Law (On Behalf Of Palestinian Australians) firm threatens legal action against prime minister, senior ministers, over Gaza remarks

ABC News Australia

Lawyers acting on behalf of Palestinian Australians are threatening legal action against the prime minister and other senior members of the federal government, arguing they have provided “encouragement and moral support” for alleged crimes by Israel.

Sydney-based law firm Birchgrove Legal has sent a letter of demand to Anthony Albanese, saying his government “appears to have contravened domestic and international law” over its position on Israel and has issued seven demands to prevent the continuation of legal action.

The firm said it was also considering whether ministers had breached Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act by “failing to uphold the human rights” of Australians who remain trapped in Gaza, as well as by “inducing, encouraging and authorising an environment of vilification, hate crimes and hate incidents” against Palestinian and Arab-Australians.

More than 5,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since Israel launched its unrelenting bombing campaign following Hamas’ October 7 terror attack on Israel more than two weeks ago, according to health officials in Gaza.

Israel’s response – which has included a blockade on food, water, and fuel into Gaza – has been condemned by human rights groups and the United Nations, which said it amounts to “collective punishment”, a war crime under international law.

Speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday, Israeli Ambassador to Australia Amir Maimon defended Israel’s actions as “in line and in full compliance with international law”.

Birchgrove Legal said it was considering whether Australia’s support for Israel, including remarks made by senior ministers, amounted to “complicity in genocide and other crimes”.

The letter listed the Australian government’s “failure to condemn dangerous rhetoric” emanating from Israel, the sale of weapons to Israel, and “historic advocacy on behalf of Israel to hinder [International Criminal Court] investigations into war crimes allegedly committed by Israel and Hamas” as their key concerns.

It said Australia’s longstanding support for Israel has contributed to “an environment of lawlessness in that conflict where there is an extreme imbalance in military and political power in favour of Israel”.