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Criticism of Gerard Henderson cut from letter to Australian

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Lee Rhiannon 12 Apr 2011

Barely a day goes by without the Australian acting on their editorial commitment that the Greens “should be destroyed at the ballot box” and filling its pages with negative reports on the work of the Greens.

Today the Australian printed a letter I submitted to correct comments by Brendan Nicholson and Gerard Henderson.

I want to share with you what the Letters Editor chose to delete from my original letter. I guess the Editor was mindful of the sensitivities of Mr Henderson, Mr Paul Howes and co.

The text highlighted below shows what the Australian chose to edit out of the version I submitted.

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Dear editor,

Gerard Henderson accuses me of a “serious case of denial” (9 April 2011) based on an article by Brendan Nicholson printed in The Australian (2 April 2010).

Mr Nicholson did not interview me for this article and the statement that Mr Henderson has now amplified is incorrect.

Mr Henderson has written about my political history on a number of occasions but has never interviewed me. His letter again highlights his own lack of balance as well as his failure to go to primary sources.

I welcome scrutiny of my political history, past work in the community and record as a Greens MP. But this endless recycling of inaccuracies about me and my family is curious.

I also wonder why Mr Henderson does not write about the early political activities of other political figures, such as Paul Howes, a former Trotskyite, and former NSW Labor ministers Ian Macdonald who was once a Maoist and Michael Costa another former Trotskyite?

I never suggested my “parents became disillusioned with the communist regime in Moscow around 1968”.

Neither my parents nor I were Stalinists. Mr Henderson produces absolutely no evidence to back his attempts to falsely imply that I support the horrific crimes committed under Stalin.

Mr Henderson bases his smear that in 1972 I did not condemn crimes in the Socialist world on the fact that I did not reply to a letter in the student newspaper Tharunka 39 years ago.

He further asserts that I joined the Communist Party as a “teenager”. I was never a member of the Communist Party. I was a member of the Socialist Party.

Yours sincerely

Lee Rhiannon
Greens NSW Senator-elect

Update In July The Australian also failed to publish my letter (copied below) submitted in response to an article implying myself and the Greens NSW are anti-Semitic:

Dear Editor

The implications in the article "Prominent Australians fight anti-Semitism with hot chocolate" (July 28) that myself and The Greens NSW are anti-Semitic are false.

The Greens have a proud track record of support for multiculturalism and human rights and opposition to racism and bigotry. We condemn anti-semitism.

Those who criticise the Israeli government and military for abuses against Palestinian families are sometimes falsely accused of being anti-semitic. The motivation is to silence criticism of Israel's human rights abuses such as the blockade of Gaza and Israel’s presence in the occupied territories.

The BDS principles do not question Israel's right to exist and are certainly not anti-semitic. The BDS campaign aims to ensure Israel meets its obligations under international law.

Yours sincerely

Greens Senator for NSW
Lee Rhiannon

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