Questioning the Foreign Minister on Iran

June 24, 2015 by J-Wire News Service
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Federal Labor Member for Melbourne Ports Michael Danby has continued his criticism of Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s U-turn on Iran.

Michael Danby in parliament

Michael Danby in parliament

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop attacked the Opposition Leader’s Shadow Parliamentary Secretary, Michael Danby, in Monday’s Question Time because Danby had raised concerns on her new policy on Iran.

On Monday Danby wrote an op-ed for The Australian, in which he questioned the apparent decision to change the travel advisory in relation to Iran and invite Iran to open consulates in Sydney and Melbourne. These concessions come after Ms Bishop advocated for an ‘intelligence sharing’ arrangement with the Iranians and suggested that the West cooperate militarily with Iran in regards to the fight against Da’esh in Iraq.

Mr Danby followed this op-ed with an appearance on Sky News, in which he was asked to elaborate on these points. He pointed out that the Australia “never agrees to change our travel advisories unless we are sure of the safety of our citizens. We shouldn’t change our travel advisory to Iran for political reasons.” The current travel advisory is for Australians to “Reconsider your need to travel”.

Mr Danby also expressed his concerns about Ms Bishop’s call for greater military cooperation and intelligence sharing with Iran. “I can’t believe that this is the Australian Government’s policy or that she hasn’t been questioned about this,” he said. “At the meeting in Paris, where Julie Bishop proposed further military cooperation with Iran, the Americans rejected her proposals… What does this intelligence sharing mean? What does this military coordination mean? Does it mean going as far as the Australian air force, which is there, telling the Iranian proxies on the ground such as Hezbollah  where we are going to bomb?”

Mr Danby’s comments clearly riled Ms Bishop, who used the opportunity provided by a Dorothy Dixer in Question Time to have a swipe at Mr Danby for his “grandstanding in the media” without addressing any of the concerns raised in his various media appearances. The Opposition are now asking more and more questions on the Government’s policies on Iran.

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