A Message from Senator James Paterson

Senator James Paterson

Senator James Paterson

I am a strong supporter of the state of Israel. I admire greatly what they have built in just a few short years.

Today, Israel stands not just as a beacon of liberal democracy in a sea of despotism in its own region, but a shining example to the world of how to build a prosperous, tolerant, harmonious and creative country in the toughest of circumstances.

I am proud of the generally bipartisan support Israel has enjoyed from successive Australian governments. But I think we can do more to demonstrate our solidarity.

Like many nations, Australia has chosen to locate our embassy to Israel in Tel Aviv. But Tel Aviv is not Israel’s capital city. Jerusalem is.

Every nation deserves the right to choose its own capital city. Since 1950 Israel has asserted it is Jerusalem. Since 1967 it has administered the entire city. The Israeli government have demonstrated time and time again that they are the best custodians for the religious and historical sites that are of significance to people of many faiths.

I don’t believe that the international community can continue to refuse to recognise their capital city of choice and the clear reality on the ground.

It would be a symbolic, but important step for Australia to formally recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city and to move our embassy there.

Excerpt taken from Senator James Paterson’s Maiden Speech delivered to Parliament on Wednesday, March 16, 2016