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The Greens’ Melbourne Ports Candidate, Ann Birrell: My Answer to the Jewish Community

September 2, 2013 – 12:38 pm16 Comments

ann birrell2Editor’s Note: We have invited Michael Danby and Kevin Ekendahl to write for us.

Due to a mix up, Danby’s response did not reach the editor; however, we hope to receive a submission from him this evening, to be published tomorrow.

 Ekendahl has undertaken to have a piece for us if the Liberal directorate approves it.

By Ann Birrell:

As Labor and the Liberals move further to the right, many members of the Jewish community are asking whether the Greens can be their political home.

People may have many reasons to vote one way or another, but I would like to state clearly where we stand on some important issues of concern.

Melbourne Ports is a well informed, tolerant and inclusive electorate with strong humanitarian values. Almost 33% of our residents were born overseas—around 10% more than the national average. We are proud to provide a home to refugees from many continents.

Melbourne Ports also has a high number of Jewish Australians. Many have written expressing their deep concern at the humanitarian crisis of asylum seekers arriving by boat.

The Greens believe that we need to take immediate action to end the detention and harsh treatment of refugees. The Greens would increase international aid and have a considered regional plan so that people have less reason to board dangerous boats. The Greens policy is fair and compassionate, based on evidence and respects the Refugee Convention.

In light on the ongoing tragedy in Syria, Senator Christine Milne has expressed her horror at the violence and has urged the international community to work for a diplomatic resolution to the on-going conflict.

The Greens support the rights and aspirations of Israeli and Palestinian peoples to live in peace and security in their own independent, sovereign states. We consider this can be best achieved through negotiated settlement. The BDS has never been the policy of the Australian Greens nor the Victorian Greens. Our local branch recommends that members support organisations promoting dialogue and peace, such the ‘Hand in Hand’ school movement.

The Greens oppose the Liberal plan to repeal provisions of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act used in the past to stand up against racial vilification. We consider the Act important for promoting tolerance and understanding. See Christine Milne statement: the Australian Greens defend the right of all persons, to be able to live in an environment without discrimination and violence.

The Greens believe diversity of ownership and independent media are fundamental to the integrity of public debate and fundamental to democracy. We support the independence and proper funding ABC and SBS.

Australia has a proud tradition of sharing cultural and religious celebrations. The Australian Greens encourage all Australians to maintain, develop and share their cultural heritage.

Our Jewish members and supporters look forward the approach of the high holy days, a time of introspection, awareness and appreciation – a time when Jewish families and friends come together to contemplate the past year, and renew their hopes for the year ahead.

On behalf of the Australian Greens, the Melbourne Ports Greens wish our Jewish community a Shana Tova U’metuka.

With your help, we look forward to 5774 being a fairer, wiser and sweeter new year for all who’ve come across the seas to this great Australian land.

E:Ann.Birrell@vic.greens.org.au FB: /Birrell.Ann  P: 0419550538

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