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Statement on recent events in Gaza

The scenes coming out of Rafah this week are unthinkable, as has been much of the news coming out of Gaza this year. The airstrike on a Rafah tent camp this week should not only elicit universal condemnation, but also stronger international action to make sure the Netanyahu government stops its Rafah offensive. 

As part of that effort, the Australian Government must use all avenues available to pressure the Netanyahu government into upholding the international rule of law and ending the catastrophe in Gaza. 

As a signatory to the International Criminal Court, Australia does not have a role to play in commenting on specific acts of the ICC prosecutor. The point of the international criminal justice system is to hold states to account for their actions, and to insist that they act within the law.  I support and respect the ICC and ICJ’s ability to do that.   

Our government must apply the same effort to seeing the release of the Israeli hostages taken by Hamas following the horrific attack of 7 October, 2023. 
I agree with Foreign Minister Penny Wong that peace can only be achieved in the Middle East if Israel and Palestine co-exist within agreed borders, and that recognition of a Palestinian state would help build momentum towards a two-state solution.  

The Leader of the Greens moved today that the House of Representatives recognise the state of Palestine.  

When Australia has announced recognition of a new State in the past, this has been by means of a statement by the Foreign Minister. Australian standing on the international stage requires a high degree of unity. We have always respected the government of the day’s right to recognise foreign powers. 

A resolution to this effect by the House cuts across that practice. 

All leaders in Australia have a responsibility to maintain social cohesion instead of using the conflict for domestic political ends.  

All around the world, people are looking to their leaders in good conscience, to do what they can to work for peace and end this senseless and tragic conflict. 

I urge all Members of the House to stop seeing this unspeakable situation as an opportunity to gain votes.  

Instead of divisive motions, we should all stand in unity against antisemitism and Islamophobia. Instead of rhetoric that raises the temperature of our discourse and exacerbates tensions in our communities, we should focus on alleviating the extreme distress, sadness, anxiety and loss experienced by Jewish and Muslim Australians.  

These debates and motions do not help them, any more than they help the people of Gaza or of Israel.  

The international community must do what it can to end the tragedy in Gaza. I ask my colleagues to work towards that aim together – with empathy and clear mindedness - instead of stoking social division and tension. 





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