Senate debates

Wednesday, 28 February 2024

Matters of Urgency


4:50 pm

Photo of Andrew BraggAndrew Bragg (NSW, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

I rise to make some remarks on this urgency motion. I do so by starting with the context here. These have been very difficult matters that I know are debated widely across our community, and there are very strong feelings in the Australian society about this foreign conflict. And that's what it is: it is a foreign conflict. It is a matter, therefore, of foreign policy as to how Australia engages. Yes, there are strong domestic feelings on either side of the debate, but ultimately the parliament has to come to a judgement on whether to support the Western alliance and to support the values and principles that we believe in, which I believe are under the greatest threat that has been seen for some decades. I see a large part of this attack on Israel as a broader attack on the West. That is my starting point in this debate.

It is undeniable that the 7 October attacks were an almost unbelievable conflict, and that is where this all started. People have debated over the last few months. We know this was the bloodiest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust. This now has descended into a very bloody conflict over the last few months. When I reflect on how we would react if we were attacked in the way that Israel was, I think most Australians would expect that there would be a full defence of our society, of our nation, against an attack like that. The idea that Israel, as a democracy and as a partner and an ally of Australia, would not be able to avail itself of a defence and then attempt to destruct the organisation that brought the attack is, I think, patently ridiculous.

And so the position Australia has taken has been to support Israel in its attempt to disarm and destruct Hamas. That is the position. I think that is the only position that Australia can take, because any other position would be giving into an organisation that doesn't believe that there should be a Jewish state. That is the bottom line here. The perpetrators of these attacks, the people who started this war, do not believe that Israel should exist. If Israel were not to defend itself against this threat, there would not be a Jewish state. That may be something that some political parties would like to see. It is not something that is a reasonable objective, in my view. Putting that aside though, I understand that there are very strong feelings about this in the community, but the reality is that Australia cannot take any other position, other than to support Israel against this insurgency, which is designed to wipe Israel off the map.


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