Luke Gosling MP refuses to meet constituents calling for ceasefire

November 10, 2023
Ashraf Ali Khanzada at the gathering outside Luke Gosling's office. Photo: Stephen W Enciso

November 10 marked day seven of a community vigil outside Solomon Labor MP Luke Gosling’s Casuarina electorate office. Residents are calling on him to take a stand and call for an immediate ceasefire in Palestine.

Gosling has refused to meet with his constituents, privately labelling them disruptive and a security risk.

“I am very disappointed in Luke Gosling not agreeing to meet with us,” said 16-year-old Anaa Fatima Sarmast.

“We’re just peacefully protesting outside his office while there are people getting killed in Gaza, and I don’t think that’s acceptable.”

The vigils have grown since last week, with approximately 30 people attending this morning.

“You can’t grow peace with blood. You can’t grow peace with oppression,” said Ashraf Ali Khanzada who, like many, stopped off before work to show his support.

“I would like Luke Gosling to talk to the community and raise our voice about the peace.”

When Gosling attended a $5000-a-head dinner with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on November 3, both ignored the large community presence on the sidewalk of the Palmerston restaurant calling for a ceasefire.

After Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7, Western governments, including Australia, have emphasised Israel’s right to defend itself and refused to call for a ceasefire.

Israel’s ground and air retaliation against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip has so far displaced 1.3 million people and killed more than 10,000 — nearly half of whom are women and children. The United Nations Secretary-General recently said that Gaza is rapidly becoming a “graveyard for children”.

“I don’t support Israel. In fact I denounce it,” Haskell Musry from Jews Against the Occupation told the gathering. “We want Luke Gosling to understand that within the Darwin community there are people like myself of Jewish origin who really care about what’s going on and we’re just shocked at Labor’s policy, which is unacceptable.”

The West’s failure to exert maximum diplomatic pressure towards securing a ceasefire has given cover to Israel and is allowing it to continue its carnage. Israel said it will allow four-hour humanitarian “pauses” daily, but many see the only realistic solution is an immediate and indefinite ceasefire while a peace process is negotiated.

Suki Dorras-Walker, a former Greens candidate for the Darwin City Council, told the gathering that Australia has a crisis of democracy. “Our representative won’t meet with people who have taken the time out of their morning to show the urgency and the pain that’s being felt in this community about what is happening in Gaza.”

All 11 Greens Senators walked out of the Senate on November 6 in protest at the bipartisan support for Israel and they held another protest on November 9, holding up “Ceasefire now” signs.

The Australian Greens are also investigating Australian military ties to Israel. Just this year Labor has agreed to 52 defence export permits to Israel. Over the last 6 years, 322 such permits have been approved.

Israel ranked 10th as a global exporter of weapons last year. Its technologies are often promoted as having been successfully tested on Palestinians. Weapons companies are expecting to make big profits from Israel’s genocidal ambitions.

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