Federal Parliament has overwhelmingly passed a motion expressing its revulsion at the Hamas massacres which have claimed at least 1400 Israeli lives – the worst Jewish death toll since the Holocaust.
The bipartisan resolution was emphatically adopted despite efforts by Greens leader Adam Bandt to derail it.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese stated, “The evil committed by Hamas in Israel has chilled every Australian heart. This was no act of war against the army of an enemy. It was the slaughter of innocent people. It was an act of terror … I want to repeat the message I’ve given to all Jewish Australians since the outset: You are not alone. Your fellow Australians stand with you.”
Monday’s motion stated, “The House unequivocally condemns the attacks on Israel by Hamas, which are the heinous acts of terrorists, and have encompassed the targeting and murder of civilians, including women and children, the taking of hostages, and indiscriminate rocket fire.”
The Australian Parliament “stands with Israel and recognises its inherent right to defend itself … condemns antisemitism and recognises that generations of Jewish people have been subjected to this hateful prejudice; calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, and recognises that Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people, nor their legitimate needs and aspirations”.
Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, son and grandson of Holocaust survivors, told the chamber, “Today we mourn the greatest loss of Jewish life in a single day since the Holocaust … hundreds of young Israelis mercilessly hunted down at a music festival; Israelis murdered in their homes shot … Israelis butchered in their beds, entire families slaughtered in their cars, their kitchens, their living rooms … Jewish men, Jewish women, Jewish children.”
Describing the Hamas attack as “sheer barbarity”, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton stated, “No longer can the apologists of this death cult claim they have a just and noble cause. What happened nine days ago was the embodiment of evil. There must be no restraint shown to these who have shown no restraint themselves.”
In the Senate, Foreign Minister Penny Wong condemned “acts of evil perpetrated by a hateful group bent on the destruction of the State of Israel and the eradication of Jews … This was an assault on Israel, on the Jewish people. But also an attack on our collective humanity.”
Goldstein independent Zoe Daniel said, “Hamas is a terrorist organisation. The atrocities it committed in Israel are war crimes”, but has appealed for Israel “to reconsider its decision to block humanitarian supplies to Gaza”.
An amendment from Bandt describing “war crimes perpetrated by the State of Israel” was supported by independent MPs Kylea Tink, Andrew Wilkie and Sophie Scamps joining all four lower-house Greens, Stephen Bates, Max Chandler-Mather, Elizabeth Watson-Brown and Bandt, but was defeated 107-7.
Macnamara MP Josh Burns later observed, “It’s shameful that the Greens couldn’t even bring themselves to condemn the loss of Jewish life.”
Independent Wentworth MP Allegra Spender who supported the motion said afterwards she found the Greens decision “incomprehensible”.
The Greens’ bid to scuttle the motion followed a string of anti-Israel tweets by party members. Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi described Canberra’s support for Israel as “one colonial government supporting another. What a disgrace.”
On Wednesday afternoon, the Greens went further and moved a motion in the Senate condemning “Israel’s invasion of Gaza”
Shortly after they opposed the government’s motion in the House of Representatives and again in the Senate, Greens Senator Nick McKim moved an urgency motion to demand the Senate “opposes Israel’s invasion of Gaza”. However, the Greens Senate motion was defeated 41-11.
Buoyed by Parliament’s motion on Monday, Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Peter Wertheim stated, “Australia stood tall as a nation” with the passing of the resolution “condemning the Hamas terrorists, calling out antisemitism from any source and standing with Israel at this critical time”.
“The Greens alone voted against the resolution. Their names are recorded in Hansard as a roll of shame. In the name of the quasi-religion that passes for their ideology, they have chosen to take sides with theocrats, antisemites, misogynists and homophobes. They are utterly unfit for public office.”
Zionist Federation of Australia President Jeremy Leibler said, “With one glaring exception, Australian political leaders have been united in their revulsion, not just of Hamas’s depraved attack but of its genocidal objective. The Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader were unequivocal in their condemnation of Hamas … The one exception was the Greens, who seek to justify Hamas’s rapes, murders, desecrations and hostage taking.”
Condemning the Greens and “two teals and an independent” who voted against the motion, Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubenstein noted that the motion was embraced at the highest levels of government and opposition. “Prime Minister Anthony Albanese astutely recognised the slaughter was driven by antisemitic hatred, and not Palestinian national aspirations or any other grievances.”