The WA Bar president responds to Mark Leibler

August 11, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Yesterday J-Wire published a letter from prominent Melbourne lawyer Mark Leibler to the president of the WA Bar Association who had criticised Senator Sara Henderson for a letter she penned to the Victorian Bar Association following Julian Burnside’s tweet stating Israel’s “treatment of the Palestinians looks horribly like the German treatment of the Jews” during World War II.


Mark Leibler

Martin Cuerden wrote in response on behalf of the WA Bar Association to Senator Henderson: “Your conduct in reporting Mr Burnside to the Victorian Bar and calling for him to be ‘stripped’ of certain privileges is a matter of grave concern, as it represents an attack on freedom of speech and is therefore inconsistent with one of the most fundamental of these values.”

Mark Leibler wrote to Martin Cuerden: “I write to express my personal and professional astonishment and profound disapproval of the contents of your recent letter to Senator Sarah Henderson.

I am genuinely baffled that, as President of the West Australian Bar Association, you would see it as appropriate to rebuke an Australian Senator for suggesting that a high-profile member of the profession, who makes an undeniably antisemitic comment via social media, should face professional consequences.” [Read the full letter]

Now Mr Cuerden has responded to Mark Leibler.


Mark Leibler responded writing: “Thank you for your letter and the sentiments you express.

I hope and trust that you now appreciate this issue has nothing to do with freedom of speech.

People can speak as freely as they wish in this country, but when public figures promote ideas that are antisemitic, racist or otherwise offensive, their suitability to hold positions of influence is called into question. That is what this issue is about.

In line with my approach of making yesterday’s letter to you public, as a matter of courtesy, I should let you know that I intend to do the same with yours.


4 Responses to “The WA Bar president responds to Mark Leibler”
  1. Liat Kirby says:

    Your letter to the WA Bar Association brooked no argument, Mark Leibler. It was indeed ‘eloquent’ as Mr Cuerden said; it was also assertive and demanding as well it should be.
    That Martin Cuerden’s initial response to Senator Henderson was made without bothering to educate himself first on antisemitism and explore such an extreme and patently obvious inaccurate statement as made by Burnside, speaks to his total lack of care. He needs to act on this now, not only write a letter.

    Thank you to Mark Leibler for achieving this acknowledgement. We must stand up and speak out every time.

  2. Leon Himmelfarb says:

    Thank goodness for Mark Liebler!

  3. Anne Sarzin says:

    Thank you Mark Leibler for the knowledge, clarity and speed–all crucial factors– with which you tackled this issue so successfully.

  4. Robert Schneider says:

    Good for you, good for us Mark!

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