THE Greens candidate for Higgins at the Federal Election said that he removed an article, “Our detention centres are concentration camps and must be closed”, from his Facebook page when he realised that he had posted it on Yom Hashoah.
Jason Ball is running for election in the Melbourne seat of Higgins, home to more than 5000 Jewish constituents.
He posted that “It’s time to call them what they are” when he posted a link to the opinion piece on Yom Hashoah.
But when contacted by The AJN, Ball said that he does not “compare the atrocities committed against the Jewish people in concentration camps during WWII to the experiences of those in offshore detention”.
“My intention in sharing the op-ed by Stephen Charles QC was to call out the abuses of human rights of both the Labor and Liberal parties towards people seeking asylum, through their policies which were described in the article as ‘deliberate and calculated barbaric cruelty’,” he said.
“When it was brought to my attention that this article was published by Fairfax on Holocaust Remembrance Day, I removed the article I had shared out of respect for the Jewish community.”
He said that while the United Nations have found that Australia has systematically violated the torture convention through the policy of indefinite offshore detention, including the detention of children, he wanted to ensure that there was no misunderstanding.
“Nothing in our history compares to the persecution and genocide of the Jewish people during WWII,” he said.
Ball said that Australia has a long and proud tradition of welcoming people in need after war, including Jewish people after the Holocaust.
“Their contribution to Australia’s culture, economy and community has been immeasurable.
“I also look forward to working more closely with the Jewish community in future, whose passion for social justice and charity I deeply respect and admire.”
The seat of Higgins is held by Federal Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer. In the last election, she received 54.37 per cent of the primary vote and won the seat by 17,000 votes. The Greens received 16.8 per cent of the vote and will need to increase its vote by at least four per cent to move ahead of Labor, and then rely on preferences if it is to win the seat.