I rise to speak on this urgency motion in relation to the Labor Party and the Albanese government playing factional politics with Australia’s foreign policy and national security. Once again, yesterday the Labor government chose to play up to hard-left anti-Israel elements within its own party by rewriting our nation’s foreign policy.
Full motion and speech
Senator CHANDLER (Tasmania) (16:42): I move:
That, in the opinion of the Senate, the following is a matter of urgency:
The urgent need to condemn the Albanese Labor Government’s latest broken election promise on Israel, as a result of a backroom factional deal ahead of Labor’s national conference, which unilaterally changes Australia’s position, and does nothing to advance Australia’s long-standing position to support a lasting two-state solution, in which Israel and Palestine co-exist in peace and security within internationally-recognised borders.
I rise to speak on this urgency motion in relation to the Labor Party and the Albanese government playing factional politics with Australia’s foreign policy and national security. Once again, yesterday the Labor government chose to play up to hard-left anti-Israel elements within its own party by rewriting our nation’s foreign policy. We saw this happen back in October last year when the Labor government’s refusal to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was praised by terror groups including Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas.
Now, the Labor government has once again done a dirty factional deal to appease the far-left in their own party, a factional deal that has happened not because of any policy imperative but purely on a basis of trying to manage the political appearance of the Prime Minister and his cabinet colleagues. For many weeks now, we have known that something like this was coming. Labor sources had been talking openly about cutting various deals on foreign policy to get through their national conference next week without criticism of the Albanese government, and there is no question whatsoever that what was announced yesterday was one such dirty factional deal.
Labor MPs have freely admitted as such, and I sincerely hope that Labor senators are not going to come in here today and deny that this is what has happened. A Labor MP was quoted directly in today’s Australian confirming that this decision was a factional deal, saying:
A Right faction source said the new policy represented an “olive branch” to Left-wing critics to “minimise the argy-bargy next week”.
That was in reference to their national conference. This Labor MP confirmed that, as part of the factional deal, ‘the government will beef-up its language’.
Just as its faction-driven refusal to recognise the Israeli capital was welcomed by Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas so too will this decision be welcomed by dangerous organisations and regimes, which are not just violently opposed to the existence of Israel but are also violently against the West, including Australia—organisations like Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the IRGC, which fund those organisations and have, in recent months, been ramping up support and pressure on those organisations to commit terror attacks against Israel.
The Albanese government has shown its willingness to spring into action within weeks and change our foreign policy to manage the media around its national conference and appease the anti-Israel elements—or is it now a majority?—within the Labor Party. In contrast, it is now six months and counting and the Albanese government still hasn’t managed to respond to a Senate committee report on the emergency human rights situation in Iran. Not only does the Islamic republic regime commit atrocities against its own people and against its critics abroad; its leaders openly state their desire for Israel to disappear off the face of the earth. I can’t help but observe the speed at which the Albanese government will move to adopt the anti-Israel position of its left faction purely because a motion is anticipated to appear at their national conference next week compared to six months of refusing to respond to a report of this Senate urging action in response to the abhorrent behaviour of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Where is the demand from the left faction within the Labor Party for the Albanese government to respond to recommendations of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee on human rights abuses in Iran? I haven’t heard those calls. I don’t believe there’s a motion related to that at the national conference next week. Instead, what we get from this government is a fractional deal which will only serve to embolden the Islamic republic regime in its sponsorship and encouragement of terrorism against Israel.