A barely minted Liberal candidate called out for unsavoury Nazi comparisons. A controversy that won’t go away for an independent candidate who signed a pro-Palestinian petition. A BDS-supporting Greens senate hopeful visiting the Sydney Jewish Museum. The Prime Minister and Treasurer dropping into shule for Pesach – it must be election time.
Though the official campaign is not yet two weeks old, for many it seems like it has been going on for much longer.
One could even argue the government’s re-election campaign began when it was returned three years ago.
And whatever one’s position on a variety of issues, on Israel, Scott Morrison and the Coalition have been exemplary; promoting bilateral ties, standing up against bias at the United Nations and making crucial public statements supporting Israel and denouncing BDS.
On Holocaust remembrance – noting Yom Hashoah is next week – government funding to establish Holocaust museums around Australia, driven largely by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, has been most welcome.
Labor, for its part, has promised to legislate important religious freedoms after the government’s own bill to do so was disappointingly put on ice.
Labor has also pledged its support of Israel’s right to exist and defend itself, though beneath the surface there are a number in the party who are hostile to Israel. Equally problematic is the resolution to recognise a Palestinian state that had its status elevated to the party’s platform last year.
And what if neither party wins a majority on May 21? Then the focus turns to independents, several of whom are spruiking conservative economics but progressive climate policies.
Alas, controversy has also not left this group untouched. Apart from Goldstein candidate Zoe Daniel’s signing of the “Do Better on Palestine” letter leading to her and Liberal MP Tim Wilson being uninvited from a Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration, there are allegations relating to Wentworth candidate Allegra Spender’s links to anti-Israel activist Blair Palese and – let’s not forget – the man bankrolling the independents, Simon Holmes a Court, has his own fraught history with our community after taking a special interest in the odious dual citizenship case against Frydenberg.
The next month is going to be interesting.