Tanya Plibersek MP urged to take a stand for Palestine

February 27, 2024
Outside Tanya Plibersek's office, calling on her to support a ceasefire in Gaza. Photo: Zebedee Parkes

City of Sydney residents, along with environmental groups, rallied outside Tanya Plibersek’s office in Redfern on February 23.

Plibersek is the federal environment minister, MP for Sydney, and once a big supporter of Palestine. The action was organised by City of Sydney For Palestine (COS4P), Extinction Rebellion, Muslim Collective and Climate Activists for Palestine.

The protesters called on her to push for a ceasefire and to restore United Nations Relief and Works Agency funding. It said there is no environmental justice under occupation.


Photo: Zebedee Parkes

COS4P spokesperson Ash Phthalo said the 20th week of the genocide in Gaza means more than 30,000 women, children and civilians have been killed by the state of Israel.

“We demanding Tanya Plibersek join the 327 MPs and local councillors who have signed a Permanent Ceasefire statement.”

The statement, released on December 19, 2023, was led by 50 NSW Labor MPs and supported by Australia Palestine Advocacy Network.

Now, more than 70 Labor MPs have signed on. Plibersek is a notable absence, although Phthalo said she had been repeatedly asked.


Photo: Zebedee Parkes

Jana Fayyad, an organiser in the Palestine Justice Movement and Palestine Action Group, said: “Israel is making Gaza uninhabitable. The Israeli government has manufactured an environmental disaster as well as a human one.”

The destruction of so many buildings is creating more greenhouse gases and that boosts global warming, Fayyad said. “The Israeli government has also granted huge gas exploration licences off the coast of Gaza.” 

Ethan Floyd, energised the crowd chanting “From the river to the sea, Always was, always will be” and the Gadigal people’s role in nurturing the land for thousands of years was acknowledged.

Floyd highlighted the significance of country and described the impact of violent settler colonialism and dispossession.


Photo: Zebedee Parkes

Sarah Shaweesh, a Palestinian-Australian from Jerusalem, who spoke for Families For Palestine, reminded the crowd that Plibersek had once supported Palestine. She called on the senior MP to “align with justice”.

“We will never forget or forgive,” she said, before returning to the 24/7 picket outside Anthony Albanese’s electorate office. 

Deen Kafina, a Palestinian community organiser, said: “We must keep up the struggle for all the vital issues: Aboriginal land rights, justice for Palestine and environmental justice.”

River Verwood, from Creatives for Palestine, delivered a poignant reading of a poem titled “Tanya, there is a loud and sharp noise”.

An excerpt reads:

“You know about the palestinian people, right Tanya?
They are being killed, starved, tortured, Tanya.

“Do you see them, when you sleep Tanya? How do you sleep Tanya?”

Fahimah Badrulhisham, a climate justice activist, spoke about the destructive impact of fossil fuels and called on Plibersek to take a stand for Palestine and a safe planet.

Lil Barto from Wage Peace said: “We can’t live in a world where militarism is used to force people off their land, so resources can be extracted from this land.”

Many motorists showed their support by tooting as they drove by.

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