

  • In 1997, Ms Arndt defended a Canberra doctor who had molested multiple patients, including a 12-year-old child, arguing that the sex offender should not be charged over the molestations, because in another context masturbating a person would be a “loving and pleasurable” act. Ms Arndt was both a patient and a victim of the doctor*;
  • In December 2005, Ms Arndt described former Scout Master Robert Potter, a convicted paedophile who sexually assaulted four scouts, as a “good bloke” and referred to the rape and other assaults as “mutual masturbation and oral sex”. Ms Arndt also lamented the “moral panic over paedophilia”, saying “such minor abuse rarely has lasting consequences”. One of Potter’s victims later attempted suicide. Media reported at the time that this incident cruelled Ms Arndt’s chances of being appointed by Prime Minister John Howard as the new Sex Discrimination Commissioner;
  • In 2010, Ms Arndt suggested that women were obligated to fulfil their “marital duty” to have sex with their husbands;
  • In 2017, Ms Arndt published an article in The Australian suggesting that an alleged rape against a university student, Freya Willis, was merely “regret sex”. Freya Willis later told Buzzfeed News, “I vividly remember reading the article and I immediately burst into tears. I felt so disempowered… I felt like I’d lost my voice.”
  • In 2018, Ms Arndt reportedly told students at La Trobe University that “no doesn’t always mean no” as part of her ‘Fake Rape Crisis Campus Tour’. 
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During Ms Arndt’s ‘fake rape crisis’ campus tour she has repeatedly shared flyers on her own Facebook page which suggest she is a ‘psychologist’.

Karen Willis, the Executive Officer of Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia, told New Matilda that Ms Arndt has a “long history” of outrageous and dangerous statements, adding, “if Bettina really were a registered psychologist she would know the harm that she is causing.”

Ms Willis was also scathing of Ms Arndt’s inclusion in the Australia Day honours list, saying she thought it was an “appalling” decision that would send the wrong message to sexual assault survivors.

“Blaming women [and children]for the violence they experience is not gender equality,” said Ms Willis.

What are Bettina Arndt’s actual qualifications?

New Matilda has confirmed with Australian National University that Ms Arndt completed a Bachelor of Science in 1971. In 1973, she completed a Masters in Psychology at the University of NSW, although her thesis could not be located by UNSW’s library.

Ms Arndt confirmed to New Matilda that she had not undertaken further tertiary study in the 47 years since.

However, according to AHPRA, obtaining a Masters degree does not entitle an individual to call themselves a psychologist. In order for someone to lawfully use the title ‘psychologist’ they must be registered, which means completing the relevant tertiary study and passing through rigorous annual re-registration processes, which include:

    • At least 30 hours of Continuing Personal Development training per year;
    • At least 10 hours of peer consultation per year;
    • Completion of an annual activity log and learning plan;
    • Various other requirements, including proof that the individual has completed a minimum of 250 hours of practice as a registered psychologist or provisional psychologist within the previous five years, or similar.

According to AHPRA these standards are in place to ensure that psychologists remain up-to-date with advancements in the field. The standards are even higher for clinical psychologists.

To put Ms Arndt’s university degrees in historical context, when she achieved her Masters in 1973, colour television had not yet come to Australia; the top song on the charts was Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree; the median house price in Sydney was $27,400; and immigration was still governed by the White Australia Policy.

At the time Ms Arndt was formally studying her Masters in human sexuality at UNSW, homosexuality was illegal throughout all of Australia, and still classified as a mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association.

Rape within marriage was still not recognised as a crime, and there was no such thing as no-fault divorce in Australia, which made escaping an abusive marriage extremely difficult. 

Children born out of wedlock were still legally classified as ‘illegitimate’, and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) was still only in its second edition. Almost half a century later, it’s in its fifth edition and has undergone significant re-writes as the field of psychology evolved.

Bettina Arndt has been falsely calling herself a psychologist or clinical psychologist for at least three decades. More recently she has promoted herself as “Dr Arndt”.

Bettina Arndt AM responds

Bettina Arndt participated in a lengthy interview with New Matilda on January 25, the day before her Member of the Order of Australia was publicly announced.

She defended her now infamous interview with twice-convicted paedophile Nicolaas Bester, claiming she was moved to speak to him after a senior judge in Hobart spoke out against, in Ms Arndt’s words, a “vigilante campaign against a man who served his time”.

