‘The wrong priority’
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‘The wrong priority’

Former Labor MP Michael Danby says he was censored from speaking against the ALP adopting a call for the next Labor government to recognise Palestine as part of its platform.

Photo: Dreamstime.com
Photo: Dreamstime.com

Here is what he would have said:

THERE are many aspects of this report that have merit, including our efforts to take a firmer position to support the Uyghurs, Hong Kong and Taiwan. But [it is] in sorrow that I speak against the adoption of this report.

“New words have been inserted in the platform on Israel/Palestine, about which Albo [Labor leader Anthony Albanese] and I many years ago reached an equitable agreement. 

“It is not a semantic debate. It is about process and integrity. 

“At the beginning of this month Bob Carr told The Australian about boondoggling into the platform the 2018 resolution.

“Today, the stage wants all motions on foreign policy to be resolutions. 

“So why make Israel/Palestine the sole exception. Surely in the scale of human suffering, two million Uyghurs dragged off to camps deserve priority, or the poor people of Burma now under the boot of [a] military coup.

“Senator Wong’s words in moving the report show she cares to get it right. But honeyed words butter no parsnips and the changes forced by Bob Carr are now part of Labor’s platform that future ministers are pledged to uphold.

“But it is a stuff-up to alter our platform for this issue and no other. [It] is the wrong priority, especially given the spread of peace between Israel and the Arab States under the Abraham Accords.

“I wish I had the opportunity to speak to the [alternative] Bliss amendment. He very sensibly wanted to say, “Consistent with previous ALP policy over many decades, Labor opposes the illegal building of new settlements on disputed territory. Additionally, Labor supports the Biden Administration’s determination to renew the peace process.” 

“And he set out ideas about the factors that should determine when and in what circumstances recognition of Palestine might occur.

“Ideas like: Free and fair elections; repression of free trade unionism stopped; the right of the State of Israel to exist has been formally acknowledged (Hamas still refuses); women and other rights protected; arbitrary murders no more; [an end to] violence as a means of achieving goals is what we stand for.

“What Labor party in the world would oppose these sentiments?

“Thank you Chair.”

Michael Danby is the former Labor member for Melbourne Ports (now Macnamara).

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