Albanese urges transparency on Gaza aid worker deaths

Andrew Brown |

Anthony Albanese says no aid workers should lose their lives while delivering humanitarian support.
Anthony Albanese says no aid workers should lose their lives while delivering humanitarian support.

Anthony Albanese has called for Israel to be more transparent and accountable in its investigation into the air strike deaths of multiple aid workers.

Seven aid workers, including Australian Zomi Frankcom, were killed during the Israeli Defence Force strikes on a World Central Kitchen convoy in early April as they were delivering food in Gaza.

The federal government on Monday announced former defence force chief Mark Binskin would serve as a special adviser to Australia on Israel’s investigation of the incident.

The prime minister said independent oversight was needed.

“We welcome more transparency, more accountability for what is a tragic occurrence, there have been almost 200 aid workers (who) have lost their life during this conflict,” Mr Albanese told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

“No aid worker should be at risk of losing their life when they are providing support in a humanitarian way.

“Quite clearly, in Gaza, there are dire consequences for the population there. Issues of access to clean water, access to food, basic provisions, people suffering greatly. We want to make sure that that humanitarian support is available there.”

Mr Albanese said the response to the aid worker deaths and calling for the probe was “unremarkable”, arguing other prime ministers would have done the same.

Zomi Frankcom
Australian aid worker Zomi Frankcom was among a group killed by an Israeli air strike in Gaza. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

The PM also said he had spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on concerns about a potential ground invasion of Gaza.

“We’re very concerned about the humanitarian consequences as are like-minded countries, including the United States,” he said.

It comes as Foreign Minister Penny Wong held talks with her Egyptian and Jordanian counterparts about humanitarian responses to the conflict.

“Australia is working with countries that have influence in the Middle East to help protect and support civilians, advocate for a humanitarian ceasefire, to prevent conflict from spreading, and to reinforce the need for a just and enduring peace,” she wrote on the social media platform X on Tuesday.

“Israel must do more to ensure aid gets into Gaza, including immediate action to protect and support humanitarian actors.”