She acknowledged the confusion around her status as a ‘psychologist’ or ‘clinical psychologist’, but strongly rejected any suggestion she had ever sought to deliberately mislead anyone. Ms Arndt said that media were largely to blame for the widespread misidentification.

“They should do their homework. My CV has been up on my website for years and years and years,” Ms Arndt said.

“I don’t call myself a psychologist, I say I trained as a clinical psychologist. I have been on the record again and again spelling out my relationship with psychology.

“You can’t start every interview by correcting your host. I mean I do sometimes. [I have done] many times. Many times. But I’ve done, I don’t know how many thousands of interviews in my life. When you have a two-minute television interview and I have an important message to say I’m not going to spend the first minute going through my qualifications, am I?

“I try to do so after the interview when I get an opportunity. I’m always trying to be extremely honest about what I do and how I got into this business.”

Bettina Arndt AM, being falsely depicted as a clinical psychologist on Studio 10 (Channel 10) on October 26, 2014.

In addition to information a recent blog post on her own website which explains the confusion about her qualifications, Ms Arndt said there were numerous media interviews still publicly available where her status is clearly explained. New Matilda could not locate any and none were provided to us on request.

Sharing was caring

Ms Arndt also rejected suggestions that by promoting and sharing stories that falsely described her on her website and social media channels, she was seeking to benefit from the media misreporting.

In one example put to Ms Arndt by New Matilda, Liberal National Party Senator Amanda Stoker was challenging a Commissioner of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), Professor Nick Saunders AO during a 2019 Senate Estimates hearing about University of Sydney students protesting against Ms Arndt’s ‘Fake Rape Campus Crisis Tour’.

Senator Stoker wrongly described Ms Arndt as a “psychologist” and as “Dr Arndt”, before Professor Saunders took up Senator Stoker’s description and repeated it. Ms Arndt said Senator Stoker’s error was not her responsibility, and suggested there was nothing she could to do to prevent or correct it.

“People do that (call me a doctor) occasionally… [but]I wasn’t there, I wasn’t to know [Senator Stoker] was going to do that. I would never describe myself as a doctor. Obviously. What was I supposed to do? Contact Senate Estimates and say, ‘Put in a retraction?’”

Under the legislation concerning protected titles, Ms Arndt should have asked Parliament to correct the record (via Hansard) when she became aware of the error. Instead, Ms Arndt shared a video of the uncorrected exchange on her Facebook page and Youtube channel. Ms Arndt said, however, it was not done to deceive.

“I’m not using that video to say I’m pretending to be a psychologist,” Ms Arndt said. “I’m using that video material to show something else much more important…. [It’s] not because it describes me as a doctor. It’s because she demolishes the university regulator.”

The video still appears on Ms Arndt’s Youtube channel as this story went to press. The false description by Senator Stoker of Ms Arndt as a “psychologist” appears at 53 seconds, and her description as ‘Dr Arndt’ appears at 1:23. Professor Saunders adopts the false description at 4:00.

In this video Senator Amanda Stoker refers to Ms Arndt as a “psychologist” and “doctor”. Bettina has republished the misleading material in her own curated video, without correction.

‘I have no interest in being a psychologist’

Ms Arndt also said she could have become a registered psychologist, had she decided to pursue the registration process.

“There are people in my age group who’ve got grandfathered – who’ve gone to the psychological society and established their credentials through simply that long history. And I’m sure I could have done that but I never bothered because I didn’t want to be a psychologist,” she said.

“… I gave up psychology quick smart because it bored me to tears. I felt that psychology was useless when it came to educating the community about sex…. They didn’t need one-to-one therapy to teach people about sex in the 1970s. What was needed was basic sex education. [So]… that’s what I did, from a very early age. My job was using the media for sex education and that morphed then into social commentary about gender issues.

“Psychology [does not do]a good job educating people… and it’s misrepresenting a whole range of issues…. I have no interest in being associated with psychology. I do my best to distance myself from that profession.

“I think the [Australian Psychological Society] is a very dubious organisation that totally misrepresents any number of issues, particularly in relation to men. I wouldn’t join it if you paid me. I think they’re an appalling organisation.

“I’m not a wanker and I’m not remotely interested in titles. If I’d cared about that I’d have done a PhD to become a doctor of clinical psychology. I want to help people, I want to do things for people. I want to educate, I want to campaign for men.”


A screenshot from 2018, when Bettina Arndt was challenged about her qualifications on her Facebook wall. She has since deleted the original comment from her challenger, but left her own comments and those of her supporters up.

