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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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  • :) says:

    Thanks Ann! If I lived in Melbourne Ports you would definitely have my vote :)

  • kmg says:

    The Greens support the BDS movement and always have. As is my democratic right, I do not believe what this candidate is saying. I have heard Bob Brown and Christine Milne make excuses for their candidates in ‘live’ interviews. Ann Birrell, we know who you and your party are and your policy on BDS and Israel, not to mention Lee Rhiannon. What’s next, banning Shechitah and Bris Milah? Your party and it’s ideology is a serious and insidious danger to our homogeneous society.

  • kmg says:

    I do live in Melbourne Ports and I voted last week. guess who I didn’t vote for?

  • :) says:

    Hey KMG

    You said “I do live in Melbourne Ports and I voted last week. guess who I didn’t vote for?”, so I’ll take a guess.

    You didn’t vote for the millions of refugees fleeing persecution. You didn’t vote for the millions of Australians that feel marginalised because of their sexuality. You didn’t vote for the generations to come, whose natural world will be irreparably damaged due to our unwillingness to face up to imminent disaster. You didn’t vote for the generations to come who will be missing clean infrastructure. You didn’t vote for generations to come who will be missing effective broadband. You didn’t vote for university students, who want money invested in their education rather than ripped from it. You didn’t vote for public schooled children, who don’t get a fair go. You didn’t vote for animals, who will continue to be tortured under the live export scheme. You didn’t vote for food security, or a sustainable economy. You didn’t vote for anyone who is insulted by Holocaust denial, which will be legal once the LNP repeals 18C of the Discrimination Act.


  • kmg says:

    hey :) previous galus poster, while the issues you mention may need attention, I couldn’t think of any group less capable of handling them well, than the ‘Greens’

  • :) says:

    Why is that? They were very successful at getting carbon pricing and dental care through the 2010 parliament.

  • kmg says:

    thanks :) I’ve said my piece and I’ve voted.

  • letters in the age says:

    The Greens have had the most highly_ educated demographic in Melbourne.

    The Coalition has attracted the bogan, redneck vote.

    Stop the boats then buy the boats.


    Despite what many think in the M.S.M, they have principles and haven’t moved away from their philosophical base like the labour party has.

    Best of luck to them!!

  • Philip Mendes says:

    Birrell’s piece is interesting both for what it says and doesn’t say on the BDS. I think she is technically correct in arguing that the Victorian and National Greens have never endorsed a BDS. It is definitely the NSW Branch that has been the vanguard of anti-Zionist fundamentalism within the Party. But that is only part of the story. Unfortunately, my much earlier (and now outdated) 2004 ADC Special Report on the Greens – see http://www.academia.edu/attachments/31817642/download_file – remains the only serious study of the Greens on Israel. I pointed out in that study, which strangely no longer seems available on the ADC website, that the Greens were a little bit like the Socialist Left faction of the ALP in the 1970s and 80s. Lee Rhiannon is the equivalent of Bill Hartley from that period, but equally there were many in the ALP Left then and many in the Greens now who don’t hold such a simplistic position. We urgently need an updated study which not only considers how representative the varied views are within the Greens on Israel/Palestine, but also compares them to Greens elsewhere such as the UK (where I think they are rabidly anti-Israel), and say Germany (where the former Greens Foreign Minister Fishcher was very pro-Israel). It is something I may have a look at next year alongside a new book I am co-authoring on the BDS movement in Australia and beyond. But ideally, it would also be great to see somebody who is both pro-Israel and a supporter or even member of the Greens address this from an informed insider view, preferably via an honours or higher degree theses.

  • Ash says:

    Only a Jew who is completely unaware of the Greens’ views on Israel, or simply doesn’t care, would vote for the Greens. And if you don’t care about Israel, you’re not much of a Jew as far as I’m concerned.

  • TheSadducee says:

    I must admit that I like the bit about Syria – Milne calls for pressure to be put on Syria, Russia and China but doesn’t articulate any proposed strategy/methods to do this.

    The thing I find staggering about Syria is that the use of chemical weapons by either side is a crime against humanity (the opinion of the UN Sec-Gen Moon) and yet the best we can get from the leader of a major political party is deliberately vague and unclear…

    If something similar happened in Israel or the OT, can you honestly suggest that the response would be similar?

  • radiant leon says:

    Howdy folks,

    My 3 kids are at the hand in hand school (referred to above) – the single greatest place in Israel! Redemption realised every morning.
    A gut yor!

  • Joe in Australia says:

    Philip Mendes, I don’t think that an absence of policy is worth very much. My concern with The Greens’ candidates is that some of their politicians and many of their members support BDS and that the party would likely do so in Parliament. My support for any particular party would have little to do with their relationship to Israel, but I make an exception for the BDS movement: it is Orientalist and it shelters and comforts antisemites even if it isn’t antisemitic itself. I can’t have anything to do with its supporters or fellow travellers.

  • R B says:

    letters to the age,

    50 years ago, the profile of voters that you described and are so proud of, across the Western world, voted for Communist parties, believing and convincing that only Communism would bring peace and salvation to humanity.
    When it comes to referring to voters of centric/right-wing parties, they were as arrogant as you.

    From an educated, proud Liberal voter.

  • ittayf says:

    Good to hear that the Melbourne Ports Greens support donating money to the Hand in hand school movement
    After seeing what they do
    I am confident that supporting these schools will do more good for the cause of peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians than BDS. Good decision.

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