Palestine in Australian politics 2018

Collection of statements on Palestine and Israel from the Hansard record of the Australian Federal Parliament.

31 May, 2018, Senate Estimates, Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee, FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE PORTFOLIO, DFAT.   Senators Di Natale, Moore, Rhiannon, Leyonhjelm, Abetz, Kitching (see link) Asked questions regarding Australia’s engagement with:

  • UN Human Rights Committee decision to investigate after killings in Gaza
  • Australia’s position and future engagement with the US Embassy in Jerusalem
  • Australian aid to Palestinians
  • Australia’s language on the Smart Traveler website about Palestine

Maria Vamvakinou MP24 May, 2018, House of Representatives, Maria Vamvakinou MP (Labor, VIC), speech honoring Al Nakba and Recognition of Palestine
One hundred and thirty-eight countries have already recognised the State of Palestine, and it’s surely now time for Australia to do the same. It’s time to put into place our long-held policy of a two-state solution. It’s important to do so because it’s the right and decent thing to do. This issue is a moral imperative for all who believe in the sanctity of human rights, rule of law and democracy. Now is the time to realise that the window of opportunity for a two-state solution is rapidly closing, and we are running out of time for the establishment of a viable Palestinian state.

Templeman_Susan.jpg24 May, 2018, House of Representatives, Susan Templmean MP (Labor, NSW), speech about Palestine and Gaza
My visit showed me that the expansion of the Israeli settlements on the West Bank and in the Old City of Jerusalem is a serious matter. The demolition of Palestinian homes built without permits, because permits can’t be issued, is a catch 22. The treatment of Bedouins, who have been relocated from their land to unproductive tracts of land, is just awful. The fact that Bedouin community schools and sanitation, funded by the European aid that comes in, are demolished is an outrage.


23 May, 2018, Senate Estimates, Environment and Communications Legislation Committee, COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS PORTFOLIO, ABC, Senator Abetz (Liberal, Tasmania)
Questioned the ABC’s coverage of Israel and Palestine, suggesting that the pro-Israeli voices didn’t get a fair hearing.

23 May, 2018, Senate Estimates, Environment and Communications Legislation Committee, COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS PORTFOLIO, SBS, Senator Rhiannon (Greens, NSW)

Questioned whether the SBS should be covering the Eurovision contest in 2019, given that it will be held in Israel. .

Cathy O'Toole21 May, 2018, House of Representatives, Cathy O’Toole MP (Labor, QLD), speech honoring Al Nakba
This month Palestinians commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Nakba. That is Arabic for catastrophe. During the violence surrounding the establishment of Israel, over 700,000 Palestinians lost their homes, over 400 Palestinian villages and towns were razed, and at least two dozen massacres of Palestinians took place. Seventy years later, Palestinians continue to experience the Nakba: displacement, exile and insecurity

Bandt21 May, 2018, House of Representatives, Adam Bandt MP (Greens, VIC), speech condemning “massacre” by Israel and Australia’s response
Australia should be affirming the right to political activity and condemning the killing of protesters. Australia should be recognising the Palestinian state and pushing for an end to the siege of Gaza and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.


Dr Anne Aly MP, Federal Member for Cowan, WA, Labor. Official Portrait 25 August 2016 . Parliament House Canberra. Image David Foote-AUSPIC/DPS21 May, 2018, House of Representatives, Anne Aly MP (Labor, WA), speech condemning Australia for not supporting UNHRC motion
Asking questions and conducting an investigation is not an indictment of guilt, but it is important to demonstrate a concern for the conditions and the events that led to these deaths. As such, the government needs to provide answers as to why it was one of just two countries, along with the United States, to vote against the UNHCR motion.

Graham Perrett MP21 May, 2018, House of Representatives, Graham Perrett MP (Labor, QLD), speech acknowledging Al Nakba and gross violence to Palestinian protestors
In 2018, the year we’ll be celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is shameful that human rights abuses are still being suffered on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza. Peaceful protests, wherever they occur, must be allowed to continue. The fundamental right to freedom of expression and assembly must be protected. I urge Israel to show restraint and to de-escalate matters.


Ross Hart MP (Federal Member for Bass, Tasmania. Australian Labor Party ) Official Portrait 22 July 2016 . Parliament House Canberra. Image David Foote-AUSPIC/DPS

10 May, 2018, House of Representatives, Ross Hart MP (Labor, Tas) speech commemorating Al Nakba
A vivid and poignant memory of my visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories, burned into my memory, is the sight of the Nakba key. The key is a symbol of dispossession, loss and hope for return, a symbol of perseverance. It represents pride. It is everywhere in the Palestinian territories.


