Marsha Thomson quits politics

March 7, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The first Jewish Australian woman to serve as a government minister was formally farewelled from politics by the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council.

Houston Ash, Marsha Thomson, Naomi Levin,(AIJAC Liaison To Advisor Rambam Group) Colin Rubenstein

Marsha Thomson, the Labor Member for Footscray for 19 years, retired before the November Victorian election. During her political career, she held small business, consumer affairs and information technology portfolios, among others.

Despite representing an area with few Jewish constituents, Thomson maintained vocal and practical support for Israel.

She reflected on one particular highlight during her political tenure: a trip she took to Tel Aviv with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to open the Victorian Government Trade and Investment Office in late 2017.

That office, which remains open, was a practical attempt to bring the state of Victoria closer to Israel to enhance the trade relationship and build on partnerships, particularly in areas of mutual strength like biomedical research.

AIJAC executive director Colin Rubenstein thanked Thomson for her support and welcomed her declaration that her support would continue during her post-parliamentary life.

The event also heard from recent Rambam program graduate Houston Ash, an adviser to Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus.

Ash’s over-riding observation following the trip was that the situation in Israel and the Palestinian Territories was “complicated.

However, he reflected positively on the trip, noting, in response to an audience question, that the trip had significantly altered his opinion on the situation between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

The Rambam program sees influential Australians from politics, academia, the media and the clergy travel to Israel to gain a real-world insight into Israel and its challenges, away from the media spin.

Ash was one of eight federal political advisers – four working for Labor shadow ministers and four working for Coalition ministers – who travelled to Israel in October 2018 with AIJAC.

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