Defending the ALP

March 17, 2016 by J-Wire
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Liberal candidate for Melbourne Ports Owen Guest’s letter to the Australian Jewish News attacked the ALP’s position on Israel. You can always tell who the Liberal candidate for Melbourne Ports is when they suddenly start to take an interest in taking partisan potshots on Israel in an election year….

As an active member of the Jewish community I had no idea who Owen Guest was – I had to Google him, and the only thing I could find is that he’s the President of the Royal Melbourne Tennis Club, which according to its website is “a vigorous game, not to be played by sissies”. Well, Mr Guest is running against a man, Michael Danby, who is no sissy when it comes to advocacy for the Jewish community and for Israel, Mr Guest has bitten off more than he can chew thinking he can win votes with utter falsehoods about the ALP and the NSW State Conference. In fact the NSW State Conference rejected all the anti-Israel resolutions.

It’s completely false to say that the Labor Party’s leadership has been silent on this issue. Federal Leader Bill Shorten, Deputy Leader Tanya Plibersek, NSW Leader Luke Foley and other senior ALP MPs, including Federal NSW MP Anthony Albanese and state Upper House Deputy Leader Walt Secord are all on record in the AJN, as opposing a ban on sponsored trips to Israel. No ifs, no buts. How foolish of Mr Guest to write a letter to a newspaper he clearly doesn’t read, complaining about something which isn’t true.

But more than that, how outrageous of him to suggest that the Labor Party equates Israel to ISIS on the basis of a handful of local branch resolutions. As was documented in the last state election, the Victorian Liberal Party had former neo-Nazis campaigning for them, and a senior upper house MP who compared abortions to the Holocaust. I didn’t see the Labor candidate for Caulfield writing letters to the Herald Sun suggesting that the Victorian Liberal Party was overrun with Nazis and people who trivialise the Holocaust. Let’s put political partisanship aside – Michael Danby and his colleagues worked hard to successfully defeat Bob Carr’s outrageous antics at the NSW Labor Conference. The Jewish community can do far better without candidates who want to represent it by making obscene and inflammatory partisan statements, designed to try to ruin bipartisan support for Israel.

Mr Guest could perhaps make himself a better advocate for the Jewish community he’s suddenly trying to adopt by calling out the Turnbull/Bishop Government for its close relationship with Iran, which Michael Danby and Tanya Plibersek have made clear is not Labor’s approach to Israel’s greatest threat and enemy. Their lack of condemnation for Iran’s ballistic missile tests, in contravention of UN resolutions, and their lifting of sanctions against Iran without Parliamentary debate, seem to me to be more of a concern than some local Lakemba branch’s rejected motions on foreign policy. He should read Michael Danby’s spirited article on Iran . Let’s see if Mr Guest can be as vigorous on his Foreign Minister’s support for Iran as he is on the Royal Tennis court.

Sylvia Freeman

Caulfield North


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