House debates

Monday, 18 February 2019

Constituency Statements

Australian Greens

10:30 am

Photo of Michael DanbyMichael Danby (Melbourne Ports, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Following meticulous research by the Parliamentary Library, I published a series of advertisements throughout Victoria on the record of the Greens political party in voting against every piece of national security legislation since 9/11. Not criticism and not amendments; every piece of legislation and every bill since 9/11. They have voted and spoken against every bill. Recently, Bob Brown, the former leader of the Green political party, was in Sydney talking about splitting that political party in New South Wales because of its undying extremism, even in terms of the Greens political party.

But I rise to speak on another, sadder matter with regard to the attitude of that political party, which was raised in a column by Janet Albrechtsen. I don't always agree with her, but she made some very valuable points following a conversation with my friend, Mr Vic Alhadeff, who heads the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies. The New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies, being good Australian citizens, have outreach Shabbat dinners. Shabbat is the Friday night meal that Jewish families traditionally have. As outreach, the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies has had a wonderful program of Shabbat dinners for Liberal Party leaders, the LGBTI community, the Young Labor union, the Chinese community and the Indian community. The only group who will not accept invitations is the Greens political party. It's really disgraceful.

As Mr Alhadeff says, the purpose of these dinners is simple yet important:

… engaging as Australians … and using the opportunity to explore our commonalities, beliefs and shared values.

Mr Alhadeff said it was not to command agreement or to proselytise; just to speak to one another as respectful human beings. Many Jewish Australians might be drawn to genuinely green policies about the environment, but the extremist attitude of the Greens precludes engagement. It's not tolerance; it's prejudice.

The bigotry of the Greens has no place in Australia. The Young Greens refused to attend a conference of the Australasian Union of Jewish Students attended by all other young political parties. To boycott under the cloak of the Palestinian problem reduces all students to one political issue 12,000 kilometres away. How unjust is that? Ms Albrechtsen wrote:

If the Liberal Party of Australia refused point blank to engage with credible Muslim groups, we would banish its members as bigots.

If the ALP continually ­rebuffed efforts to engage with Christian groups, we would out its members as bigots.

This attitude is simply unacceptable. I call on the Greens political leadership to— (Time expired)