Danby calls on Turnbull to dump Iran policy

September 24, 2015 by J-Wire News Service
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Federal Labor MP Michael Danby has called on new Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to dump Australia’s current Iran policy established by the former administration.

He says  Prime Minister Turnbull should keep faith with the Jewish community and supporters of Israel by junking one of his predecessor’s policies that was even weirder than reintroducing Knights and Dames: Australia’s cosying up to Iran.

Michael Danby in parliament

Michael Danby in parliament

Danby, the Labor Member for Melbourne Ports, has place advertisements local newspapers and on J-Wire appealing to the Liberal Government’s change in policy on Iran.
In an official statement Danby said: “While claiming to be Israel’s friend, the Liberals appear intent on speeding up Iran’s passage from pariah to international acceptability despite the fact Iran has done little to show the world it deserves losing pariah status.

“Malcolm Turnbull can be a friend of Israel or a friend of the dangerous Iranian regime. He cannot be both.

Danby added: “With Iran still making blood-curdling against Israel, Prime Minister Turnbull must call Ms Bishop in and order her to halt and reverse this slide towards appeasement of the hard-line, bellicose regime in Tehran.”

In recent months, Ms Bishop has visited Iran signed an intelligence-secret sharing agreement with Iran, and apparently offered to allow Iranian consulates in Sydney and Melbourne. Ms Bishop has also called for military cooperation between Iran and the West, “although this was repudiated by a meeting in Paris of Western Defence Ministers” according to Michael Danby.

“Since the proposed nuclear deal with Iran, Australia and Julie Bishop have failed to respond, as they have in the past, to war-like announcements by Iran where Israel has been directly threatened. Only recently, the head of Iran’s parliament called for the annihilation of Israel. Supreme Iranian leader Ayatollah Khamenei forecast darkly that Israel ‘would not exist in 25 years’ because of Iran’s policy,” Danby recounted.

“Just three years ago, Ms Bishop supported international sanctions and loudly condemned Iran. In 2012, as Opposition Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Bishop came out swinging when an Australian diplomat planned to visit Iran.”

“Ms Bishop has changed her mind on Iran, nearly as often as she’s changed her preferred Liberal party leader. I hope through my campaign to encourage her to change her perspective on Iran and to stay loyal to the democratic cause in the Middle East.”

Michael Danby reminded the Government that opposition to Iran must not be weakened by the Turnbull/Bishop government without a full parliamentary debate.

Iran has long had a terrible human rights record, including its persecution of the Baha’is, and its hanging of Kurdsgays and minors. Some of these are hung for the crime of ‘enmity against God’. Human Rights Watch recently protested at the dramatic uprising in public executions across Iran.

Additionally, Iran is an active sponsor of militias right across the Middle East, including organisations proscribed as terrorist organisations by the Australian Parliament, such as Hezbollah. This Iranian support has not only not decreased in recent months, but will likely increase as Iran receives $150 billion in unfrozen assets freed up by the recently signed nuclear deal, as well as a lessening of UN sanctions.

Mr Danby has asked Ms Bishop numerous questions in writing about Iran’s human rights record and its support for terrorism, and is looking forward to her answers. He is also moving a motion in Parliament that calls on Ms Bishop to debate in Parliament the merits of Australia’s changing policy toward Iran and, importantly, to also debate any move to amend Australia’s sanctions against Iran before such a decision is taken.

“With Iran still making blood-curdling threats to anyone who disagrees with them, now Prime Minister Turnbull must halt and reverse this slide towards appeasement of the hard-line bellicose regime in Tehran”, Michael Danby concluded.


22 Responses to “Danby calls on Turnbull to dump Iran policy”
  1. Liat Nagar says:

    You are welcome to your views, Eleanora Mostert, however, we have the Australian Labor Party in Australia, not Labour.

  2. Geoff Seidner says:

    The socialist contributors should concede that they would be better off joinjng my PULP party: PURGED LABOR PARTY.

  3. Henry Herzog says:

    Douglas, Hi. There is no point trying to reason with those neo-coms. They all support Likud in Israel, or even more right-wing parties, and are convinced that Barack Obama is a Muslim communist, yet to bash Labor, they’re opposing Likud and supporting Obama. And they reckon Labor is anti-Israel, yeah right.

