Socialist councillor: ‘Labor is looking for scapegoats over Palestine policy failure’

June 18, 2024
Councillor Sue Bolton (centre) at a rally for Palestine on June 6. Photo: Jacob Andrewartha

Sue Bolton, the Socialist Alliance councillor contesting a third term on the Merri-bek Council, believes that state and federal Labor government attacks on pro-Palestine protesters is a “sure sign” they have lost hearts and minds over Israel’s war on Gaza.

“There is no justification for Labor’s unethical and immoral support for Israel’s devastation of Palestine,” Bolton said on June 18.

“Trying to blame ‘violence’ on protesters on is a last-ditch effort to take the focus away from Labor’s refusal to impose sanctions on Israel.”

She said police use of pepper spray at protests, for no reason, was a part of Labor’s tactic to demonise protesters.

“Labor is looking for scapegoats.” She said Labor seems to have decided to allow police to “harass and provoke protesters” by stopping the sound truck and fining it twice for parking “illegally” at the June 9 rally.

Then, the following week, police tried to prevent it parking in front of the State Library. Protesters surrounded the truck, so it could be used.

“The government has attacked people marching to MP’s offices to protest for Palestine. Ministers are hiding behind the lie that their staff are at risk.

“But the protests usually take place on weekends, or after hours, when the offices have closed. They are not a threat to staff or MPs”.

Bolton said it was clear that a majority want an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Palestine. But Israel continues to bomb and starve tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza “without a single sanction from the United States or Australian governments”.

Bolton won support for her motion last November for Merri-bek to fly the Palestinian flag, and demand the federal government pushes for an immediate permanent ceasefire and an end to the siege.

Merri-bek was the first Victorian council to take such a stand.

In March, Bolton successfully moved for council to do more, including ending business with companies profiting from war and weapons, calling on Labor to advance peace at the National General Assembly of Local Governments and to provide financial support for organisations helping recent arrivals from Palestine.

Bolton has helped organise pro-Palestine rallies in Merri-bek, and supported Palestine rallies in other local government areas, such as Hume and Darebin. She is standing for re-election in the new Bababi Djinanang ward in Merri-bek. A team from Socialist Alliance will contest other wards.

[Get in touch to help her and the Socialist Alliance team out here.]

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