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Did I meet Hillary Bray on a Russian cruise ship?

Blog
Lee Rhiannon 6 Feb 2012

Blog by Senator Lee Rhiannon

Is Christian Kerr an ASIO spy? Or does he hanker to join their ranks? The latest clanger in his “intelligence” piece on me suggests he would be just right for a career with ASIO.

ASIO reports are regularly full of errors. Civil Liberties Australia in their submission to the 2011 Independent Review of the Intelligence Community commented on this trend. From an assessment CLA members made of their ASIO files they found about “25% of the collected data was in error”. My two speeches to NSW Parliament on ASIO detail some of the mistakes in my own report. Speech 1 Speech 2

In Kerr’s Weekend Australian article that features his ongoing obsession about my political past he asserts that NSW is the only state where the Greens have lost a seat since Senator Bob Brown was elected in 1996.

Wrong.

The Western Australian Greens lost a Senate seat in the 1996 and 1998 federal elections. To the credit of Greens members and supporters in WA they have won both these seats back in more recent federal elections. His suggestion that the NSW Greens is going backwards electorally is not backed up by the statistics which show we received record votes of more than ten per cent in the 2010 federal and 2011 state election.

For someone who has worked as a Liberal staffer and a political journalist, or more accurately a right wing commentator, since at least the mid 1990s is this a memory lapse or a convenient air brushing of history?

And why is Kerr obsessed with what I was doing in 1970? For a man who accuses others of running conspiracy theories he is pretty good at that himself. He is up to his third story about an ASIO report of a possible meeting that I may have attended. I would like to assist in the forensic intelligence work editor Chris Mitchell appears quite happy for Kerr to obsess with. On 19 January 1970 when I left Australia on the MS Shota Rustaveli and for the following six weeks of the voyage and indeed for my whole life to the best of my knowledge, I have never met a Russian spy. I spent that long voyage reading Lord of the Rings and socialising. I never attended a meeting on the ship.

Is Kerr’s obsession with spies providing a window into his own desires? After all he worked at Crikey under the pseudonym, Hillary Bray, the name Ian Fleming gave to the character James Bond impersonated in his novel, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Does Kerr harbour a secret desire to be James Bond or a real spy? In 2004 he outed himself as the Crikey’s secret Canberra correspondent. But will he disclose the reason he adopted the name Hillary Bray?

A fact that Kerr might like to know is that I actually enjoy James Bond movies. Maybe he and I can swap notes on our favourite 007 movies? This could be much more exciting than my brush with an unethical and incompetent ASIO.

You can read my blog responding to Christian Kerr’s first two pieces here.

Postscript

The Australian published my letter to the editor, again leaving certain statements out which I have highlighted in bold below.

Dear Editor

One more time for Christian Kerr (“Rhiannon's response fudges key question of her meeting with the KGB station chief”, The Australian, 4 February 2012).

On 19 January 1970 when I left Australia on the MS Shota Rustaveli and for the following six weeks of the voyage and indeed for my whole life to the best of my knowledge, I have never met a Russian spy. I spent that long voyage reading Lord of the Rings and socialising. I never attended a meeting on the ship.

Mr Kerr also asserts that NSW is the only state where the Greens have lost a seat since Senator Bob Brown was elected in 1996. This is incorrect.

The Western Australian Greens lost a Senate seat in the 1996 and 1998 federal elections. To the credit of Greens members and supporters in WA they have won both these seats back in more recent federal elections. His suggestion that the NSW Greens is going backwards electorally is not backed up by the statistics which show we received record votes of more than ten per cent in the 2010 federal and 2011 state election, have the highest number of state Greens MPs in Australia and the highest proportion of local councillors (more than 70 out of 100 across Australia).

Your sincerely

Greens Senator for NSW Lee Rhiannon

 

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