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Speech in the Senate

It's hard to adequately articulate just how devastating the situation that we are witnessing in Israel and Gaza is.

At this moment, I echo calls to protect civilian lives and adhere to international humanitarian law. What we are witnessing is a heartbreaking loss of life, with innocent civilians on all sides suffering. I welcome the provision of $10 million in humanitarian assistance for civilians in Gaza and hope that the government will look carefully at what more can be done. My thoughts are with all those impacted—Israelis, Palestinians and the Australians who remain in Gaza. My thoughts are also with communities here impacted by events overseas and worried about friends, family and homeland.

The attacks on Israel by Hamas were terrorist attacks and have been rightfully condemned. It is also right to condemn any indiscriminate attacks that target civilian targets, especially hospitals. But in the aftermath the first imperative must be protecting civilian lives, Palestinian and Israeli alike. Innocent people do not deserve to suffer in this conflict, and I'm hopeful that all sides will move to de-escalate the conflict and prioritise the sanctity of human life. The language we use about this conflict matters. As Mike Burgess, the Director-General of Security, has warned us, inflammatory language does damage. It does a disservice to the people involved in this conflict and it does not serve us as a country. We're hearing reports of increased incidents of vilification in communities around the country and we must stand against this in our communities.

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