Senate Opposition Leader, Eric Abetz, today called on Julia Gillard and Bob Brown to pull their local councillors into line prior to Marrickville Council discussing how to implement its Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) policy at its meeting this Tuesday 19 April.
On 14 December 2010 four Labor councillors joined Greens councillors to pass Marrickville Council's in principle support of BDS movement against Israel.
Since then: " despite opposing a Senate motion condemning Marrickville Council's BDS policy, Greens Leader and Foreign Affairs Spokesman, Bob Brown, has claimed that the national Greens party looks after foreign affairs and that both he and it reject this policy
" the BDS movement has been labelled "loopy", "dangerous" and "offensive" by Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, and "a disgusting policy" by Trade Minister, Craig Emerson
" at least one Marrickville Labor councillor has reportedly changed his mind and has said he will not support any boycotts, though the majority of councillors are understood to have not changed their views
This Tuesday Marrickville Council is due to consider its Working Party report on the means and implications of implementing its BDS policy.
Senator Abetz said that it was time for Julia Gillard and Bob Brown to use their authority and influence within their respective parties to denounce and stub out this extremist policy.
"Julia Gillard claims that Labor will have no truck with 'extremist' Green policies. Well, if so, she should ensure Labor's Marrickville councillors vote to overturn its BDS policy."
"And if Bob Brown can rebuke senator-elect, Lee Rhiannon, over the NSW Greens support for BDS, he should do the same to Fiona Byrne and the Greens on Marrickville Council."
Senator Abetz rejected Marrickville Council's assurance that its BDS policy would stop at who the Council chose to do business with and not lead to constraints on the trade of Israeli goods and services and cultural exchanges by Marrickville citizens.
"The Australian BDS movement, which actively supports Marrickville Council's BDS policy, has been conducting a campaign of harassment and boycott against Israeli linked businesses, such as the cosmetics companies Seacret and L'Oreal, and against Caterpillar on the ground that their bulldozers are used by Israeli authorities."
"As Michael Danby said, 'What is next for the Marrickville Council? Are they now going to paint the Star of David on shops selling Israeli products?'
"Now is the time for Gillard and Brown to act if they want to put a halt to such extremism."