Conflict in Middle East

Melina BATH (Eastern Victoria) (13:10): I thank the Leader of the Government for bringing this before us today. I think we see in this house today the very best of each other in the respect that we have for those who are dealing with such atrocities and so much pain and so much loss. So on behalf of my colleague Gaelle Broad, I would just like to put the Nationals support for this motion, in addition to the wonderful sentiments of Ms Crozier. We unequivocally condemn the attacks on the Israeli people by Hamas. Our hearts are heavy with the pain, the terror and the anguish experienced not only in Gaza but in that broader region by Israelis and Palestinians. We understand that there are people in homes in Victoria and Australia, and in regional Victoria, that are so concerned about loved ones. To be feeling the very visceral pain of the acknowledged trauma – people have experienced loss of life at the end of a gun. It is something that no sane, sensible, caring human would ever want to wish on anybody, but those people have had to experience it, and we understand that that pain ripples through the world through peace-loving nations, and it is our responsibility to call out atrocities, as we have been doing on this motion.


It is vital that houses of democracy – the Legislative Council, the Assembly – the Commonwealth of Nations and those right across our free world stand in solidarity with those against antisemitism and recognise that the Jewish peoples for millennia have experienced violence, which needs to end. It is important to differentiate the beautiful people, the Palestinians, who are separate to the atrocious Hamas and who are separate to that evil that is the force of Hamas. We call out and say that extremism has no place in this house, in our state and in Australia – but noting that extremism by its very nature is made up of outliers, and they have two ends of a graph. We call out all extremism and those outliers.


We acknowledge very much, with great understanding and gratitude, the role of humanitarian aid and those people who run towards these very desperate situations, knowing that their own lives and wellbeing are in peril. We thank them for assisting women, children and civilians of every race, creed and colour. We pray with whatever faith we have, in whatever religion we feel comfortable, or we pray a universal prayer to the greater universe, that the efforts of world leaders, of our leaders, can restore respect for human life. I believe that hope is eternal. I believe the strongest thing that any human has is to wake up every morning and hope for a better day. So I am sending hope for a calmer tomorrow. I am sending hope for safety for all peoples in that region – an end to the shelling, an end to the hostage taking and the release of the hostages, who are living in huge fear and deprivation, and the cessation of those that want to incite violence through speech.


I want to see the removal of the evil Hamas, and I pray for those people who are working for that. To all people who call Australia home I say that we need to hold onto our freedom, but it is a responsible freedom. It is a freedom without absolutes. We need to respect each other and to do unto others as they would have us do to them. I wholeheartedly support and commend this motion, and I thank the government for bringing it forward.