AUJS visits NSW parliament

May 14, 2015 by J-Wire News Service
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A delegation of student leaders from the Australasian Union of Jewish Students has met with parliamentarians and senior political figures at NSW Parliament House.

AUJS meets parliamentarians

AUJS meets parliamentarians

The aim of the NSW Political Conference (NPC) was to give Jewish university students intimate access to leaders that would ordinarily only be seen on television or in newspapers.

Speakers attended from all sides of the political spectrum, giving a short, informal talk about themselves and NSW politics before opening the floor for Q&A and discussion on any topic. Issues covered concerned all areas of Jewish student life, including the environment, public planning, reasons to get involved in politics, and the need to engage with a wide variety of views within the community.

Guests included former High Court judge Michael Kirby, Labor Member for Heffron, Ron Hoenig, former Federal and State Labor Minister Peter Baldwin, Liberal Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton, ember for Vaucluse,  Liberal Party Whip Peter Phelps, newly elected MP Mark Taylor; and Greens Mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham.

Among the variety of topics discussed, the 15 delegates learned of the high regard in which the Jewish community was held by all attendees, with a number revealing previously unknown connections – Michael Kirby’s brother married a Jewish woman, whilst Jeremy Buckingham MLC had Sephardic roots dating back to the Spanish inquisition. A trip to Question Time in the Legislative Assembly rounded out the day, providing a first-hand demonstration of NSW politics in action.

The day was a resounding success, setting the platform for issues such as BDS to be brought up with legislators on a personal level and foster lasting relationships between parliamentarians and future Jewish leaders. In August, AUJS will be heading to Canberra for the federal equivalent of NPC, AUJS Political Training Seminar, which will address Commonwealth Parliamentarians in a similar vein. AUJS intends to run NPC again in 2016, and the event is open to any AUJS member to attend.

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