There are times in one’s parliamentary career when we debate legislation before the house that is controversial, and there are times when we come together in the best interests of the true democratic spirit, and we concur — —
I rise to pay my respects to Major Tom James. Tom was born in Ballarat on 15 June 1941, and he died recently, on 8 April. Tom was a much-loved member of the Labor Party, and a large crowd attended his funeral at Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Cheltenham. The service was conducted beautifully by Father Peter Matheson.(more…)
I take very seriously the opportunity afforded to me as a member of Parliament. It is a role that is at times held in somewhat low regard by members of the community. I wish those people in the community who remain highly sceptical about the role parliamentarians play in greater society could see the way in which we…
As of sunset tonight, the annual commemoration of the Holocaust begins. Yom Hashoah, as it is known in Hebrew, recognises both the victims and those who acted with heroism. I look forward to joining with the Jewish community tonight as the Jewish Community Council of Victoria holds its annual commemoration, with tonight being called 'From annihilation to liberation'. I also recognise the ongoing work undertaken locally by both the Jewish Museum of Australia and the Jewish Holocaust Museum and Research Centre here in Melbourne. I also recognise the work of Yad Vashem, which is globally recognised as the pre-eminent memorial and educational institution in relation to the Holocaust. I encourage people to reflect on the horrors perpetrated and to visit the aforementioned institutions here in Melbourne — and, if they get the opportunity, to visit Yad Vashem in Israel. It is a very significant day in the calendar, and I pay my respects to the members of my family who perished in the Holocaust.
I am informed as follows: Investment in education and school infrastructure is a priority for the Victorian Government and we have committed to spend $530 million on school infrastructure projects between 2015-18, to ensure that schools have the facilities they need. I am pleased to advise that Wattle Park Primary School has received funding of $37 000 to replace the school's perimeter fence. I acknowledge the efforts of the school community in advocating for the needs of Wattle Park Primary School. Strong school communities are a crucial part of being successful and delivering the best possible educational outcomes for students.
Jewish schools in Australia are generously funded by both federal and state governments, and I support this arrangement. During my time in Parliament I will be active in seeking more funding for them. However, I do not believe that the Jewish community, of which I am both a member and a representative, can ask governments for taxpayers money for our schools unless we demonstrate that we can operate those schools and protect students from sexual abuse. (more…)
I raise a matter for the attention of the Minister for Education. The action I seek is for the minister to make some time in his extraordinarily busy schedule to visit Sandringham East Primary School with me to discuss the school's infrastructure needs and future planning. I put on the record my thanks and appreciation to the Minister for Education, who made numerous school visits and commitments across Southern Metropolitan Region. (more…)
I rise to celebrate the careers of a number of people in the Maccabi AJAX Cricket Club, the local senior cricket club of the Jewish community in my electorate of Southern Metropolitan Region. In particular I congratulate Daniel Onas and Simeon Goldenberg on their elevation to life membership of the cricket club. They have both served in executive committee positions for nearly 20 years. They have both been captains of the first 11, and both have committed greatly to the ongoing survival of the club. (more…)
I rise to talk about my old school, St Michael's Grammar School in Windsor, which is in my electorate and which was good enough to invite me back to speak to its year 12 legal studies students on Monday, 16 February. It was a great honour to go back to the school and speak to the students about a whole range of different issues that we deal with in this place, including legislation and petitions, and also just to talk to students about being actively involved in politics. (more…)
On a congratulatory note, I am pleased that my first event as a Labor member for Southern Metropolitan Region was to attend the Erev Shabbat service at Temple Beth Israel — where in fact my wife and I were married — celebrating pride weekend. It was a wonderful way to begin the occasion in a very inclusive and celebratory way for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer community. It gave me, in the Yiddish term, great nachas — a lot of happiness — to be there and celebrate a section of the community which unfortunately and sadly has been ignored for a long time within the Jewish community. It is nice to see them now being embraced.