9 October 2023
Tonight, Australia's heart breaks for Israel. In the face of this evil, tonight Australia embraces Israel and all her people.
The very nature of terrorism is shocking. It invades normality, such as attending a knock on the front door, or going to a music festival as thousands of young people, my kids, do in our country all the time. To have fun, to dance, to enjoy youth. Indeed when we think about the motivations of those young people who went to the Supernova festival this weekend past, to experience joy and friendship and community, it couldn't be further removed from what they then confronted in the face of Hamas. Evil, extreme violence and death.
In the context of the expected normality, it is horribly unimaginable. And these were not combatants, they were innocents, and that makes this murder.
Israel is a liberal democracy. She cherishes human rights and values freedom of speech. And in that, Israel and Australia are the same. But our connection goes much deeper than that. It was an Australian foreign minister who in 1947 chaired, drove the UN Special Committee on Palestine which gave rise to the very creation of Israel. ‘Doc’ Evatt regarded it as the signature achievement of his public life, and he was inspired and he was supported by the Australian Jewish community at the time. And his contribution is scheduled to be immortalised by the naming of the ‘Doc’ Evatt room at Israel's National Library in Jerusalem next week.
And what it says is that Australia was right there, at the very start of Israel's remarkable journey. And it makes it all the more significant, the expression of solidarity, that we make with Israel tonight. It is so important that we do this. And then tonight, as we think about all that has happened, as we think about the evil that has been presented, we condemn Hamas in the strongest possible terms.
At the heart of the relationship is the Australian Jewish community. It is you which transforms the relationship between our two countries from being one of the closest of friends, to literally being family. And I am acutely aware that for so many of you in this room tonight, there is a deep sense of anxiety about the safety of your family and your friends in Israel and we are with you in hoping that they are alright.
We weep for the more than 700 who have lost their lives, and our thoughts are with the thousands who have been injured. And we fervently pray for those who find themselves now in the unspeakable position of being held hostage by Hamas, in Gaza, as we meet. And so we do condemn Hamas in the strongest possible terms. Theirs is an ideology of terror and these are acts which are of the most profound evil. And as Israel acts to defend herself, and to seek the protection and the liberation of her citizens, and to act against Hamas, Australia stands by her side.
In 2023, it is time, around the world, that there is an acknowledgement that Israel has a right to exist in peace and with security. And as this right is asserted, our nation stands as one with all the people of Israel.
Other related releases
Condolence Motion - Deaths of Danniel Lyon, Maxwell Nugent, Joseph Phillip Laycock & Alexander Naggs
Remarks at the 'United with Israel' Community Gathering, Caulfield Shule, VIC