  4. Liat Nagar says:

    Dear Otto,
    Yes, of course it’s true that all political parties claim they have the best interests of the Australian people at heart. And look how many times Abbott referred to it, with an increasing number of Australian flags as background to his fervent pledges. Without that as the premise on which they build their rhetoric, they have no case to put.
    The big HOWEVER is in the action to follow. And please do me a favour by not responding with the ‘getting rid of the mining tax’/’getting rid of the carbon tax’/’stopping the boats’ rejoinder, my eyes are already glazing over at the prospect, so many times have I had to hear it from all Coalition spokespeople. (As an aside, the mining tax was rendered useless by Gillard’s ridiculous backdown and compromise in regard to it, so it’s hardly something for the Libs. to crow about getting rid of.)
    Fact is, Otto, the Labor Party is responsible for the huge changes that made health and higher education more accessible to all Australians, not just those who could afford it. The current Coalition government are doing their best to change that, and that is truly a disgrace – if they succeed, may they fall never to rise again.

    The Whitlam government revolutionised tertiary education, making it relatively free (something so many of today’s Liberal politicians had the advantage of themselves), and also making it available to older students. I, myself, would not have my university degree without that, something I achieved as a ‘mature age student’ so-called, part-time, together with part-time work, while my children were at primary school. Also, we have Medicare, which the Rudd government of first tenure, had hoped to revamp and expand to include dentistry and other health streams such as physiotherapy, psychiatry, et al., these latter, as you will be aware, being affordable mainly by those better off in society, and legitimately part of the full health scenario. Earlier in our history, we can thank Labor, and Unions, for the 40 hour working week and a regulated workers’ pay system. Not a bad record insofar as social interests are concerned. All of this doesn’t make Labor perfect, not at all. But it does give them proof of the pudding as far as policy goes.

    I shall do everything in my power to prevent the Liberal party from continuing to dupe the Australian people, with their notions of free trade and the working individual, cast out into the great pantheon of corporate shifting shapes, coming up trumps if they work hard. What absolute balderdash. It’s not excessive welfare people want, it’s jobs and job security, a smidgeon of respect, dignity and loyalty within the workforce, and the real opportunity to get on. Those who have made it in merchant banking, property development, and corporate senior administration, haven’t a clue about that, and are not interested. With the sorts of changes the current government would make, if allowed, it shows them to be of the same mould.

    What a cornucopia of music you’ve enjoyed – how rich for the soul and a delight to the heart. I am glad for you. I wish you a safe journey on your return to Oz.

    • Eleonora Mostert says:

      Just to mention a few. Liat Nagar boy do you have your facts wrong. Labour put this country into debt. Squandered billions and had the nerve to claim things as labour that the Liberal Party already had in place. Also it is The Labour Party and The Greens who have stopped the Liberals from keeping their promises. As for your 40 hour work week… get real. Even now the Labour Unions are causing more havoc than good. They arre nothing less then bloodsucking vampires, too lazy to earn a wage and live off the workers.

  5. Liat Nagar says:

    The Labor Party does not oppose the Free Trade Agreement with China – it seeks amendment to an area of it that concerns job security for local Australians. Please acquaint yourself with the specifics of this for good analysis and fairer discussion.

    Yep, let’s get on the bandwagon of bashing the Unions. REMOVE UNIONS and what do you have? A workplace ripe for the picking by employers. Surely you must see the necessity for balance here. By all means chase up Union corruption and fix it, so that power is not misused in this quarter, but let’s not pretend we don’t need Unions.

    Pink batts – a fiasco, yes. Largely due to the greed of incompetent people taking advantage of the system, a system that should have been more efficiently placed by government to counter that. Perhaps we could also consider the fiasco and human tragedy playing out on Manus Island with refugees detained indefinitely in inhumane conditions, while undergoing inhumane treatment, this under Coalition administration? It’s only a few days ago a UN representative cancelled his visit to Australia to check the situation because our esteemed, and transparent, Coalition government has denied workers at the detention centre the right to speak, with the threat of two years gaol if they do. Oh, and I seem to recall under John Howard’s reign what became known as the Tampa incident. Remember that – a disgraceful lie, using another human tragedy as its framework.

    We could also consider the new Border Force people, aligned with Immigration, that wonderful Coalition invention for the ‘sake of our security’ – last seen eagerly about to patrol Melbourne streets seeking confirmation of identity of any person coming their way, until the vigilant people of Melbourne (my old stamping ground) put a stop to it. Abbott’s tendencies and decision-making veered so far to the right as to make people nervous about the possible development of fascism. One shudders to think of it.

