AIJAC poses questions and receives answers from Morrison and Albanese

May 5, 2022 by  
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The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) has published the exclusive answers it received to 11 pre-election policy questions sent to the campaigns of both Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese.

Scott Morrison speaking at a UIA event

The questions and answers – published in the May edition of the Australia/Israel Review – revealed major areas of bipartisanship, as well as some significant differences on aspects of both Middle East and domestic policies between the two major parties.

The 11 questions, designed to focus on political issues of special concern to the Australian Jewish community, address the following topics:

  1. Ties with Israel
  2. The Peace Process and Recognising a Palestinian State
  3. Voting in the United Nations
  4. Aid Funding to the Palestinians
  5. BDS in Australia
  6. The Iranian Threat
  7. Counter-Terrorism
  8. Communal Security
  9. Racial Hatred and Antisemitism
  10. Australian Multiculturalism
  11. Complaints Handling for our Public Broadcasters

Click on the links above to read each question in full and the answers from both the ALP and the Coalition.

A comparison of the answers from the two sides reveals a number of significant differences, many commonalities, and some new policy commitments:

  • Both major campaigns stress the “steadfast” nature of Australia’s friendship with Israel, built on shared interests; the need for increased trade; and oppose the destructive anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign and its false, inflammatory depictions of Israel as practising “apartheid”.
  • Both also pledge to continue Australia’s longstanding bipartisan support for a two-state peace framework negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians.
  • Anthony Albanese

    There is also a national consensus to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons (though both also support a return to the flawed and arguably obsolete JCPOA agreement, a position AIJAC does not share), and against Teheran’s destabilising and aggressive regional behaviours and sponsorship of terrorism.

  • Both parties also recognise the need to assist the Jewish community to protect itself against security threats and address antisemitism and the hate crimes this enduring and growing prejudice helps fuel.
  • Labor offers strong support for section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, while the Coalition reaffirms it has no plans to change this crucial legislation. Furthermore, both political camps firmly back the policy of multiculturalism that has made Australia stronger, more diverse, and hopefully more harmonious – providing that the responsibilities as well as the rights of citizenship continue to be insisted upon!
  • Some of the policy responses, however, may raise questions among Jewish voters and those with similar values. For example, on the one hand, Labor rightly says that “the only way a two-state solution can be achieved is through a negotiated outcome between [Israel and the Palestinians].” But Labor policy also refuses to rule out pre-empting that negotiated outcome through premature recognition of a Palestinian state (which simply does not currently exist). This appears contradictory.
  • Another difference in the answers Jewish voters may note is the ALP’s focus on right-wing extremism to the possible neglect of extremism and bigotry from left-wing and Islamist sources. The ALP also does not appear to share AIJAC’s belief in the need for greater independent, external oversight of the ABC. In addition, while the Coalition can point to a very solid and principled voting record on Middle Eastern issues at the UN, the ALP’s answers provide little guidance on how their election would influence Australia’s currently strong pro-Israel stance in UN bodies.

On the release of the questions and the answers received from the two campaign teams, AIJAC Executive Director Dr. Colin Rubenstein stated, “We are very grateful that both major political parties were once again willing, at a time when both are intensely busy, to so thoughtfully address some key concerns of the Australian Jewish community. AIJAC hopes and believes the comparison provided by looking at their answers side by side will be of great benefit to both Jewish and non-Jewish Australians as they make their voting decisions before they head to the polls on May 21.”


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