• Senator the Hon. Scott Ryan, Liberal Senator for Victoria and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education
• The Hon. Michael Danby MP, ALP, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Arts, Member for the Federal Seat of Melbourne Ports
• David Southwick MP, Liberal, Parliamentary Secretary for Police and Emergency Services, Member for the State seat of Caulfield
• The Hon. Martin Pakula MP, ALP, Shadow Attorney-General, Shadow Minister for Corrections, Shadow Minister for Gaming and Racing, Opposition Scrutiny of Government, Member for the State seat of Lyndhurst
• Jan Kronberg MLC, Liberal, Member for the State Eastern Metropolitan Region, who read a message from the Hon. Josh Frydenberg, Liberal, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Member for the Federal seat of Kooyong
• Clem Newton Brown MP, Liberal, State Member for Prahran, who read a message from the Premier, the Hon. Denis Napthine MP
• Martin Foley MP, ALP, Member for the State seat of Albert Park, who read a message from the Leader of the State Opposition, the Hon Daniel Andrews MP
Also in attendance were:
• Senator John Madigan, DLP Senator for Victoria
• Elizabeth Miller MP, Liberal, Member for the State seat of Bentleigh
• The Hon. Marsha Thomson MP, ALP, Member for the State seat of Footscray
• Judith Graley MP, ALP, Member for the State seat of Narre Warren South
• Bernie Finn MLC, Liberal, Member for the State Western Metropolitan Region
Statements read at the rally
The Hon. Dr Denis Napthine MP
Premier of Victoria
The Victorian Government is deeply concerned by the conflict in Israeli and the Palestinian territories and holds strong hopes for a lasting peaceful resolution to this situation.
I remain saddened by the recent tragedies that have occurred, and on behalf of my government I extend my deepest sympathies to all the families and relatives of everyone who has been affected.
The Victorian Government continues to believe that diplomacy is the way forward and that a lasting peaceful solution must be found.
However, I also want to be it clear that Israel has the right to exist, defend herself and protect her citizens and borders.
During this difficult time, the Victorian Government is committed to supporting all our communities and our thoughts and prayers are with those whose family and friends are caught up in these events.
Victoria is a harmonious society and Victorians agree that our multicultural society is an asset to our great State.
All Victorians must respect each other, knowing fully well that we are fortunate to live in a State where everyone has the right to express their culture, religion and heritage without fear or prejudice.
We are proud of our reputation for harnessing the many benefits of multiculturalism to make our community stronger. My Government’s commitment for cultural diversity is underpinned by our new multicultural policy, Victoria’s Advantage, which outlines the many benefits that come with our multicultural and multi-faith society.
It is up to all of us to work together to ensure we continue to maintain a cohesive and peaceful society.
Josh Frydenberg MP
Federal member for Kooyong
Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister
At this most difficult time for Israel and international Jewry, my heart goes out to all the families who have had members killed or wounded as we pray for an end to the violence. Israel as a freedom loving democracy in a sea of instability and antagonism to her, has the right to defend itself against terrorist attacks and protect all its citizens. Hamas has proven that it is no partner for peace and with it at the helm in Gaza, a necessary negotiated two state solution seems tragically to be a long way away. I thank all of you here today for Standing Up For Israel.
The Hon. Mark Dreyfus MP
Federal Member for Isaacs
Tim Watts MP
Federal Member for Gellibrand
On behalf of the Federal Labor Party we send our apologies for not joining you today, but although we are not in Melbourne to be with you here we send you our full support.
Australia’s friendship with Israel is a strong and enduring partnership. It is a partnership that goes back to the founding of modern Israel, when Australia cast the first vote in favour of creating the modern State of Israel in the United Nations.
Today, Australia’s relationship with Israel is built on the same robust foundations that founded our friendship generations ago: shared democratic values and a common commitment to justice and to the rights, liberty and security of our citizens.
It is in this context that we once again affirm our support for the State of Israel to live in peace within secure borders. And we also affirm our support for Israel to defend its citizens against attacks by a Hamas, a terrorist organization that continues to reject Israel’s very right to exist.
All civilized nations deplore the loss of innocent lives.
We also support the right of all peoples to protest policies that they disagree with. But what we have seen at times over recent weeks, alongside the legitimate protests and the heartfelt concerns of people appalled at the loss of innocent lives, is a resurgence of anti-Semitism. Around the world synagogues have been attacked, blatantly anti-Semitic messages have been emblazoned on placards and social media sites, and anti-Semitic stereotypes have found their way back into the mainstream media. And here in Australia too, anti-Semitism has been rearing its ugly head.
So while we will always support the right of people to speak their minds, to protest, and to advocate for change, we abhor racism in all its forms, and we do not support a right to anti-Semitic hate speech and bigotry of the kind we have been seeing.
We conclude by reiterating that Labor’s support for Israel has been steadfast since before the modern state was founded.
Our support has also been steadfast throughout the long peace process, which is the only path out of the conflict that in the last month has once again erupted into violence, causing untold suffering on both sides. Specifically, Labor is committed to supporting an enduring and just two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the right of Israel to live in peace within secure borders internationally recognised and agreed by the parties, and reflecting the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people to also live in peace and security within their own state.