    As for Australian indigenous people, their cause, and Tony Abbott, I could hardly believe what I was reading on seeing your statement that it was believed he had done more for their cause than any other government. What exactly has he done, except go up north and stay over for a few days? I think we might give Paul Keating the kudos for having actually achieved something in Aboriginal affairs. Jenny Macklin has been a tireless performer on the ground. And Kevin Rudd’s apology, while only words, were words spoken at a particular time in such a way as to make a difference. Tony Abbott pales to insignificance in comparison.

    No, I shall not accede to your request to try to convince you, because you are not open to it. That’s okay, that’s your right and privilege.

  6. Liat Nagar says:

    I agree with much of what you had to say in your post addressed to Douglas and myself. However, I do not equate Michael Danby with the nature of it, and I shall continue to make a judgement on individual MPs and if necessary distinguish between them and those in Labor who are poisonous and damaging in their efforts against Israel.

    I am aware of, and distressed by, the snowball effect around the world of misguided belief in and support for the Palestinian myth. That it is a two-edged sword is true in the way that it uses this issue as an excuse for anti-Semitism as an extension of anti-Israel. That is more than clear to me and I shall fight it in every way I can.

    In answer to the questions you pose to me earlier:
    1. Do you think it’s rational to leap to the perception that anyone who criticises the Labor Party’s shameful actions towards Israel must be a Liberal voter?
    2. Do you oppose the right of citizens, or anyone for that matter,to criticise a party or government’s policies?
    3. Do you think people should blindly accept or approve of politicians’ actions out of misguided, uncritical loyalty to a particular party?
    NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT. (It seems to me this is what many are doing in regard to Julie Bishop’s foray into Iran.)

    I don’t harbour any kind of loyalty to any political party. Suggest you read my words more closely to enable different impression.

  7. Leon Poddebsky says:

    The very same Labor Party bigwig who denounces Jews for daring to lobby Australian politicians regarding the Arab war against Israel, and slanders Israel on trumped-up charges, is the very same individual who has a most intimate, financially beneficial relationship with one of the world’s most tyrannical regimes, lobbying on its behalf.

  8. Leon Poddebsky says:

    Just to mention another spiteful action of a recent Labor government:
    it lashed Israel’s legal maritime blockade of Gaza, which Israel maintains as a means of reducing the illegal smuggling of war materiels to Hamas. Israel does not impede the transfer of legitimate goods by land, however.
    Egypt, too, was blockading Gaza, but the Labor Government did not oppose that, and MR Dreyfus attempted to justify his party’s shameful stance during a public meeting at Sydney’s Central Synagogue.

  9. Leon Poddebsky says:

    Liat and Douglas: obviously political parties act according to their perception of their own electoral and/or national interests.
    With regard to Israel and the Arabs, the Labor Party’s course is contrary to Australia’s interests because it contributes to instability in the Middle East by encouraging Arab extremism and intransigence, and weakens Israel in the diplomatic sphere.
    Currently (though this could change), the Coalition’s course of rational qualified diplomatic support for Israel has the opposite effect; that is, it is a force for stability, and hence benefits Australia’s national interest, and also, incidentally, benefits Israel.
    The Labor Party, however, harbours a disproportionately large number of senior figures whose utterances and attitudes betray much more than simply mistaken policy;they display visceral hatred.
    Thus we have senior Labor Party figures doing and saying:
    1. “Israel is a rogue state.”
    2. “Ariel Sharon is an unindicted war criminal.” Notice the exceptionalism in the utter disregard for truth or presumption of innocence or civilised norms of jurisprudence; according to that Labor notable, the absurdity of declaring someone a criminal not only before a trial, but even before an indictment, is quite acceptable when an Israeli is the accused.
    3. The myth-mantra of “illegal settlements and occupation.” The lies and misrepresentations and disingenuousness are monumental regarding these issues.
    4. The selective “morality” and self-righteousness of ignoring the genocidal agenda of Hamas and much of “Palestinian” society, and the unrelenting savage, irrational, baseless attacks on a basically democratic, enlightened state and society that is struggling to survive in a jungle. Mr Laurie Ferguson is the most recent ALP exponent of this.
    5. The very revealing utterance that to be “on the right side of history,” the Labor Party must support the Arab agenda.
    6. It is a senior Labor figure who is unashamed to declare that Jewish supporters of Israel, Australian citizens, do not have the right to lobby government regarding Israel. To my knowledge, he has not attempted to deny this basic right to any other sector.
    The impression created by the Labor Party is that it is a lobby acting on behalf of the Arab campaign to extinguish Israel.

