Former Labor MP Melissa Parke has withdrawn as the party’s candidate for the Perth seat of Curtin after comments she made criticising Israel’s occupation of Palestine. In a speech to the WA Labor for Palestine group last month, Parke recounted an incident where “a pregnant refugee woman was ordered at a checkpoint in Gaza to drink a bottle of bleach”, and said that the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians was “worse than the South African system of apartheid”. Parke reportedly resigned hours after the Herald Sun sent Labor questions about the speech. Parke rejected Executive Council of Australian Jewry chief executive Alex Ryvchin’s claim on Friday that she was an “extreme and divisive figure”, saying “it is not anti Semitic to protest injustice and to support the international rule of law & non-discrimination”. Meanwhile, Reform and Conservative Jewish groups in the United States have urged US president Donald Trump to discourage Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was elected for a fifth term in office in a general election last week, from his campaign pledge to annex Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Greens leader Richard Di Natale has urged the federal government to bring Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange to Australia. Assange, who was arrested by British police last week after living in Ecuador’s London embassy for almost seven years, is facing extradition to the United States on charges stemming from a massive document dump in 2010 revealing US soldiers had killed civilians in Iraq. Assange is also facing extradition to Sweden, where he faces multiple rape charges. Speaking on Sunday, Di Natale said Assange was being targeted by the US because he was “responsible for uncovering what were war crimes”.
Northern Territory community legal services say they have been forced to pull back their work in remote Indigenous communities, leaving children as young as 11 without legal representation in bush courts. The ABC reports that the Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission has stopped sending lawyers to remote courts outside the territory’s major centres, leaving Aboriginal people to navigate the legal system on their own, compounding difficulties of language and culture. Criminal Lawyers' Association of the NT president Marty Aust said “somebody braver than me might suggest it's indicative of an institutional racism amongst government departments”. NTLAC received $6.9 million in funding last financial year.
Home affairs minister Peter Dutton has apologised after claiming last week ($) that Ali France, Labor’s candidate running against him for the Brisbane seat of Dickson, was “using her disability as an excuse” not to move into the electorate. Calling Dutton a “thug”, “mean” and “despicable”, Labor senator Kristina Keneally said on Saturday Dutton’s comments were proof he was “the most toxic man in the Liberal Party”, while deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek said “I hear from some people that Peter Dutton is a horrible human being”. In an apology on Twitter, Dutton said “my argument with the Labor candidate is about how our respective policies would affect the people of Dickson”.