The Last Word: A Bad “State” of Affairs
Aug 1, 2023 | Jeremy Jones
The Australian Labor Party currently risks transforming itself into the type of political party that could never lead this country again.
Despite the huge amount of effort that was made to secure enough seats to win government, it would appear not enough effort has been put into making the party membership understand that being in government is a serious business.
I have been at ALP branch meetings where the most ridiculous proposals were put forward, often by very well-meaning and sincere people who simply did not have enough knowledge of the matters they were agitated about.
There appeared to be a higher-than-average number of believers in conspiracy theories in the party, along with quite a high number of people who would orchestrate conspiracies if they served their political agenda.
Serving as secretary of one of the state party’s policy committees, I dealt with correspondence from not just party members but even parliamentarians which exhibited prejudices and fantasies that had no place in any form of serious political discourse.
There were plenty of intelligent, decent, committed people from the left to the right of the Party and, although the factions were subtribes, there was affiliation to the larger tribe, the party.
Within the party there were also people across the factions who were into serious policy development – alongside others who were into empty virtue signalling.
I write this in the wake of various Labor Party forums, branches and conferences calling for the recognition of a State of Palestine.
It is important to note that the resolutions do not say that a Palestinian State is something they believe should be established, but act as if one already exists.
Yet there is no current political entity which has the legal elements of statehood and wishes to be called Palestine.
There is the three-quarters of the land of the British Mandatory Palestine which is ruled by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, but this is not the “Palestinian State” under discussion. There is Gaza, controlled by the terror group Hamas. The Palestinian Authority only has autonomy in the cities of the West Bank, but has increasingly been losing control even of many of those.
Displaying sometimes wilful ignorance of the history of that region, the call is for Australia to ignore the realities on the ground and support an imaginary authoritarian autocracy based on the cease-fire lines dating from when Israel survived the Arab attempt to violently prevent its birth in 1948.
This preference for bullying rhetoric over genuine consideration of how one can actually bring into effect the purported aspiration of a two-state resolution for Israelis and Palestinians has the nasty odour of the death throes of the British Labour Party under hard-leftist Jeremy Corbyn.
I have known Anthony Albanese since he was at university and do not believe for one moment that he is like Corbyn. Foreign Minister Penny Wong, from the left side of the ALP like the PM, is a serious person, who understands that recognition of the non-existent “State of Palestine” goes against Australia’s consistent support for the parties involved to bring about a resolution through negotiations.
Both these political leaders also know that there is a broad Western democratic consensus that there is not yet a State of Palestine to recognise.
Many of the countries which recognise this imaginary political entity did so during the Cold War, making a gesture which was always harmful to the interests of any Palestinians who genuinely want a peaceful future.
Leaders of the Labor Left have made it clear that they know that they have the numbers to declare day is night and black is white, or any other fantasy.
All Australians must hope that the ALP does not start a descent into destructive anti-realism, and rejects outright calls for recognition of a non-existent state.