The star candidate Labor hoped would create havoc for the Coalition in Julie Bishop’s blue-ribbon seat of Curtin has quit after outraging Jewish leaders by likening Israel’s settlements to China’s activity in the South China Sea.
Former Rudd government minister Melissa Parke was Labor’s big surprise in the Perth seat being vacated by Ms Bishop and being contested for the Liberals by former Notre Dame University chief Celia Hammond.
Ms Parke reportedly told a meeting of WA Labor for Palestine that Australia should recognise a Palestinian state and likened Israel’s settlements to China’s activity in the South China Sea.
She did not resile on Thursday, tweeting: “It is not anti-Semitic to protest injustice and to support the international rule of law & non-discrimination. I believe in two secure states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace.”
However, Labor is understood to have entered crisis talks as it emerged that a newspaper was preparing to report she had alleged at the meeting that she could “remember vividly” the case of a pregnant Palestinian refugee who was ordered at a checkpoint in Gaza to drink bleach.
Ms Parke reportedly told the meeting at the Perth headquarters of union United Voice that the bleach “burned out her throat and insides”.
Ms Parke reportedly also warned the audience that Israel’s “influence in our political system and foreign policy is substantial”.