Media Release

07 December 2017

Southwick: Andrews’ attempt at diplomacy disrespects Jewish community

Thursday 7 December 2017

Andrews’ attempt at diplomacy disrespects Jewish community

Not content with mismanaging the CFA and Victoria’s emergency services, James Merlino is now taking his special ability to get things wrong on to international trade.

Last week Matthew Guy announced that a Liberal Nationals Government would open a Victorian Government Business Office in Jerusalem, Israel, to increase access to export markets, facilitate investment into the immediate region and promote business innovation and collaboration with Israel.

This morning, James Merlino told reporters: “We want to make connections with the extraordinary work that is happening in Israel particularly in high tech. To do so you’ve got to do it via Tel Aviv.”

Perhaps James Merlino could explain to Likud MK Sharren Haskel, why he knows better than her.

Last week Sharren Haskel attended the Liberal Nationals’ policy launch with Opposition Leader Matthew Guy, Shadow Treasurer Michael O’Brien, Shadow Innovation Minister David Southwick and Shadow Education Minister Tim Smith.

In response to the announcement, Ms Haskel said at a press conference:

“Coming today and saying bravely that you will not only open an economic office to do business with Israel – which is extremely important – but to also declare that it’s not just going to be in Israel, it’s going to be in Jerusalem, in the heart of the Jewish people, is a brave thing during these days, and I would like to personally thank you for that, it means a lot.”

Dr. Danny Lamm, President of the Zionist Federation of Australia also attended the policy launch, said at a press conference:

“Your decision to make it in Jerusalem when everybody else is ducking for cover and going for Tel Aviv, which is a great city, as you know, it’s a party place. But Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Israel. Israel is the only country where there isn’t respect given for its capital by the other nations of the world. It’s beyond understanding.”

It is clear that both the Jewish community of Victoria and the state of Israel support the Liberal Nationals’ decision to base a Victorian Government Business office in Jerusalem, while Daniel Andrews and James Merlino continue to ignore and disrespect them.