Max Chandler-Mather MP – seconding a motion calling on the Australian Government to end its support of Israel’s invasion of Gaza

Photo of Max Chandler-Mather MP
February 26, 2024

The current Australian Labor government could actually be in breach of its own obligations under the genocide convention for failing to take actions to prevent a genocide in Gaza.

Mr CHANDLER-MATHER (Griffith) (12:10): I second the motion. The current Australian Labor government could actually be in breach of its own obligations under the genocide convention for failing to take actions to prevent a genocide in Gaza. In fact, international lawyer Francis Boyle, when talking about Australia and the other countries that have stopped funding UNRWA—the main aid organisation in Gaza—while there is an engineered famine, said:

These States are now also directly violating Genocide Convention article 2(c) by themselves: ‘Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part…’

To be crystal clear, this means Australia, and the Labor government, could find itself before the International Court of Justice—just as Israel is right now—for its role in the genocide in Gaza.

As the State of Israel’s mass slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza continues, with F-35 jets screeching over the heads of innocent men, women and children who far too often take their last breath as bombs rain down, and as the 1.5 million Palestinians in Rafah—the tiny area of Gaza where Israel has pushed most Palestinians—prepare for the next stage of Israel’s genocide, the Australian public should know. They should know that these jets, dropping those bombs, can only function because of parts manufactured and exported from Australia with the consent of this Australian Labor government.

In fact, not only is Labor allowing the export of weapons to Israel; it has granted two more weapon export permits since 7 October. The latest DFAT data shows $125,000 in arms and ammunition exported to Israel in October. As Israel deliberately engineers a famine in Gaza that experts say will kill more Palestinians than the already 30,000 murdered by Israeli bombs and weapons that can only function in part as a result of Australian weapon exports, the Australian government has joined in by stopping $6 million of aid funding to UNRWA, the UN aid organisation for Palestine.

The head of UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, has said UNRWA has:

… reached breaking point, with Israel’s repeated calls to dismantle UNRWA and the freezing of funding by donors at a time of unprecedented humanitarian needs in Gaza.

UNRWA now reports it has been forced to pause aid and deliveries to northern Gaza, where it is currently not possible to conduct proper humanitarian operations. Palestinians are slowly being starved to death, and this Australian government is participating in that by pausing aid funding for UNRWA.

Let’s think about this in the human consequences. A two-month-old Palestinian boy, Mahmoud Fattouh, has died from starvation in northern Gaza. Here’s what the paramedics said:

We saw a woman carrying her baby, screaming for help. Her pale baby seemed to be taking his last breath.

We rushed him to hospital and he was found to be suffering acute malnutrition. Medical staff rushed him into the ICU. The baby has not been fed any milk for days, as baby milk is totally absent in Gaza.

Can anyone here possibly imagine the unique horror and pain for a mum to watch their small baby slowly take their last breath as they die as a result of not having enough food to breathe?

What about the six-year-old Palestinian girl, Hind Rajab? To quote from the SBS:

Relatives found the body on Saturday of a 6-year-old Palestinian girl who had begged Gaza rescuers to send help after being trapped by Israeli military fire, along with the bodies of five of her family members and two ambulance workers who had gone to save her.

…   …   …

The audio clips released by the Red Crescent earlier this month recorded a call to dispatchers that was first made by Hind’s teenage cousin … saying an Israeli tank was approaching before shots rang out and she screamed.

Believed to be the only survivor, Hind stayed on the line for three hours with dispatchers, who tried to soothe her as they prepared to send an ambulance.

Let parliament remember her words. This is what that 6-year-old girl said:

‘Come and get me,’ Hind was heard crying desperately in another audio recording. ‘I’m so scared, please come.’

She was trapped in a car surrounded by her five dead family members for 12 hours after rescuers tried to send an ambulance to reach her, but it was destroyed by the IDF. hese two little children’s stories are just some of those of the 10,000 children who have been murdered by the Israeli genocidal actions in Gaza. This Labor government is allowing weapons to be sent to Israel. This Labor government is stopping crucial aid funding from reaching little kids like these.

For those watching on their phones or computers at home, it is easy to feel overwhelmed, but it is our duty to the millions of Palestinians to keep fighting. For every member of this parliament, remember that the genocide convention asks us to take actions to prevent genocide. And in a few years time ask yourselves: did you do enough? If the answer is no, let that rest on your conscience.

Link to Parliamentary Hansard