Statement: Protests at Melbourne hotel where the families of Israeli hostages are staying

I am appalled at the protest at the Melbourne hotel where the families of Israeli hostages are staying.

My statement:

Earlier this week in Canberra I met with families of people taken hostage in the shocking Hamas’ terrorist attacks on October 7. They have shown great strength and enormous courage in coming all the way to Australia from Israel to give us firsthand accounts of the ordeal they and their families are enduring.

The fact that demonstrators have chosen to target these families, people who are experiencing such deep trauma, by entering the hotel in which they are staying in Melbourne and staging a protest is utterly despicable.

I have raised my concerns directly about this behaviour with Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil this morning. I have repeatedly expressed my concern about the consequences for social cohesion in Australia of the Israel-Gaza conflict given the direct effect on communities here. I have made it my absolute priority to try to ensure the safety, security, and welfare of the Jewish community in Goldstein and I am keenly aware of the fact that this outrageous behaviour makes people feel anxious and unsafe. I trust that the authorities will address what happened in Melbourne overnight and I appeal to everyone to think before they act; to think before they speak.

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