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#NoExcuse Jewish Women’s Vigil, Melbourne

Jackie, Kylie, Mika, Deborah

It is my honour to stand here in solidarity with all of you this evening in support of Jewish and Israeli women and girls.

This issue is beyond politics.

It is our duty not to stay silent.

It is our duty to speak out about the sexual violence that Israeli and Jewish women experienced at the hands of Hamas terrorists on the 7th October.

It is our duty to ensure that people across Australia – and around the world – know about and condemn the rape, the brutality, the kidnapping, the torture and the murder for what it is – pure evil.

It does not and should not take 57 days.

There is nothing – nothing – which explains or justifies this evil.

It doesn’t matter who are you, or where you live, or the faith you follow – what Israeli and Jewish women and girls were subjected to must be universally condemned, without qualification.

There is no excuse.  We believe them.

Mika – I am sorry, so deeply sorry – there are no words to describe the depravity to which your friend Naama endured.

You have my word that I will continue to ensure that people do not forget what happened on October 7 – because you matter, Jewish women matter, and Israeli women matter.

I know this commitment is shared by many Parliamentarians and political parties.

As I have said over many weeks, every Australian deserves to feel safe in their own country.

Children going to school, students on campus, families in their neighbourhoods, small business owners opening their doors.

Children should be at school, not used as political pawns.

The dramatic increase in acts of antisemitism, in anti-Israel hatred – is sickening. It must stop.

Thank you to the incredible women who organised tonight’s vigil.

There is no excuse.  We believe them – and we believe in you.

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