Delegates of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) passed the following resolution during a Committee of Delegates meeting in November:
As nurses and midwives, we defend the human right to healthcare. We cannot stay silent as healthcare workers and patients are seen as acceptable collateral damage. As nurses and midwives, we call for peace over war.
The Australian Government must through all means possible, in the strongest terms possible, demand that the international community enact an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and Israel, for the provision of humanitarian aid, and for the release of the hostages. (Carried, 21 November 2023)
The NSWNMA Council advise the following:
‘Nurses and midwives of NSW are deeply concerned by the events that continue in Palestine and Israel. The deplorable attack by Hamas on October 7 and the horrifying response by the Israeli Government are at a level unimaginable to many. The killing of civilians in Gaza, nearly half of whom are children, must stop – no-one can condone the killing of innocent children who are bearing witness to the horrors of this conflict firsthand. The attacks on hospitals and vulnerable health workers must stop. There must be an immediate ceasefire, from both sides, and urgent humanitarian aid must flow to the civilians of Gaza.
Whilst we say these things, we are mindful of the distress and trauma members are experiencing watching on from abroad. Some members may suggest it is not our place to comment, while others may say we have not gone far enough in condemning one side or the other. This will always be the case when events such as this are occurring, particularly when the geopolitical situation is so deeply rooted in history, and when we proudly represent members with a wide range of opinions. We respect the divergence of views across our membership and encourage members to do the same.
We note the urgent humanitarian calls of the United Nations and of trusted aid agencies such as Médecins Sans Frontières and Oxfam who are reporting the events in Gaza. We see the trauma being experienced by the families of hostages and acknowledge the plight of those civilians being held hostage by Hamas.
We would want the world to act if it was one of our hospitals being bombed, if it was people of our communities being killed, if it was our family members being held hostage. None of this is acceptable, none of it can be defended.
As nurses and midwives, we defend the human right to healthcare. As nurses and midwives, we condemn the moral harms of war.
We stand with people who are demanding peace, no matter their nationality or religion. We stand against racism. We stand against bigotry whether that is antisemitism or islamophobia. We stand against hate, and we do so with love.
The Australian Government must be clear in condemning both sides of this horror, both Hamas and the Israeli Government. The demand for an immediate ceasefire must be clear and strong from our Prime Minister to his counterparts on the global stage, so too must his demand for humanitarian aid and the release of the hostages.’
On this basis, we urge the Albanese Government to join the global effort in demanding the international community to enact an immediate and lasting ceasefire in Gaza and Israel.
On 23 February 2024, the ACTU Executive passed the following resolution: ACTU Executive calls for increased action to ensure an urgent and lasting ceasefire in Gaza.