LEE RHIANNON PURGES HERSELF – My favourite communist in the Australian Parliament, the Greens’ Senator Lee Rhiannon, has today announced she is retiring from politics (I’m lying; I never had any favourite communists). While Lenin, Stalin, Brezhnev, Andropov and Chernienko all died in office, Rhiannon – or, as ABC notes, “currently the oldest woman serving in Federal Parliament” – is the Krushchev of Australian politics, eased out in a pre-selection and allowed to peacefully retire without a bullet in the back of the head (at least I assume so; I’m not sure what the Greens’ NSW Executive might yet have in store for her).

As a reminder to TDC readers too young too remember, Rhiannon was a child of Communist Party activists, and herself a member of the Socialist Party of Australia, which broke away from the Communist Party over its lack of support for the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. In 1977, when I was 5 and already too intelligent to believe in communism, Rhiannon visited Moscow at Brezhnev’s invitation, heading a Socialist Party delegation. Seeing the glory that was the Soviet Union in the late ’70s clearly did not destroy Rhiannon’s Marxist faith, since she continued to be involved and help with the Party’s newsletter “Survey” until 1990, i.e. after the fall of the Berlin Wall. When her unrepented for past was publicly exposed in her early years as a Greens politician, Rhiannon cried Cold War-style persecution and smear campaign. How dare people attack her with truth! Originally a Brown, and following a separation from an O’Gorman, Lee choose her new surname in a homage to a Welsh mythological figure, a horse goddess.

Now disappearing back into the Otherworld (or perhaps the Workers’ Paradise), she will not be missed.