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Monday, 18 August 2003
Page: 18683

Mr PYNE (1:29 PM) —I commend the member for Mitchell for bringing forward this motion on the road map to peace and I also congratulate the Leader of the Opposition on his very fine words in support of the debate today. I note that the member for Griffith and the member for Brand will also be speaking and I commiserate with the member for Fowler and the member for Watson, who were listed to speak on this debate until this morning when they were ripped off unceremoniously and replaced with the member for Griffith and the member for Brand. Be that as it may, we have heard some very fine words from the Leader of the Opposition. As he said himself, words are cheap. It would be good to see action. Similarly with the Labor Party, it is easy to walk on both sides of the street, it is easy to talk about the past and Dr Evatt, as we often hear, and put out the same platitudes that we have heard many times before. I would like to see some action taken by the Labor Party. I wrote to the Minister for Foreign Affairs last week asking him to investigate an organisation called APHEDA, which is the Australian Council of Trade Union's foreign aid arm.

Mr Latham —I rise on a point of order. My point of order goes to the question of relevance. This is a motion that commends the Israeli cabinet for its decision to take positive steps for the resolution of conflict in the Middle East. It is not a motion which involves any of the matters that the member for Sturt has been talking about.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. I.R. Causley)—I have heard the member for Werriwa's point of order. I will listen carefully to the member for Sturt. He understands that his contribution has to be relevant.

Mr PYNE —I understand that and I intend to be relevant. The Leader of the Opposition ranged widely over this debate, and I intend to speak on the motion. It would be unfair if the member for Werriwa tried to move points of order in order to take up my five minutes of time, although that is exactly what happened the last time we had a debate on this matter—as did the member for Fowler. In moving to the motion, I would ask the Labor Party to investigate the actions of the trade union arm called APHEDA since Laurie Ferguson is a member of that board, as is Greg Sword, the National President of the ALP, and Sharan Burrow. They are a virulently anti-Israeli organisation.

Mr Latham —I rise on a point of order. My point of order is this: the member for Sturt has used up half of his speaking time and has yet to mention the Middle East. My point of order is on the question of relevance.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER —There is no point of order on relevance.

Mr PYNE —Friendship with Israel surpasses any short-term political, tactical or local objectives. Strategies change in the sands of politics, from a branch in Western Sydney to a regime in the Middle East, and constantly shift in the wind, but the coalition's support for Israel never will. The coalition recognises that Israel and Australia share a core belief in democracy and freedom and that brings about unshakable friendship and support. In 1995 Shimon Peres had this to say:

I know from history that the first advice you hear is—

Mr Danby —What side of politics is he on?

Mr PYNE —Which side of politics are you on? The member for Melbourne Ports would be quite welcome over here, we know that you share most of our views—unlike the member for Fowler.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER —The member for Werriwa should be very cautious about raising points of order that are irrelevant.

Mr Latham —The member for Sturt is repeatedly using the word `you'. He is making allegations about you—that is something the Speaker has been very stern about.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER —The chair will deal with whether the member is addressing another member correctly or not.

Mr PYNE —Shimon Peres, who I hope would have support on both sides of the house, said:

... I know from history that the first advice you hear is: “Don't negotiate from a position of weakness.” But when you gain strength, you lose your appetite to negotiate. That's the tragedy. When you're weak, you say, “Let's become strong.” When you become strong, you fall in love with your strength and you forget your wisdom. We are at the peak of our strength, and we think it is the time to negotiate.

Those words, spoken in 1995, were true then and are true today. In the post Iraq period we have our best opportunity in two decades to bring about a lasting peace in the Middle East, but that will not occur without negotiation on both sides of the debate in Israel. It certainly will not occur until terrorism ends. The Israelis make it very clear that they will not bring about a Palestinian state unless terrorism stops because to do so would be, in fact, to reward the terror over the last few years. I support the Israelis in that. The New York Post said last week on 18 August:

In fact, fighting terrorism—indeed, actively dismantling terrorist groups—is the prime Palestinian obligation under the road map.

And that must happen for peace to be achieved. (Time expired)