An Un-Happy New Year in Palestine

by ray goodlass

My satisfaction of having my Op Ed column that included a reference to Palestine published in the Daily Advertiser yesterday as been overshadowed by the UN Palestine motion being voted down by Australia (and the USA).

As an Australian I am deeply ashamed that my country voted against an opportunity to grant something approaching a just peace for the Palestinians. Shame on you, Abbott, Bishop and all your sorry crew.

Not a Happy New Year for many.

Anyway, here’s the full text of my Op Ed column:

Little New Year cheer in cabinet reshuffle

Last week’s cabinet reshuffle brought little joy for the New Year for those of us who might have hoped for a more compassionate government in 2015.

There were two hopeful glimmers, more of which later, but essentially the reshuffle, if anything, went in some ways from bad to worse. Much to the delight, of course, of those devoted to the cruelties of the Thatcher-Reaganite neo-liberal economic and social policies espoused by Abbott, Hockey, Cormann et al.

Indeed, the Daily Telegraph, salivating at what horrifies fair-minded people, screamed with delight in headlines such as “Minister who stopped the boats to stop the bludgers”. (22 December).

As Greens Parliamentary Leader Christine Milne commented “”Putting Scott Morrison in charge of social services will send shivers down the spines of people across the country. Scott Morrison and the word compassion don’t go in the same sentence.

“This is the government that has rejected climate change science and isolated Australia from the rest of the world”.

“Nothing about this reshuffle today changes the fundamental policies … you’ve still got their commitment to go after the most disadvantaged in our community,” said Senator Milne.

There are some slight glimmers of hope. Making up for a glaring omission, Science has been added to the Industry portfolio.

The elevation of Albury’s Sussan Ley to Cabinet is also a step in the right direction. Not because she has the Health portfolio, because she is as addicted to the laissez- faire economic and social policies where the powerful get richer and the ordinary folk pay for it as the rest of Captain Abbott’s heartless bunch.

Instead her elevation is noteworthy, partly because she doubles the representation of women in cabinet, though with Captain Abbott, or should that be Mr Misogyny, bizarrely retains the title of Minister for Women. And even doubling the number still means a grand total of only two!

Ms Ley’s elevation is important also because she had been a rare Liberal voice in support of a just peace for Palestine, having been a co-chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Palestine and supporter of Palestine’s UN bid for statehood.

“I support the Palestinian bid for statehood in part because it will give heart to the ordinary people of the West Bank and Gaza” said Ms Ley (House of Representatives 2011)

Let us hope in 2015 that Ms Ley doesn’t have to bury her support for Palestinian statehood in the name of Cabinet solidarity, but instead is able to use her newly elevated status for the cause of a just peace in this strife torn region.

At this stage it is of course touch and go as to how Ms Ley will proceed, but a small sign of hope for the New Year is that her address to Parliament from 2011 is still on her website.