Welcome to the era of the single-ethnic party

Inspired by the Israeli Arab parties of Knesset, who will likely be forced to join forces in order to remain politically relevant, Jewish Australian parliamentarians from the left and the right form their own joint party. Just cause they can. [SATIRE]

By Sol Salbe

In a move that has stunned observers, Australia’s three Jewish MPs have announced that they will be running in a joint electoral formation in the next elections. The move by the Opposition Australian Labor Party’s Michael Danby and Mark Dreyfus, along with the conservative Josh Frydenberg of Tony Abbott’s ruling Liberal Party, has been endorsed by the Greens’ Ian Cohen and John Kaye. The new parties are looking at defections from the Socialist Alliance and even the Socialist Alternative.

“Our inspiration has come from Israel where Jonathan Lis has reported in the Haaretz [Hebrew] that Arab members of Knesset with conflicting policies and views have been forced by legislation to field a single list in order to survive”, said group co-spokesperson Michael Danby. “If they can do it, so can we,” he added.

Ian Cohen chimed in: “I have about as much in common with Josh Frydenberg as a communist member of Hadash would have with members of the southern branch of the Islamist Movement. But we figured that if it was good enough for the Only Democracy in the Middle East (TM) it would be good enough for us. Over there they are all Arabs in their party and here we are all Jewish.”

Josh Frydenberg, who also attended the new party’s launch, said:

At this stage we are unaware as to whom the Jewish Greens would nominate, but we expect to go from our current three MHRs to four or five. The move has an inherent logic. Voters like having a choice and we’d be offering it to them. Our party will be simultaneously be supporting and opposing gay marriage. We’ll have candidates who would talk about ‘border protection’ and the need to expand facilities in Nauru and Manus Island to hold illegal migrants.

At the same time we’ll have other candidates speaking of ‘refugee rights’ and the need to immediately close those very same facilities. It’s the ultimate in being given a choice, voters can even change their mind on any issue and still know that they made the right choice. By raising the threshold, the ruling Israeli coalition is forcing diverse parties to coalesce in a single electoral formation, after all their voters are all Arabs, so they should think alike.

Cohen had the last word: “I’m an optimist – maybe the trend of forcing members of ethnic/cultural groups into a single party will skip Australia. But if we want to maintain some representation, we need to act now before it is too late.”

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Sol Salbe is an Israeli-Australian journalist and translator based in Melbourne. He has spent the last 13 years as a full-time monitor of the Israeli media looking particularly at the differences between Hebrew and English-language coverage of events. His specializes in translating and disseminating articles, and segments of articles, which have not been made available in English.