MPs to discuss Israel

Paul Hamer (left) and David Southwick.

ISRAEL’s startup culture and how it can be applied in Victoria – with a particular eye on advances in agricultural irrigation – will be a major focus of the Parliamentary Friends of Israel group which last week held its inaugural meeting for the state’s 59th Parliament.

The Parliamentary Friends of Israel is an all-party friendship group, open to all MPs, and aims to promote a friendly and positive relationship between Victorians and Israel. The group fosters a better understanding of Israel through education, activities and events, and assists MPs in understanding the historical, cultural and religious bond of the Jewish people with Israel.

Longstanding co-convenor Caulfield MP David Southwick said he is looking forward to a productive year of discussion, debate and learning opportunities for MPs from all sides. 

“Bipartisan advocacy is crucial for the Australia–Israel, and indeed Victoria–Israel relationship to thrive,” Southwick said.

“There are endless opportunities for collaboration, learning and discussion for Victorian Members of Parliament in this space, and I look forward to another fruitful year of facilitating this, and working with my new co-convenor Paul Hamer [who is Jewish and won the seat of Box Hill in last year’s state election]. I would also like to thank my former co-convenor Marsha Thomson [who retired as an ALP MP before last year’s election] for her years of service.”

Said Hamer, “As a new Member in the 59th Parliament, it is a real privilege to co-convene the Parliamentary Friends of Israel group. I’d like to thank Marsha Thomson for her service to this group in the last Parliament, and I look forward to working with my co-convenor, David Southwick.”

Some potential initiatives discussed for the 2019 calendar include Israel’s innovation in the irrigation domain, introducing more efficient watering systems to the agricultural sector – and generally learning about the successes of the Israeli start-up sector, stated Southwick and Hamer.