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Monday, 22 May 2017
Page: 4759

Ms BRODTMANN (Canberra) (18:37): This morning I highlighted the bog ignorance of the Liberals when it comes to Australian history when I discussed their lack of respect for Sir Robert Menzies's legacy and vision for our nation's great capital, the city of Canberra. This motion underscores that bog ignorance. As my colleague the member for Eden-Monaro has just said, those opposite are all about cheap politics and nasty politics. I remind the member for Goldstein that it was under Labor that Australia played an important role in supporting resolution 181, which helped to bring into existence the modern state of Israel. And it was under Labor's leadership that Australia then welcomed that new state as a member state of the United Nations. It was under Labor Prime Minister Chifley that Doc Evatt's strong support for a two-state solution was reinforced when he cabled Britain's Prime Minister Attlee and urged early recognition of Israel saying:

Such declaration would properly indicate willingness to agree in principle to the recognition of the Provisional Government of Israel, and at the same time willingness to recognize de facto the Arab authorities in actual control of Arab Sections of Palestine.

On Anzac Day I attended an evening service at the National Jewish Memorial Centre in Forrest. The service, which is now in its second year, acknowledges and remembers the contribution and ultimate sacrifice of the thousands of Jewish Australians who served in the First World War and other wars.

Over 7,000 Jews have fought in Australia's conflicts, including more than 330 who gave their lives. This year, Canberra's Jewish community honoured the most well-known, Sir John Monash, the commander of the Australian Corps, who was knighted on the battlefield by King George V for his role in the Battle of Hamel. He was one of Australia's first national heroes. He was a man of modern values who lived by the courage of his convictions and his own view of the big picture. His values are a legacy that endures 100 years on.

At the service, I also learned of Sir John Monash's wife, who came from a family that had been prominent in Goulburn's Jewish community. I found out all about Goulburn's Jewish community. My colleague and I were discussing the depth and history of that community. In the 19th century, Goulburn was a multicultural city ahead of its time, boasting the third largest Jewish population in New South Wales. Over 150 years on, the Jewish community in Goulburn has significantly dwindled. Most Jewish families left Goulburn in the late 1800s in search of the type of job opportunities offered only in larger cities. Today, Goulburn's Jewish cemetery is one of the only reminders of the once prominent community. I am looking forward to making a drive out to Goulburn soon to take a look at the history of the Jewish cemetery, joining members of Canberra's Jewish community here who have connections with the many prominent families of Goulburn of that day: the Yates family, who were formerly the Goetz family, and the Alexanders—a number of very prominent families that still have a connection to Canberra and Goulburn. I was just hearing from my colleague about how the connections still linger. The cemetery, unfortunately, has fallen into disrepair since World War II. It was restored and reconsecrated in 1987. I am looking forward to going back there with the members of the Canberra Jewish community to look at that cemetery.

Later this year, I will also have the great honour of attending commemorations for the 100th anniversary of the 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade charge at Beersheba on 31 October. On that day, the attack was carried out by the XX Corp on the west and Desert Mounted Corps on the east. That evening, the 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade charged over the Turkish trenches into the town. I will visit the Commonwealth War Graves cemetery in Beersheba, which I have been to before. I will again pay my respects to those Australians who unfortunately did not return home, those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

In closing, I reiterate Labor's commitment to the pursuit of peace and stability throughout the Middle East, and Labor's support of an enduring and just two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the right of Israel to live in peace within secure borders internationally recognised and agreed by the parties, and reflecting the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people to also live in peace and security within their state. Let us strive in a bipartisan way for that end.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Hastie ): The time allotted for this debate has expired. The debate is adjourned and the resumption of the debate will be made an order of the day for the next sitting.