Aug 22, 2011

Personal Explanation

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler—Leader of the House and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) (15:33): I wish to make a personal explanation.

The SPEAKER: Does the member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr ALBANESE: I do—

The SPEAKER: Please proceed.

Mr ALBANESE: by Senator Lee Rhiannon at the Politics in the Pub meeting held at the Gaelic Club in Sydney on 22 July 2011. I have received a copy of a transcript of that event where Senator Rhiannon outlined in great detail a misleading critique of my position with regard to my opposition to the BDS campaign of Marrickville Council supporting a boycott of Israel. Nowhere in her comments, where she was critical of my engagement in the issue, did she state the fact that the resolution carried by Marrickville Council was that Marrickville Council write to the local, state and federal ministers informing them of the council’s position and seeking their support at the state and federal levels for the global BDS movement; nor did she outline that on 12 January the general manager had a letter which was held back that stated: ‘In accordance with the provisions of part 3 of the resolution I wish to formally advise you of the council’s decision in this matter and seek your personal support for council’s initiative by raising the issue in the state parliament, the federal parliament and urging your parliamentary colleagues to contemplate support for similar action.’

Senator Rhiannon went on to state to the meeting: ‘Then what happens is that on 14 January 2011 in the Australian there is an opinion piece by Anthony Albanese. This is an opinion piece that really lays out the form in which the whole BDS debate will go in the coming months.’ What she did not state was that on the day before, 13 January, the mayor, Fiona Byrne, put a position on abc.net.au, on The Drum website. Through the position she went on to say that I opposed broader involvement by local government in broad issues. I did not and my article in the Australian made it clear that I did not. I opposed the specific campaign by the Greens on Marrickville Council.