Australian Unions call for peace
21 October 2023
The Australian Services Union (NSW & ACT Branch) has joined the Australian Union movement in calling for an immediate ceasefire in Israel and Palestine. We echo the calls from the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the International Trade Union Congress.
Immediate Ceasefire: ASU Statement
The Australian Services Union calls for an urgent ceasefire in Israel and Palestine. We reiterate the Australian union movement’s strong opposition to war, violence, and racism, including antisemitism and islamophobia.
The ASU notes that the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has joined the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in calling for all sides, and the international community, to act for peace. We echo the ACTU’s statements as follows:
This latest escalation is part of a decades-long conflict that must be brought to a just outcome through dialogue and respect for international law, including human rights.
The ASU condemns attacks on civilians, with over 1,300 Israelis and over 3,000 Palestinians killed, including more than 1000 children, since October 7.
The ASU condemns the bombing, killing, and kidnapping of Israeli civilians by the terrorist organisation Hamas. This action is totally reprehensible, and all hostages must be released immediately. Hamas does not represent the aspirations of the Palestinian people and must be held accountable.
The ASU is gravely concerned at the escalation of violence between Israel and Hamas, following the attacks launched against Israel from Gaza. In response to the Hamas attack, Israel has launched an unrelenting bombing campaign against the densely populated Gaza; shut off Gaza from basic supplies of food, water, electricity, and medicine; and ordered 1.1 million people to evacuate. This has created an urgent humanitarian crisis for Palestinians.
There must be an immediate de-escalation and ceasefire, and the creation of humanitarian corridors to allow humanitarian aid into Palestine. Civilians must be protected, and civilian infrastructure such as hospitals must not be targeted.
We echo the ACTU calls on the Australian Government to exercise all avenues of diplomacy to stop the bombing and the ground assault by Israel into Gaza and call for an immediate ceasefire. We welcome the $10 million aid package for Palestine announced by the Australian Government on 14 October. Humanitarian needs for food, water, medical supplies and shelter are rapidly escalating and Australia will need to commit further assistance.
The ASU calls for an end to the occupation of Palestine and a just and sustainable peace in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions. Including the removal of illegal settlements, the withdrawal of Israel from all Palestinian lands along with the dismantling of the separation wall. In line with the ACTU’s commitment to a two-state solution with the security of borders for both nations, we call on all countries to recognise, without delay, Palestine as a sovereign state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
This will confirm the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination in a free and independent Palestine. The Australian Union movement stands in solidarity with the Israeli and Palestinian victims of violence and calls for an immediate ceasefire.
The right to protest
The ASU has also been leading calls for the right to peacefully protest. We joined with the NSW Council of Civil Liberties , Amnesty International, Australian Centre for International Justice, Public Interest Advocacy Centre, Community Legal Centres Australia, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, Australian Democracy Network and other trade unions to call for the NSW Government to uphold that right.
You can watch ASU Secretary Angus McFarland's recent speech to the NSW Labor Conference on the right to protest here.