Busloads of pro-Palestinian supporters have descended on Parliament House, calling on the federal government to condemn Israel and restore funding to the United Nations agency responsible for aid in Gaza.
The protesters, who came from around the country, took part in a smoking ceremony outside the Aboriginal Tent Embassy with Victorian senator Lidia Thorpe, before making their way back up to Parliament House while chanting rally cries.
Choruses of “shame, Albo, shame; shame, Penny, shame”, rang out – referring to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Foreign Minister Penny Wong, and “Albanese you can’t hide; we charge you with genocide”.
One sign read “a vote for Albanese is a vote for Biden and his cronies”, while participants were invited to paint their hands red and place a handprint on a sign that read: “blood on your hands Albo”.
Among the crowd, someone was dressed as the popular children’s character Bluey, with Palestinian flags draped from his ears.
Burgertory founder Hash Tayeh – whose Melbourne restaurant was targeted in an arson attack in November – led the official part of the rally.
He called on the dozens of people gathered to “draw strength from the courage of those who have come before us”.
“As an Australian-Palestinian, 123 days ago, I raised my voice in solidarity with our brothers and sisters… and in that moment, my world was engulfed in a storm of abuse, threats, harassment and violence,” he said.
Meanwhile, inside the building, the Greens tried – and failed – to suspend standing orders in both houses, to push for Australia to “end its support for Israel’s invasion of Gaza” and for parliament to acknowledge the “appalling and increasing” death toll.
In a statement to the House of Representatives, party leader Adam Bandt called on the parliament to “help stop a genocide”.
“Labor must stop backing the invasion of Gaza and help stop a genocide, nothing could be more urgent than helping to stop slaughter in Gaza,” Mr Bandt said.
“About 250 civilians are killed every day… Every day matters. 27,000 people have been killed, many of them children and meanwhile the standing position of this parliament and this government is to back the invasion.”
Labor accused the minor party of seeking to “divide” and play domestic politics.
Meanwhile, Opposition leader Peter Dutton accused the Greens of anti-Semitism.
“(This motion) fails to mention the fact that there are still hostages held, including children,” he said.
“It shows the anti-Semitic approach of the Greens party, it is an appalling situation and where is the Prime Minister? Why is he not here condemning this motion?”.
Liberal senator Dave Sharma said it appeared as though the Greens had problems with Jewish people, and said the minor party was “detached from reality’.
“If you really supported a durable ceasefire … then you’ve got to condemn the terrorist actions of Hamas, you’ve got to want their removal from power,” he said.