Senate debates

Tuesday, 17 October 2023



9:26 pm

Photo of Slade BrockmanSlade Brockman (WA, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

I rise tonight to make a contribution on this motion and to associate myself particularly with the comments of all my colleagues who have spoken this evening. I have learnt things tonight. I have learnt things from the contribution that Senator Hughes just made. I think it is important at times like this that we do try to listen to the contributions that our colleagues make, particularly on matters like these, where many of us are not experts and do not claim to be experts.

I remember, when I was a young fella, my parents talking about something that had happened a long way away. I had no idea where it was, but a plane had been hijacked—I probably didn't even really understand what that meant—and flown to another country. I understood later that it was hijacked by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. It was an Air France plane. It had 90 Israelis on board and around 150 people from other nations. It was flown to the airport at Entebbe, and subsequently Israeli commandos launched a successful rescue mission. There were deaths involved, but it was a highly successful rescue mission. But I remember thinking, as a young fella, 'Why would people do this?' It was inexplicable to me. I think the saddest thing is that, 40-something years later, terrorism remains inexplicably evil. Terrorism is violence to instil fear to supposedly achieve a political aim. Violence, fear, politics—they are words that should never appear together.

Terrorism should always be condemned unequivocally—no weasel words, no false equivalencies. Hamas's attack on Israel was an inhumane attack upon innocent civilians. Hamas's attack on Israel was a terrorist attack. It was bloody. It was brutal. It was the murder of unarmed men, women, children, babies, the old and the young, the strong and the weak. It was indiscriminate and brutal. Of course Israel has every right to defend itself against this attack and any future attacks and should be supported by other Western nations, other Western democracies, like Australia.

We've seen antisemitism on display outside the Sydney Opera House, something that we should also condemn, and we do. But I want to say to the Jewish community and the Israeli community in Australia that the vast, vast majority of Australians reject that antisemitism and the violence it represents. Today I rise to join with my colleagues and say that we stand with Israel and we stand with Australia's Jewish community.


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