THE HON BILL SHORTEN MP LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG

SPEECH *** CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY *** ZIONIST FEDERATION OF AUSTRALIA MELBOURNE SUNDAY, 30 MARCH 2014 It’s great to be here today. I’ve long been a supporter of Israel – and an admirer of its success and its many accomplishments. In 2012 I led a Ministerial delegation to Israel. I was keen to learn how it has made high tech e!ports and entrepreneurialism its point of competitive advantage. I was curious" how can a country with a population of less than # million can support a thriving venture capital industry that produces more successful start ups than much larger economies like $apan and %orea& 'he answer was simple. Israel embraces science and isn’t afraid of failure.

Israel’s commitment to innovation and commercialising that innovation is hard wired into key institutions. 'here is a (hief )cientist in every *overnment +epartment" and a defence industry that drives innovation for industrial use. ,bove all" there is a tolerance for risk and failure" because investors realise that it’s often an entrepreneur’s second or third business that will be their most successful. It’s an inspiring story that shows Israel is determined to let every citi-en fulfil their potential. It’s an e!ample that ,ustralia can draw a lot from – and I think there is much more we can do in the way of innovation partnerships with our good friends in Israel. 'oday is an important chance for me to lay out the principles that inform .abor’s view of the Middle /ast. 'he .abor 0arty will always be proud of the role it played in the birth of modern Israel. 1e continue to have mutual security interests in the safety of our people against international terrorism and governments that support them" and I am proud of the elevated levels of defence cooperation that were reached during our *overnment. 'his included significant procurement of Israeli e2uipment in the areas of 3attlefield Management )ystems" 4,5s" helmets" combat bandages" 'yphoon weapons stations and other systems on our vessels" and the 6oint 'hales and 0lasan 0rotected Mobility 5ehicle pro6ect.

1e also cooperate closely on methods of dealing with those insidious and indiscriminate Improvised /!plosive +evices that have maimed and killed so many in ,fghanistan and elsewhere. .abor’s belief in the right of the Israeli people to live within secure and recognised state boundaries has never wavered. 1e also have great hopes for a 6ust and lasting peace in the Middle /ast. 'he best way to achieve this 6ust peace is a two state solution. ,nd let me be very clear what I mean by that7 8ne state for the 0alestinian people. 8ne state for the $ewish people. 'wo homelands for two peoples. 1e believe both sides need to demonstrate a willingness to engage in direct negotiations without pre conditions and to move as 2uickly as possible to resolution of final status issues. It is at the negotiating table that these issues should be resolved. 'his is why I strongly support the efforts underway by )ecretary of )tate $ohn %erry to reach a framework agreement – and ultimately a comprehensive peace treaty. 3oth sides face a moment of truth in these negotiations. I have no doubt in the courage of the people of Israel to make the hard decisions in the interests of a 6ust and lasting peace.

,nd I firmly hope the same pertains to the 0alestinian ,uthority. .abor acknowledges that the settlements and infrastructure Israel has built in the 1est 3ank will need to be considered in drawing a final border. 1e will support an approach that enables agreed border ad6ustments" including through the principle of a land swap which has been under discussion between the parties for a long time. 1e do acknowledge that some settlement activity in the 1est 3ank is illegal under Israeli law and we encourage the Israeli authorities to act effectively with respect to this. 3ut this issue" as difficult and emotive as it is" also has a solution7 a peace treaty between Israel and 0alestine. 'he issue of Israeli settlements will be definitively concluded when there is a peace treaty" with defined borders – and then everyone knows the territory that Israel has" and that 0alestine has. )o the real answer to the settlements is to reach a settlement. ,nd the sooner that is done – the better. I also want to register my profound opposition to those promoting an anti Israel boycott. I re6ect it. It has no place in our universities and it has no place in the commercial marketplace. I stand for engagement with Israel at every level.

.et me turn to Iran7 8n the 2uestion of relations with Iran" I am not opposed to the principle of negotiating with Iran regarding the elimination of their nuclear weapons ambitions. I am an optimist – and I believe in the power of negotiation. 1e need to tread carefully though. 1e need to have our eyes open – and all options on the table. 9egardless of our instincts in favour of consensus and negotiation" there are serious caveats that we should apply when seeking engagement with Iran. 1e need to consider carefully any undertakings made by a regime of the kind currently in power in Iran. ,ny progress in talks should be underpinned by the most rigorous of verification regimes. )anctions have proven highly effective in putting pressure on Iran to begin a serious discussion of preventing Iran’s development of nuclear capability. )anctions should not be rela!ed in any of the key areas affecting the regime’s nuclear applications. 'he international community should think carefully before depriving ourselves of negotiating positions by being too 2uick to unwind sanction measures in other areas. I remain cautious in regard to the Iranian regime. It is a regime that brutalises its own people.

