In his maiden speech to parliament on Wednesday, Australia’s newest senator called for the Australian Embassy in Israel to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
At 28, James Paterson is the youngest ever Liberal Party senator.
He was sworn in on Tuesday, replacing Michael Richardson.
Addressing parliament on Wednesday, he shared his thoughts on a number of issues – a key one being his firm support for Israel and his belief in the need to display Australia’s solidarity with the Jewish State by relocating the Australian Embassy to Jerusalem.
“Tel Aviv is not Israel’s capital city—Jerusalem is,” he stated, adding, “Every nation deserves the right to choose its own capital city … I do not believe that the international community can continue to refuse to recognise their capital city of choice and the clear reality on the ground.”
The full text of his reference to Israel in his maiden speech is as follows:
“I am a strong supporter of the State of Israel. I admire greatly what they have built in just a few short years. Today, Israel stands not just as a beacon of liberal democracy in a sea of despotism in its own region but as a shining example to the entire world of how to build a prosperous, tolerant, harmonious and creative country in the toughest of circumstances.
“I am proud of the generally bipartisan support that Israel has enjoyed from successive Australian governments. But I think we can do more to demonstrate our solidarity. Like many nations, Australia has chosen to locate our embassy in Israel in Tel Aviv. But Tel Aviv is not Israel’s capital city—Jerusalem is. Every nation deserves the right to choose its own capital city. Since 1950, Israel has asserted it is Jerusalem. Since 1967, it has administered the entire city.
“The Israeli government have demonstrated time and time again that they are the best custodians for the religious and historical sites that are of significance to people of many faiths.
“I do not believe that the international community can continue to refuse to recognise their capital city of choice and the clear reality on the ground. It would be a symbolic but important step for Australia to formally recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city and to move our embassy there.”
Watch the speech here …