Wentworth final questions: Dave Sharma

October 18, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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In the interests of ensuring that our community is properly informed and engaged in the political process The Executive Council of Australian Jewry asked the four candidates currently polling at over 10% of the primary vote (as per the Reachtell poll published on 17 September), to state their positions on matters of special concern to Jewish Australians. 

Wentworth final questions: Dave Sharma

Security funding

Scott Morrison and Dave Sharma at Bronte Beach

We have seen deadly terror attacks overseas in which Jewish communities were specifically targeted. Australian government agencies including the Australian Federal Police and ASIO have assessed that the Jewish community remains particularly vulnerable to an attack in Australia.

In light of this, the government currently provides direct assistance in meeting the security costs for Jewish schools. Recently this assistance was extended to a small number of other Jewish institutions including some synagogues, museums and community centres. However the vast majority of non-school Jewish institutions which have applied for security funding assistance missed out.

  1. Do you support increasing the level of security funding assistance from the Federal government to at-risk institutions?

Yes. I’m very pleased to have recently helped the Jewish community secure an additional $2.2 million for critical security infrastructure. The community needs to feel safe and be safe, so I was really happy to have been able to work with the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and ECAJ for this outcome.

Education

  1. Are you in favour of increasing, decreasing or maintaining at current levels Commonwealth funding for private schools?

Increasing. Even before the recent boost announced by the Federal Government to assist families who choose independent schools, the four Jewish schools in Wentworth were set to receive a funding increase of at least 49% per student over a decade.

Foreign Policy

Recognising a Palestinian State

  1. Do you support formally recognising a State of Palestine, other than as an outcome of a negotiated agreement between Israel and the Palestinians? If the answer is other than ‘No’, please specify the circumstances in which your party would recognise such a State.

No. I support a two-state solution but only when it comes about as a result of a negotiated, final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Jerusalem

  1. Do you believe that Australia should recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and that the Australian embassy should be relocated from Tel Aviv to the Israeli government precinct in Jerusalem?

While it is not currently Australian Government policy, I’m personally sympathetic to this.

United Nations

The Executive Director of UN Watch, Hillel Neuer has charged that much of the UN “has been subverted by a relentless propaganda war against the Jewish state”.

  1. Do you agree? If so, what should Australia do to challenge this injustice?

Yes. Israel is disproportionately singled out for criticism in UN forums and held to a different standard. Australia should continue to stand by Israel and against one-sided resolutions. We should be a really good friend to the one genuine liberal democracy in the Middle East.

Iran

America’s annual terrorism report (last published in July 2017) describes Iran as “the foremost state sponsor of terrorism”.

  1. Do you agree with this assessment?

Iran’s regional and global behaviour is deeply troubling, including its support for terrorist groups operating throughout the Middle East and elsewhere, and its ballistic missile program. Much of the instability in the Middle East today is due to Iran’s destabilising behaviour.

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop expressed “regret” following the announcement by the US that it would withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) known as the “Iran deal”.

  1. Do you support the JCPOA?

My own view is that JCPOA is flawed and, particularly with US withdrawal from it, we should support a renegotiation on better terms.

 

Antisemitism

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (of which Australia is a Liaison Country) has adopted a working definition of antisemitism which recognises that antisemitism has the capacity to mutate and take on new forms in order to exploit or prosecute the contemporary conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. The working definition recognises that:

“Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include:

  • Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour.
  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.”

 

  1. Do you accept the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)-endorsed definition of antisemitism?

Yes. We must call out and continue to take a zero-tolerance approach to antisemitism in all its manifestations.

 

Religious Freedom

 

The same-sex marriage survey last year has led to claims that religious freedom is not adequately protected in Australia, and that religious institutions and organisations should have enhanced rights to discriminate in favour of members of their own faith, or to promote their own beliefs.

 

  1. Do you agree?

Wentworth is quite a progressive community. 80% voted for same-sex marriage, as I did.

I would be opposed to any new measures that impose forms of discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation, or anything else.

It is important to many, right across Australia, that people be free to choose their religion and express and practice their beliefs, without intimidation – so long as they practice their beliefs within the framework of the law.

The Government is considering the report of the expert panel chaired by Philip Ruddock, which received 15,000 submissions on this issue. I’m confident the Government will get the balance right.

Comments

One Response to “Wentworth final questions: Dave Sharma”
  1. Adrian Jackson says:

    Sharma has lost big time (not his personal fault incidentally) so it back to the drawing board for the Liberals. I wonder what Abbott and Dutton have to say about the chaos they created in the leadership change?

    The Liberals need to get back to the Sir Robert Menzies sane small L Liberal values to support the “forgotten people” and tell the fundamentalist right wing clowns in the party to retire or move to another party like the Australian Conservatives or One Nation were they really belong.

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