‘They bought my argument’

Ms Arndt confirmed she has occasionally been contacted by authorities about her public portrayal. She said she had been notified of “three or four [complaints]in the last year”, possibly more, from the Health Care Complaints Commission, but the fact that authorities had so far taken no action showed she was doing nothing wrong.

“The health commission has had numerous complaints…. Every time, they knock [the complaints]back.

1806063-Decision-letter-Refer-to-AHPRA-Non-Reg-Provider

ABOVE: A letter supplied by Bettina Arndt from health regulators, in which she says she was cleared of any wrongdoing.

“I had correspondence when they asked me what action I was taking in relation to [sharing misidentifications on my own site], and I explained what I was doing and that led to no further correspondence. So I assume they bought my argument that I do what I can and that sometimes mistakes are made. And that my goal is not to misrepresent my qualifications, clearly.

“I don’t know what else I’m supposed to do.”

As noted above, many videos falsely portraying Ms Arndt still appear on her website and YouTube channel, and on her Facebook page. 

“I’ve had a 45-year career. I say I trained as a clinical psychologist, I explain my career, whenever I’m asked to do a CV or put it out publicly. But people still introduce me in the wrong way.”

Ms Arndt also questioned why others weren’t being called out over their historical use of protected titles.

“There are innumerable doctors… who are often referred to as paediatricians… you know, former paediatricians… who are still often [identified]as a doctor but haven’t practised as a doctor for 50 years. I can give you numerous examples like that.”

Bettina gets the final word

Ms Arndt said she was too busy focussing on the challenges facing young men to worry about how she was depicted publicly.

“I’ve got better things to do. I’m running this campaign that is consuming my life to try to do something about the unfair treatment of young men. I haven’t got time to pick up on every person who presents me in the wrong way.

“Whenever I get a chance to talk about it I discuss that publicly and I put it very clearly… I’ve actually written a blog published on my social media, explaining the confusion around my qualification. I don’t know what else you would like me to do?”

Ms Arndt expressed serious concern that Nina Funnell, one of the co-authors of this story, was involved in this publication’s investigation (Ms Funnell issued a defamation concerns notice to Ms Arndt in March last year, in relation to a series of allegedly defamatory and false public statements by Ms Arndt). She also said she would never have agreed to be interviewed if she knew Ms Funnell was a co-author in this story.

Ms Arndt was also scathing of New Matilda’s line of questioning during Saturday’s interview, and suggested that it had ruined what was supposed to be an important day for her on Sunday.

“I find it really upsetting and insulting… what should be a pretty celebratory moment for me, [you]try to damage me. Bully for you Chris [Graham].

“It isn’t a surprise that New Matilda wants to rain on my parade. But it’s disappointing.

“I have no interest in what hat I’m seen to wear. I try to do the right thing in presenting myself accurately but it’s not the main game for me, and the fact that it is for [New Matilda] just trivialises the work I’m doing….

“Do you really think this is what people want to hear? You’re clearly looking for a gotcha. As if I’m deliberately misrepresenting my qualifications….”

Asked how then, she believed the Australian public saw her, Ms Arndt replied, “I think I’m much better known as a sex therapist, which is a label I’ve tended to use much more often than psychologist.”

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* Clarifications: This feature was updated on February 11, 2020 in two places, to provide additional information relevant to readers.

1. New Matilda reported that in 1997, Ms Arndt wrote an article minimising the actions of a Canberra doctor who sexually assaulted numerous patients, including a 12-year-old child. Ms Arndt has requested that the New Matilda article be amended to include that she was also a patient of the doctor in question, and claims to have been victimised by him. This has now been added to the story.

2. The article has been updated to include the specific year (1989) it became a crime in NSW for Ms Arndt to use protected title ‘psychologist’. Prior to this, the article stated that Ms Arndt has been illegally using the title for over three decades. This is accurate and remains included in the article.


80 outlets/mastheads/programs which have falsely depicted Ms Arndt… and New Matilda is one of them

From the ABC to Sky News, from Fairfax to News Corp, and almost everywhere in between…. the following media outlets and radio and television programs have all, since 2006, falsely depicted Bettina Arndt… and yes, New Matilda made the list.

