Palestine in Australian politics 2014 (January-June)

Collection of statements on Palestine and Israel from the Hansard record of the Australian Federal Parliament.

Kelly O'Dwyer MP26 June 2014, House of Representatives: Kelly O’Dwyer MP (Lib., VIC) – speech on distribution of a pamphlet on Palestine and Israel in her electorate:
“The propaganda being distributed is part of a wider, insidious campaign to delegitimise the state of Israel and, in my view, spread anti-Semitism. Campaigns like these are orchestrated by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement.”

Senator Nick Xenophon25 June 2014, Senate: Senator Nick Xenophon (Ind., SA) – statement on the refusal of the Australian Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis, to use the legally correct phrase “occupied East Jerusalem”.
“The statement made by the Australian government on 5 June this year is not only wrong; it is factually untrue, legally ignorant and most unhelpful.”

23 June 2014, Senate: Senator Penny Wong (ALP, SA) – response to questions without notice regarding the refusal of the Australian Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis, to use the legally correct phrase “occupied East Jerusalem”.
“There was Senator Brandis’s notorious foray into foreign policy, where he suddenly invented new government policy on the Israel-Palestine conflict—which has jeopardised Australia’s interests in this strategically sensitive region of the Middle East.”

Senator Christine Milne17 June 2014, Senate: Senator Christine Milne (Greens, TAS) – in the context of a statement on the Racial Discrimination Act, said:
“Whilst I will continue to stand up for a peaceful two-state solution in the case of Israel and Palestine and whilst I will continue to criticise the government of Israel for its illegal occupation of Palestinian territories, I will never stand idly by and fail to condemn anti-Semitism.”

Senator Anne Urquhart16 June 2014, Senate: Senator Anne Urquhart (ALP, TAS) – statement regarding the refusal of the Australian Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis, to use the legally correct phrase “occupied East Jerusalem”.
“These concerns are that, under the Abbott Liberal government, Australia has forgone its independent perspective on the Middle East peace process and on the question of Palestine and that, under the Abbott Liberal government, while Australia claims to support the aspirations to statehood of the Palestinian people, it will in fact seek to undermine the process at any opportunity.”

Melissa-Parke

16 June 2014, House of Representatives: Melissa Parke MP (ALP, WA) – statement regarding the refusal of the Australian Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis, to use the legally correct phrase “occupied East Jerusalem”.
The term ‘occupied’ carries with it very specific meanings and responsibilities under international humanitarian law. It is a fact, not an opinion, that East Jerusalem is occupied. The Attorney General’s position is a complete nonsense as well as being at odds with the view of the entire international community aside from Israel itself.

Michael Keenan MP16 June 2014, House of Representatives: Michael Keenan MP (Lib., WA) – comments regarding trade union support of the boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) movement.
“I note that the BDS movement that is endorsed by some trade unions around the country is not condemned wholeheartedly by the trade union movement as it should be. Indeed, it is actively supported by some individual trade unions—trade unions which would be constituent members of the Labor Party. Where is the condemnation of those trade unions being associated with a movement that is blatantly anti-Semitic?”

26 March 2014, Senate: Senator Anne Urquhart (ALP, TAS) – speech on launch on UN International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People; talks also of APAN’s contribution to Parliament.
“As a middle power with a position on the United Nations Security Council, Australia has a responsibility to foster this debate, to highlight issues of concern and to independently support the ongoing peace talks.”

25 March 2014, Senate Motion relating to Israel’s illegal settlements on the West Bank:
Senator Christine Milne (Greens, TAS) – moved Motion
Senator Penny Wong (ALP, SA) – objection
Senator Christine Milne (Greens, TAS) – objection
Senator Mitchell Fifield (Lib., VIC) – objection

Tony Zappia MP24 March 2014, House of Representatives: Tony Zappia MP (ALP, SA) – speech addressing Israeli violence against Palestinian children.
“I understand that Alon Liel, former Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has warned of Israel standing at the edge of an apartheid cliff in Palestine . We cannot claim to be a just society if we do not speak out against injustice wherever it occurs.”

Senator Doug Cameron20 March 2014, Senate: Senator Doug Cameron (ALP, NSW) – brief comment in context of Racial Discrimination Act discussions:
“If anyone tries to indicate that I was in any way anti-Semitic in my speech yesterday, I would call on them to read my speech and clearly understand that I was quoting the former director-general of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. …I will continue to advocate on behalf of the Palestinian community, who have suffered terrible hardship over many years.”

19 March 2014, Senate: Senator Doug Cameron (ALP, NSW) – statement on launch on UN International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
“I call on the [Australian] foreign minister [Julie Bishop MP] to follow the example of the General Secretary of the United Nations, follow the example of the President of the United States, and work constructively to ensure that the peace process commences and works towards a two-state solution which guarantees peace, dignity and security for the Palestinians and Israelis. Foreign Minister, ditch the outdated slogans.”

Senator Zed Seselja18 March 2014, Senate: Senator Zed Seselja (Lib., ACT) – statement condemning BDS movement as anti-Semitic following incidents on university campuses and trade union support of BDS.
“What is most alarming is that the vile and detestable Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions Movement has made it seemingly acceptable for some to single out and attack members of the Jewish community.”

3 March 2014, House of Representatives: Melissa Parke MP (ALP, WA) – grievance statement in response to reported comments by the Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop MP (Lib., WA), implying that Israeli settlements in the West Bank “may not be illegal under international law.”
“…the Israeli settlements constitute a war crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, both of which Australia is a party to. …It is essential that Australia not undermine either the established international rule of law in this area or the consensus on a two-state solution, particularly at a time when Australia has the presidency of both the UN Security Council and the G20.”

Maria Vamvakinou MP24 February 2014, House of Representatives: Maria Vamvakinou MP (ALP, VIC) – grievance statement in response to reported comments by the Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop MP (Lib., WA), implying that Israeli settlements in the West Bank “may not be illegal under international law.”
“Not only are the foreign minister’s statements on Israeli settlements at odds with Australia’s ratification of the Geneva Convention; they are also out of step with Australian public opinion. In these statements she is sending a message that Australia’s support for international law is qualified rather than principled.”

11-12 February 2014, House of Representatives: statements on the death of former Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon:


Acronyms of Australian politics:
ALP – Australian Labor Party
Greens – Australian Greens
Lib. – Liberal Party
Nat. – Nationals Party
Ind. – Independent politician not affiliated with a party