Max Chandler-Mather MP – moving a motion stating that the House does not support the invasion of Gaza and calling for an immediate and permanent ceasefire

Photo of Max Chandler-Mather MP
February 12, 2024

There is a genocide being carried out by the State of Israel against Palestinians in Gaza, and still this Labor government stands with Israel and supports the invasion of Gaza. That is the bottom line.

Mr CHANDLER-MATHER (Griffith) (10:36): I move:

That this House:

(1) notes that since the House of Representatives’ 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;

(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 Government to end its support for the State of Israel’s invasion of Gaza.

There is a genocide being carried out by the State of Israel against Palestinians in Gaza, and still this Labor government stands with Israel and supports the invasion of Gaza. That is the bottom line. The South African case against Israel laid out in stark, horrific detail the undeniable evidence of genocide in Gaza, and if South Africa was able to find this evidence then we know now without a shadow of a doubt that Labor know as well. They knew last year when the Israeli defence minister said:

I have ordered a complete siege on the Gaza Strip. There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed. We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly.

They knew that when the Israeli defence minister then said to soldiers, ‘I have released all the restraints,’ and that Gaza would never be the same, or when the Israeli President said that there are no innocent civilians in Gaza. Israel has made its intentions brutally and horrifically clear.

Labor know now that 20,000 Palestinians have been murdered by the Israeli military, including over 10,000 children. What about al-Nasr hospital? I quote from the Washington Post:

It was the height of Israel’s assault on northern Gaza last month, and al-Nasr Children’s Hospital was a war zone. The day before, airstrikes had cut off the Gaza City facility’s oxygen supplies. Israeli tanks had surrounded the hospital complex, and the Israel Defense Forces were calling and texting the doctors, urging them to leave.

But ambulances couldn’t … reach al-Nasr to transport the wounded … five premature babies were particularly vulnerable. They needed oxygen, and medication administered at regular intervals. There were no portable respirators or incubators to transport them … Then the IDF delivered an ultimatum … Get out or be bombarded. An Israeli official, meanwhile, provided an assurance that ambulances would be arranged to retrieve the patients.

All five of those babies were found decomposing two weeks later, having died slow, painful deaths. Labor know that more will die from Israel’s engineered famine in Gaza than from bombs, yet still they stand with Israel and support the invasion.

But then Labor went one worse and followed the United States in pausing crucial UNRWA aid funding to Palestinians in Gaza. I quote from the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention:

… as of January 2024, 500,000 Gazans were forced into Phase 5 ‘catastrophic’ levels of hunger—imminent risk of mass starvation and death. This represents fully 80% of all people in the world currently at risk of death by hunger. Each malnourished child, starving family, and refugee camp without access to food is a tragedy—collectively, it is a crime, the liability for which rests on those who actively and knowingly prevent access.

These are little Palestinian boys and girls dying slow, painful deaths, growing weaker by the day while their parents, if they haven’t been murdered themselves, watch on in horror, unable to do anything to prevent their deaths. International lawyer Francis Boyle say these states ‘are now directly violating genocide convention article II(c) by themselves’:

Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.

I want to be clear: what he is saying is that Australia is breaching the genocide convention.

Netanyahu now orders 1.4 million Palestinians who Israel has corralled into a very small area in Gaza to evacuate. But where to? We aren’t told, and now we know that the Israeli military is on the verge of turbocharging this genocide in Gaza. God only knows the horrific, outrageous crimes against humanity and furthering of the genocide that will occur.

South Africa has proved what moral and political courage look like. South Africa has proved what a middle power can do to prevent genocide. Labor keep saying, ‘We’re doing all we can,’ issuing these weasel words without ever directly doing what it is clear they should do in these scenarios and circumstances. Indeed, this is a moral and political test for this government that so far they have catastrophically failed: call for a permanent and immediate ceasefire, immediately ban the sale of military equipment or weapons to the state of Israel, apply sanctions on Israeli ministers and government ministers facilitating the carrying out of genocide, and join and support South Africa’s case in the ICJ against Israel and the case of genocide in Gaza. It is so clear that what we need right now is moral clarity and understanding regardless of the actions on 7 October, which were horrific. Nothing that happened on7 October or the terrible death of Israeli civilians can surely justify the mass murdering and genocide of Palestinian civilians. This will not bring about peace; this will create more radicalism, more hate, more death. At the end of this there will be weasel words from this government, who claim they care about peace. What nonsense.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Dr Freelander ): Is the motion seconded?

Mr Bates: I second the motion and reserve my right to speak.

Link to Parliamentary Hansard