One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts says New Zealand has a ‘hostile attitude’ towards Israel. (Photo: Andrew Meares)
4 January 2017
Amy Remeikis – The Age
One Nation has picked a fight with one of Australia’s closest allies, calling for tighter immigration controls for those across the ditch, after New Zealand co-sponsored a United Nation’s resolution censuring Israel.
Queensland senator Malcolm Roberts said he was “appalled” by the Security Council resolution, which called for an immediate end to any and all settlement activities in disputed zones, including East Jerusalem, which he said “have contained Jewish settlements since biblical times”.
In a statement released last week, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop implied Australia, which does not have a seat on the Security Council, would have gone against the position held by New Zealand, and the United States, which abstained from voting, while supporting a two-state solution.
Liberal senator Eric Abetz was also critical of New Zealand’s position, releasing his own statement condemning the resolution.
But Senator Roberts went further, accusing New Zealand of “stabbing our ally in the front”, while criticising the Turnbull government for not putting enough pressure on New Zealand to stop it.
“2017 marks the centenary of the ANZACs’ brave actions to free the Palestinian territory – now Israel – from Ottoman oppression of Christians, Jews and other groups,” he said.
“It would never have been possible for those brave ANZACs, charging as part of the Light Horse Brigade, to have ever thought that events 100 years later would go full circle and future generations would betray the very people they were about to liberate.
“Israel is the Jewish state, and it’s the only Middle Eastern democracy where Christians, Muslims, atheists and Jews can all be elected to the same parliament.
“Israel is Jewish and democratic, unlike most Islamic countries.”
Accusing New Zealand of a “hostile attitude” towards Israel, Senator Roberts suggested Australia take a stronger stance against New Zealand “settlements”.
“At the very least, we should look at further cutting benefits for New Zealanders living in Australia,” he said.
“Perhaps a tougher immigration policy aimed towards New Zealand would stop Kiwis from establishing settlements in Australia.”
Australia has had agreements in place with New Zealand, allowing for somewhat free movement between the two nations, since the 1920s.
Senator Roberts’s statement presents a marked turnaround in One Nation policy, with the party previously calling for changes to make to make it easier for New Zealanders to apply for citizenship and social security.
“We have opened our borders and our hearts to people from all over the world offering them the opportunity to become Australian citizens, but not to our closest neighbours, our allies and our ANZAC mates,” the One Nation policy says.
“. . . They are working, paying their taxes, and raising families, but when hardship hits they cannot apply to receive help from our social security system. Many New Zealanders are then left homeless, destitute and desperate.
“We believe Australians would open their hearts to our neighbours. Therefore, we are calling on the government to change the current laws.”
Ms Bishop has extended an invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit Australia this year. If the trip goes ahead, Mr Netanyahu would become the first sitting Israeli Prime Minister to visit Australia on official business.
[Read the Age article].