SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

SPEECH

18 December 2018

ISRAELI/PALESTINIAN RESOLUTION – ALP NATIONAL CONFERENCE – ADELAIDE

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I move this motion – but the text is the work of many.

I want to acknowledge that the conflict between Israel and Palestine is an issue of great importance to many in our Party.

It is of great importance because Labor is a friend of Israel. I am a friend of Israel.

It is of great importance because Labor is a friend of the Palestinians. I am a friend of the Palestinians.

It is of great importance because we, in Labor, not only deal with the world as it is, we seek to change it for the better.

And so all who have come to this debate do so in the hope of contributing to peace and to a just and lasting resolution of the conflict between these two peoples.

I thank everyone for the manner in which they have engaged to propose this resolution – which I am confident reflects the collective view of this conference.

This resolution makes clear the view of this conference is to continue to support the recognition and right of Israel and Palestine to exist as two states within secure and recognised borders.

And it recognises the desire of this conference to recognise Palestine as a state.

Labor has long supported, and continues to support, a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

We support Israel’s right to exist within secure and recognised boundaries and the creation of a Palestinian state.

We recognise that a just two-state resolution will require recognising the right of both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples to live in peace and security.

The hallmark of Labor’s approach has been our even-handedness, and our acceptance of the legitimate claims by both parties.

Labor has been consistent in its approach to working towards the resolution of conflict between Palestine and Israel.

We have been consistent in our criticism of actions that undermine progress.

The resort to violence or the use of disproportionate response.

The construction of new settlements in areas that will become part of a future Palestinian State and the retrospective legalisation of settlements.

Labor will continue to call on both sides of the conflict to refrain from any actions that hamper peaceful outcomes for both the Israeli and Palestinian people.

And we will continue to ensure that any decision we take contributes to peaceful resolution of the conflict and to progress towards a two-state solution.

It is an approach, which until recently, had been largely bipartisan.

But, in a shameful act five days before the Wentworth by-election, Scott Morrison put his own domestic political interest before the national interest.

He made a decision to junk longstanding bipartisan foreign policy in a cynical attempt to win votes.

It was a desperate political tactic.

It was a decision made against the longstanding advice of agencies, without Cabinet consideration, and without properly consulting Australia’s partners and allies.

Astonishingly, it was a decision made without consulting either the Israelis or the Palestinians themselves, whose agreement must be the foundation of any lasting peace.

The result of the chaos and confusion has been clear.

Mr Morrison has caused offence to some of our nearest neighbours, harmed Australia’s international reputation, and our nation’s interests.

Ever since, the Prime Minister has been trying to escape the problem of his own creation.

It is a clear example of what happens when domestic politics is put before national interest.

Unlike Scott Morrison and his Government, Labor in Government will take a responsible approach to our foreign policy.

We will seek and consider the advice of our agencies.

We will work with our partners and allies.

We will always put the national interest first.

This motion makes clear Labor’s commitment to progressing lasting peace and a two-state solution.

It makes clear that it will be an important priority for the next Labor Government.

As Labor’s Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, I commend the resolution to the conference.

Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra.