Australia has recently shifted its stance in a crucial United Nations session, aligning itself with 152 nations to support a resolution urging a ceasefire in Gaza and the immediate release of all hostages. This significant change saw Australia joining Canada and New Zealand in voting for the resolution, while only ten nations, including the United States, opposed it, and 23 countries, such as the United Kingdom, abstained.
The decision marks a departure from Australia’s prior position in late October, where it refrained from affirming a similar motion, citing concerns about its language being “incomplete” due to its omission of Hamas as the perpetrator behind an attack on October 7.
The UN wants a break from fighting to help folks and is concerned about how tough life is for regular people in Gaza. They think it’s super important to keep both Palestinian and Israeli civilians safe by following international rules. Australia’s UN ambassador, James Larsen, sees this vote as a change in what Australia thinks. He’s really worried about how much people are suffering in Gaza. He says these breaks in fighting are super important to make sure a ceasefire lasts a long time and helps everyone.
People in Australia, especially those in the opposition, didn’t like that the government supported the resolution. They think it’s not strong enough and are worried that if there’s a ceasefire, it might make Hamas stronger and lead to more attacks. Israel’s ambassador to Australia also didn’t agree with the decision and was concerned that it could make Hamas attack Israelis again.
Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Penny Wong, emphasized that the UN vote represented a collective stance for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, backed by like-minded partners, and was not a unilateral decision by Australia. Australia’s Wong said again that they don’t want Hamas to be in charge of Gaza in the future. At the same time, they believe Israel has the right to protect itself.
Australia changed its mind after leaders from Australia, New Zealand, and Canada asked for a long-lasting ceasefire in Gaza. These leaders agreed that Israel can defend itself but really wanted to keep civilians and buildings safe. They said no to kick Palestinians out by force and supported having two separate areas for Israel and Palestine to live.
The voices from humanitarian groups like Oxfam Australia and Caritas Australia echoed a call for a lasting ceasefire, condemning the sustained suffering and stressing the urgency to end the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza. Assistant Minister Ged Kearney highlighted the heartbreak caused by the destruction and loss of life in Gaza, echoing the prime minister’s repeated calls to end this suffering.