Senate debates

Wednesday, 28 February 2024

Matters of Urgency


5:08 pm

Photo of Janet RiceJanet Rice (Victoria, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

The Labor government has been boldly telling the Australian people an insidious lie. Since 7 October we've heard senior ministers tell us over and over again that Australia has not been exporting military equipment to the Israeli state. We heard Senator Ciccone just now saying, 'Australia has not supplied weapons'. But the facts just do not add up. That statement means that it's a definitional thing—that parts of F-35 bombers parts of the bomb bay doors, which Australian companies supply, are defined as not being weapons, despite them being the very thing that turns the F-35 from a plane into a bomber. It defines drones not as weapons. It defines armour not as weapons. These are weapons—these are part of weapons. They are parts of Australian sanctioned weapons that are being supplied to the Israeli state and they are part of the genocide which is going on in Gaza.

It's outrageous to learn that there are over 50 companies making essential parts for every F-35 fighter jet that the Israel Defense Forces use to kill innocent Palestinian civilians—this, in the most serious of contexts, in circumstances where the International Court of Justice has said there's a credible risk of genocide, where 30,000 people have been killed at the hands of the Israeli government, where 100,000 people have been injured, where millions of people are currently living in absolute fear for their lives in Rafah, starving, desperately trying to keep their children and themselves alive in the throes of famine and disease while being threatened with further invasion and further attacks. In recent days, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Michael Fakhri, has said:

Intentionally depriving people of food is clearly a war crime. Israel has announced its intention to destroy the Palestinian people, in whole or in part, simply for being Palestinian. In my view as a UN human rights expert, this is now a situation of genocide. This means the state of Israel in its entirety is culpable and should be held accountable—not just individuals or this government or that person.

And many of those weapons being used in this genocide have direct ties to Australia.

Australia also plays a major role in Israeli and US surveillance. In November, Michael West Media reported:

The Pine Gap US surveillance base located outside of Alice Springs in Australia is collecting an enormous range of communications and electronic intelligence from the brutal Gaza-Israel battlefield—and this data is being provided to the Israel Defence Forces—

data that is probably directing where those bombs are going to be killing people. Who knows what kinds of violence and devastation the Israel Defense Forces are using this data for, but Australia should and must not play a part in it.

Tens of thousands of Australians are on the streets every week, protesting, speaking out for humanity and for Australians to do more. We Greens support them, and we are with them. The Australian community overwhelmingly sees what's going on, and I salute every person who is speaking out. But, instead of helping to end the violence, our Labor government is continuing to lie and sell military equipment to Israel, has cut aid to Palestine and refuses to sign onto the International Court of Justice investigation. Our foreign minister and our Prime Minister mouth weasel words about 'how Israel conducts itself matters' and make hypocritical statements of concern about the plight of the Palestinian people but refuse to take any action to back up these sentiments. These actions and this lack of action are making our nation complicit in a genocide. Enough is enough. We need action from the government, not lies and worthless statements. We have a responsibility to act decisively, to stop the crime of genocide and to support punishment for genocide wherever it occurs, and there is so much that we could be doing to stop—


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