The public gallery at Bayside Council was packed on November 22 to support a Gaza ceasefire motion, motivated by Greens councillor Greta Werner and seconded by independent Michael Nagi.
Four councillors voted for it, including Labor Mayor Bill Saravinovski and another Labor councillor.
Most of those in the room urged council to pass the motion, with only a small number speaking against, using the “Israel has the right to defend itself” argument.
A resident of South African descent drew on her experience living under Apartheid. “Not even the horrors of the Apartheid government during that time reached the despairing and inhumane depths that the war on Gaza has.”
Only councillors supporting the motion spoke during formal debate; none spoke against it. Independent councillor Paul Sedrak spoke in support of the ceasefire motion, argued: “We need to support Palestine like we supported Ukraine”.
Werner said councils have a responsibility stand up for residents who want a message passed on to state and federal governments.
"Like most in our community, I'm horrified by the images and stories of death and destruction in the Middle East. There is a chorus of global voices calling for a lasting ceasefire and a just peace. I don't understand how anyone could justify not supporting this motion," Werner said.
Four Labor Councillors and four Independents abstained from the motion, meaning it failed to pass.