Lack of action on Gaza blamed for community tensions

Vandalism attacks and ongoing protests are the result of Australia's lack of meaningful action over Israel's violence in Gaza, a Greens MP says.

The University of Melbourne's Baillieu Library appears to be the latest target, having to close on Friday after being vandalised.

The Greens claim the government and coalition are attempting to detract from violence against civilians in Gaza by accusing the minor party of dangerously stoking the pro-Palestine movement.

They say attacks on MPs' offices and diplomatic posts as well as ongoing protests stem from the government's failure to act.

"People feel like they're not being heard," Greens MP Max Chandler-Mather told ABC Radio on Friday.

"What is causing social unrest is that the Australian government is only using weasel words when they should be using action to put pressure on Israel to stop its genocide in Gaza.

"Israel carries out massacres and war crimes, and whenever they do it, they look around the world and wait for consequences from countries like Australia or the United States - and none come."

Max Chandler-Mather
Max Chandler-Mather says the Greens don't condone property damage. (Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS)

Ireland, Spain and Norway formally recognised a Palestinian state in May.

Spain has also asked the United Nations for permission to join South Africa's case accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza, becoming the first European nation to do so.

"(Australians) look at countries like Spain ... and they say 'well, why can Spain do that but Australia refuses?'" Mr Chandler-Mather said.

Labor MPs' offices have been the target of graffiti and demonstrations in recent weeks with Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, Immigration Minister Andrew Giles and other politicians' electoral shopfronts vandalised.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has said this behaviour undermines the protesters' cause, and accused the Greens of inflaming tensions.

Education Minister Jason Clare also claimed the minor party had spread lies over the government's position on the conflict.

"We can't let a war on the other side of the world tear us apart here in Australia," he told Seven's Sunrise program.

Deputy Opposition Leader Sussan Ley also condemned the Greens.

"These attacks on MPs offices are disgraceful ... with the flames being fanned by sections of the Greens party," she said.

Pro-Palestine encampment at the University of Melbourne (file image)
Pro-Palestine students ended their encampment at the University of Melbourne in late May. (Diego Fedele/AAP PHOTOS)

Pro-Palestinian protesters announced an end to their encampment at the University of Melbourne in late May but a library on the Parkville campus was damaged by vandals about 4am on Friday.

"A group of unidentifiable individuals were observed on CCTV gaining unauthorised entry to the building and purposefully damaging university property," a University of Melbourne spokesperson said.

Police are investigating the incident as a burglary but no arrests have been made.

Mr Chandler-Mather said the Greens did not condone property damage and supported peaceful protest.

Independent MP Zoe Daniel said the tensions in parliament were a "microcosm of what is happening in the community".

"There's influence that we can exert, and we should, but we also need to be thinking about what's happening in our community here before someone gets hurt," she said.

Hamas attacked Israel in October 2023, killing 1200 people and taking more than 200 hostages.

In response, Israel launched air strikes and a ground invasion of Gaza that, according to the local health ministry, has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians, injured more than 80,000 and displaced more than 1.7 million.

About 1.1 million people are estimated to face "catastrophic" levels of food insecurity as Israel blocks aid.