Shorten heads for Jerusalem
Australian opposition leader Bill Shorten has left for Israel where he will participate in the 5th Australia-Israel-UK Leadership Dialogue in Jerusalem.
In a prepared statement Bill Shorten said: “The annual Dialogue brings together political leaders from both sides of politics – as well as business, media and community leaders – to discuss the challenges specific to the region, and the challenges we share in our own parts of the world.
Israel is a longstanding and close friend of Australia. Through decades of conflict and peace, economic challenges and prosperity, Australia and Israel have stood together.
Our friendship is made stronger by Australia’s remarkable Jewish community – amongst the most significant and influential contributors to our national success.
The Dialogue includes discussions with Israeli parliamentarians and officials, Palestinian leaders, meetings with local technology start-ups, and symposiums on the future of the Middle East.
This year we meet in the shadow of Shimon Peres’ recent passing – a giant of Israeli and global politics, and a tireless advocate for an enduring peace.
A secure and lasting peace in the Middle East eluded Peres. Let us all do what we can to support the right of all who call this region home to live in peace with one another.
I will be accompanied on this trip by Shadow Minister for Defence, Richard Marles, and my wife Chloe.”
The Australian delegation is being led by Trade Minister Steve Ciobo and opposition defence spokesman Richard Marles.
Steve Ciobo said: “I will lead the Australian delegation to the Australia Israel UK Leadership Dialogue this weekend.
Australia and Israel enjoy a deep friendship, underpinned by historical ties and shared values, reinforced by the contribution of our Jewish community to Australia’s social, cultural and economic profile. The Dialogue will be an opportunity to reaffirm these ties and discuss our common interests in peace and prosperity.
In addition to participating in the Dialogue, I look forward to holding bilateral meetings with senior Israeli Ministers.
Australia is keen to expand bilateral trade and economic links and cooperation with Israel, particularly on innovation and technology.
We are working on initiatives to strengthen the economic relationship, including the innovation ‘Landing Pad’ in Tel Aviv, treaties for cooperation on innovation, science and research and a double taxation agreement.
I will also visit the Palestinian Territories to meet Prime Minister Hamdallah and National Economy Minister Odeh to discuss the economic development of the Palestinian Territories and opportunities for bilateral economic links.”