Leaders’ final pleas to Jewish voters

Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten are wishing the community a happy Chanukah.

MALCOLM Turnbull and Bill Shorten have made last-minute pitches to the Jewish community just days before the Federal Election.

Writing exclusively for The AJN this week, the Liberal and Labor leaders spoke of a robust and resilient Jewish community, which has shaped the Australian story and made our nation a better place.

Acknowledging that Australian Jewry faces particular security concerns and promising to “always act to ensure your protection”, Turnbull said he and his wife Lucy have lived in the heart of Sydney’s Jewish community in Wentworth all their lives, and are “grateful that they have taken us to their hearts as well”.

“As the Federal Member for Wentworth I have been welcomed into your homes and your synagogues, your schools and your community centres,” he said.

“I have celebrated simchas and chagim.

“I’ve played dreidel with the kids at Central Synagogue for Chanukah, affixed a mezuzah to the new Kleinlehrer LINC building at Emanuel School, celebrated Yom Ha’atzmaut with Caulfield Synagogue.”

He said there are only a few communities as robust and resilient as the Jewish community and that many survivors of the Holocaust sought refuge in Australia after they escaped Europe.

“This brave group and their descendants have helped shape our nation into the most successful multicultural nation in the world.”

Meanwhile, Shorten said the Jewish community has made “a lasting contribution to Australian business, academia, culture and politics”.

“From Saul Same to Frank Lowy and Sidney Myer – the Jewish community has shaped the Australian story and made our nation a better place,” he said.

Declaring that Labor is “resolute in its support of the people of Israel” and committed to supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Shorten added that a Labor government will continue to strengthen trade and economic ties between Australia and Israel.

Shorten also accused the Liberals of considering changes to Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

“The Liberal Party’s ongoing ideological campaign to effectively green-light bigoted hate speech in our community, including Holocaust denial, again reminds us just how out of touch with history and how extreme the Liberal Party has become.

“Labor has been steadfast in our commitment to protecting 18C, and we will never see this important ­protection against hate speech ­undermined.”

Read Turnbull’s & Shorten’s op ed in this week’s AJN.