In an interview with Sky News Australia on March 16, Danby described Kitching’s treatment within the Labor party as “nothing short of bullying.”
Danby attributes much of Kitching’s ordeal to political Left factions who he says dominate Labor.
“The reason she was difficult is because she represented the mainstream a Bob Hawke, Paul Keating, Kim Beasley point of view that is now not in the ascendency in Labor and people were envious of her cosmopolitanism, her charm, her international and national support. Her support across the aisles,” Danby said.
“It’s a point of view that Kimberly had and I have, that the left-wing of the Labor party is too strong,” he said.
Danby also took aim at the nameless actors in Labor’s political right who he says caused her considerable stress threatening her pre-selection as reported by The Australian.
“No rational person would say that you can trace the differences in politics directly to her death, but I can tell you during the last year she certainly felt the stress of having her senate preselection dangled over her head, by a cabal of Lilliputians, that’s how I’d describe them, in the Victorian right whose names will never been known, who always lurk in the shadows, who only have transitory power.”
Kitching passed away on Thursday, March 10 at age 52 of a suspected heart attack. Danby lamented the wasted potential of a highly capable politician.
“The problem is for those of us who knew Kimberly there isn’t her like to be seen easily in the Australian parliament. She spoke five languages, she was instantly familiar with the legislation, she was left in there for 10 hours at a time during the midnight shifts in the senate for too long, too many days, as a sort of punishment, because she didn’t agree with people’s ideological views,” he said.
“She would have been a future foreign affairs or defence minister. Particularly in these dangerous times her … what are described by some as her hawkish views were absolutely appropriate for the times,” he said.
Kitching is well-known for championing the Magnitsky Act so that Australia along with the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada could impose sanctions on human rights abusers.
A global movement promoting the Act was led by entrepreneur Bill Browder. The Act is named after his lawyer who was persecuted and killed by the Russian authorities.
“Kimberley was a brave justice warrior who never stood down or was intimidated by the evil regimes she advocated against,” Browder posted on Twitter.