Adam Bandt MP – moving a motion calling for the Government to end support for Israel’s invasion of Gaza

photo of Adam Bandt MP
February 7, 2024

Parliament must stop backing the invasion of Gaza. Labor must stop backing the invasion of Gaza and help stop a genocide. Nothing could be more urgent than helping to stop slaughter.

Mr BANDT (MelbourneLeader of the Australian Greens) (10:26): I move:

That so much of the standing and sessional orders be suspended as would prevent the Member for Melbourne from moving the following motion immediately—That the House:

(1) notes that since the House resolution of 16 October 2023 concerning Israel and Gaza, which supported the State of Israel’s looming invasion of Gaza by stating that the House ‘stands with Israel’, the following have occurred:

(a) an appalling and increasing toll of deaths and injuries caused by the State of Israel’s bombing and invasion of Gaza;

(b) a growing humanitarian catastrophe caused by the State of Israel’s blockade, bombing and invasion of Gaza; and

(c) the State of Israel is the subject of recent International Court of Justice orders in South Africa’s case regarding the prevention of genocide; and therefore

(2) does not support the State of Israel’s continued invasion of Gaza and calls for an immediate and permanent ceasefire; and

(3) calls on the Australian Government to end its support for the State of Israel’s invasion of Gaza.

Parliament must stop backing stop backing the invasion of Gaza. Labor must stop backing the invasion of Gaza and help stop a genocide. Nothing could be more urgent than helping to stop slaughter. In Gaza, about 250 civilians are killed every day, 600 are wounded and about 4,000 homes of civilians are being destroyed. Every day matters. Twenty-seven thousand people have been killed, many of them children. Meanwhile, the standing position of this parliament and this government is to back the invasion. As the International Court of Justice has noted, ‘Gaza has become a place of death and despair. Tens of thousands of people, mostly women and children, have been killed or injured. Families are sleeping in the open as temperatures plummet. Areas where civilians were told to relocate for their safety have come under bombardment. Medical facilities are under relentless attack. The few hospitals that are partially functional are overwhelmed with trauma cases, critically short of all supplies, and inundated by desperate people seeking safety. A public health disaster is unfolding. Infectious diseases are spreading in overcrowded shelters as sewers spill over. Some 180 Palestinian women are giving birth daily amidst this chaos. People are facing the highest levels of food insecurity ever recorded. Famine is around the corner. For children in particular, the past 12 weeks have been traumatic: No food. No water. No school. Nothing but the terrifying sounds of war, day in and day out. Gaza has simply become uninhabitable. Its people are witnessing daily threats to their very existence—while the world watches on.

The International Court of Justice went on to say that there has been the largest displacement of the Palestinian people since 1948. It is vital that we act today—that standing and sessional orders be suspended and that this parliament reverses its position in support of the invasion, because people are dying and the situation is getting worse by the hour. As the International Court of Justice went on to note:

We are facing a severe risk of collapse of the humanitarian system.

They noted:

… that 15 per cent of the women giving birth in the Gaza Strip are likely to experience complications, and indicates that maternal and newborn death rates are expected to increase due to the lack of access to medical care.

Every moment matters.

When the Labor Party brought a motion to parliament, on the eve of a looming invasion, to say that they backed the invasion, we opposed it. We opposed it because—and we made the point at the time—when you sanction an invasion of an area half the size of Canberra, where 2.2 million people, 40 per cent of whom are under 15, are walled in with nowhere to go, then you unleash a humanitarian catastrophe. Sadly, that is what we have seen day after day.

And if the facts aren’t enough for Labor to change its mind, then listen to the International Court of Justice because they have concluded that there is a plausible case of genocide here. Why is it that they have concluded that? They based their decision, in part, on statements from the Israeli government itself, the ones who are conducting the invasion, including statements from the defence minister who said: ‘I have released all restraints. We are fighting human animals … we will eliminate everything.’ The president of Israel went on to say, and this is in the International Court of Justice decision:

It’s an entire nation out there that is responsible. It’s not true this rhetoric about civilians not aware, not involved. It is absolutely not true.

That is then why the Israeli Minister of Energy and Infrastructure also went on to say:

All the civilian population in Gaza is ordered to leave immediately … They will not receive a drop of water or a single battery until they leave the world.

This is why the International Court of Justice are taking this extremely significant step now to place orders on the Israeli war cabinet not to take acts that could amount to a genocide.

What the world does now matters. What the parliament does now matters. What Labor does now matters. International pressure is what will bring about compliance with the International Court of Justice’s decision; it’s what will stop the invasion and it’s what will lead us to a permanent ceasefire. When the International Court of Justice has put a government under orders to stop a genocide, this parliament cannot keep backing that state’s invasion. This parliament must, at that time, act. We need the full and immediate release of hostages, and we all condemn the attacks on civilians. But we also need a full and permanent ceasefire and we need an end to the occupation, because that is how the people of Palestine and Israel will be entitled to live in justice, peace and security in the lasting way that everyone is entitled to, not only as a matter of morality but as a matter of international law.

But this vote is about whether or not the parliament continues to back the invasion. This is an opportunity for every parliamentarian who has watched the slaughter unfold, who has listened to the International Court of Justice deliver its deliberation and who has seen, in response to the International Court of Justice, one of the ministers of government of Israel tweeting ‘Hauge schmague’ in response to the decision. Other ministers, after the International Court of Justice decision, attended a conference that talked about the full displacement of all Palestinians out of Gaza. And Prime Minister Netanyahu said ‘Well, everyone’s entitled to their opinion.’

The facts are clear. And if you don’t want to listen to the facts, then listen to the International Court of Justice. If that is not persuasive, then ask yourself, ‘How is it fair that children are being slaughtered in their thousands, because of a so-called right to self-defence?’ This has moved beyond self-defence. This is now a slaughter. Around the world, other countries are changing their position. We have seen the majority of the world’s countries call for a permanent ceasefire, a full and permanent ceasefire. This parliament must now add itself to that list of countries that doesn’t put conditions on it, that doesn’t have weasel words but that says, ‘Enough of the slaughter.’ We want to see Palestinians and Israelis living in equal justice, peace and security. We must have a full and permanent ceasefire and we must have an end to the invasion. This is an opportunity for everyone in this House to say, ‘Enough is enough’, declare where they stand, and stand for peace and justice and an end to the slaughter.

Link to Parliamentary Hansard