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5 Jews Win Seats in Australian Parliament

SYDNEY — As Australia waits for the final results of a tightly-contested general election, five Jewish members have been assured a seat in the next parliament.

Incumbent Jewish members Michael Danby and Mark Dreyfus appear to have held their Victorian seats for the Labor Party.

Liberal member for the blue riband seat of Kooyong in Melbourne, Josh Frydenberg, has been returned to office by the voters. Frydenberg was minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia in the last parliament.

Newcomer Julian Leeser has been elected to represent Berowra, the New South Wales seat of former Liberal lawmaker Philip Ruddock, the second-longest serving member of the Australian parliament. Leeser is the first Jewish Liberal from New South Wales in the 115-year history of the Australian federal parliament. He told JTA: “I’m honored and humbled to be elected as the member for Berowra. I am very conscious of being the first Jewish Liberal elected to the House of Representatives from New South Wales. I commenced my campaign with a mezuzah-affixing ceremony which was attended by hundreds of people and am looking forward to serving the people of Berowra and being a proud Jewish voice in the federal Parliament.”

On the outskirts of Sydney, pediatrician Dr. Michael Freelander celebrated his victory for the Labor Party over the incumbent Liberal member. It is Freeland’s first foray into federal politics.

In the meantime, Australia waits as counting continues to determine if the incumbent Liberals can hold their position.

The morning after Saturday’s election found the Liberal/National Party with 65 seats and the Australian Labor Party with 67. Five seats are held by others and 13 remain in doubt.  One party has to win 76 seats to form a majority government.

Counting of votes, including postal votes, resumed on Tuesday.

Mark Dreyfus will continue to represent the electorate of Isaacs in Victoria. The Labor lawmaker, who was Shadow Attorney-General in the previous parliament, told JTA: “I am honored and humbled to be returned as the representative for the great electorate of Isaacs, and looking forward to serving Australia in my fourth term as a member of the House of Representatives

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