No Israel Guidelines for NSW Trade office in the Emirates

October 25, 2011 by  
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The NSW State Government has been forced to admit that it has no guidelines in place on the Arab boycott of Israel for its newly opened United Arab Emirates trade and investment office.


Walt Secord

Earlier this month, the State Government appointed Mr Moin Anwar as Director, Trade and Investment in the NSW Government Business Office in Abu Dhabi.

Under questioning from Labor MPs Mr Mick Veitch and Mr Walt Secord at a State Parliamentary Budget Estimates yesterday, the NSW Trade and Investment Minister, Mr Andrew Stoner and his bureaucrats admitted they offer no guidance to their staff.

“In terms of the BDS (Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions) against Israel, the State Government talked tough against Marrickville Council, but it has offered no direction to its bureaucrats in Abu Dhabi,” Mr Secord said.

“The State Government must provide a clear directive to NSW bureaucrats telling them it is unlawful to discriminate or disadvantage Israel. It is as simple as that.”

The NSW parliamentary exchange occurred as follows:

The Hon. MICK VEITCH (ALP Shadow Minister for Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services and Regional and Rural Affairs): As you are aware, Australia is signatory to a number of United Nations financial sanctions and we have some autonomous financial sanctions. What advice is provided to trade offices about how they should conduct their business in the framework of the sanctions against a number of organisations?

DEPUTY PREMIER AND MINISTER FOR TRADE AND INVESTMENT, Mr ANDREW STONER: Those sanctions generally are dealt with at a national level through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. We get advice from the Federal Government about the implications of any such sanctions, and that advice would be passed to the relevant business office.

The Hon. MICK VEITCH: Is it written advice or are there instructions?

The Hon. WALT SECORD: Do you provide advice to your representatives overseas on adhering to United Nations sanctions?

STATE AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND TOURISM  DEPUTY DIRECTOR-GENERAL, Mr BARRY BUFFIER: Not to my knowledge; we do not do that directly or formally.

The Hon. WALT SECORD: What advice do you provide to the New South Wales representatives involved in trade in the Middle East about the Arab boycott of Israel, for example?

Mr BUFFIER: We have not provided any specific advice on that issue as far as I am aware.

The Hon. WALT SECORD: Do you plan to provide any advice in the future? The Premier has made very strong statements about the Arab boycott of Israel. I thought he had guidelines in place dealing with that issue.

Mr BUFFIER: To my knowledge we have not provided any specific advice.


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