O'Byrne hit over 'criminal' tag

Written By miftah nugraha on Rabu, 10 April 2013 | 19.55

LIBERAL senator Eric Abetz has slammed Tasmanian Labor minister David O'Byrne for calling former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher a "war criminal" on Twitter.

Mr O'Byrne, whose portfolios include police and workplace relations, tweeted on Monday: "she was a war criminal, let's never forget the Belgrano".

The comment was a reference to the Argentine Navy ship the General Belgrano, which was sunk by the British during the Falklands War in 1982, killing more than 300 sailors.

Senator Abetz has described Mr O'Byrne as an "embarrassment" and accused him of flirting with Marxism.

"This kind of vile commentary, following the passing of one of the world's strongest leaders, is to be condemned in the strongest terms," Senator Abetz said in a statement.

"It is a national embarrassment to have this minister labelling a genuinely democratically elected leader from one of the world's oldest democracies a war criminal."

Senator Abetz lauded Lady Thatcher's achievements as British prime minister, which he said included "taking a tough stand against communism and socialism".

"By contrast David O'Byrne has worked to bring radical and socialist policies to Tasmania, even inviting the Marxist president of Venezuela (the late) Hugo Chavez to Australia," Senator Abetz said.

Mr O'Byrne stood by his Twitter comments, but added: "Her death is a tragic thing for her family & loved ones but does not erase her deeds."

Former Greens leader Bob Brown said on Tuesday his overriding memory of Lady Thatcher would be the "massacre" of the Belgrano sailors.


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