The designation of the Palestinian Authority (PA) as a terrorist organisation would have major implications for Australia’s foreign policy and foreign aid applicable to the Middle East. It would throw into disarray a recently adopted Labor policy to unilaterally recognise a ‘State of Palestine’ as that policy legitimises an entity which meets the criteria under Australian law as a terrorist organisation.
This subject in appropriate context involves two related considerations:
Firstly, an opinion obtained by the Australian Jewish Association (AJA) from one of Australia’s most experienced senior criminal barristers that the PA is a ‘terrorist organisation’ as defined in Division 102 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995 (Code). The legal assessment has been undertaken by Jeremy Rapke QC, former Director of Public Prosecutions for Victoria. In that role he has had substantial direct experience in prosecuting terrorism cases.
Secondly, the Australian Labor Party at its National Conference held in December 2018, passed a resolution which inter alia ‘Calls on the next Labor government to recognise Palestine as a state…’ and identifies this as an important priority. While such a resolution is technically not binding on a future Labor government, it is significant that it was moved not by some obscure union hack but by Senator Penny Wong, Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, who would likely have the responsible portfolio in a Shorten Labor government.