Australian PM accused of pro-Israel bias

Gillard: I am uninfluenced by partner's lobbyist employer.

julia gillard 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
julia gillard 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Australian PrimeMinister Julia Gillard is being criticized for her partner's connectionto a pro-Israel lobbyist, reported Australian newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday.
Gillard'spartner, Tim Mathieson, is a real-estate agent employed at a companyowned by Melbourne developer Albert Dadon, a well-known supporter ofIsrael, according to the report.
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TheAustralian prime minister declared that her partner's affiliation withDadon does not influence her political views, particularly regardingIsrael.
Gillard was elected as prime minister after oustingAustralia's ruling party leader Kevin Rudd on June 24, in a suddenrevolt that also delivered the country its first female leader andstunned the public.
Isi Liebler, the Israel-based former leader of an Australian Jewish umbrella body, said Gillard’s ascent to prime minister is “outstanding” for Israel.
Gillard is “one of Israel’s closest friends,” he said. “She was here in 2005 and last year, when she led a 40-member delegation. During the the war [Cast Lead] in 2009, she was extraordinarily [supportive] and positive of Israel’s position.”
Contrary to press reports that refer to Gillard as “the left of the Labor Party,” Liebler insists “she’s a centrist. She was supported by the Left because of [political] upheavals related to [outgoing] prime minister [Kevin Rudd], but that had nothing to do with ideological matters.”
Formerly serving as Rudd's deputy, Gillard was elected leader in an uncontested vote about 12 hours after she surprised many colleagues by challenging a prime minister who, until recently, was one of the most popular in modern Australian history.
Israel has had a tense relationship with the Rudd government over allegations that Israeli agents allegedly used faked Australian passports in the assassination of Hamas arms dealer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in January.