Israel would have welcomed the results of the Australian elections over the weekend regardless of who won, since both major parties are supportive of Israel.
But the victory of Tony Abbott’s Liberal-National coalition over Kevin Rudd’s Labor party may have been even more welcome, since the former is perceived to be even more pro-Israel than the outgoing Laborites.
Abbott, in an “election message” that appeared last Wednesday in the Australian Jewish News, said that if elected, “we are firmly committed to restoring the Australia-Israeli friendship to the strength it enjoyed under the [John] Howard government.”
It is widely believed, for example, that had Abbott been in office last November when the U.N. General Assembly voted to upgrade the Palestinians to a non-member observer state, Australia would have joined the U.S., Canada, the Czech Republic, Panama and four small South Pacific island states to vote with Israel. Australia abstained from voting, which disappointed Israel.
As one diplomat put it on Sunday when asked for his interpretation of the Australian elections, “Australia? You mean the Canada of the south,” a reference to the staunchly pro-Israel Canadian government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper.