Senator Scott Ludlam – statement in response to his (and Lee Rhiannon’s) motion regarding the visit of Lt Gen Benny Gantz to Australia being denied

photo of Senator Scott Ludlam
March 2, 2016

The UN Conference on Trade and Development late last year identified that Gaza would be uninhabitable by 2020 as a result of the serial assaults by the Israel Defense Forces on the people of Gaza City. The very least that the Australian government could do would be to make some comments, or allow a vote in this chamber, on the visit of this individual to Australia, should they have seen fit to issue him with a visa.

Full motion

Notice given 1 March 2016

  1061   Senators Ludlam and Rhiannon : To move—That the Senate—

                          (a)      notes that:

                                                (i)     Mr Benjamin Gantz, former Israel Defence Force (IDF) Chief of General Staff, is currently in Australia as a keynote speaker for United Israel Appeal events,

                                               (ii)     during his tenure as Chief of General Staff from 2011 to 2015, Mr Gantz led the IDF through numerous military campaigns, including Operation Protective Edge in Gaza from July to August 2014,

                                               (iii)      according to the United Nations, Operation Protective Edge resulted in the deaths of over 2,000 Palestinians, most of whom were civilians, and destroyed over 19,000 homes, and

                                               (iv)      both the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry into the 2014 Gaza conflict, and Amnesty International, have released reports pointing to the possible commission of war crimes by both Israeli and Palestinian armed groups; and

                          (b)      calls on the Australian Government to:

                                                (i)      work for an end to Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, and end the 8 year blockade of Gaza,

                                                (ii)      halt military cooperation and military trade with Israel, and

                                                (iii)      communicate this position to Mr Gantz whilst he is in Australia, should he be issued a visa.

Full speech

Senator LUDLAM (Western AustraliaCo-Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens) (16:39): I ask that general business notice of motion No. 1061, standing in my name and in the name of Senator Rhiannon for today concerning Israel and the visit of the Chief of General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, be taken as a formal motion.

The PRESIDENT: Is there any objection to this motion being taken as formal?

Senator Ryan: Yes.

The PRESIDENT: There is an objection.

Senator LUDLAM: I seek leave to make a brief statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator LUDLAM: I thank Senator Ryan for giving notice that he was going to do that. This, I guess, comes as a long line of—

Senator Seselja: Anti-Semitic, anti-Israel rubbish.

Government senators interjecting

Senator LUDLAM: instances in which the government refuses formality. These people have sparked up without even knowing what I am going to say. It is amazing. They are denying formality on a fairly simple statement that the retired commander-in-chief of the Israeli army, Lieutenant Colonel Benny Gantz, is in Australia this week. This is the individual who was in charge of the Israel Defense Forces at the time of Operation Protective Edge in 2014 and Operation Cast Lead in 2008-09.

The UN Conference on Trade and Development late last year identified that Gaza would be uninhabitable by 2020 as a result of the serial assaults by the Israel Defense Forces on the people of Gaza City. The very least that the Australian government could do would be to make some comments, or allow a vote in this chamber, on the visit of this individual to Australia, should they have seen fit to issue him with a visa. It is very disappointing that the Australian government would not— (Time expired)

Link to parliamentary Hansard (Motion, Speech)

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