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Monday, 23 May 2011
Page: 4137

Mr DANBY (Melbourne Ports) (21:06): Great events are shaping the Middle East and these events may see impediments to genuine peace negotiations like the regime in Syria being removed. It is a shame, therefore, with such important events happening, that the member for Curtin has moved a motion which does not rise above petty point-scoring and seeks to portray one of the great political parties that has always supported the state of Israel and an equitable solution, including a two-state solution which we voted for in 1948, as 'antagonistic' to Israel. It is surprising to me that the member would turn such an occasion into a politicised issue, especially since we were together—many members of the Labor Party and many members of the opposition—in Israel on a bipartisan delegation last November; indeed, we are having a reunion this week.

The members for Blair and Calwell, to their credit—and I single out the member for Calwell—explicitly support government policy which recognises a two-state solution. The Labor Party has a very honourable history of support for the state of Israel. After all, Dr Evatt was part of the UN Special Committee on Palestine that recommended partition in 1947. And, in January 1949, it was the Labor Prime Minister Ben Chifley who announced that Australia would be amongst the first countries to recognise the new state of Israel, describing it as 'a force of special value in the world community.'

It is strange to me that the Marrickville Council and the Moreland City Council have behaved as they have. They are completely beyond their powers. They kicked an own goal, which led to the defeat of Fiona Byrne with residents obviously repudiating her stand. Labor is fundamentally opposed to the extreme foreign policy views of some within the Greens party, such as Marrickville Mayor Fiona Byrne and her watermelon colleague, the senator-elect Lee Rhiannon, who is coming to this place with her fearsome views. I would remind the member for Curtin that it was the New South Wales Liberal Party who refused, unlike their counterparts in Victoria, to allocate preferences in the seat of Marrickville, nearly ensuring that Fiona Byrne—the watermelon Greens candidate, the anti-Israel boycott divestment candidate—nearly won the seat. Unlike Victoria, this was an act of parochialism of the New South Wales Liberal Party which failed to take a principled stand against the Greens candidate in Marrickville.

I think the Deputy Leader of the Opposition may have kicked another own goal by trying to portray Philip Ruddock as foolish or, worse, a left-wing extremist, because it was he who, as Attorney-General, refused to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir. He, like I and other serious people on the intelligence committee, will take action if we have a recommendation from the security agencies that Hizb ut-Tahrir be banned—have no fear. Let us remember that the Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, said in an interview on Four Corners:

I am a strong supporter of Israel. Obviously also a strong supporter of a peace process there and a two state solution and I have that dialogue with a friends from Israel when I get the opportunity to. But I am a strong supporter of Israel and proud to be one.

Everyone here on the government side has strongly supported the government policy which supports the two-state solution—a policy that Australia has had, proudly, since 1948. We have no association with the Greens political party and some of their extreme foreign policy. I want to make it clear that there are members like me who will very strongly oppose Greens party policy, whether it is the 30 per cent death tax that they have that none of us on this side of parliament support, or crazy policies on foreign policy.

I note that the Elena Ceaucescu of the Greens, Lee Rhiannon, is about to arrive in this parliament. She will find a firm opponent in me and many people on this side of parliament, as she will on the opposition benches. There are people like me in the Labor Party, in seats in the House of Representatives—and this will probably be ignored as all important points that I find are made in backbench speeches are—who will be thinking very carefully at the next election about where we give our preferences. The Greens political party will not be getting my support—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. BC Scott ): Order! The time allocated for this debate has expired. The member will have leave to continue speaking when the debate is resumed. The debate is adjourned and the resumption of the debate will be made an order of the day for the next sitting.