Anthony Albanese and Jacinta Allan
Speeches from Anthony Albanese and Jacinta Allan have been overshadowed by protesters. Image by Con Chronis/AAP PHOTOS
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‘I’m disgusted’: premier blasts pro-Palestine activists

Callum Godde May 18, 2024

Pro-Palestine protesters have been lashed as bullies and anti-Semites by Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan after gatecrashing a Labor state conference in Melbourne.

Dozens of activists breached security and entered Moonee Valley Racecourse on Saturday as Victorian Labor MPs, members and unionists gathered for the two-day event.

A security guard fell to the ground as he tried to stop protesters walking up an escalator.

Activists gather at the Pro-Palestine rally
 Security and police intervened to stop activists disrupting the conference. Image by Con Chronis/AAP PHOTOS 

The group chanted “Labor Party you can’t hide, you’re supporting genocide” after making their way upstairs.

They then starting banging on the locked conference room doors and chanting during the memoriam section, following the deaths of former Labor leader Simon Crean, Dunkley MP Peta Murphy and Senator Linda White.

“I just want to let everyone know that the protesters which were outside have been moved on,” a Labor official told the party faithful.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman told AAP the protesters left without incident and no arrests were made.

The security breach delayed speeches from Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Ms Allan and temporarily prevented members and MPs from entering.

After her speech, the premier took to social media to condemn the intruders for allegedly bringing “violence, homophobia and anti-Semitism” to the conference.

“I’m disgusted. No one should be cowered by these bullies,” she wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“As premier, my priority is a cohesive society where all Victorians feel safe and respected.”

It’s alleged a protester abused a state Labor minister with a homophobic slur.

Earlier, a man trying to enter the conference was swarmed by activists outside before he was led away by police.

Independent Senator Lidia Thorpe at the rally
 Senator Lidia Thorpe spoke at the rally. Image by Con Chronis/AAP PHOTOS 

Independent senator Lidia Thorpe was among those to give speeches outside as the group chanted “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and suggested several Labor leaders had “blood on their hands”.

Domestic tensions remain high over Israel’s invasion and bombing of Gaza following the October 7 terror attack by Hamas.

Several motions related to the conflict are scheduled for debate on Saturday afternoon, including one calling for an “end to military co-operation with Israel”.

At last year’s meeting, Victorian Labor members passed a motion for the Albanese government to recognise Palestinian statehood within this term of parliament.

A placard among the Pro-Palestine rally
 Pro-Palestine activists are unhappy with Labor’s leaders. Image by Con Chronis/AAP PHOTOS 

After the federal budget was handed down on Tuesday, the prime minister used his speech to tout the government’s $32 billion housing investment.

“We are doing all this in spite of the opposition we’ve faced from the Liberals and the Greens,” Mr Albanese told the crowd.

“The Liberals have a pathological problem with affordable housing, always have.

“And while the Greens … talk a lot about housing, the only thing they want to build is their profile.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese takes a selfie
 Anthony Albanese addressed the party faithful at the conference. Image by Con Chronis/AAP PHOTOS 

It is the first state party conference since Ms Allan succeeded Daniel Andrews as premier.

A motion slated for debate demands the government guarantee it won’t sell off public land as part of its plan to knock down and rebuild Melbourne’s 44 high-rise public housing towers by 2051.

While the redevelopment plan would increase the number of residents living in the estates from 10,000 to 30,000, places reserved for social housing will only rise to 11,000.