Australian Elections 2016

This weekend Australians will vote for both the House of Representatives (lower house) and the Senate (upper house) in their national elections. Although the current coalition is expected to retain power, polls indicate that there is a possibility that the anti-Israel Greens party may hold the balance of power.

Australia is currently governed by a Liberal/National coalition led by Malcolm Turnbull which holds 88 of the 150 seats in the Australian House of Representatives. According to a poll by The Australian, the coalition leads the Labor Party led by Bill Shorten by 51% to 49%. However, there is a possibility that the smaller parties including the Greens will hold the balance of power.

Australia has traditionally been one of Israel’s strongest supporters. Last year Australia was one of only eight countries to oppose raising the Palestinian flag at the United Nations. When elected as Prime Minister, Turnbull said that “We need to collaborate more with Israel, particularly on matters of science and technology. The more we can do with Israel, the better.”

In February, the Australian opposition Labor Party rejected an anti-Israel proposal and instead adopted a resolution encouraging members to visit Israel.

In contrast, the Greens' official party platform includes a call to “recognise the ongoing injustice that has been done to the Palestinian people.” In their 2010 document the Greens “Call upon the Australian government to halt military cooperation and military trade with Israel” and “Call for the removal of existing Israeli settlers and Israeli security and military forces from the Palestinian territories.”


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