You can read far more courtesy of the Friends of Israel Western Australia, but here's the flavour:
Senator ABETZ (Tasmania—Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) (17:00): I seek leave to move a motion in relation to the response from the ACCC....
The response of the chairman of the ACCC to the Senate motion concerning the anti-Israel BDS campaign against Max Brenner chocolate cafes is, to say the least, disappointing. I also note that this motion was opposed by Greens senators. Since Greens leader Senator Bob Brown took his alleged robust line against Senator Rhiannon's support for the boycott divestment and sanctions campaign, BDS, in the March New South Wales election, Senator Rhiannon has repeatedly needled him on this issue.
After the backlash against the Greens at the March New South Wales election, particularly in the seat of Marrickville, Senator Bob Brown lambasted Senator-elect Rhiannon. Senator-elect Rhiannon's first reaction had been to suggest that the Greens should have done more to explain this issue....
When you are voting for the Greens, you are voting for a party with racist views....
That should make people who think they are doing the right thing by voting green think twice when they vote for a green environmental party. The Greens do not want to do the right thing. The Greens want to intimidate Jewish businesses. This is 1939 revisited.
Senator BOSWELL (Queensland) (17:08): It was very disappointing to get a letter today from the trade practices commissioner, Mr Sims, saying that he wanted to do a Pontius Pilate on a particular motion that the Senate had carried. In that letter the chairman said: 'We are not going to investigate this because it is unlikely to have had the effect of causing substantial loss or damage to the business of Max Brenner such as to constitute a contravention of section 45D of the act. Relevant here are the infrequent nature of the protests, their limited duration and the consequent difficulty in apportioning the revenue impact of this activity versus other factors.' He then goes on to allude to the Victoria Police as doing the job for us anyhow. I do not accept that.
I think Mr Sims is only a new boy in the role of trade practices commissioner. He should take more seriously a resolution of this Senate when it is backed by people representing 90 per cent of the population of Australia. Sure, the Greens do not support it. But the Liberals support it, the Nationals support it, Labor support it and the Independents support it. They all supported the motion that I moved on 18 August.
Mr Sims simply says, 'It does not do the things that it should do.' Let me point out to Mr Sims that last week in Sydney there was another demonstration, another picket, another boycott and more intimidation of a Jewish confectionary shop. No-one in Australia wants to go down that path. We have been there before, as Senator Abetz said. It sends shivers down people's spines that we could even contemplate doing it. Yet the trade practices commission turns its back and will not investigate it.
I have maintained an interest in the ACCC and the Trade Practices Act. Since the prosecutions of unionists in the seventies for secondary boycotts, it has been clear that section 45D applies where there is a real chance or possibility that boycotting conduct will, if pursued, cause loss or damage that is more than trivial, minimal, insubstantial or novel.
It concerns me very much that in its media release the ACCC exonerates the BDS campaign....
I can remember a group of dairy farmers wanting to get together to negotiate on a price with the manufacturers, and they were barred. This was a group of innocent dairy farmers who just wanted to sit down and talk about prices. The ACCC came down on them like a tonne of bricks and said, 'Not on.' I had to seek an exemption. It is going back some time now, but that cost a fair bit of money. If the ACCC can do that to dairy farmers, surely it can get off its tail and try to do something that will stop these boycotts. This is completely unsatisfactory.
There should be no excuses for Mr Sims. He should use the same criteria as he does for secondary boycotts by unions and other businesses that seek to meet and have discussions—but apparently we have a separate set of standards. Mr Sims says: 'Don't worry about it. Victoria Police will do it.' Sure, Victoria Police might do it and they should do it and they have done it—and good luck to them. They have done it efficiently and effectively, but we expect that sort of reaction from the ACCC and we are not getting it, and we should get it. I say to Mr Sims: 'People in this parliament do not casually pass resolutions for you to ignore. When a resolution passes this parliament, it has the support of all senators other than the Greens. It represents about 90 per cent of the population, who want you, the ACCC, to take some action.'
I have moved another motion today. It will be the fourth that I have moved.
Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (17:19): I also am concerned about the response from the commissioner. I would have hoped that the commissioner might have placed some great weight on the fact that the resolution to which he was responding was in fact a practically unanimous resolution of the Senate.
I also want to reinforce Senator Abetz and Boswell's view that boycotts of Jewish businesses are repugnant to any democratically minded Australian. I acknowledge that a feature of the Australian democracy, in our easygoing way, is that people are free, within certain very confined grounds, to say anything and to participate in demonstrations and strikes.
That is the way we back the perceptions, understandings and a view of history—as Senator Abetz mentioned. These are not subjective comments; this is the history. In Germany in the 1930s through to the 1940s, and to a lesser extent in some other European countries, action was taken against businesses solely on the basis that the owners of those businesses happened to be Jewish.
The incident to which Senator Boswell referred and which he has been passionate about for some time involves the boycott of a business on the sole basis, as I understand it, that it is Jewish. At a cursory glance, maybe it does make a point about some incident that is happening overseas. But here it is the sort of explanation that Goebbels would have given. He would have given it glibly and cleverly, as most propagandists do.
In Australia at this stage of our history, or at any stage, we do not want to allow our country to be involved in any sorts of boycotts that impact on people's businesses, their livelihoods and their ability to act freely because they happen to be Jewish people....
Hat tip: Shirl in Oz
Read more: http://www.foiwa.org.au/node/383?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter