Vic parliament bans keffiyehs

May 15, 2024 by AAP
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Keffiyehs have been banned from Victoria’s parliamentary chamber as fresh pro-Palestine protests crop up.

David Southwick

Speaker Maree Edwards deemed the scarves, a long-time symbol of Palestinian nationalism, as a political item of clothing on Wednesday morning.

Victorian Greens MP Gabrielle de Vietri was told to remove her keffiyeh in parliament by Ms Edwards on May 7 after Liberal MP David Southwick said he found it offensive.

State party leader Ellen Sandell on Wednesday sought to clarify whether the ruling was for that occasion or ongoing.

“Political paraphernalia and badges are not allowed in the house,” Ms Edwards ruled.

Ms Sandell argued MPs had been allowed to show support for various causes and wear cultural or religious items such as jewellery in parliament.

She said the decision made the Victorian parliament one of the only ones in the world to ban the traditional item.

The ruling in the Victorian parliament came as One Nation leader Pauline Hanson walked into the Senate chamber in Canberra wearing an Israeli scarf.

Greens MPs at the Victorian parliament

Earlier, Green MPs wore keffiyehs outside parliament to mark the 76th anniversary of The Nakba, mourning the mass displacement of Palestinians during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

It comes after Deputy Premier Ben Carroll’s office in Melbourne’s northwest was vandalised on Wednesday morning.

Mr Carroll said he or none of his staff were present at the time of the early hours incident.

“I urge everyone to please be civil, and to remember what makes Victoria such a strong state is our diversity, our harmony,” he said.

 

It was a busy day at the Victorian parliament. As well as the keffiyeh-clothed Greens, MPs from all sides wore Motor Neurone Disease beanies in the chamber in support of Labor MP Emma Vulin, who has been diagnosed with the disease.

Greens Leader Ellen Sandell quickly used this bipartisan show of support as an excuse to stand up and ask for a ruling on the keffiyeh, and specifically singled out David Southwick’s yellow ribbon hostage pin as “supporting the Israeli military”.

Finally, the Greens moved a motion in the Legislative Council calling on the State Government to immediately produce documents relating to its Memorandum of Understanding with Elbit, an Israeli weapons manufacturer. The Liberals, Nationals, and several crossbenchers voted against the motion, largely because we saw it as little more than a stunt to stir up yet more anti-Israel hatred and division. Sadly, Labor supported the motion, and it passed.

However, some communities face the possibility of heightened social unrest as supporters of Palestine call for an escalation in protest action.

Activist group Disrupt Wars is urging demonstrators to “shut down your city for Palestine” on Wednesday to mark the Nakba’s anniversary.

AAP reports the episode involved ‘the mass displacement and dispossession of millions of Palestinians during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war’.

As Israel continues its all-out ground invasion in Gaza, calling on hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee to safety, the group has taken to social media, encouraging supporters not to “let things calm down” and to “escalate for Gaza” locally.

The calls are supported by pro-Palestine students at universities across Australia where a dozen encampments have popped up.

Members of Victoria’s Deakin University encampment are holding a rally on Wednesday evening in defiance of university management who have demanded they disband.

Deputy vice-chancellor Kerrie Parker ordered the immediate dismantling and removal of the current encampment at its Burwood campus on Monday, saying students had agreed to run the set up until Friday, May 10.

Ms Parker said the protest was disrupting the function of the campus, warning the university would not tolerate breaches of the code of conduct.

However, the tertiary sector’s peak body head said universities had a legal obligation to uphold free speech.

“But it is appropriate that university vice chancellors and management take action when freedom of speech turns into hate speech,” Universities Australia chief executive Luke Sheehy told AAP.

Liberal senator Sarah Henderson has pushed for an inquiry into anti-Semitism at universities.

She will move a motion to refer the issue to an inquiry in the Senate on Thursday.

Comments

One Response to “Vic parliament bans keffiyehs”
  1. Dennis Wright says:

    The keffiyeh is just a yuppy swastika, it stands for the same thing – elimination of Jews

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