Kieran Gilbert: Let’s bring in the Shadow Education Minister, Sarah Henderson, thanks for your time. The turnout was greater than many people had anticipated. Clearly, the students didn’t heed the warnings from the state and federal ministers.
Senator Henderson: Well, Kieran, good afternoon and terrific to join you. And of course, many, many students did heed those warnings. But we have seen a large number of students who have attended this protest. And I’m absolutely horrified by some of the anti-Semitic chants that we’ve just heard “From the River to the Sea – Palestine will be Free”, is calling for the destruction of Israel. It is vile, anti-Semitic hatred. And frankly, many students attending this protest may not even know what that means. Clearly led by activists. But it is completely appalling. And this is the very reason why I was so strong in calling for this protest not to go ahead
Kieran Gilbert: And the “Free Palestine”, the chants that we heard there, as well as that one that you alluded to “From the River to the Sea” – which basically is seen as an argument or a chant to call for the wipe out, the wiping out of Israel. And there were Greens represented there. Sarah Henderson?
Senator Henderson: Absolutely disgusting. I absolutely condemn the Greens for supporting this protest, along with the Australian Education Union, which has shown how irresponsible it is.
And I have to say, Kieran, while the Premier of Victoria walked back some of her comments and she talked about an expectation that students should go to school, she wasn’t as tough as she needed to be, and in fact, last week was defending the right of students to attend a protest – their so-called “democratic right”.
Sure, if children and students want to go along to a protest, they are free to do so, but not during school hours.
And I’m also disappointed that the Education Minister, Jason Clare, hasn’t been tougher.
Yes, he said students should stay in school, but all school principals should have been directed under no circumstances should any child attend this protest.
And it’s really, really disappointing because they are being brainwashed. They are being manipulated by activists. And we saw that in action today in Melbourne. And no doubt that will continue to happen. It’s just appalling.