Senate debates

Tuesday, 17 October 2023



10:05 pm

Photo of Richard ColbeckRichard Colbeck (Tasmania, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

I rise to make my contribution to this extremely important debate and add my voice to the condemnation of the horrific and barbaric acts of Hamas that we saw in Israel only a few days ago. So many of our colleagues across the chamber have quite graphically put on the record the details of the horrific events, and I can only support their entreaties that the efforts to deal with the barbarism that we have seen are supported, as well as the right of Israel, as so many of our colleagues have said, to defend itself in a situation, as the ambassador said to some of us this morning, that they didn't seek, didn't want and didn't expect but are determined to defend and to win. We must protect and uphold that right as a peaceful nation and as a nation who seeks peace.

I can only reflect on the comments of Senator Canavan a moment ago, where he said that we are seeing, unfortunately, a rise of these barbaric acts by nations led by a barbaric—I think it's the only way you can describe it—authoritarian type of rule that impacts on their own peaceful peoples often against the will of those people. It's imposed on those people as well. I think Senator Canavan so ably made the point a moment ago that the impact of the retaliation on the Palestinians—in fact, retaliation is probably the wrong word. The response to the defence of the Israeli people that's currently being undertaken is to be regretted by us all.

When it all comes down to it, I think the thing that most of us want is to be able to lead a peaceful lifestyle with our families and to be able to do the things that allow us all to live that good and peaceful lifestyle and prosper with our families. But the brutal acts of Hamas in attacking families in their communities and people enjoying a music festival that was being held in the name of peace on the Jewish Sabbath are devastating, outrageous and must be condemned.

All of us, I think, would like to see a peaceful resolution to all these matters in and around Israel and the Middle East. But that isn't possible when you have a terrorist organisation such as Hamas whose objective is the obliteration of the Israeli people and the Israeli state. If the Palestinian people want to live in peace with their neighbours in Israel, the one thing they could do is to cast Hamas out from their midst. While Hamas is there they can't live in peace; it won't be possible for the Palestinians or the Israelis to live in peace. The Jews living in Israel, the Arabs living in Israel in those communities, the Palestinians who live in those communities in Israel—none of them can live in peace while you have a terrorist organisation who has the objective of obliterating the Jewish people.

It's important that we defend not only Israel's right to exist but its right to defend itself, and that we do whatever we can to support the creation of peace in that part of the world, to support the provision of humanitarian aid, to support the repatriation of those who are trying to escape what's there and now occurring, and to support the creation of corridors for people to move. As a peace-loving nation, we would really like to see an end to these types of atrocious events and hostilities. But, as the motion says, it's important for us to express our support for the state and the people of Israel, their right to live in peace and, importantly, their right to defend themselves, and we should all do that with all our force—but while remembering the others who have been impacted and drawn into this horrific situation by the vile and brutal acts of Hamas.

I would urge the Palestinian people to purge themselves of this vile organisation. We don't want to see a repeat of the scenes we saw here in Australia at the Sydney Opera House; those have been, should be and are appropriately condemned. There's no place for that sort of language and behaviour in this country. We're a country who welcomes people from around the world but we don't welcome that kind of behaviour, that kind of hatred and that expression. We are a country that supports peaceful existence and is prepared to do what it can to promote that and support that, and we should continue to do that.

I add my condolences to all those in Israel and around the world whose families have been impacted by these terrible events. I add my condemnation of Hamas for these terrible, brutal, atrocious, unspeakable events they've perpetrated. And I add my voice to the many that have proposed hope that we can resolve this matter as quickly as we possibly can, and my support to those who put in efforts to return these communities to a peaceful existence so that they can rebuild and get on with their lives and existence in the way they should be able to. I add my voice of support to the motion.


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