Australia’s UN triumph
search

Australia’s UN triumph

AUSTRALIA’S elevation to the United Nations Security Council for the next two years has received a resounding welcome from Jewish community leaders and politicians.

AUSTRALIA’S elevation to the United Nations Security Council for the next two years has received a resounding welcome from Jewish community leaders and politicians.

Australia was elected with 140 votes in the first round of voting last Thursday, New York time, in a three-way contest for two temporary seats with Finland and Luxembourg, the latter also successful its bid.

Executive Council of Australian Jewry president Dr Danny Lamm and executive director Peter Wertheim said they were delighted with Australia’s win and congratulated the government on the “wonderful achievement”.

“The magnitude of the vote in Australia’s favour has refuted decisively the opinions of those commentators who had said that the bid for a Security Council seat was compromised by the strength of Australia’s support for the US alliance and for Israel.”

Zionist Federation of Australia president Philip Chester said Australia would now have a greater opportunity to play a constructive role in trying to resolve international disputes.

“The voice of Australia, articulating our humanitarian and democratic values, will have important resonance in the Security Council and other world forums, so that suffering and injustice around the world may be relieved,” he said.

Kooyong MP Josh Frydenberg, who had been critical of the government’s foreign policy and aid distribution prior to the vote, also welcomed the election.

“Australia, with its global interests and proud record in diplomacy, will have a positive influence during its two-year term,” he said.

“However, during this time we should always stay true to our values and act in a manner consistent with our national interest. One also hopes that Australia’s support for Israel does not waver, nor Australia’s willingness to speak out against state sponsors of terrorism.”

In warmly congratulating Foreign Minister Bob Carr, Melbourne Ports MP Michael Danby said the win was “testament that we need not compromise our egalitarian values in order to attain global recognition of our economic and democratic significance”.

“Never did Australia concede or compromise on our support for Israel, as many proposed we do, in order to win the bid,” he said.

A spokesperson for the Foreign Minister said the government was very grateful to receive support for the bid from all over the world.

“But Israel was a very early and very consistent supporter of our bid … and that should be appropriately acknowledged,” the spokesperson said.

Israel’s support came despite Australia changing its vote on three annual UN resolutions relating to the Jewish State last November, a move criticised by shadow foreign minister Julie Bishop.

“[Then foreign minister] Mr Rudd should admit the extent to which the campaign for a temporary seat on the UN Security Council is influencing the votes,” she said at the time.

Critics also labelled the government’s decision to send two high-level diplomats to the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Tehran in September as a vote-buying exercise.

GARETH NARUNSKY

Melbourne Ports MP Michael Danby said Australia never compromised on its support for Israel when courting votes for the UN Security Council.

read more:
comments