To be very clear, the government, from the very start, has made absolutely clear that the steps announced by Senator Wong do not prejudge any of the final status issues that those opposite are trying to claim they do. To be absolutely clear, Australia will not be imposing its views on the final borders and boundaries, which should be the result of peace negotiations.
Senator CICCONE (Victoria—Deputy Government Whip in the Senate) (17:03): I think the interjection from my good friend Senator O’Neill is spot on.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator O’Sullivan ): Don’t encourage interjections, Senator Ciccone.
Senator CICCONE: Hearing the contributions from some of those opposite, you have to wonder if they are actually trying to advocate for a one-state solution rather than a two-state solution. To be very clear, the government, from the very start, has made absolutely clear that the steps announced by Senator Wong do not prejudge any of the final status issues that those opposite are trying to claim they do. To be absolutely clear, Australia will not be imposing its views on the final borders and boundaries, which should be the result of peace negotiations. That is ultimately where we all should be focused—actually getting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. It does not change our commitment to a negotiated two-state solution. It’s because of our commitment to pursuing peace and stability in that region that we must call out the conduct of some of those that are undermining that. The government has been very clear that the alteration of language is not about prejudging these final status issues. And, of course, it does not change the fact that Australia is a committed friend of Israel.
We’ll continue to stand up against the unfair one-eyed treatment of Israel in many international forums and continue to stand up for and work with the Australian Jewish community against the scourge of anti-Semitism, which is often propagated by conspiracy theorists in relation to the State of Israel. We’ll also continue to recognise and celebrate the long history of the friendship between our two great countries. Australia is very, very proud of our history as one of the very first country—in fact, we were the first country—to vote in favour of the 1947 UN partition resolution, which ultimately led to the creation of the State of Israel.
Senator O’Neill: The first voice.
Senator CICCONE: That’s right, Senator O’Neill, the first voice. Then two years later we established the diplomatic relationships that we so cherish today. Our friendship is deep and it is enduring, and the Australian government recognises the unique security situation in and security needs of Israel. We recognise Israel’s right to defend itself as it should.
The policies of the Albanese government are guided by the principle of advancing the call for peace and moving towards a two-state solution. While any change in language in this space rightly attracts a lot of attention and scrutiny, I would make the point that the language that was put forward by Minister Wong yesterday is not new, as Senator O’Neill made absolutely clear in her contribution. But let’s also remember that back in 2018 then prime minister Scott Morrison also confirmed that Australia was subject to the United Nations Security Council resolutions that described the territory as illegally occupied. It is always important to go back in history, and if you go back further you can see this language used from the Fraser government all the way through to the Gillard government.
I also find interesting that somehow this issue concerning Palestine and Israel gets caught up in next week’s national conference. Somehow there is a report out there from unnamed sources that the opposition want to play politics on this issue, rather than actually seriously talking about how we together can actually work to support that two-state solution peace process. We heard contributions from some on the crossbench describing Israel as an apartheid state. Disgraceful language is being used. But people need to understand that your actions can bring out the worst in some in this place and also in the community, and that is something we need to be very careful about. Those opposite want to play politics rather than working with the government of the day on how we can support our friends in Israel. Those opposite are coming in here using unnamed sources and so-called reporting of a conference. Maybe you need to look at yourselves and your own democratic processes around how your party organisation operates before you start throwing stones over the aisle.