Stop the violence: Petition to Libby Coker urges ceasefire

November 21, 2023 BY

More than one million signatures have been gathered globally on Change.org petitions calling for a ceasefire. Photo: GAYATRI MALHOTRA

A PETITION urging Coragamite federal member Libby Coker to advocate for a ceasefire in Gaza is gaining momentum in the electorate.

Titled “Corangamite Electorate Stands for Peace and a Ceasefire in the Gaza Strip,” the petition, launched on November 1, has already garnered more than 400 signatures.

Petition organiser Sarah Molnar said while our region was peaceful, residents could not turn a blind eye to the immense pain and challenges faced by the people of Israel and Palestine.

“I started the petition because I felt helpless watching the news and wanted to do something.

The mum of three said she recently had a birthday for one of her children but found it hard to celebrate.

“It’s really hard to celebrate here knowing what is happening over there.”

The petition’s objective is to influence Ms Coker to push for a ceasefire in Gaza and advocate for humanitarian aid.

The petition states the “relentless bombing has devastated homes, neighbourhoods, medical facilities, and places of worship, leaving 1.4 million people displaced. The human toll is staggering, with over 10,000 lives lost, including thousands of innocent children”.

Ms Coker said she respected the right of people to put forward a petition and voice their desire for a ceasefire.

“I understand that people in our region are gravely concerned about the humanitarian crisis occurring in Gaza,” Ms Coker said.

“I share these concerns and feel deeply for all those who have been impacted by this horrific conflict.”

Petition organiser Sarah Molnar says while our region is peaceful, residents cannot turn a blind eye to the immense pain and challenges faced by the people of Israel and Palestine.


Ms Coker said peace should always be the ultimate aim.

“Our government is urging all parties to abide by international law. The killing of innocent civilians cannot be tolerated.

“We must give them safe passage out of the conflict zone and ensure aid is safely provided to those who are suffering.

“We want to see the next steps towards a ceasefire and a political process for a just and enduring peace.”

French President Emmanuel Macron and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken have both called for a ceasefire in recent days, emphasising the need to address the humanitarian crisis.

Blinken has previously said on social media platform X (formerly Twitter) that “we don’t have to choose between defending Israel and aiding Palestinian civilians. We can and must do both”.

Israel and Hamas have rejected each other’s terms for a ceasefire. Israel insists on the release of hostages first, while Hamas refuses until Gaza is no longer under assault.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently criticised rally participants demanding an immediate ceasefire.

Speaking to CNN, he rejected international calls for long humanitarian pauses, saying that stopping the fight is “what Hamas wants”.

About 240 hostages are still being held captive by Hamas since the terror group stormed Israel’s southern border on October 7, massacring an estimated 1,200 people, who were mostly civilians.

Separate petitions on Change.org have been launched calling for the release of hostages.

So far, more than 120,000 Australians have signed Change.org petitions calling for a ceasefire and more than one million signatures have been gathered globally.

“The collective efforts of global citizens are reflected in the numerous petitions on Change.org, which include calls for humanitarian assistance, the release of hostages by Hamas, and the provision of basic aid to all civilians trapped in the conflict,” a Change.org spokesperson said.

Labor backbenchers Maria Vamvakinou and Fatima Payman, along with Coalition MP Mark Coulton and the Greens’ Adam Bandt, received the petitions in parliament on Thursday where Mr Bandt later tabled them.

As backbenchers, Maria Vamvakinou and Fatima Payman are exempt from cabinet solidarity rules.

The Australian government has called for “humanitarian pauses” but has not demanded a ceasefire.