    Liat, you agree with my observation that demographic changes have played a role, but those changes in Australia have benefited Israel’s enemies.
    The sectors of the Australian voting population that want Israel dead are, by and large, those that tend to vote for “the left.”
    Douglas, my generalisations are, indeed, gross (but not stupid), and they have to be because those who act against the national interests of both Australia and Israel hold sway in the Labor Party.

    As for policy re Iran: for either party to help the Iranian regime gain legitimacy is a disgrace to humanity.
    The British Foreign Minister has declared that his country’s rapprochement with Iran will “open business opportunities.”
    Australia’s current government has not made such a candid declaration, but possibly it is in the pipeline. It would be shameful.
    “The international community” is in the process of fabricating pseudo-“respectability” for the Iranian regime because Iran is a large, powerful, potentially very wealthy state from which “the world” thinks shortsightedly that it can benefit materially,( but not morally.) When, however, has morality ever played the dominant role in international affairs? The Labor Party claims that it is motivated by morality. Where’s the evidence?

  10. Liat Nagar says:

    Dear Otto,
    You almost got it in one in your attempt to describe the Libs, although there are some other rather nasty labels I could add. I am too much an individual to ever be a good Marxist – I’d be booted out of that camp quick smart. I’m not a member of the Labor Party and don’t embrace them entirely. Where they do trump it for me in comparison with the Libs is at least a semblance of humanitarian concern in policy making. For those rich enough not to ever have to think about the fiscal and human vulnerability of themselves or others, I do, of course, understand that is not an issue. It’s a pity that those concerned can’t resist desensitisation to the plight of others.It’s pathetic that people like Danby and Dreyfuss are attacked in the way they are by good, upstanding, Liberal-supporting Jews on J-Wire, just because they happen to have more of a social conscience dictating an allegiance to the Labor Party. Yes, that becomes a dilemma with the Labor Party’s diminishing support for Israel, and, as I’ve said before in this forum, that is one of the conundrums of being an Australian Jew and having to consider policy that is good for the Australian society as a whole.

    It’s good to hear from you again. I was wondering if you were perhaps lost to the wilds of Romania.

    • Leon Poddebsky says:

      Do you think that it’s rational to leap to a perception that any one who criticises the Labor Party’s shameful actions towards Israel must be a Liberal voter?
      Do you oppose the right of citizens, or any one for that matter, to criticise a party or a government’s policies?
      Do you think that people should blindly accept and approve of politicians’ actions simply out of misguided, uncritical loyalty to a particular party?
      That’s the impression.

    • Leon Poddebsky says:

      The ALP’s policies are not “good for Australia as a whole.”
      And look at the way they did a U-turn on refugees.

    • Leon Poddebsky says:

      Is the Labor Party’s strident opposition to a free trade agreement with China “good for Australia”?
      Are the Labor Party’s links to certain trade unions that are under investigation (some people already having been indicted) “good for Australia’?
      Was the Labor government’s pink batts policy and resulting scams and fatalities “good for Australia”?

      Let’s be objective here.

      There is a correct perception among Australian indigenous people that Tony Abbott and his government did more for their cause than any other Australian government had ever done.

      Are profligate government spending and indiscriminate largesse “good for Australia”?

      Please try to convince me.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Dear Liat
      nobody can afford to find himself lost in Romania……but one great outcome is one can find himself this far away from home….hence my prolonged absence from this precious home connection, J-wire. What I mean is that separation from the daily local tensions in our lttle-great Jewish Aussie lot allows one to be more “selective” to the issues one would respond to. There is a sense of consistency I call repetition of matters of concern to which a hyperactive bugger like myself can only respond with more or less the same comments.
      I will, therefore repeat my view that those politicians you alluded to, in the Labor Parliamentary set, have always given the impression that Labor Party loyalty comes before their Jewish communal interests and I dare say that this is not just a Labor feature exclusively.
      As about social conscience and political party/ideology allegiance, it is only honest to say that ALL political parties these days claim that they have best social interests at heart and present their platform as a true reflection of those concerns. There is no other political rhetoric that would not include in any party PR strategy any other “consideration” if they want to attract support.

