THE battle for the Melbourne bayside seat of Macnamara (Melbourne Ports) at the next federal election will be fought out between two well-known members of the Jewish community after community figure Kate Ashmor won what she called “a tough and democratic preselection” for the Liberals.
The candidate-elect, who is awaiting formal endorsement this week after being tapped for the candidacy on Sunday, is a strong voice for Israel within the Victorian Liberal Party, and is well credentialled to pit her record against Labor candidate Josh Burns, who hopes to succeed veteran ALP member Michael Danby.
“As a local woman who went to Sholem Aleichem as a little girl, learned to read in St Kilda Library, who was educated at Caulfield Grammar, one of the first girls, and who has always, throughout my life, as a mother, as a businesswoman, as a leader in the community, been proud to be a Jew, I’m so honoured at this opportunity,” she told The AJN. “We’re determined that this community deserves passionate representation. It’s had a lion in Michael Danby and now a lioness steps forward.”
Pressed on whether Burns deserves to take up Danby’s mantle as a pro-Israel force within a Labor Party in turmoil over its Israel policies, Ashmor would only say, “I can’t comment on the Labor Party’s problems when it comes to their policies to do with Israel and the Jewish community. I’ll leave that to them.”
The last Melbourne Ports race between Jewish candidates for Labor and Liberal was in 2004, when now Caulfield state MP David Southwick challenged Danby.
Ashmor said, “I’m absolutely determined to see a positive outcome for the security funding at the Beth Weizmann Community Centre and I’ll be doing everything I can to passionately advocate for the federal government to allocate funding for the security upgrade.”
Pundits expect Macnamara to be a closely contested race between the two major parties and the Greens, at an election that might come sooner than expected, after last month’s Liberal leadership turmoil.