You can’t say that

In breaking news, Melissa Parke, former member for Fremantle and “star candidate” for Julie Bishop’s former seat of Curtin, has withdrawn her candidature following criticism of pro-Palestinian  views expressed by her.

It is not possible for such views or even the mildest suggestion of even-handedness between two sides in this dispute to be expressed in Australia by a mainstream career politician. Politicians who do wish to express such views have to wait until they are retired or at least on the home stretch to retirement – the brief outbreak of UN abstention when Bob Carr was foreign affairs minister is an example of the latter.

Meanwhile, Australian parliamentarians routinely go on “information tours” of Israel which, however dressed-up, could only occur if state-sponsored by Israel.  This happens without a murmur from those who are quickest to denounce “foreign influence” when it comes from other directions.

Australia is a global outlier when it comes to Israel and Palestine.   The circumscription of permissible public discourse underwrites this. There must be ramifications for our international relations.  It should be possible in a democracy for these questions to be entertained in mainstream political debate, but at present it is not.

This is not a healthy situation.  How long can it be sustained?

PS, 15/4: Now Josh Wilson, Parke’s successor as member for Fremantle, is also under fire.  Video here:

“They are going to turn Palestine into Swiss cheese and that is what is happening,” Mr Wilson is seen as saying.

Executive director of the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council Colin Rubenstein told the West Mr Wilson’s comments were “both insulting and insidious and should have no role in our national debate”.

The “Swiss cheese” line was a throwaway; most of the video is about the ordeal of going through check points.

More of this saga  here.

See also  here. There’s also a party line.  Some Labor MPs/senators together with some Greens and independents  were prepared to criticise Israeli treatment of Palestinians (in this case, Palestinian children in Gaza, I think, or maybe the West Bank). Not one Liberal-Coalition MP or senator did so.

Update – see comment 2 below – apparently some coalition parliamentarians did express a view in 2019.

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2 Responses to “You can’t say that”

  1. Andrew Says:

    I agree. The matter is something that needs to be discussed. While I don’t know the ins and outs of the Jewish/Arab conflict, instinctively I feel that Israel should not be be putting people on Palestinian land.

  2. apanaustralia Says:


    Just a clarification, the statement about Palestinian children is about children in the West Bank. And in 2019 there was a new action – which was joined by Liberal and National parliamentarians – see

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