Topic: aust govt
I first met Lee Rhiannon in the group house at 24 Beach Rd (I think that was the number) in 1992. A group house of 11 rooms on two levels (take note Victor Dominello MP - not an asian face amongst us).
It was a vegetarian, greenie, hippie house and it ran very well. An elder in the place was a guy called Geoff Ash. Geoff was dating Lee who was a bit older than Geoff and divorced.
Some of us worked for established green groups - myself at The Wilderness Society. Geoff worked for an organic vegetable distribution business based at Tamarama. Geof was committed to building a nascent NSW Greens party. It was an idea without flesh. An aspiration without form. Hopeful but a bit pie in the sky. Geoff was a refugee from the local Australian Labor Party, from memory.
If memory serves his time was mostly taken up with fighting off a rat bag called Joe Thorn, originally from NZ, and from the local ALP who wanted to own the nascent Green brand. Even from those early years the ALP were afraid of the potential of the Green idea. Much like Herrod in the New Testament wanted to kill every new born baby - just in case.
There was nothing about Lee's famous communist history on show during those several years at Beach Rd, or later nearby Curlewis St bedsitter, or the Eastern Suburbs Greens meetings I attended to 2000, 4 as a local councillor. I met her aged frail mother once but again there was no comments about communism or smashing the system and revolution. A milder bunch of people would be hard to find in East Sydney let alone Australia.
So Rhiannon's love story with Geoff Ash is the real basis of her ascension in the Greens. It's nothing to do with her communist parents.
Henderson, with his deliberately covert corporate funding for his Sydney Institute - undeclared in his letter to the The Australian today - is pushing his ideological aggression against Rhiannon. But it's misconceived. Much the same as the newspaper runs a dirt sheet on Gandhi, same edition. Charming I'm sure.
Sure Rhiannon has political organising skills learned at the teat of her political parents. Sure she was a student lefty. And signifying what?
This writer used to be an alter boy until 14, and then had sex outside of marriage as an adult. Proving what? That people grow and change - derr.
Henderson makes no mention Rhiannon also did a botany degree. But what he misses most profoundly is the love story with Geoff Ash, a genuine founder of the NSW Greens who comes originally from the mainstream ALP tradition. In other words Henderson is a flake, and may well be indulging in some professional misogyny as well given he has never been elected to anything in his life.
Geoff Ash is the story that Henderson and most of the big media have no clue about when it comes to the political provenance of Lee Rhiannon. And at heart it is a great love story.