Turnbull welcomed by community

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

COMMUNAL leaders have congratulated Malcolm Turnbull on being returned as Prime Minister of Australia after more than a week of vote-counting by the Australian Electoral Commission.

Executive Council of Australian Jewry president Robert Goot commended Turnbull and the Coalition on being re-elected to government and also Bill Shorten and the ALP on their strong performance, but said it’s going to be a difficult few years in Canberra.

“The presence of five minor party representatives and independents in the House of Representatives and the likelihood of a politically diffuse Senate make it all the more important that the major parties work together to the extent possible to overcome the many economic and security challenges which Australia faces,” Goot said.

“As always, our community stands ready to play a constructive role in assisting the government and our parliamentary representatives to work for the betterment of Australia.”

Zionist Federation of Australia president Dr Danny Lamm also congratulated Turnbull on the election result.

He said Turnbull was a long-standing “friend of Israel and the Jewish community through thick and thin.

“He leads a government which has an outstanding record of such support,” Lamm said.

While the Coalition have enough numbers to form government, some seats are still too close to call.

Both the Liberal Party and the Greens believe that Melbourne Ports, which has more than 19,000 Jewish constituents, is one of those seats.

Labor’s Michael Danby will win the seat if he can outpoll the Greens, because he will then receive most of their preferences and defeat the Liberal Party’s Owen Guest.

He is currently less than 2000 votes ahead of the Greens, but, despite the comments of other parties, believes he will hold onto his seat in Canberra.

“On the current trends I will be returned as the Member for Melbourne Ports,” Danby said, ­referring to the counting of postal votes. “My scrutineers say that there is no likelihood of them overtaking me.

“Indeed, as they fall further behind, they will eventually be eliminated, and as in all other seats, their preferences will come strongly to Labor, that is to me.”

Danby said that many Greens voters appreciate his stances on animal welfare, support for public transport, and opposition to the unpopular Grand Prix.

“My gratitude to all those who understood the challenge, and gave me their support.”

If Danby can hold onto his seat he will join fellow Jewish politicians Mark Dreyfus, Josh Frydenberg, Julian Leeser, Michael Freelander and Stirling Griff in Parliament.

JOSHUA LEVI