Pressure mounts on Brimbank council for Gaza motion


Hannah Hammoud

Pressure is building on Brimbank council to address calls from residents imploring council to take a stand in favour of an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

In recent weeks, a number of councils have tabled motions calling for an immediate ceasefire of the war in Gaza. These include Wydnham, Merri-bek, Maribyrnong, Darebin, Yarra, Hume and Greater Dandenong councils.

Local pro-Palestine advocate – Brimbank Solidarity Group for Palestine – is driving the pressure, calling on Brimbank council to formally position itself on the issue by passing a motion in support of Palestine.

As it stands, Brimbank council has not issued any public statement regarding the matter.

On January 20, the group organised a rally outside the council chambers urging Brimbank to join the seven other councils across Melbourne by passing a pro-Palestinian motion.

Brimbank Solidarity Group for Palestine said the motion would symbolise the council’s commitment to social justice and equality.

“The rally is in line with local actions taking place across Melbourne in support of Palestine. Brimbank residents are joining the movement to highlight the deep resonance of this cause within their community. This underscores the need for the council to recognise and address

it as a local issue,” the group said.

Brimbank Solidarity Group for Palestine group member Rula Paterson said residents have heard little to nothing from council in response to their requests.

“It feels like a brick wall,” she said.

“We are going to hold a rally at the February 20 council meeting. We will be there, and we will invite our supporters to be there as well. We’ll be there to show council that this is an issue that we’re not going away on and also that the community is not going away,” she said.

Fellow member Fatima Hoblos said the community is waiting for an acknowledgement from council, citing a previous notice of motion raised by council on the invasion of Ukraine.

In March of 2022, Brimbank council passed a notice of motion in support for the people of Ukraine, with then mayor Jasmine Nguyen stating that council stands with the Ukrainian community in Brimbank.

“We are a local government area that is committed to welcoming refugees into the community, upholding the human rights of refugees and demonstrating compassion,” Cr Nguyen said at the time.

An online petition that has garnered more than 2,400 signatures is also calling for similar action from council to call for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

Brimbank mayor Ranka Rasic said that council acknowledges that there is a ‘diversity’ of views held by the community.

“Council is aware that some Brimbank residents are calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and have asked council to support this call,” she said.

“Council is aware of a community petition circulating on this issue calling for a council position. We have yet to formally receive the petition.

“Council is committed to transparency and open dialogue with our diverse community, and we believe in incorporating a wide range of perspectives in our decision-making processes to ensure that we continue to act in the best interests of Brimbank.

“We condemn violence in any form and, within Brimbank, we are focused on continuing to foster understanding, empathy, and peaceful dialogue in celebration of our multicultural community.”