An open letter to the Australian labour movement

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By: The John Curtin Research Centre

We address the following to our comrades in the Australian labour movement.


We are members of the oldest and proudest political organisation in our nation, the Australian Labor Party, and some of us are life members of the party.


We are trade unionists and we are internationalists.

 

The line in the sand between humanity and a reversion to barbarism is what distinguishes civilised society and democracy from genocidal chaos.

 

That line was crossed by Hamas terrorists on 7 October 2023.

 

The terrorist atrocities in Israel, and the explosion of antisemitism on an international scale since, have shaken us to our very core. Silence or equivocation in the face of terrorism is not and never has been acceptable.

 

In the face of the terror unleashed by Hamas no good person can remain silent, much less blame the victims for the terror they have experienced.

 

We are compelled to write out of solidarity with Israel and the Jewish people whether they in reside in Australia or the Jewish people’s eternal homeland.

 

We thank those who immediately saw the line in the sand, that we celebrate life and always oppose nihilistic death cults such as Hamas, especially Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who offered his unconditional solidarity. 

 

We offer our gratitude to Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, Foreign Minister Penny Wong and all state Labor leaders who stand by Israel.

 

This letter in no way shape or form is directed towards the federal government. We write in sorrow and anger. We mourn the cold-blooded mass murder of 1400 innocent Israelis by Hamas terrorists on October 7 and subsequently.

 

Innocent Israelis were murdered for simply being Jewish.

 

Entire families were wiped out and whole communities destroyed.

 

More Jews were killed on 7 October than on any day since the Holocaust. 

 

Innocent Muslims, too, were murdered in Israel by Hamas and continue to be used as human shields in Gaza, exacerbating Hamas’ fascistic terror.

 

Raping and abducting women, children, babies and the elderly were acts of evil.

 

We call for the unconditional release of the 220 Israeli and international hostages.

 

We are angry that some Australians sought to downplay, minimise, or excuse these acts of evil. A tiny minority even ‘celebrated’ the atrocities.

 

We are angry that a minority of elected representatives of the Australian people failed to condemn apologetics for Hamas or qualified their condemnations.

 

As the African American poet and activist Maya Angelou once wisely wrote, when people show you who they are, believe them the first time.

 

Hamas has shown us who they are, and we should believe them.

 

When good people fall silent in the face of evil, we ask – what do they believe?

 

We believe the universal values of social democracy demand an unequivocal condemnation of terror and unequivocal solidarity with its victims.

 

There can be no reference to ‘context’ or reverse causation.

 

We are clear that Hamas’ atrocities do not lessen the Palestinian’s right to self-determination, or need for a lasting two state solution, and extend our solidarity to their Arab and Muslim victims and our Arab and Muslim comrades.

 

Hamas stands against everything social democrats hold dear and sacred.

 

We recognise that a line was crossed on October 7 because we are Labor.

 

We recognise that a line was crossed on October 7 because we are unionists.

 

We saw the crossing of a line on October 7 because of our shared humanity and because of our internationalist conviction in freedom, equality, and justice.

 

We ask our labour movement comrades to join us in maintaining that line.

 

In solidarity,

 

Hon. Michael Gunner – Former Labor Chief Minister of the Northern Territory

Hon. Michael Lee – Former federal Labor minister

Hon. Michael Forshaw – Former federal Labor Senator for New South Wales

Hon. Jacinta Collins – Former federal Labor Senator for Victoria

Hon. Michael Egan AO – Former NSW Labor Treasurer

Hon. Eric Roozendaal – Former NSW Labor Treasurer

Hon. Luke Foley – Former leader, NSW Labor

Hon. Philip Dalidakis – Former Victorian Labor Government Minister

Hon. Jaala Pulford – Former Victorian Labor Government Minister

Hon. Theo Theophanous – Former Victorian Labor Government Minister

Hon. Lisa Chesser – former South Australian Labor Government Minister

Hon. Michael Danby – Former federal Labor MP

Hon. Dr Mike Kelly AM – Former federal Labor MP

Mary Easson – Former federal Labor MP

Hon. Walt Secord – Former NSW Labor Legislative Council Member

Gerard Dwyer – National Secretary, Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association (SDA) and Board Member, JCRC

Joe de Bruyn, former National Secretary, SDA

Bernie Smith – State Secretary SDA New South Wales

Josh Peak – State Secretary SDA South Australia and Northern Territory 

Geoff Fary – Former Assistant Secretary ACTU 

Sebastian Zwalf – Former ALP National Assistant Secretary

Cameron Milner – Former Queensland ALP State Secretary

Stephen Newnham – Former Victorian ALP State Secretary

George Addison – Former Northern Territory ALP State Secretary

Kosmos Samaras – Former Victorian ALP Assistant State Secretary

Dr Michael Easson – Vice President, ACTU and former Senior Vice President, NSW ALP and ex-Secretary, Labor Council of NSW

Shannon Threlfall-Clarke – ALP Victorian Branch

Misha Zelinsky – Former Australian Workers Union National Assistant Secretary

Dr Henry Pinskier – Former Victorian ALP Vice-President and Chair, John Curtin Research Centre (JCRC)

Ari Suss – Former senior Labor staffer

John-Paul Blandthorn – Former senior Labor staffer

David Cragg – Former Assistant Secretary Victorian Trades Hall

Michael Borowick – Former Assistant Secretary ACTU

Dr Nick Dyrenfurth – Executive Director, JCRC

Adam Slonim – ALP Life Member and Secretary, JCRC

Professor Tim Harcourt – ex-ACTU official

Marcia Pinskier – Former Commissioner to the Victorian Multicultural Commission

Filomena Piffaretti – Mayor, City of Bayswater (Perth)

Dr Dominic Meagher – Deputy Director, JCRC

Sam Almaliki – Treasurer, JCRC

Emma Dawson – Former senior Labor staffer

Dr Adam Carr – Former senior Labor staffer, in Memory of Senator Kimberley Kitching

Stephen Michelson – Former senior Labor staffer

Byron Danby – Secetary, Labor Israel Action Committee NSW

George Droutsas – Former senior Labor staffer

Lorin Muhlmann – Former senior Labor staffer

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