Greens come under fire from all sides, accused of antisemitism and misinformation

Anthony Albanese and Peter Dutton accused the Greens of stoking antisemitism.

Anthony Albanese and Peter Dutton accused the Greens of stoking antisemitism. Photo: TND

The Albanese government and the Liberal opposition have united in their condemnation of the Greens over the alleged spreading of misinformation and stoking of antisemitism.

It sparked a war of words in Parliament and the media.

On antisemitism

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese accused Greens MPs of spreading misinformation that was causing abuse, assault and attacks on their electorate offices “that cost taxpayer money”.

“Denying people the right to seek out assistance [at electoral offices] achieves nothing,” he said.

“It undermines the cause the protest is purporting to advance”.

The comments came after several of his ministers had their offices covered in graffiti and picketed by protesters calling for an end to Israel’s military action in Gaza.

Pro-Palestinian protesters crashed the Victorian Labor Party’s annual conference last month and government ministers have had events picketed.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton went even further, labelling the Greens as “evil” and their leader Adam Bandt as “unfit for office” in an interview with 2GB radio.

“He has led the party now that is central to what we’re seeing on campuses and the distribution of hate and antisemitic messages online, the chanting of ‘River to the Sea’ and Intifada,” Dutton said.

“People, as we’ve talked about before, in the Jewish community are living in fear.”

Bandt said:

Bandt threatened Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus with legal action over claims his MPs encouraged pro-Palestinian protests that led to electorate offices being damaged.

He accused the government of trying to distract from the situation in Gaza.

“I will not be lectured about peace and non-violence from a Prime Minister and Opposition Leader who back the invasion of Gaza,” he said.

On a ceasefire:

Tony Burke, Labor’s leader of the house, said the Greens were causing harm “beyond the belief” by “telling people when there is a government calling for a ceasefire that somehow it is calling for conflict is deliberate misinformation”.

Bandt argued that the Labor Party has “refused repeatedly to call for a permanent ceasefire”.

“What they’ve called for is a humanitarian ceasefire,” Bandt said.

“A pause so that people can be fed and then the bombing can start again. Labor has refused to actually do anything that would make a ceasefire more likely.”

Adam Bandt

Greens leader Adam Bandt said that the Labor government has never called for a ceasefire. Photo: AAP

The Labor Party started calling for “humanitarian pauses” in late October, before voting in December at the United Nations for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire”.

Albanese said that “a negotiated political solution is needed to achieve lasting peace and security”.

“We have consistently voted for month after month in the United Nations for UN resolutions calling for a cessation of conflict,” he said.

“As President Biden has said, a deal would allow the United States and our partners to begin the work to rebuild homes, schools and hospitals in Gaza to help repair communities destroyed in the chaos.”

Another fight broke out in Parliament on Thursday when Max Chandler-Mather, the Greens housing spokesperson, claimed that Labor had awarded a $917 million contract to an Israeli company to build new vehicles of the Australian military.

The contract was instead awarded to a South Korean company, which then awarded the contract to Israeli company Elbit Systems.

The Greens had also said in a statement in April: “Just published data from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade shows that in February 2024 alone Australia directly exported over $1.5 million in ‘arms and ammunition’ to Israel.”

On this issue the Department of Defence’s first assistant secretary David Nockle also told Senate estimates: “We have assured ourselves that what has been publicly put forward in the media is in fact incorrect and that it is not arms and ammunition. The most recent figure … $1.5 million is for a single item – that is a return-to-Australia-item that falls under the category of what we’ve just been talking about in that it supports Australian defence capability.”

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