Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Odd Man Out

Remember the fuss back in 2011 when Marrickville Council decided to boycott Israeli products? Remember how it was derided by Labor's Anthony Albanese, in particular, for 'meddling' in a foreign policy issue? Remember how the NSW government of Baruch O'Farrell talked of sacking it? Well, cop this:

"A NSW parliamentary delegation, including a senior government minister, travelled to a disputed region in the Caucasus in defiance of a strong travel warning from the Department of Foreign Affairs. The delegation, which included the NSW Minister for Transport, Gladys Berejiklian, went to the disputed region of Nagorno Karabakh last month, addressed its parliament and had meetings with its president. Nagorno Karabakh... is not internationally recognised as a country and is considered a breakaway region of Azerbaijan... The delegation's trip followed an extraordinary motion passed through the NSW upper house which, in effect, recognised Nagorno Karabakh as a separate country by recognising it had 'the right to self-determination', and calling on Australia to recognise its independence. The motion, which received no publicity, was passed without dissent last October without even the Foreign Minister being aware of it... Following this, the Armenian National Committee of Australia issued an invitation to NSW parliamentarians to visit Nagorno Karabakh. Christian Democrat Fred Nile said MPs had to pay for the trip themselves, which had reduced the number. The parliamentary delegation was made up of 7 MPs led by Liberal MP Jonathon O'Dea and including Mr Nile, Liberals David Clarke and Marie Ficarra, and Labor MLCs Shaoquett Moselmane and Amanda Fazio." (MPs defy Caucasus travel warning, Mark Coultan, The Australian, 30/8/13)

Perhaps the most puzzling part of the whole business is the inclusion of Labor MLC Shaoquett Moselmane. Why would an MLC who has courageously spoken up in the NSW Legislative Council in defence of Palestinian rights pay for a trip to anywhere with the likes of such pro-Israel zealots as Nile, Clarke, Ficarra and O'Dea?

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