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Albanese Government must urgently advise on the protection of Jewish students

The Coalition is calling on the Minister for Education, Jason Clare, to provide urgent advice on how the Albanese Government will protect Jewish students at Australian schools and universities.

Given the horrific and abhorrent attack by Hamas on the people of Israel, the Coalition is deeply concerned about the safety and security of Jewish students attending both Jewish schools and university campuses.

Following the shocking protest by supporters of Hamas at the Sydney Opera House who chanted ‘gas the Jews’ and ‘kill the Jews’, the Australian Jewish community has every reason to fear for its safety.  I condemn the sickening and violent conduct of these protestors and the failure of police to shut down the protest.

This morning, reports have emerged that four young men, driving through parts of Melbourne with a high Jewish population, were shouting that they were looking for Jews to kill.  This is just abhorrent.

There are also reports that Jewish families in Melbourne are fearful about sending their children to school.

Today, a group of students has gathered at Sydney University, displaying signs claiming that “Palestinians are right to resist” and that Australia and the United States are “backers of Israel terror.”   I am advised that Jewish students have complained to the university’s campus security office and have been told no action will be taken.

There are also reports of anti-Israel gatherings at other universities.

The recent Australian Jewish University Experience Survey found that 64 per cent of Jewish students have experienced at least one incident of antisemitism during their time at university, with 88 per cent of those students experiencing antisemitism in the past 12 months.  According to the survey, more than half of Jewish students have hidden their identity on campus to avoid antisemitism, with many students avoiding campus altogether.

I have written to Mr Clare seeking urgent advice on the protection of Jewish students.  I have also sought urgent advice from the chair of Universities Australia, Professor David Lloyd.

Every Australian has a right to feel safe in their own country.  It is critical that the Albanese Government works closely with law enforcement and security agencies to ensure the safety and security of Jewish students.

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