Mr Turnbull - My question is addressed to the Prime Minister... I ask the PM: why has the Australian government switched its vote in the United Nations to support these two resolutions of which the foreign minister spoke, which are not simply highly critical of our friends in Israel but which accuse the state of Israel of acting in breach of international humanitarian law?* Does the PM consider this change of policy, with Australia making that grave allegation of misconduct against Israel, conducive to achieving peace in the Middle East? (Hansard, 10/11/08)
[See my post 10/11/08 Two Out of Three Ain't Bad]
Mr Rudd - Forgive me, but unlike the leader of the opposition, I was unaware that Australia's voting behaviour in the UN had been set in stone by his party's former leader. I do believe, Mr Speaker, that there's been a slight change of government in this country, and that my party is actually now in government, while his occupies the opposition benches. Given that not unimportant fact, it's hardly surprising that on some things our approach may differ from his. Mr Speaker, the leader of the opposition seems to entertain the decidedly peculiar view that Israel, a nation which has been acting in breach of international law since its inception, over 60 years ago, should not only not be accused of having done so, but should instead be given a pat on the back, on the grounds that that will more likely encourage it on the path to peace. Finally, Mr Speaker - and I thank the honourable leader of the opposition for raising the issue of Australia's relationship with Israel in this House - allow me to take this opportunity to inform the people of Australia that our ambassador to the UN will soon be initiating a motion in the General Assembly to have the state of Israel officially classified as an apartheid state, and calling for the imposition of international sanctions against its rogue government. Mr Speaker, the honourable gentleman seems on the verge of collapse. Please have the Usher of the Rod do something useful for a change and bring him the smelling salts - quickly!
Mr Krudd - As the honourable gentleman would know, this is a very complex matter. The whole Middle East peace process is littered with failed negotiations up until now. But if there is a preospect of delivering peace in the Middle East, part of that hinges on the question of how we deal with settlements in future. A huge part of it hinges on how we provide Israel with an appropriate state of security, given the threat of continued terrorism which Israel has suffered under for many decades. There is a lot of sensitivity attached to these matters. We on this side of the House are as acutely conscious of this as those on the other side... rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb. (ibid)