ALP’s missed opportunity
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Editorial

ALP’s missed opportunity

'Australia’s alternate party of government has missed an opportunity to make a real difference'.

From left: Penny Wong, Richard Marles, Opposition leader Anthony Albanese and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Canberra last February. Photo: Auspic
From left: Penny Wong, Richard Marles, Opposition leader Anthony Albanese and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Canberra last February. Photo: Auspic

THERE is much to applaud in Labor’s foreign policy platform, which was ratified at the party’s federal conference this week.

Resolutions on China’s treatment of the Uyghur people and the situation in Myanmar were timely and are to be welcomed by anyone who cares about universal human rights.

The resolution on Iran, calling for a more robust agreement to curb its nuclear ambitions and working to ensure Tehran does not use proxies to foment civil war across the Middle East, was particularly laudable, as was the condemnation of Hezbollah, even if it only scratched the surface of the terror group’s malevolence and employed the fiction of separating its military wing from its political wing.

There were a range of other sections pertaining to various other crises around the world, expressing solidarity for those oppressed and calling for their rights to be recognised.

One issue, however, stuck out like a sore thumb. In among all this concern for human rights, Labor called to legitimise an undemocratic regime that has displayed scant regard for them.

A regime that ignores women’s and LGBTQI+ rights, a regime that jails journalists and a regime that uses world aid money to fatten the coffers of its corrupt leaders rather than improve the lives of its people.

A regime that has time and time again shunned peace and sought conflict and continues to contravene international accords it signed. A regime that spreads incitement, teaches children to hate and financially rewards terrorists who murder and maim innocent civilians.

We take Penny Wong at her word that the platform calling for “the next Labor government to recognise Palestine as a state” is non-binding.

But even so, Australia’s alternate party of government has missed an opportunity to make a real difference.

As the alternative amendment – withdrawn at the last minute – proposed, Labor could have actually held the Palestinian Authority to account on its human rights record and for its intransigence, incitement and refusal to negotiate.

In a speech he was not able to deliver, former Labor MP Michael Danby was to have asked, “What Labor party in the world would oppose these sentiments?”

We wholeheartedly agree.

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