Community Safety

ALP votes ‘could give Greens Macnamara’

June 7, 2024

Friday 07 June 2024
Peter Kohn
Australian Jewish News

A Victorian Liberal senator has urged the ALP not to repeat its 2022 election strategy for Macnamara and give first preferences to the Greens.

Senator James Paterson made the public call after the Greens last week pushed for a vote in federal Parliament on recognising a Palestinian state, the latest in a string of anti-Israel moves by the party since October 7.

Paterson voiced grave concern about Greens leader Adam Bandt’s revelation that Australian recognition of Palestinian statehood will be at the top of a list of Greens demands if the federal election – due next year – delivers a hung Parliament, with Labor negotiating support from minor parties.

Paterson reiterated comments by Liberal MP Julian Leeser last week about a post-election scenario in which the Greens demand Palestine recognition as political leverage on a minority Labor government.

Bandt confirmed to media that if the election produces a knife-edge Parliament, his party “will use every lever at our disposal to push for an end to the invasion of Gaza and the occupation of Palestine, as well as for Australia to recognise the State of Palestine”.

On May 29, Labor and the Coalition headed off a Greens motion in the House of Representatives for Australia to recognise a Palestinian state. It garnered support only from the four Greens MPs and independent Andrew Wilkie. Kooyong teal Monique Ryan abstained.

Bandt told Parliament its vote to recognise Palestinian statehood would be “a critical step towards peace and towards ending the slaughter we are seeing with the invasion of Gaza”.

In Parliament on Monday, Foreign Minister Penny Wong accused the Greens of “double standards” after Senator Jordon Steele-John’s accusation that under Labor, there were no consequences for Israel.

She condemned “you and your party participating in protests which have become violent and aggressive … Greens MPs speaking outside of rallies which then invade and intimidate people at Labor Party state conferences”.

“It is double standards to engage in violent and aggressive protest and incite them and think you are doing something about peace … If you think you are for the cause of peace, maybe you should start practising it in this country.”

Assistant Foreign Minister Tim Watts described Greens tactics as “simplistic wedge motions” and former treasurer Josh Frydenberg saw the Greens as “a bigoted party”.

Paterson this week expressed alarm at the prospect of the Greens snaring Macnamara – with its large share of Jewish voters – on the back of Labor preferences.

The Greens “don’t deserve preferences anywhere, but especially not in seats like Macnamara, with a significant Jewish community. There is a very real risk [Macnamara MP] Josh Burns will fall to third place on primary votes at the next election and his preferences will determine the winner,” he said.

“Labor cannot preference the Greens in Macnamara again as they did at the last election or they will saddle Melbourne’s largest Jewish community with a hostile local MP. I’m calling on Labor to rule out doing so now.”

Burns told The AJN, “Instead of working to support communities who are impacted by the war in Israel, the Greens are more interested in pulling stunts in Parliament, often at the expense of our community.

“The Liberals can’t win Macnamara. In 2022, the Greens came close, and next year I’ll be doing everything I can to stop the Greens from winning. But I will need the community’s help to make this happen.”

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