The New South Wales Legislative council has adopted the IHRA working definition of antisemitism, becoming the first parliament in Australia to do so.
On Wednesday night the measure to adopt the definition along with “its contemporary examples” passed. It was put forward by Rev Fred Nile, the leader of the Christian Democratic Party.
“Adopting the definition will send a powerful message that we will combat antisemitism and adapt our tactics accordingly,” Nile said.
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies thanked the Legislative Council for adopting the definition.
“We sincerely thank the MPs who supported the motion, moved by Rev Fred Nile MLC. We now call for its endorsement in the public and private sectors, university sector, schools and broader civil society,” the organization said in a tweet.
Board of Deputies CEO Darren Bark commented that the adoption was “more important now than ever” due to the fact that NSW experienced the highest reported level of antisemitic incidents in the country in 2021, according to the Australian Jewish News.
The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) also commended the Legislative Council for passing the resolution.
“This definition is an integral tool for law enforcement, bureaucrats, academics and others to better understand how antisemitism manifests itself in the 21st century,” AIJAC Executive Director Dr Colin Rubenstein said. “With this adoption, AIJAC urges government and non-government institutions and organizations in NSW to consider how they can implement this definition in their training, processes or policies to combat antisemitism.”
Rubenstein added: “AIJAC expresses its appreciation to those NSW MPs – including Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile MLC who introduced the motion – who have committed to fight antisemitism in NSW. Eliminating discrimination and bigotry should be something we all aspire to.”
In December, the New South Wales government became the first government in Australia to adopt the IHRA definition.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said in a speech that “to fight something, you need to be able to identify it. To be able to describe it, to name it.”
“A definition is an essential and important tool. It’s a tool which empowers all those who fight this fight,” Perrottet said. “We hear the Jewish community, and today we stand with them in the fight against antisemitism.”