Wed, 07 Feb 2024 - 11:13
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PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS: Middle East

I was pleased to second the motion moved by the member for Kennedy, which expresses strong support for the people of Israel and calls on the Parliament of Australia to condemn the terrorist organisation Hamas, and demand that the people responsible for the invasion of Israel and the consequent war—namely, Hamas—release the hostages taken in this invasion.

I want to congratulate the member for Kennedy for expressing a strong, clear, moral position. It is a position that the coalition is very much in support of and that is very consistent with what we have said ever since the appalling, unprovoked terrorist attack that occurred on 7 October in Israel.

This is a motion which supports the nation and the people of Israel. This is a motion which supports the Jewish people. One of the reasons that the member for Kennedy was moved to take this action, which the coalition is pleased to support, was to respond to the appalling motion that was moved by the member for Melbourne and the Greens party this morning—a motion which purported to deal with these matters but which, extraordinarily, made no mention of Hamas, the murderous terrorist organisation which controls Gaza. It made no mention of the appalling, unprovoked attack on 7 October, in which at least 1,100 men, women and children were killed—in the main, civilians. As has, horrifyingly, been documented and demonstrated, not only were over 1,100 people killed but we saw depraved, horrific violence, including sexual violence and deliberate harm being done to young children. This was an attack on civilisation, an attack on fundamental human values and, of course, very deliberately an attack on the Jewish people. That such violence should be visited upon Jewish people is a chilling reminder of the evils of the Holocaust. Once again, Jewish people have been killed and injured specifically because of hatred for their religion, and any statement in relation to the conflict presently occurring which is silent as to the actions which triggered and initiated this conflict is a fundamentally misleading statement. That, sadly, is what the Greens Party attempted to do this morning. The member for Kennedy has responded in the fashion he has, and the coalition is pleased to support him.

The fact is that there are still at least 100 people who were taken hostage in that attack—children, elderly people, and civilians, largely—who remain imprisoned in the most horrific circumstances in Gaza. They're being held within the enormous network of tunnels that extends, we now know, throughout Gaza. They're being held in facilities which are, sadly, it appears, often located directly under hospitals. This is one of the hallmarks of the way that this murderous terrorist organisation, Hamas, operates. Not only are they using Jewish people—Israelis—as human shields but they're also using Palestinian civilians as human shields. The moral depravity of the actions of Hamas deserve enormous and unreserved condemnation.

The simple fact is that what all fair-minded observers want to see is a lasting peace. But at the same time, the proposition that the state of Israel—the democratic nation of Israel—should be exposed to this vicious attack—this attack without warning—which killed and injured so many people, the majority of them civilians, and that it ought to be in some way condemned or criticised because it has taken actions to defend itself and its people, to restore order and, very importantly, to deny Hamas the capacity to engage in such vicious attacks in the future—the proposition that this conduct should be condemned, which is what the Australian Greens are putting, is a proposition that on this side of the House we very strongly disagree with.

There are so many aspects of what has happened here that are an appalling tragedy. One of the aspects of this which is absolutely appalling is that the these violent terrorist attacks by Hamas have, in fact, grievously set back progress towards the lasting peace that all of us want to see. They have grievously set back that process.

The motion that is before the House today is clear and it is straightforward and it is based upon fundamental moral principles. It expresses support for a people and a nation who were the victims of an appalling and unprovoked terrorist invasion and attack, and that is something that, ordinarily, would be completely uncontroversial and would be absolutely the first instinct of any nation and any person observing what had occurred. It is deeply troubling that there are some who seem to find it difficult to express that support, that basic human reaction of sympathy and solidarity.

The second thing this motion rightly does is to condemn the terrorist organisation Hamas—the organisation which is responsible for what happened here; the organisation which took the decision to mount this appalling and unprovoked attack; the organisation whose activists, soldiers and terrorists carried out the horrifically violent attacks on innocent people that we have learnt so much about since those attacks occurred. It expresses a condemnation of that organisation and the values that it stands for, and it expresses a clear and straightforward demand: Hamas was responsible for this invasion, and for the consequent war, and they must release the hostages who were taken in this invasion. It is a clear, straightforward motion, based on fundamental moral principles, and the coalition is very pleased to be seconding this motion.