But coming back to the ALP’s decision, the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council has referred to this decision by Labor as ‘profoundly disappointing’, and the Australian Jewish Association described this move by Labor as ‘hostile’. So we know that there wasn’t consultation there.
Senator HUGHES (New South Wales) (17:08): While the Labor Left will be patting themselves on the back as they’ve succeeded in their push on behalf of Palestinians and further continue the denigration of Israel, there will be at least one name that won’t rate a mention. In fact, they have deliberately chosen to ignore these activists or, worse, deny their existence. Abu Murkhiyeh was a 25-year-old Palestinian man who was shown in a grisly video being beheaded by an unidentified assailant. The suspect was arrested and questioned, a Palestinian who committed a horrific murder that had been motivated by Abu Murkhiyeh’s sexual identity. This happened in October 2022, less than 12 months ago. Those in government are the champions of LGBT rights, if you listen to them, but clearly not when it comes to Palestine. In fact, homosexuality remains so deeply shunned in Palestinian society that in 2019 there was an Arab Barometer poll that found only five per cent of West Bank Palestinian respondents said society should tolerate homosexuality—in fact, the lowest number in the Arab world. So, instead of supporting Israel, the place that many gay Palestinians flee to from Palestine territories in genuine fear of their lives, those in government ignore—as they continue their left-wing crusade—the fact that it is Tel Aviv, in Israel, that hosts a large pride event.
Only this week we saw Minister Wong trying to tie gender equality values on our Pacific neighbours if they want to receive Australian aid. Clearly the same rules do not apply when it comes to the Palestinians. There is a very broad global will that a two-state solution can be reached. But, now, before that can happen, and while those who actually live in Israel are affected every day by this issue—no need to worry! The ALP caucus has been able to draw lines on a map to determine where borders can be! The ALP caucus has now settled the dispute, all while settling its own internal factional disputes.
Just this year, Minister Wong claimed in Senate estimates: ‘We do not support unilateral actions which reduce the prospects of a just two-state solution.’ Clearly, that was misinformation. When it comes to trying to calm the factional farm over AUKUS, with around 40 ALP branches about to oppose it at the National Conference, clearly this is a government that is happy to throw Israel under the bus.
I would just like to draw attention to this, because I noticed that no-one from the Left of the Labour Party would come in and speak to this. In fact, it is two Right ALP members who are known to have strong connections to Israel. Senator O’Neill, I do credit you with being the co-chair of the parliamentary friends of Israel group, and credit the work that you do there, and I know Senator Ciccone has just returned. But we did hear the interjections from other senators coming from that side of the chamber, and, of course we heard the disgraceful contribution by the Greens. The fact that they talk about human rights abuses—may I just remind the Green of Abu Murkhiyeh and what happened to him simply for being gay. But, of course, those up there will scream the loudest about supporting LGBT, but not if you are a Palestinian. A gay Palestinian person flees to Israel to escape persecution, but you still refer to Israel as somehow being an apartheid state. Well, you might want to go and talk to some gay Palestinians and see how they feel about their treatment by their own people.
But coming back to the ALP’s decision, the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council has referred to this decision by Labor as ‘profoundly disappointing’, and the Australian Jewish Association described this move by Labor as ‘hostile’. So we know that there wasn’t consultation there. This Labor government needs be upfront and tell the Australian people—particularly Jewish Australians—if they consulted the Israeli government or the ambassador. We did learn today that the department—not the minister—made a call to the Israeli ambassador. Who in the Palestinian authorities was consulted? When and where? Whose bidding are they doing?
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator O’Sullivan ): The question is that the motion moved by Senator Chandler be agreed to.