10 May, 2018, Senate, Motion moved by Senator Richard Di Natale, acknowledging Al Nakba and condemning deaths of protestors (Greens, VIC)
The Greens express deep concern that at least 43 mostly unarmed and peaceful Palestinian protesters have reportedly been killed by Israeli forces since the end of March on the border of Gaza, including four minors and two journalists. We welcome the fact that six Israeli human rights groups are challenging the Israeli military’s actions in court…

James McGrath.jpg10 May, 2018, Senate,  Senator McGrath (Liberal, QLD), Response to motion by Senator Di Natale
Australian policy is to support direct negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians to achieve a two-state solution. This policy has continued across governments. Unilateral recognition of a state of Palestine would not contribute to returning the parties to negotiations.

10 May, 2018, Senate,  Senator Chisholm (Labor, QLD), Response to motion by Senator Di Natale
Senator Anthony Chisholm, Senator for Queensland. Australian Labor Party. Official Portrait. 10 October 2016.  Image David Foote AUSPIC/DPSLabor supports all genuine efforts toward a negotiated settlement between the parties to the conflict based on international frameworks, laws and norms. We also condemn all violence related to the conflict, and Labor will continue to call on both sides to refrain from any actions that hamper peaceful outcomes for both the Israeli and Palestinian people.


Senator David Leyonhjelm. Senator for NSW, Liberal Democratic Partyl, Official portrait 15 July 2014. Image David Foote -AUSPIC/DPS9 May, 2018, Senate, Senator Leyonhjelm (LDP, NSW) moves motion condemning comments by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
…these statements by Mahmoud Abbas, which relied upon quotes from Karl Marx, Josef Stalin and Isaac Deutcher, are historically incorrect, and.. condemns this anti-Semitic speech as historically inaccurate and incompatible with the aims of the peace process and two-state solution between Israel and Palestinians…

9 May, 2018, Senate, Senator  McGrath (Liberal, QLD) responds to motion condemning comments by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
James McGrathOn 4 May Foreign Minister Bishop condemned the comments by the Palestinian National Authority, saying they were deeply regrettable and anti-Semitic, going against historical facts. Similar condemnation also came from a number of foreign ministers. President Abbas reportedly later apologised, saying:… we condemn anti-Semitism in all its forms and confirm our commitment to the 2-state solution and to live side by side in peace and security.


8 May, 2018, Senate, Senator Janet Rice (Greens, Vic) speech commemorating Al Nakba.

Janet Rice

…on the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Nakba, what can we do? What should Australia and Australians be doing? Palestinians are relying on us, people outside Palestine, to act to end this destructive, inhumane state of affairs. If we want to end the violence and end the cycles of attack and retaliation then we have to give Palestinians real hope that the world understands their struggle and will support them in their just cause.


1 March 2018, Senate, Senate Estimates.  Senator Lee Rhiannon (Greens, NSW) asks about Australia’s engagement regarding Palestinian children in military detention & the US decision to move their Israeli embassy to Jerusalem.

Senator Lee Rhiannon

Senator RHIANNON: Has the Australian government raised concerns with Israel regarding the other Palestinian children currently held in Israeli detention? I understand there are about 350 Palestinian children held in Israeli military jails? Mr Neuhaus : We have consistently raised the issue of minors in detention, yes…..  Mr Neuhaus : We’re disappointed by the US decision. We think it complicates the peace process, but we still regard the US as playing a very important role and as a necessary player for any peace process.

1 March 2018, Senate, Senate Estimates.  Senator Eric Abetz (Liberal, Tas) seeking to undermine Australian aid to Palestine anderic-abetz the definition of Palestinian refugees.

27 February 2018, Senate, Senate Estimates.  Senator Eric Abetz (Liberal, Tas) challenging ABC reporting of Ahed Tamimi’s situation.

13 February 2018, Senate, Senator Anne Urquhart (Labor, Tas) – spoke about her recent time in Palestine.
Senator Anne Urquhart I rise today to express my deep concern about the ongoing occupation of Palestine and the current global discourse which risks permanently ending any chance for peace. I visited Israel and the West Bank of Palestine late last year with the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network. It was my first time in the region. What I saw was both horrifying and tragic.

SINGH-Lisa-ALP-TAS12 February 2018, Senate, Senator Lisa Singh (Labor, Tas) – spoke in support of Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi, and the rights of Palestinian children.
I believe Ahed Tamimi’s real crime in the eyes of Israel has been to shame that country’s illegal occupation of Palestine and her point-blank refusal to accept or bow down to that 50-year-old occupation and the guns that come with it.

Senator Lee Rhiannon6 February 2018, Senate, Senator Lee Rhiannon (Greens, NSW) – spoke in support of Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi, and the rights of Palestinian children.
…this is another example of how the Israeli authorities flout their obligations under international law. Palestinian children are paying the price with their childhood. On this issue, the Australian government remains silent. We should all raise our voices to free Ahed and all children jailed in Palestine.

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