Senator Marise Payne – spoke in response to questions raised by Richard Di Natale on the topics of Australia relocating its embassy to Jerusalem and Israeli settlements

photo of Senator Marise Payne
October 16, 2018

I reiterate my statement in response to the previous question: the government remains firmly committed to the Middle East peace process and to a durable and resilient two-state solution that allows Israel and a future Palestinian state to exist side by side within internationally recognised borders.

Full speech

Senator DI NATALE (VictoriaLeader of the Australian Greens) (14:17): My question is to the foreign minister. Minister, when Donald Trump announced that the US would recognise Jerusalem and relocate the US embassy, it was universally condemned by almost every sane democracy. To name a few examples, Sweden called it ‘a catastrophic decision’ and New Zealand said it was ‘a step backwards, not a step forwards’. Minister, I understand that you briefed the Indonesian government on this announcement. What was the response from the Indonesian government?

Senator PAYNE (New South WalesMinister for Foreign Affairs) (14:18): I thank Senator Di Natale for his question. I reiterate my statement in response to the previous question: the government remains firmly committed to the Middle East peace process and to a durable and resilient two-state solution that allows Israel and a future Palestinian state to exist side by side within internationally recognised borders. I acknowledge Senator Di Natale’s question, but I am not in the habit of discussing my conversations with international counterparts in public.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Di Natale, a supplementary question.

Senator DI NATALE (VictoriaLeader of the Australian Greens) (14:18): Minister, the announcement is a body blow for the peace process and for the Palestinian people. It’s unfair and it’s dangerous. Minister, wouldn’t you agree that the best way to support the peace process would be to condemn Israel for the 10,000 settlements it’s pushed forward with and recognise the state of Palestine?

Senator PAYNE (New South WalesMinister for Foreign Affairs) (14:19): I would refer Senator Di Natale to the observations made by both the Prime Minister and me earlier this morning. There is a clear, clear blockage, if you like, in progress in terms of the peace process and movement towards a two-state solution. The opportunity for Australia to have a sensible and intelligent discussion about some of these key policy issues is a very important one.

The Prime Minister has indicated that, in terms of the upcoming vote in the United Nations in relation to the Group of 77. In terms of the other matters that the Leader of the Government in the Senate raised—the matter of the arguments that have been put forward by our former ambassador to Israel, Mr Sharma—they have been discussed. Further engagement with Israel on defence and security matters, and reviewing, without prejudice, our approach to the joint comprehensive plan of action— (Time expired)

The PRESIDENT: Senator Di Natale, a final supplementary question.

Senator DI NATALE (VictoriaLeader of the Australian Greens) (14:20): Minister, given that you are so committed to the peace process, in your conversations with the Netanyahu government about this dangerous policy shift did you even bother to raise concerns about the 10,000 settlements that the Israeli government has pushed forward with and demand that settlement building cease in line with international law?

Senator PAYNE (New South WalesMinister for Foreign Affairs) (14:20): I have already indicated to the senator, and if he were approaching this in a responsible manner he would not expect his country to place their private discussions with our counterparts on the public record in quite this way; but then perhaps Senator Di Natale would, because he has no measure of the basic courtesies and respect that go to those processes. I have indicated before that the government has consistently raised concerns of such a nature with the Israeli government and we continue to do so.

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