House debates

Thursday, 1 August 2019


Ministerial Reply

4:59 pm

Photo of Michael SukkarMichael Sukkar (Deakin, Liberal Party, Assistant Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

With the rise of anti-Semitism throughout the world, I feel compelled to make the following contribution today. Following his election to the historic seat of Kooyong in 2010, Josh Frydenberg became the first Liberal Party representative of Jewish faith to sit in the House of Representatives. When Josh was elected by his colleagues as deputy leader in August last year and subsequently sworn in as Treasurer of Australia, he not only became the first Jewish person to hold these roles; he became the most senior politician of Jewish faith from any party in Australia's history. It's a truly remarkable story and one that would never have been told but for the survival of the Frydenberg family through the darkest chapter in the history of the world, the Holocaust.

Josh's mother, Erica Frydenberg, nee Strauss, was born in Hungary in 1943. She then survived the Holocaust, before spending time in a displaced persons camp, after which she arrived in Australia in 1950. Her documentation upon arrival in Australia clearly stated her nationality as stateless. She subsequently became an Australian citizen. This is why the move this week by a small number of disgruntled, debauched political activists is so offensive, disgusting and abhorrent. Josh has made clear that he's not and has never been a citizen of another country. Let's not forget that, when these issues were raised in the last parliament, leaders from both sides of the political divide rightly condemned the callous calls to reopen old wounds, including from the member for Sydney.

Since then, however, a man who wants, in his own words, to 'liberate the debate on the Holocaust', Trevor Poulton, who has authored a book called The Holocaust Denier, made clear his intent to find a signatory to take the member for Kooyong to the High Court over his citizenship. This despicable individual, with his nefarious intent, has been successful in getting Kooyong resident and Green activist, GetUp! charlatan Michael Staindl to initiate the case. Surprise, surprise, Staindl has been linked to failed Kooyong candidate Oliver Yates, with Yates admitting, 'I know Mr Staindl through his community work'.

Yates, a perennial losing preselection and election candidate got less than nine per cent of the Kooyong vote at the last election, despite boasting that he was going to win. Yates, himself, has a chequered history. While proclaiming himself a climate activist, he has, at the same time, been a director shareholder and acting chairman of Linc Energy, a coal gas company that sold tenements to Adani, was fined a record $4½ million for serious environmental harm and whose pollution was described as 'ecological vandalism' by the Queensland district court.

Staindl and his fellow travellers like Yates have stooped to the lowest of the low, trying to get Frydenberg thrown out of the parliament just weeks after the people of Kooyong emphatically endorsed him for a fourth time. You see, Yates's father, William Yates, who also served in this place, has been reported as calling international Zionism 'a terrorist military organisation'. People could legitimately ask: has the apple fallen far from the tree?

True to form, the citizenship challenge is also being supported by the other failed candidate in Kooyong, the Greens candidate, Julian Burnside. Burnside is on the record as supporting the BDS—the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, which is, by its very nature, anti-Semitic—against Israel. Burnside has also trivialised the Holocaust on social media by equating Peter Dutton to a Nazi officer, something that Holocaust survivors have said publicly is deeply offensive to them.

What is it with these pathetic extremists—Yates, Burnside, Poulton and Staindl? They just can't accept defeat at the ballot box, and are now happy to band together, supporting bigots and anti-Semites who have questioned the Holocaust, as they seek to challenge the citizenship of the member for Kooyong. This comes just weeks after Josh Frydenberg was democratically elected, having gone through a campaign where his election material was defaced with swastikas and other anti-Semitic material. How low can you go?

House adjourned at 17:04

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Ms Vamvakinou) took the chair at 10:08, a division having been called in the House of Representatives.