Green Senators Ready to Rant. What will Labor Do?

Friday, 01 April 2011 17:28 Wendy Larkson News & Views - News Headlines - Commentary

While there has been widespread shock at the largest Liberal victory on record in the recent NSW election, many have forgotten the impending entry of 4 new Greens Senators into Federal politics in July. One of these is Lee Rhiannon, ex member and activist for the socialist party who has backed the extremist BDS boycott of Israeli goods.

Ms Rhiannon, who entered the NSW Legislative Council in March 1999 and is a former member of the Socialist Party of Australia, is one of four new Greens senators who will travel to Canberra in July. They will take the number of Greens in the upper house to nine, securing the party the balance of power and greater influence over Labor's legislative agenda. (source) 

 Rhiannon has given Labor a giant headache as while Labor ‘is in bed with the Greens’ , they do not support the BDS and have said so publicly. It has never been and will never be a part of their policy.

Today The Australian reports:

GREENS leader Bob Brown is under mounting political and diplomatic pressure to pull his hard-left senator-elect Lee Rhiannon into line as she intensifies her support for a radical boycott of Israel. (source)

Labor’s Trade Minister Craig Emerson said last night that in his view the ill thought out policy was disgusting and he feared it represented an extremism that would make its way to Canberra. And this is a Labor ‘friend’ of the Greens speaking, not a Liberal politician.

"Confirmation by senator-elect Rhiannon of this disgusting policy is reprehensible." He applauded voters in the inner-western Sydney seat of Marrickville, who returned erstwhile Labor deputy premier Carmel Tebbutt to parliament over Greens candidate Fiona Byrne, a supporter of an Israeli boycott. "Good on the people of Marrickville for rejecting this Greens extremism, and I am confident that the rest of Australia will too." (source)

Labor’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, who expresses Australia’s official stance said though an intermediary:

A spokeswoman for Mr Rudd said last night: "Australia is firmly committed to Israel's security and fully recognises the significant security challenges Israel faces."The Australian government has consistently supported a negotiated two-state solution to the Middle East peace process where Israel and a future Palestinian state live side by side in peace and security." (source)

So Labor’s policy is diametrically opposed to that of the Greens on Israel. Will they try to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds? It is difficult to see how they can. Looks like Labor have a political problem on their hands here, in addition to all the others. They must realise they are staring down the barrel of a gun and facing electoral defeat if they go along with these discriminatory, extremist policies. But do Labor know how to say ‘no’ to progressive comrades? If they don’t they will have to learn how to do so or face the electoral consequences.

News update:

Brown reprimands Rhiannon for Israel boycott stance

Andrew Robb slams Greens anti-Semitic stance