What did the candidates say?

Thanks to all those who forwarded responses from candidates – we have responses from 127 candidates (not too late if you haven’t sent on!). We have also listed all the individual candidate responses.

Following is a summary of each of the party’s responses, with a star rating based on their responses and history on the issue.

Australian Greens (4.5 out of 5)
Every one of the 51 Greens candidates who replied to the APAN email signed the APAN pledge, including the whole parliamentary leadership team. Many Greens candidates responded with personal messages talking about their own reasons for supporting justice for Palestine and citing the work they’d undertaken for Palestine.   Some candidates however only responded to APAN rather than constituents themselves, and not every candidate responded, hence the loss of full marks

Australian Labor Party (2-4 out of 5, depending on candidate)

There were 42 ALP candidates responded to the APAN email, and 9 signed the APAN pledge.  Quite a number of candidates detailed times they’d stood up for Palestine.  Many candidates responded with a standard reply but many personalised it and cited the ways they’ve stood up for Palestine (others took out the line “This is a cause I am committed to”!).  The standard reply did not engage with the question of spending equal time in Palestine.  While it talked about settlements being a roadblock to peace, it was not clear whether it was referring to all settlements, and it did not refer to them as “illegal”.  While the standard reply condemned both BDS and violence, quite a number of ALP candidates omitted the paragraph condemning BDS.  There is an openness to a Shorten Government recognising Palestine, and during the election campaign a number of candidates indicated they consider a failure of current French initiatives to be a trigger to the ALP moving forward on this.

Liberal/National Party (1 out of 5)

Just 15 Liberal/National candidates responded to the APAN email, with none committing to the pledge.

While some candidates personalised their responses, most candidates replied with a standard email.  The email indicated the Liberals remain bound to any peace settlement coming only through negotiations, and says both parties must agree ‘without preconditions’.  They make no comment about settlements, no comment about commitment to travel to Palestine, and no comment about human rights abuses.  The standard response talked about aid to Palestine as an indication of their support for a future Palestinian State.

The one silver lining is that for the first time the Liberal Party talks about the “rights” of Palestinians alongside the “rights” of Israelis (previously Palestinians just were acknowledged to have aspirations!).

Nick Xenophon Team (2 out of 5)

Just two Nick Xenophon Team candidates responded to emails from constituents, and only the candidate for Moreton signed the pledge. These responses are surprising given Senator Nick Xenophon’s strong and active support for Palestine (see AIJAC’s summary).

Socialist Alliance (4 out of 5)

Two Victorian Socialist Alliance candidates responded to emails, and both signed the pledge.  They referred to Socialist Alliance Policy which is detailed, includes support for BDS and express calling on Israel to end the Occupation and Egypt to open the Rafah crossing.

Christian Democratic Party (CDP) (0 out of 5)
Six NSW candidates from the CDP responded to constituent emails, with all but one giving theological responses based on a Christian Zionist perspective. Responses included: “not supporting Israel is to deny the Bible’s clear teaching that those who bless Israel will be blessed themselves”; “Isaac is the blessed line, not Ishmael”; and “our stand with Israel is based on God’s inerrant and prophetic Word concerning His ancient, chosen people and the right to the land which was given to them in an everlasting Covenant”.

Australian Liberty Alliance (0 out of 5)

Four candidates for the Australian Liberty Alliance responded to constituent emails, with unreservedly pro-Israel sentiments.  The President of Australian Liberty Alliance boldly proclaimed that “Palestinians’ do not suffer under any hand other than their own leaders”. They referred to the ALA policy where a quarter of the foreign affairs policy is dedicated to their support of Israel.

Australian Defence Veterans Party (1 out of 5)

The lead Senate candidate for NSW, Ray Bennie responded to constituent emails appearing to sign the APAN pledge, and when asked for more information he stated “I Support the withdrawal of Israel from territories and the self administration of the Palestinian peoples”.

Animal Justice Party  (1 out of 5)

The Animal Justice Party candidate for Batman was the sole respondent for this party, and she signed the pledge.

Derryn Hinch Justice Party (0 out of 5)

Derryn Hinch replied to many Victorians indicating that he treated their email as spam.  When the campaign platform organisers at Do-Good detailed how these are genuine inquiries from constituents, he stopped engaging with constituents, and told our platform organisers that “The JP has eight major social issues which are detailed on our  website. We intend to concentrate our public debate on those issues.  Palestine and solar energy are not included in those eight issues”.

The Sex Party (2 out of 5)

The Victorian lead candidate for the Sex Party responded to constituent emails in a detailed response which indicated her sympathy for Palestine and also that the Party had yet to form a position.

NB: Only candidates that supplied email addresses were included in the email list.  Some other independent and minor party candidates were also not included because of time required. A small number of errors also occurred in the email database which means some other candidates did not receive constituent emails until very late.