Penny Wong questioned Palestinian statehood

July 4, 2017 by J-Wire Staff
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Labor Senator Penny Wong is Australia’s Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs has been interviewed on ABC radio about NSW Labor proposed motion to recognise Palestine.

Penny Wong was interviewed by Patricia Karvelas…..

Senator Penny Wong         Photo: Henry Benjamin/J-Wire

KARVELAS: Let’s move onto your portfolio of Foreign Affairs. The New South Wales Labor Conference is at the end of the month. There are reports that the branch is considering a motion to officially recognise Palestinian statehood. Is that a policy that you support?

WONG: The policy I support is a two state solution and that’s a position the Labor Party has held for many years. Now, it is quite obvious that there are a range of views inside the Labor Party on this issue. There are very strong views about the approach that should be taken in terms of how we further a two state solution. We did have a lengthy discussion at National Conference on the last occasion about this and the platform was changed to enable consideration of the recognition of Palestine.

My view about this is we should always remember two things; one is, our position is a two state solution and anything we do ought to be judged against that. Is what we are doing likely to further that objective? The second thing to bear in mind is that our capacity to influence this is ultimately limited. Whether or not there is a peaceful resolution between Israel and Palestine is ultimately in the hands of the Israelis and the Palestinians.

KARVELAS: Tanya Plibersek, who is the Acting Opposition Leader, says that effectively this is just the New South Wales Branch. National Conference, obviously decides policy. But this will no doubt come before the National Conference next year?

WONG: And I think Tanya acknowledged that. She is correct. This is a state conference. We’ve had a range of foreign policy resolutions at different state conferences around the country on a number of issues, including this one.

Ultimately the National Conference will decide whether or not it wishes to alter the resolution that it carried on the previous occasion. I simply say this, that I think that we should always be judging what we do on the basis of whether or not it furthers the likelihood of a two state solution. And the reason for that is it is only a two state solution which will deliver the peace and security that both Israelis and Palestinians desire.

KARVELAS: So this could become Labor policy if you win the next election?

WONG: They’re your words. What I have said is we support a two state solution. It will be a matter for National Conference whether it wishes to alter the resolution that was passed on the last occasion.

KARVELAS: And will you be fighting very hard to make sure the position doesn’t shift?

WONG: I will be fighting very hard to make sure our position reflects what I think is a good policy.

KARVELAS: Which is the status quo?

WONG: Which is what a future Labor government would do that is likely to best further the chances of a just resolution, a just two state resolution. Bearing in mind, and I would emphasise this, ultimately this is not something that the Labor Party or the Coalition can resolve. This is ultimately a matter the Israelis and Palestinians will have to resolve.

KARVELAS: Is it your view that the status quo is the better position?

WONG: The status quo position is the position that was agreed. I’ll take that discussion at National Conference and engage with the different aspects of our party in terms of their views. But my overarching view is we have to hold to the two state solution.

KARVELAS: And would you feel this would be a violation to holding to the two state solution?

WONG: I’m not going to engage in that Patricia.

KARVELAS: Why not?

WONG: Because that is your question and I have answered it in the way I think is appropriate which is we should always be looking toward what the ultimate objective is, which is what we are doing – furthering a two state solution.

KARVELAS: And, would a change like this not contribute to furthering, to moving towards a two state solution?

WONG: I’ve responded already.

KARVELAS: Well, I’m not clear. You’re being very careful about your words.

WONG: Well I am being careful because I think this is an issue we ought be very careful and sober in how we approach it. I’m very conscious that this will be a discussion at National Conference and I will be approaching it in the way that I have described, and ultimately National Conference will determine whether the resolution that is currently agreed needs any alteration.

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