Melissa Price MP – in support of the Prime Minister’s motion

October 18, 2023

I endorse the Leader of the Opposition’s call for the visas of noncitizens who engaged in such hateful rhetoric to be cancelled and for those noncitizens to be deported. There is no place in Australia for terrorist apologists or antisemitism.

Ms PRICE (DurackOpposition Whip) (19:02): The day of 7 October 2023 will be forever remembered as one of the darkest days in Jewish and Israeli history. Not since the Holocaust have so many Jewish lives been lost in one single day, with the Israeli death toll from the attack now above 1,400 people.

The shocking nature of this attack cannot be overstated or ignored. Hamas terrorists crossed the border into Israel and indiscriminately targeted civilians, not military targets. Entire families were executed as hit squads went door to door, killing everyone inside, from infants to the elderly. At the Nova music festival, 260 people were slain. These were young Israelis trying to enjoy their youth. They were simply at a music festival, just enjoying themselves, but they were murdered for the ‘crime’ of being Israeli and Jewish. Along with the many slain, raped and injured, hundreds of Israeli citizens were taken hostage and forced into the Gaza Strip. These are blatant terrorist acts and war crimes. Such crimes cannot be defended or explained away. The comparisons to ISIS by members across the chamber and by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are completely fair and self-evident. Like ISIS, Hamas has entertained the idea of executing these hostages on camera.

I acknowledge that now is a very difficult time for the Australian Jewish community, many of whom have links to those who have been targeted in Israel. This pain has only been exacerbated by the shameful events that occurred on the steps of the Sydney Opera House, where we heard chants of ‘gas the Jews’. To think that, in Australia, in the year of 2023, we have people calling for another Holocaust is simply unfathomable.

I endorse the Leader of the Opposition’s call for the visas of noncitizens who engaged in such hateful rhetoric to be cancelled and for those noncitizens to be deported. There is no place in Australia for terrorist apologists or antisemitism. I also acknowledge the government’s actions to help those Australians in Israel. My office was contacted by a group from Geraldton who were visiting Israel at the time, who were looking for a way home. I’m very pleased to have offered my assistance, and I’m grateful that they’re among the many Australians who have now been able to arrive home safely. But theirs was an incredibly frightening situation. They experienced cancelled flights, great uncertainty about their own safety and sleepless nights before they eventually flew home to their loved ones in Western Australia.

My thoughts also go out to the many innocent Palestinian civilians across the Gaza Strip and to their Australian families and friends. Thousands of Palestinians have died, including many children, since the attack. Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people and certainly does not have their best interests in mind. Palestinians’ hopes for their own state have only been delayed by the violent and hateful actions of Hamas. Hamas must have known that unleashing such terror on Israeli citizens would result in a significant and necessary retaliation. I urge the protection of civilians to be considered in every action, acknowledging that while Hamas targets Israeli citizens they are also using innocent Palestinian civilians as human shields.

On Monday I was proud to stand with members across this House in supporting the Prime Minister’s motion that condemned these horrific actions, recognised Israel’s right to self-defence and called out both antisemitism and Islamophobia. The motion received widespread support, as it should have, except from the Greens political party. Honestly, how could the Greens, the party of microaggressions and hypersensitivity, the party who preaches to be the ultimate supporter of women’s and gay rights, have failed to recognise what Hamas is?

In the aftermath of the unprovoked attack, I’m pleased that Parliament House, along with the opera house, was lit up in the colours of Israel as a mark of solidarity. Unbelievably, the response by Greens senator Faruqi, labelling this act as one colonial government supporting another, needs to be condemned. The Greens should be ashamed of themselves.

There is no moral equivalency between Hamas and Israel. Hamas are committed to the complete destruction of Israel and the annihilation of the Jewish people. Hamas has proven that it is an existential threat to Israel. Not only does Israel have a right to self-defence; it has an obligation to the living, to the fallen and to its own people who are still being held hostage. They have an obligation to root out the evil perpetrators that are Hamas.

I understand that the situation is evolving and that action from Hezbollah and Iran is currently being contemplated. Such involvement could turn the conflict in the Gaza Strip into a war that covers much of the Middle East. Israel’s right to self-defence will extend to any escalation that is brought on by these other agents of terror. However, I sincerely hope that cooler heads prevail and that such a catastrophic sequence of events is avoided. I’m sure everyone in the House feels the same way.

Israel is the world’s only Jewish state and is the home of a strong and resilient people who have consistently suffered the most callous and savage attacks throughout history, from exile to the Holocaust and now Hamas terrorism. This is a pivotal moment for the world, and it is important that we let the world know exactly where Australia stands. We stand with Israel. We stand with its people.

Link to Parliamentary Hansard