Menu

Labor Avoids Messy Foreign Policy Battle

The Australian Labor Party has dodged a contentious public brawl on foreign policy.

CANBERRA, Australia — Australian Labor Party has avoided a conference fight on contentious foreign policy issues, including the Israel-Palestine conflict and China’s treatment of ethnic minorities.

On March 30, the federal opposition resolved an Australian Labor Party government would recognize the right of Israel and Palestine to exist as two states within secure and recognized borders.

The party also called on the next Labor government to recognize Palestine as a state, replicating Labor’s position before the last election.

“An Albanese government would take a principled approach to the conflict in the Middle East,” said Penny Wong, spokeswoman, Labor’s foreign affairs.

“It reflects our belief that Israelis and Palestinians deserve to prosper in peace behind secure and recognized borders,” she informed delegates at the special platform conference.

“A true friend of Israel is a true friend of the rights of Palestinians to statehood.”

Wong said that the internal debate had “for the most part” been mature on the issue.

Labor will also take a more muscular stance towards China’s human rights abuses of the Muslim Uighur minority in Xinjiang.

Uigurs, alternatively spelled Uyghurs or Uygurs, are a Turkic ethnic group originating from and culturally affiliated with the general region of Central and East Asia. They are recognized by the Chinese government as a regional minority within a multicultural nation.

“The weight of evidence out of China said there was no doubt about horrific crimes in the region. These atrocities include modern slavery, crimes against humanity, and what various jurisdictions around the world have determined constitute genocide,” said Kimberley Kitching, Labor senator.

Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching in the Senate chamber at Parliament House in Canberra. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

A Labor government would stand up for human rights in China and work with the international community to hold China to account for its international commitments.

Kitching claimed women were feeling the burden most heavily through forced sterilizations, systematic rape, and torture in prison camps.

“The international community can no longer be idle in the face of this brutal oppression,” she said.

“Condemning the abuse is not enough. So long as the government fails to take meaningful action to hold those to account, then these atrocities will continue.”

The Victorian right faction senator (who is a member of the cross-party Wolverines group that speaks out against China) claims history showed human rights abuses in one part of the world led to suffering elsewhere.

“If we accept the truism that the standard you walk past is the standard you accept, then we cannot accept what is happening in Xinjiang today. We must speak up. We must act,” he said.

(Edited by Amrita Das and Pallavi Mehra)