Australian Left Review


Ali Kazak


Early this year, a British-Palestinian journalist, Faris Glubb, was refused a visa to visit Australia for a speaking tour. The decision was in keeping with the policy of both Liberal and Labor governments of excluding Palestinian speakers from Australia. The only exception to this ban was the 1976 tour by two members of the General Union of Palestinian Students. Ironically, they were admitted by then Foreign Minister Andrew Peacock — mainly because the Libera! government was keen to increase trade with Arab countries such as Egypt and Iraq. The Labor Party's Middle East policy, developed under the Whitlam government, was posed as more "even handed" than the Liberals pro-Israel policy. In opposition, Labor held some talks with the Palestinians (Bill Hayden met Yasser Arafat in 1981) and called for the withdrawal of Australian troops from the Sinai. Although calling for a "just solution" to the Palestinian problem, ALP policy has stopped short of recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organisation — even after many European social-democratic and conservative governments did so.



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