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Albo takes aim at pro-Palestinian demonstrators

Written by on May 14, 2024

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has defended Australia’s decision to back increased recognition of Palestine at the UN after the Coalition accused him of breaching faith with the Jewish community.

Opposition leader Peter Dutton demanded Mr Albanese explain his “captain’s call” to back Palestine’s bid for full United Nations membership, despite opposition from the US and the UK.

He said 130 hostages remained in tunnels after the October 7 attacks by Hamas on Israel last year and raised concerns about “violent anti-Semitism” on the rise in Australia.

A visibly frustrated Mr Albanese told Lower House MPs that Australia continued to express its concern for the loss of innocent lines, arguing the vote was justified given its support for a two-state solution.

“The people who are vehemently opposed to that resolution include Hamas, include people who have a view that there shouldn’t be just a single state, from the river to the sea — as the chant goes — that is not my position,” Mr Albanese said.

“It’s also not the position of Japan, Korea, the New Zealand conservative government led by Christopher Luxon, of ASEAN — of all of those countries, who all overwhelmingly voted for that motion.”

Uni clashes led to ‘provocative’ act’

Earlier, Mr Albanese struck down “provocative” chants heard at pro-Palestine protests on university campuses, urging for a respectful debate as tensions escalate over the war in Gaza.

It came after the Greens introduced a Senate motion on Tuesday to express solidarity with student encampments that have swept multiple university campuses across the country

Speaking to 3AW, Mr Albanese condemned reports of clashes between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel protestors at Monash University in Melbourne overnight.

According to reports, hundreds of protestors marched outside of an Israeli event chanting “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

“One of the really disappointing things is that I reckon if you asked those people chanting it, heaps of them wouldn’t have a clue, wouldn’t be able to find the [river] Jordan on a map,” Mr Albanese said.

“And you know, this is a complex issue, but the sort of slogans which are being used, I have heard another chant that was used last night as well in which I featured heavily in.

“Why would a group of people deliberately go towards, in this case, pro-Palestinian protesters, go towards a group of Jewish students, so deliberately those groups were brought together? It’s a provocative act.”

McKenzie slams alleged deal with ‘animal activists’

Meanwhile in the Senate, sparks flew between Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie and Agriculture Minister Murray Watt over a decision to ban the live export of sheep from 2028.

Senator McKenzie said the Albanese government had pandered to the “ideological agenda” of animal activists, quoting from an Animal Justice Party release that claimed its preferences in Melbourne’s Dunkley by-election had pushed the government to ban the trade.

“We are proud that the AJP could deliver the knockout blow by demanding the end of live sheep export as a requirement for our preferences at the Dunkley By-election in March,” the AJP’s statement read.

“Ongoing conversations behind-the-scenes between AJP and Labor leadership has helped to finetune government policy.”

Senator Kenzie asked Senator Watt: “Why did you sell out sheep farmers in WA for preferences in Melbourne?”

But Senator Watt dismissed the claim of a preference deal with the AJP as “absolute nonsense”.

He said the Labor Party had committed to banning what he called the “declining trade” in 2019 and then renounced their policy in 2022, well before the 2024 Melbourne by-election.

The government will introduce legislation to phase out live sheep exports by sea by 2028, with a $107m transition package for the sheep industry to support the shift.

Scomo’s successor takes a seat 

Former consultant Simon Kennedy has officially been sworn in as a member of the federal parliament, after retaining former prime minister Scott Morrison’s safe Liberal seat of Cook. 

Mr Kennedy strode through a packed lower house on Tuesday, receiving a warm welcome from Anthony Albanese who congratulated him on the new role.

“I wish you well in serving the people for Cook and I look forward to your contributions to this house,” the prime minister said.

Mr Kennedy’s by-election win triggered anger within the party after he beat out local mayor Carmelo Pesce and veteran family advocate commissioner Gwen Cherne.

Opposition leader Peter Dutton commended Mr Kennedy on what he said was a “hard-fought” preselection process.

“I said to my colleagues earlier, Prime Minister – if you want to feel good about being a Liberal, go down to Cronulla at the by-election. There was a lot of love at the booth there,” he added.

Chalmers’ budget hint

Treasurer Jim Chalmers has kicked off budget morning with a reassuring message for low to middle income earners, as he gears up to deliver Labor’s second consecutive surplus.

Dr Chalmers said Australian’s should “have a very careful look” at cost-of-living measures contained in this year’s budget papers, to be released on Thursday night, hinting at hidden sweeteners for struggling households.

“There are some assumptions about that cost of living package, which may or may not turn out to be right. I encourage you to check it out,” he told reporters.

“What you’ll see in the budget is a really enthusiastic commitment to investing in communities right around Australia,” he told reporters in Canberra.

The centrepiece of Tuesday’s budget will be the government’s cost-of-living stage 3 tax cuts, which will kick in on July 1. Households with an average income of $130,000 will receive $2,600 under the changes.

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Last week, the Treasurer hinted at “additional steps in the budget” to adopt some of the recommendations of the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee, which include an increase to Jobseeker.

Dr Chalmers said he “didn’t agree” with experts views the cost-of-living subsidies that have been announced fail to address underlying inflationary pressures.

“Opinions are pretty thick on the ground during this time of year. My job is not to make opinions – my job is to make a difference and make it all add up,” he said.

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