SYDNEY (JTA) — A Jewish legislator in Australia slammed what he deemed the Labor government’s hypocrisy on Iran in Canberra’s attempt to win a U.N. Security Council seat.
In an opinion article published Monday in the Herald Sun, the Liberal Party’s Joshua Frydenberg cited the government’s decision to send two representatives to the Non-Aligned Movement’s summit in Tehran in August even though Australia is not a member of the Non-Aligned Movement and "our friends" America and Canada had boycotted it.
"Our high-level delegation was present just at the time Australia is enforcing numerous financial, export and travel sanctions against the Iranian regime," Frydenberg wrote. "The hypocrisy of the government’s vote-winning strategy was laid bare."
The United Nations’ 193 members will vote in a secret ballot Thursday for 10 temporary seats on the Security Council. Australia is competing against Finland and Luxembourg for two seats for the 2013-14 term.
Frydenberg also argued that Australia’s foreign aid priorities had been skewered and "key relationships put on ice" as the government orchestrated a "crude attempt to win votes."
Although he said Iran’s president "frequently rails against the U.S. and the West," Frydenberg did not refer to Israel specifically. He later told JTA that the government’s decision to change its voting pattern at the United Nations on Israel-related resolutions was "regrettable and a blatant attempt to boost its Security Council campaign."
Israel’s ambassador said its representative would back Canberra’s bid.