      But I do miss me great Australia home…..and soon I shall return, meanwhile I enjoyed three weeks of the greatest musical Festival on Earth, George Enescu…Israel Phil., Wiener Phil., London Symphony Orchestra, Concertgebow Amsterdam, Dresden Statscapelle, Murray Perahia, Andras Schif, St. Petersburg Symph. Orch. Bayerische Symp. Orch. etc. Average ticket price approx. A$27.00 (TWENTYSEVEN !!!), so there…..

  11. Otto Waldmann says:

    We are dealing with a number of apparent contradictions.
    On one hand , the current Coalition policy toward Israel is, perhaps, one of the most solid backing of the Jewish State throughout.Details available and/or known by the interested parties.
    In regards to Iran and Iranians, once again we have seen a very determined immigration policy by the same Coalition which addresses the presence in Australia of illegal migrants of Iranian origin.
    Hoe do we reconcile de visible antagonistic stances !!! In my attempt to go beyond the “visible”, I am satisfied that what prevails with the Coalition is the position on Israel and what would appear to contradict it may be considered along completely DISTINCT set and principles of policies, policies which do NOT deter nor diminish the fundamental pro Zionist policies of the Coalition. Danby and his fellow travellers – in what direction you may ask…- are intentionally – Danby for sure , the rest maybe just…following – mincing terms and conditions as to compromise what has been correctly perceived and accepted by the Jewish community at large that this Coalition is a preferred electoral option. Danby is doing a good job as a loyal Labor poodle and, among others, my good mate Liat seems enthusiastic almost to a Marxian degree when hitting the “imperialist, colonialist, exploitative, male-shovinistic and, why not diabetic-oppressive” bloody Libs.
    At this stage political approaches on specifics with Iran are quite ok and the litmus test will be when Israel will visit Iran and drop a few little metanot ( see gifts ) on the way in surgically selected places……To that, OUR Coalition does not seem to be on the other side of the Zionist fence and that allows me to sleep preeeety tight.

  12. ben gershon says:

    about time danby left parliament and we get a more astute MHR


  13. Yakov says:

    I am very disappointed with Malcolm Turnbull on this. He must order Julie Bishop to stop trying to make Iran respectable. Has Iran pledged to stop threatening Israel with destruction? NO!

  14. Liat Nagar says:

    The truth is the Coalition is America’s lackey. They will pay lip service to Israel and wax lyrical about ‘the only democracy’ in the Middle East area, while quickly adding the reminder that they support a two-state solution. Julie Bishop’s fraternising with the Iranians, her body language, sycophantic behaviour, and her smile which appeared more directed at herself and sense of self-importance, was an embarrassment to behold. Good on you, Michael Danby, for saying it how it is, but you won’t shift the Coalition into more independent or dignified thinking where the US is concerned. And that’s what dictates their Iran stance.

    Leon Poddebsky, time to take the blinkers off and consider more than your perceived history of Labor. Time and demographics change a lot in politics, so what happened during Whitlam’s time in power is neither here nor there. At least he dared to be unpopular with the Americans. What price the Liberal’s support of Israel if it’s as light as fluff?

  15. Henry Herzog says:

    How can Malcolm Turnbull show that he is a true friend of the Jewish community and Israel, while his foreign minister, and deputy, are making sweetheart deals with Iran who is hell bent on destroying the Jewish state? And Mr Poddebsky, making friends with someone who wants to destroy Israel, is a tad different to policy adjustments under Labor. But then again, your only issue is with Labor.

  16. Leon Poddebsky says:

    But Mr Danby’s opposition to Iran’s nuclearisation is not representative of his own party’s line.
    Any policy which harms Israel is and will be initiated, supported and rationalised by The Australian Labor Party.
    Prime Minister Whitlam flagged the ALP’s preference in 1973, when he warned (at a meeting with the ECAJ) “You people” (the Jews) that the anti-Israel element in Australia was gaining demographic and hence political influence, and that therefore the ALP had to accommodate their agenda.
    The anti-Zionist influence of certain people”of Jewish background”, such as The New Israel Fund, provides the ALP with a transparent fig leaf.

    • Douglas Kirsner says:

      This is crass generalisation. Sure there are elements in the ALP which are anti-Israel but that does not make them dominant. There are many Labor MPs, including Michael Danby, Daniel Andrews and Bill Shorten, who are very pro-Israel, and the National Conference adopted a pretty good resolution on the middle east issues.

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