Australia coalition is 'bad for Israel'

By Dan Goldberg, September 16, 2010
PM Julia Gillard

PM Julia Gillard

The inclusion of the Green Party in the new Australian coalition may compromise the government's support for Israel, supporters of the Jewish state fear.

Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard formed a minority government last week after neither her Labour Party nor the opposition Liberal Party managed the requisite 76 seats in the August 21 election.

Ms Gillard, generally regarded as a strong supporter of Israel, won the support of independent lawmakers and the Greens to help her squeak into power.

But Ms Gillard's deal with the Greens has sparked fears it may damage Labour's support for Israel, especially in the aftermath of the expulsion of an Israeli official from the embassy in Canberra.

Israeli journalist Ron Ben-Yishai, who was in Australia for the election, wrote in Yediot Achronot that the Greens are "not good news for the government of Israel".

"The Greens are really the left wing of the Labour Party, which split from them, and their positions on the Arab-Israeli conflict are no different to those of the British radical left."

But a Labour spokesperson said: "The government's policies are the policies that it took to the election.

"Australia's longstanding support for Israel and for a two-state solution to the conflict in the Middle East will not change."

Meanwhile, the new government includes two Jewish MPs, Michael Danby and Mark Dreyfus, both of the Labour Party. The opposition will include Joshua Frydenberg, the first federal Jewish lawmaker for the Liberal Party.

Last updated: 12:04pm, September 16 2010