AUJS Reports from Canberra

August 25, 2011 by  
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Australian Union of Jewish Students leaders visited Canberra this week for the annual Political Training Seminar (PTS) at Parliament House. 

Simon Sawday reports for J-Wire:

The students were addressed by high-profile political figures including Julie Bishop, Bob Brown, Peter Garrett, Malcolm Turnbull, Stephen Conroy and Michael Danby.

Julie Bishop, Simon Sawday, Daniel Nash and Danny Rod

Other speakers included representatives of the Israeli and German Embassies, leaders of the Monarchist and Republican movements, the host of Meet the Press and the President of the National Union of Students.

PTS this year presented the students with the opportunity to discuss important political issues with Australia’s movers and shakers in a very intimate environment. It also gave politicians the chance to hear from the PTS group, about issues relevant to themselves and the Jewish Community, with some of the politicians even declaring that they would take our concerns directly to Parliament.

The fact that speakers included political figures from all persuasions of politics definitely added to the experience. We were particularly pleased to have The Greens leader, Senator Bob Brown accept our invitation to address the group, especially considering AUJS has, in the past, been falsely accused of sponsoring anti-Greens activity. This gratefulness was echoed by many of the participants, who felt very privileged to speak to the leader of a political party.

Past PTS participants have moved on to become leaders of the Jewish Community, work at Parliament and even work in political institutions overseas. This year our participants came from Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide and interest in the seminar was so great that attendance had to be capped and people were selected. Perhaps the most positive aspect of the seminar was that half of the participants were female, something unprecedented for PTS.

We attended a film screening at Parliament House, hosted by the Israeli Embassy, an address from the Polish Ambassador to Australia and Question Time in The House of Representatives, where our attendance was acknowledged by Julia Gillard.

Overall, it was an incredible seminar, which grows in prestige year by year. A special thanks to Daniel Nash, my fellow PTS organiser and to our PTS interns, Brett Shandler, Lev Cherkasski and Orrie Johan who were vital in making PTS what is was. A further thanks to the other organisations that assisted us, Hillel, AIJAC, MASA and the Embassy of Israel. Lastly, PTS would not have been possible without the kind support and hospitality of the Canberra Jewish Community, including Manny Waks, Kim Rubenstein and Miri Barhen.


One Response to “AUJS Reports from Canberra”
  1. Tahier says:

    WOW J J you are truly brainwashed. All relgiions are written and dictated primarily by men who were very primitive and set up rules for hygiene etc. a long long time ago. I have been a scholar of many relgiions just for my own curiosity and everyone has pretty much the same message.A soul is a soul and we all come to earth by chance. Every soul is plucked from God’s heart and he loves us all the same. We do not choose our religion we are born into it and are taught whatever fairy tales our parents choose to teach us. If relgiions never existed there would still be segregation and exterminations based on many other factors. Religion is the shield that many have used as an excuse to hurt and exclude other people. I was raised Catholic and am married to a French Israeli Jewish man. We have a wonderful life and beautiful children and split our time between Israel and the US. We fell in love because our two souls were extremely similar and our core values were well matched. I have never met another couple that is as tranquil and happy as we are and it is because we have always loved each other for who we are not what we are. For the record his mother loved me and only cared that her son was happy. His family is amazing and I am so happy to be part of it. My family tortured both of us and I walked away from them and followed my heart and am happy that I did.

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