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HP price tag could nix Marrickville council's 'Israel boycott'

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It starts with the kind of loopy idea most likely to emerge in local government (the lowest of Australia’s three tiers of government): Marrickville Council in Sydney had conceived the idea of boycotting Israeli goods and services.

This was so popular it's partly attributed to the Greens missing out on the seat of Marrickville in the recent NSW state election: that party’s candidate, Fiona Byrne, was advocating the policy.

The idea was for the council to boycott goods and services from companies that "support or profit from Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory".

It is coming unstuck, however, because of money. Specifically, the price tag of more than $3m required to implement the boycott, most of which would have been required to sever Marrickville's ties with Hewlett-Packard which, according to its research, fitted the boycott's definition.

Speaking to ABC 702 radio presenter Richard Glover on Thursday afternoon, Councillor Marika Kontellis said the cost of the ban was likely to be too high for it to continue. While Ms Byrne was still hopeful about implementing some kind of boycott, some kind of face-saving backdown is the most likely outcome.

The silly policy is still likely to provide a couple of days' entertainment for political news-watchers in Australia, however, with NSW premier Barry O'Farrell reportedly exploring the possibility of dismissing the council if it doesn't abandon the plan.®

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