Friday, 21 June 2013
15/5 The Oz MPs unite to sign anti-Semitism pact
The Australian yesterday reported Professor Rees had lashed Julia Gillard for signing the declaration, calling the gesture "childish, thoughtless but easily populist".
Professor Rees is on the staff of the university's Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies - which supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that explicitly equates Israel with apartheid-era South Africa.
The Prime Minister last month became the first Australian politician to sign the declaration.
She was joined last week by opposition frontbencher Christopher Pyne.
Professor Rees dismissed their action in emails obtained by The Australian as "childish, thoughtless, but easily populist".
To counter his comments, Victorian Liberal Josh Frydenberg arranged for a group of colleagues to gather in his office immediately to sign the declaration. Close to 30 Coalition members from all states and factions joined him, ranging from veteran parliamentarians such as Philip Ruddock and Judi Moylan to newcomers such as Wyatt Roy, Scott Bucholz and George Christensen.
Frontbenchers Bruce Billson, Peter Dutton, Greg Hunt, Scott Morrison, Malcolm Turnbull and Sharman Stone also signed.
As news spread, a steady stream of MPs beat a path to Mr Frydenberg's office to add their names, taking the total to 49.
"The declaration is an important document which shines a light on the resurgence of anti-Semitism worldwide while outlining a series of practical measures to counter this scourge," Mr Frydenberg said.
"Only with the efforts of free-thinking, community-minded individuals and governments representing both sides of the political divide can we take the united action necessary to build tolerance and understanding in our society."
Yesterday's events mean that close to a quarter of the global parliamentarians to sign the declaration are Australian.
NSW Liberal senator Marise Payne is expected to repeat the process for members of the upper house today.
Professor Rees was unavailable yesterday as he was participating in industrial action.
Posted by Geoff Seidner at 11:06 am