A visit to Canberra

March 21, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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The national Board of Directors of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC)  have held high level discussions with  senior Australian policy makers during a two-day visit to Canberra.

AIJAC directors meet Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

AIJAC directors meet Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

Among those meeting AIJAC’s directors were Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

Widely recognised as the leading independent advocacy organisation of the Australia Jewish community, active for more than forty years,  the seventeen-person AIJAC Board  took the opportunity of meeting in the national capital to discuss matters of concern with Government and Opposition politicians and expert analysts.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hosted the Directors in his office, for a constructive and informative exchange on international issues, including Iranian adventurism, and domestic matters such as social cohesion and security concerns. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop outlined Australia’s policies, actions and concerns relating to Iran and other Middle East issues, having met with the Iranian

Jeremy Jones, Julie Bishop, Mark Leibler and Dr Colin Rubenstein

Jeremy Jones, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Mark Leibler and Dr Colin Rubenstein

Foreign Minister shortly before meeting AIJAC. Opposition leader Bill Shorten and former MP Dr Mike Kelly discussed a broad range of concerns domestically, regionally and globally. Shadow Foreign Minister Tanya Plibersek, who also met the Iranian Foreign Minister prior to meeting AIJAC, gave a comprehensive explanation of ALP policies on international matters, including concerns regarding Iran.

Other Ministers who briefed the Directors included Minister for Communications and Minister for the Arts Senator Mitch Fifield, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne, Minister for Trade and Investment Steven Ciobo, Assistant Minister for Innovation Wyatt Roy, Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia Josh Frydenberg, Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton and Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs Craig Laundy. Amongst the parliamentarians to meet with AIJAC were Senator James Paterson, (on his first day as a Senator), former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Shadow Attorney General Mark Dreyfus, Bronwyn Bishop, Senator Glen Sterle, Senator Deborah O’Neill, Senator David Fawcett, Phillip Ruddock and Rick Wilson.

Dr Colin Rubenstein, Mark Leibler, Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten and Jeremy Jones

Dr Colin Rubenstein, Mark Leibler, Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten and Jeremy Jones

The Directors also took part in a comprehensive discussion of international issues with Peter Jennings, the Executive Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Mark Leibler, AIJAC’s National Chairman, said that the meetings were universally “informative, substantive and constructive, and were a demonstration of the wonderful relationship between the Jewish community and MPs across the political divide.”

Dr Colin Rubenstein, AIJAC’s Executive Director, noted that AIJAC had taken advantage of a unique opportunity to discuss pressing matters of global and local concern in a positive, cordial manner – a tribute to Australian democracy and to AIJAC’s acceptance as a serious contributor to policy development.

While in Parliament House, Mark Leibler and AIJAC’s Director of International and of Community Affairs, Jeremy Jones, addressed the Political Training Seminar of the Australasian Union of Jewish students, encouraging them to deepen and strengthen their engagement with Australian political life.

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