Home » Author, Michael Danby, Politics and Media, Recent Posts

Michael Danby: Fiercely Representing The Jewish Community For The Past 15 Years

September 3, 2013 – 11:01 am11 Comments

By Michael Danby:

michael danby4An important part of my role as a Federal Member of Parliament has been to stand up on the many issues facing our community and make sure that our voice is heard. It’s a responsibility I don’t take for granted.

Since the 2010 election, I have worked in Government to deliver:

  • $21 million dollars that have gone directly towards the increased safety of our Jewish Schools through the Secure Schools Program. Anyone who looks at Jewish schools now knows how much we have done to prevent attacks similar to the one in March last year on a Jewish school in Toulouse.

  • The Federal Government signing the London Declaration on Combatting anti-Semitism, which was initiated by Former Prime Minister Gillard

  • Australia contributed half a million dollars to the international fund to maintain the camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau for posterity. Both the Polish and Australian Governments have officially acknowledged my role ensuring that Canberra joined Israel, Germany, France and the US so the memorial is properly funded.

  • Instating Raoul Wallenberg as Australia’s first honourary citizen in a ceremony hosted by the Governor General

  • $65 million dollars in federal funding to schools throughout Melbourne Ports. Yavneh, Yeshiva, Adass, Sholem Aleichem, Bialik, King David and Mount Scopus have all built essential additions for their buildings.

  • The Australian economy has grown by more than 14 per cent despite a massive global financial crisis, resulting in the creation of 950,000 jobs and interest rates lower than at any time under previous Liberal Governments.

  • Australia has one of the lowest debt levels in the developed world and one of only 8 countries with an AAA credit rating. Our debt to GDP ratio is a modest 11%, significantly lower than the US and other major economies.

  • Cost of Living has remained at

Recently I joined the Minister for Education Bill Shorten and the Australian Council for Jewish Schools to discuss how the Labor Governments ‘Better Schools’ plan will benefit each and every Jewish school student.  The Better Schools program (previously known as ‘Gonski’) will enable schools to boost funding to provide more individualised catering for student’s specific needs, investment in our teacher training as well as much needed funding for resources. We have worked hard to will ensure every Australian student, irrespective of where they live, which school they attend or their family background, will receive a world class education. Every school will benefit from the Better Schools plan, including all Jewish schools, which will receive a minimum of 3% increase in funding and new increased funding for students with disabilities.

You will also remember my hot chocolate ‘sit ins’ in Max Brenner stores across the country, with leading personalities like Jana Wendt, Warren Mundine, Paul Howes, and Prime Minister Rudd, which have undermined the anti-Israel Boycott campaign. Equally as a Member of Parliament’s Intelligence Committee no one has been more active in focusing our security agencies on the local challenges posed by Hezbollah and Sunni extremists travelling to and from Australia to participate in the Syrian conflict.

2013 has been a difficult year but with your support , I look forward to continuing my work for the people of Melbourne Ports and in the interests of all Australians.

Response to previous email request by Rabbi Yaron Gottlieb.

1. You claim to have helped with the security at various institutions, however since I have never seen any antisemitism around the streets of Caulfield despite looking very Jewish, is this not simply feeding the unhealthy paranoias of your electorate while wasting government money? How can we justify government money going there rather than other programs?

2. You have made the news with your conscience preferencing of the Greens below the Coalition before anyone else in the ALP suggested it.

The nationwide Secure Schools Program helps finance security of various institutions not only in my electorate but elsewhere throughout Australia. The program was established in 2007 when $20m was committed to assist at-risk government and non-government schools to meet their particular security needs. A further $15m was announced in 2010 and most recently (2013) a further $10m has been committed to the program.  At least 101 projects in over 69 schools have been funded to date.

You may not be aware that Government, Christian, Moslem and other independent, as well as Jewish, schools have been supported by the Secure Schools Program.

In particular, a significant number of Moslem schools have received Secure Schools funding, reflecting antagonism Moslems have faced.

It is true that I have worked hard for Jewish educational institutions in my electorate and around the nation. Back in 1998, ‘Sunday’; the then premier current affairs program did a special in which I was involved, after Australian security services assessed that Jewish schools were prominent potential targets. Having served on the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee, briefed directly by ASIO, I was made very aware of the ‘threat’ confronting Jewish targets – especially schools. ASIO has warned that vulnerable Jewish schools are as much of a target as the American Embassy. Adding to the risk is the growing number of individuals flying in and out of Australia to take up terrorist causes overseas. I’m sure you’ve read that the recent terrorist murders in Bulgaria were undertaken by an Australian citizen and operative of Hezbollah (for info on Australians convicted of terrorism see this article). A recent poll taken in the Jewish News asked the community ‘Is too much money being spent on our schools’ security?’ The community responded with a resounding 91% saying no. Whilst the threat is not something I enjoy discussing, it is still real, and I believe the Government’s commitment to continue Secure Schools will help prevent an event such as the Toulouse attack happening on Australian soil.

The distribution of electoral preferences is always a delicate matter in the Australian preferential system of voting and my main concern is to secure the best possible election result for the Australian Labor Party in Melbourne Ports.  My position against The Green Party in this electorate over the past several years has been stated on many occasions, is well known to all, and details can easily be found on my website. While I would always prefer to place the conservatives at the bottom of any How to Vote card, this year it was necessary to place that candidate ahead of such anti-ALP parties as The Palmer Party and the DLP.  And, while certainly having no fondness for the Rise Up Australia and Family First parties, neither of them will have preferences distributed to them and the ease of sequential voting, especially for non-English speaking background constituents, is something as a pragmatic experienced politician, I, and the Labor Party, have to take in to account.  Faced with the possibility of an Abbott conservative government after this election and the resulting rampant destruction of Labor’s legislative achievements of the past six years, I find myself in a position similar to that as stated by Winston Churchill when referring to the German invasion of the Soviet Union: “If Herr Hitler invaded hell itself I would at least make a favourable mention of the devil in the House of Commons.”

Print Friendly