It maintains a foreign policy premised on maintaining support to global terrorism. Iran’s foreign policy advocates the destruction of Israel" supporting :e-bollah and :amas with sophisticated weapons and training" backing the brutal ,ssad regime and threatening the )traits of :ormu-. ;one of this is acceptable – and it is easy to see" if you take Iran at its word" why Israel faces an e!istential threat from an Iran that has nuclear weapons. ,nd it is not only Israel that feels this way. )audi ,rabia" the 4,/" $ordan" /gypt" 'urkey – all these Muslim states are deeply troubled and feel threatened by Iran and its posture. ,s a proud democracy" as a peace loving nation" as a country that has always believed in a world that is free and e2ual and as a great friend of Israel – ,ustralia will not be silent on these matters. *iven the events of the last week" I thought I should also speak to you about another important issue in our political debate. 'his is" of course" the .iberal *overnment’s proposal to repeal )ections 1#3" (" + and / of the Racial Discrimination Act. I believe this is a colossal mistake – and a dangerous one. ;ow" issues like this stir up strong passions – and so they should. I am strongly opposed to the idea of watering down the hate speech protections in )ection 1#(.

,s the representative of an electorate where <1 in every 100 citi-ens speaks a language other than /nglish at home" I am proud of ,ustralia’s migrant tradition. I think migration has made us the greatest" most multicultural nation on earth. I believe we should treasure and welcome all those who become ,ustralians by choice. In the last week – hundreds and thousands of ,ustralians have made it clear that they feel the same way. 'he important thing for all of us who care deeply about this issue is to make sure that our passion for the rightness of this cause does not consume the straightforward" sensible arguments against weakening the protections in 1#(. 'he case for clear protections against bigotry in the 9acial +iscrimination ,ct is strong enough without indulging in inflammatory rhetoric. )o let me make this point clear from the outset. In opposing the changes to the 9acial +iscrimination ,ct" I am not accusing the 0rime Minister" his ,ttorney *eneral" or the (abinet of being racists or bigots – or condoning racism or bigotry. /ven if )enator 3randis has reached the appalling 6udgment in his legalistic 6ourney as ,ttorney *eneral that it is a core value in our society for people to have the right to be bigots. 8u country is far better than that pernicious view. )urely we aspire to something far better for our society.

I’m not that interested in whether this change is 6ust a matter of 'ony ,bbott keeping a promise he made to a think tank. .abor’s ma6or concern is not the motivation behind the changes. It’s the effect that the changes will have – it’s the message that the changes send. I think any move to water down protections against hate speech is a seriously retrograde step. It sends a dangerous" insidious signal that this issue isn’t as serious as it was before. 'hat somehow" in some way" the need to protect people from pre6udice is reduced. 'his is wrong. 'here is no place for bigotry" no place for racism" no place for hate speech in the modern ,ustralia. 'hat’s the message we should be sending. It’s the view of more than 1<0 community leaders who have come forward in the last week to denounce the government’s proposed changes. I don’t propose to list them all – but I do think it is worth noting that the head of the 0rime Minister’s own (ouncil on Indigenous ,ffairs has called this a =mad’ decision and one that will let bigots off the chain. ,nd the ,ustralian of the >ear" ,dam *oodes" who showed such courage in standing up against racist abuse last year" has voiced his concerns that the new act will provide a =loophole’ for racist abuse.

.adies and *entlemen" you know better than me" better than anyone" that the $ewish people have been the target of bigoted abuse – of anti )emitism – which is an old and wicked problem" and which is still with us today )ection 1#( empowers minorities with the ability to fight back" with the force of the law and the sanction of our )tate" in the face of the outrageous and malign" which could otherwise be the first step down a dark and evil path. It sets a moral standard on behalf of the nation that says who we are. 'o me" there is no greater e!ample of the value and importance of 1#( than the case of :olocaust denier ?rederick 'oben. 'his was a man who7 )aid that homicidal gas chambers at ,uschwit- were unlikely ,ccused $ewish people who are offended by" and who challenge :olocaust denial of limited intelligence
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,rgued that $ewish people" for improper purposes" including financial gain" e!aggerated the number of $ews killed during 1orld 1ar II and the circumstances in which they were killed.

'he /!ecutive (ouncil of ,ustralian $ewry used section 1#( to have these hateful" bigoted" ignorant statements removed from the internet and their author prosecuted. ,nd last week" the /!ecutive +irector of the /!ecutive (ouncil of ,ustralian $ewry" said that under the *overnment’s new version of these laws – this significant case" and all those that the /(,$ has won against this kind of abhorrent anti )emitism and :olocaust denial" would have been e!tremely unlikely to succeed.

'o me" this is proof enough that the *overnment should not be tampering with these protections. 'he final point I would make on this issue is that the real measure of the effectiveness is )ection 1#( is the fact that the overwhelming ma6ority of cases are resolved through conciliation. Most of the time" the trained conciliator" the offender and the victim engage in a respectful dialogue" the offence is e!plained and an apology is given. /vidence shows that both parties perceive this as a fair process" and a mutually satisfactory one. 1e’ve got si! weeks to change the government’s mind on this issue. I say =we’" because the government e!pect the .abor party not to agree with them. 'hey will listen much more closely to your voice" the voice of the people" than they will to those of us who sit on the other side of the 0arliament. )o if you feel strongly about this – make it known. )end a message. /ngage in the political debate and help keep ,ustralia a tolerant" multicultural and peaceful nation. ENDS