Senator SINODINOS (New South Wales) (15:57): I move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) Senator Rhiannon has acknowledged that some votes shifted away from the Greens in Marrickville in the New South Wales local government elections because of the boycott of Israel issue,
(ii) Marrickville Greens councillor, Ms Marika Kontellis, voted in 2011 to retain the Council's Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) policy and in August 2012 attended the Byron Bay BDS conference,
(iii) the New South Wales Greens chose Mr Karel Solomon, a BDS advocate who has branded Israel an apartheid state, as a candidate for the Marrickville Council, and
(iv) Ms Irene Doutney, the Greens candidate for Sydney Lord Mayor, has supported BDS actions and said that she personally favours a full boycott of Israel;
(b) calls on the New South Wales Greens to explicitly reject the BDS policy; and
(c) condemns the BDS campaign.
I seek leave to make a short statement.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Mark Bishop): Leave is granted for one minute.
Senator SINODINOS: This motion addresses an issue which was important in New South Wales in the inner city of Sydney in the context of a campaign by Greens councillors to promote a boycotts, divestments and sanctions policy against the state of Israel. My reason for putting this motion up is that the results of the local government elections in New South Wales—
Senator Fierravanti-Wells: The overwhelming results!
Senator SINODINOS: The overwhelming results in New South Wales confirmed a backlash towards these sorts of campaigns. The point I want to make is: if we want to engage states, promote cooperation and peace on issues like the Middle East, the best approach is to engage the parties involved rather than to seek to isolate parties and make them appear to be the villains that they are not. I am therefore calling on the New South Wales Greens to explicitly reject the BDS policy and for the Senate to condemn the BDS campaign.
Senator MILNE (Tasmania—Leader of the Australian Greens) (15:58): I seek leave to make a short statement.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.
Senator MILNE: The Australian Greens have always had a position of supporting a two-state solution. We support the aspirations and rights of the Palestinian people and the Israeli people to an 60 SENATE Wednesday, 12 September 2012