'Trying to bring war here'

Greens refuse to condemn memorial vandalism

A series of sites along Anzac Parade in the capital were sullied last Saturday night, just two weeks after the Australian War Memorial itself was targeted by vandals.

Senator Jacqui Lambie in the Senate chamber at Parliament House in Canberra. Photo: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas
Senator Jacqui Lambie in the Senate chamber at Parliament House in Canberra. Photo: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

The Greens’ failure to support a motion moved by Senator Jacqui Lambie condemning the defacing of war memorials in Canberra with ostensibly pro-Palestinian graffiti “represents a new low, even for them”, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) said this week.

A series of sites along Anzac Parade in the capital were sullied last Saturday night, just two weeks after the Australian War Memorial itself was targeted by vandals.

RSL national president Greg Melick called the acts deplorable.

“It is dishonourable in the extreme to use war memorials as a platform for protest,” he said.

“They are desecrating the memory of those who served and sacrificed to give them the right to protest.”

Moving the Senate motion on Monday condemning the graffiti, Lambie said, “If they think this is helping their cause, if they think this will bring more Australians out to protests about the war in Gaza, they are terribly, sadly mistaken.

“I think most Australians are appalled at what we have seen in Canberra this morning.”

But while the motion was agreed to, it was rejected by the Greens, with Senator Jordon Steele-John expressing, “Memorials of any type, but particularly war memorials, are not politically neutral spaces. What is in them, who they reflect, what they say and what they don’t say is the product of active political decision-making.”

Addressing the fact that soldiers fought to defend Australians’ right to protest, he added, “If we are to believe that the men and women of the ADF gave their lives in wars and conflicts to defend such freedoms, then you have to engage with the reality that protesting and painting is a form of speech.”

Coalition Senator James Paterson responded, “We just saw in this chamber from Senator Steele-John a 15-minute apology for the vandalism of our most sacred places.

“Senator Steele-John, the war memorial is not a blank canvas for your extreme politics. The war memorial is something that deserves respect and reverence.”

ECAJ co-CEO Peter Wertheim told The AJN on Tuesday, “We know that the Greens will abandon any principle in order to indulge the grotesque sensibilities of their far-left constituency,” but it was “a new low, even for them.”

“Senator Lambie is to be commended for standing up for what is clearly right and honouring the memory of those to whom we all owe so much,” he said.

Later on Monday, Greens leader Adam Bandt disregarded a century of Labor Party precedent on the ABC’s 7.30 when addressing its sanctioning of Senator Fatima Payman, who crossed the floor last week to support a Greens motion recognising a State of Palestine.

“Labor has put more sanctions on Senator Payman for speaking out about Palestine than they’ve put on Benjamin Netanyahu for conducting a genocidal invasion of Palestine,” he said.

Senator Lambie last Thursday took aim at the Greens for sowing division in Australia in the wake of Hamas’s brutal October 7 attack.

“The Greens have displayed the most despicable examples of leadership I have seen since I have been here,” she told the Senate.

“Instead of working productively toward peace … the Greens have done all they can to whip up division and whip up hate in the community. The Greens were the only Australian political party that refused to support a federal parliamentary motion condemning the Hamas massacre.

“It’s a party that likes to portray itself as a party of peace. Instead, they are trying to bring the war here.

“As Philip Mendes, professor of social policy and community development at Monash University put it, ‘The Greens are progressive except when it comes to the Jews.'”

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