  1. 2GB (online)
  2. 2GB – The Miranda Devine Show
  3. 2GB – Alan Jones Breakfast Show
  4. 2GB – Nights with Steve Price
  5. 2GB – Saturday Mornings With Luke Grant
  6. 3AW – Tom Elliott Drive
  7. 4BC (online)
  8. ABC Brisbane – Drive with Steve Austin
  9. ABC – Counterpoint with Amanda Vanstone
  10. ABC North Queensland – Adam Stephen
  11. ABC – Talking Heads
  12. ABC – World Today (audio)
  13. ABC – World Today (Print)
  14. Adelaide Advertiser
  15. Adelaide Now
  16. Australian Associated Press (AAP)
  17. Australian Financial Review
  18. Brisbane News
  19. Buzzfeed
  20. Cairns Post
  21. Canberra Times
  22. Central Coast Express Advocate
  23. Channel 10 – Studio 10
  24. Channel 7 – Sunrise
  25. Courier Mail
  26. Daily Examiner (Grafton)
  27. Daily Mail
  28. Daily Mercury
  29. Daily Telegraph
  30. Daily Telegraph – Miranda Devine Live ( radio)
  31. Fraser Coast Chronicle
  32. Geelong Advertiser
  33. Gold Coast Bulletin
  34. Gold Coast Sun
  35. Guardian Australia
  36. Gympie Times
  37. Herald Sun
  38. Herald Sun (Andrew Bolt Blog)
  39. Illawarra Mercury
  40. Institute of Public Affairs Review
  41. Macarthur Chronicle
  42. Mammamia
  43. Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton)
  44. New Matilda
  45. Newcastle Herald
  46. News.com.au
  47. North Shore Times
  48. Northern Star
  49. NT News
  50. OutInPerth
  51. Progress Leader
  52. Queensland Times
  53. Sky News Online
  54. Sky News (Beattie and Reith)
  55. Sky News (Bolt Report)
  56. Sky News – Credlin
  57. Sky News – Jones & Co
  58. Sky News – Mamamia
  59. Sun-Herald
  60. Sunday Age
  61. Sunday Mail
  62. Sunday Tasmanian
  63. Sunday Telegraph
  64. Sunday Times
  65. Sunshine Coast Daily
  66. Sydney Morning Herald
  67. The Age
  68. The Australian
  69. The Australian (Weekend)
  70. The Australian Weekend Magazine
  71. The Chronicle
  72. The Conversation
  73. The Courier-Mail
  74. The Mandarin
  75. The Sydney Institute
  76. The Weekly Times
  77. The West Australian
  78. Toowoomba Chronicle
  79. Townsville Bulletin
  80. Wyndham Weekly

* Nina Funnell, one of the co-authors of this story, is a freelance writer. She also wrote Sunday’s article on news.com.au quoting Rosie Batty and Grace Tame. Ironically, that article misidentified Ms Arndt as both a psychologist and a clinical psychologist in the photo captions, which were added by a sub-editor. Funnell requested, and was granted, an urgent correction.

EDITOR’S NOTE: In the course of her interview, Ms Arndt repeatedly alleged that this New Matilda investigation is part of a long-running campaign designed to discredit her, led by one of the co-authors of this story (Nina Funnell). New Matilda rejects this suggestion outright. Ms Arndt requested that New Matilda link to a page on her website, which details her allegations. On review of that material, New Matilda has decided not to reproduce it in any form. The allegations are highly defamatory, completely baseless and without merit, and have no relevance whatsoever to the facts outlined in this story – that is, Bettina Arndt has been widely misrepresented in the media for years, in part because of her own conduct. New Matilda would like to remind readers of our policy of publishing all legal threats. We’d also like to remind readers that for a small, independent media outlet, an investigative feature of this scale doesn’t happen without a talented team of legal professionals in the background. Thank you, once again, Marque Lawyers.

Nina Funnell & Chris Graham

NINA FUNNELL is an Our Watch Walkley award winning freelance journalist and a director of End Rape On Campus Australia. Nina has been named Journalist of the Year at the B&T Women in Media awards (2019) and one of the 100 most influential women in Australia by the Australian Financial Review (2018). Nina has also been awarded the United Nations Media Award (2017), an Australian Human Rights Commission community individual award (2010) and in 2019 her #LetHerSpeak campaign was named News Corp's 'News Campaign of the Year'. CHRIS GRAHAM has worked in the media for more than three decades. He has won a Walkley Award, a Walkley High Commendation, and has twice been awarded the Australian Human Rights Commission - Print Media Award for his reporting on Indigenous affairs. Chris also shared the Michael Schneider Award in the United States for an investigative feature on asbestos. Chris served on the Australian Press Council for three years, and is the editor and owner of New Matilda. He is the former founding editor of the National Indigenous Times.

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