Staunch Israel Supporter Tony Abbott Wins Australia Premiership

Three Jewish Members of Parliament Were Reelected

getty images

By JTA

Published September 09, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Australia’s Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott, a staunch supporter of Israel, was elected the country’s new prime minister.

The Labor government was swept from its six-year term in office on Saturday as the conservative Liberal Party won a convincing, and expected, victory.

Abbott – a surf life-saver, volunteer fire-fighter and one-time trainee Catholic priest – is expected to lead a government of more than 90 seats against Labor’s expected 55 seats in the new parliament.

Several of the 150 seats in the House of Representatives are yet to be confirmed.

Israel has experienced turbulent diplomatic relations with Australia under Kevin Rudd, including the expulsion of an Israeli agent from its embassy in Canberra following the 2010 Dubai passports affair.

Rudd stood down from the party leadership on conceding defeat late Saturday.

All three Jewish lawmakers in federal parliament were returned to the government, with Joshua Frydenberg becoming the first Liberal Jewish Member of Parliament since Peter Baume in the early 1980s.

Labor’s Michael Danby and Mark Dreyfus – both of whom served in the cabinet of the Rudd government – will return as opposition members.

Labor’s Mike Kelly, who is married to a cousin of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, is in a battle to hold on to his seat, with the result still too close to call.

Abbott has said he wants to return bilateral relations to the era of former Liberal leader John Howard, who was an unashamed and unapologetic supporter of Israel.

“I’d like to think that nowhere in the world [does Israel] have a stauncher friend than us,” Abbott told an Australia-Israel forum in Melbourne when he was first elected party leader in 2009.

The election was previously scheduled to clash with Yom Kippur but was brought forward one week when Rudd was reinstated leader six weeks ago in a last-ditch move by Labor to try and avoid the electoral wipeout predicted under Julia Gillard.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Sigal Samuel's family amulet isn't just rumored to have magical powers. It's also a symbol of how Jewish and Indian rituals became intertwined over the centuries. http://jd.fo/a3BvD Only three days left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • "What I didn’t realize before my trip was that I would leave Uganda with a powerful mandate on my shoulders — almost as if I had personally left Egypt."
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.