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Statement on Gaza - 2 November 2023

The world has been watching the heartbreaking stories and images coming out of Israel and Gaza.

Mothers burying children.

Families here, there and around the world agonising over the fate of their loved ones.

Heart wrenching human suffering.

The loss of life - civilian lives on all sides - is absolutely devastating.

But we can’t look away.

And we can’t stay silent.

We need many voices speaking up.

Over 1000 people here in the ACT have written to me in the past fortnight expressing their distress at the events unfolding.

Decrying the Hamas terrorist attacks and grieving the more than 1400 lives lost on 7 October, while at the same time desperately calling for stronger action to protect civilians in Gaza.

I have written to the Foreign Minister twice to pass on these concerns, urging the Australian government to raise concerns about the unfolding tragedy. We need them to use all available channels to call for a ceasefire to allow humanitarian assistance. 

We can call for the immediate return of all hostages and at the same time call for the protection of civilians in Gaza. 

International organisations are reporting that 40% of the casualties in Gaza are children.

Gaza is being described as a ‘graveyard for children’.

The protection of civilians must be the primary concern. We know that children are the most vulnerable to all kinds of harm.

All parties to this conflict must take every measure to protect them.

We need sustained international pressure for a ceasefire to allow aid to reach those in such desperate need.

The brief opening of the Rafah border crossing overnight shows it is possible.

The hostages must be released. Attacks on civilian infrastructure, like the refugee camp this week, must stop.

The Australian government needs to speak with a louder voice and send a stronger message. And they need to do it now.

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