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President's Report

President's Report

06 March 2017

Community events

One of the highlights of the month was the second AUJS Sir Zelman Cowan Memorial Oration, which this year was given by The Hon Kim Beazley, who spoke about Australian/US Relations, and Australia’s pace in the world.  The oration is an important addition to the community calendar, and I am sure it will go from strength to strength.

David Marlow and I attended the launch of the Bialik Button Project, which is a display of 1.5 million buttons representing the 1.5 million children murdered during the Shoah.

I also attended the presentation given by David on the proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act which was hosted by the Council for Christians and Jews.

Introduction

February was a short month, and much of the JCCV’s energies have been focused on planning for 2017.

From a national perspective, the most significant occurrence for the community occurred in Sydney, with the visit by Prime Minister Netanyahu.  In words fo the ECAJ President, Anton Bloch: “The historic visit to Australia by Benjamin Netanyahu, the first by an incumbent Israeli Prime Minister, was of tremendous positive significance to the Australian Jewish community and to Australia as a whole”.

Together with a number of other community leaders from Melbourne, I attended the business lunch and community event in Sydney, which were both very successful.

Victorian Government Multicultural Policy

Premier Daniel Andrews launched a new Multicultural Policy on 19 February.  The Policy is aimed at combatting the increase in racism which has become apparent in the community, and is based around 5 values.  As part of the policy launch the JCCV was one of about 40 organisation which signed an open letter of support for multiculturalism.

The JCCV has also been invited to participate in number of events aimed at further developing Victorian programs in this area, including a consultation with the Victorian Multicultural Commissioner, Helen Kapalos, and the Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Kristen Hilton, which Anton Hermann will be attending.

David Marlow continues to represent the JCCV in many multicultural and interfaith forums and events, and last month was a guest at an a Multifaith Prayer for Peace in Jerusalem at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Proposed Changes to the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth)

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights completed its inquiry into freedom of speech, in particular section 18C and 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth), and its report, which was bipartisan, did not recommend any changes to the Act, although the Committee did recommend in processes around the Australian Human Rights Commission to ensure that claims with no reasonable chance of success do not proceed.  This is a good outcome, and in line with the submission the JCCV made to the inquiry.  It will be interesting to see how the Government responds to the report.

Meeting with Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV)

Last week David Marlow and I met with RCV President Rabbi Daniel Rabin and Executive Director Rachel Mihalovich to discuss future cooperation between our organisations.  Although the RCV is not an affiliate, its members are involved in some of our project, including the Youth Alcohol Project and Spiritual Health Accreditation.

Forthcoming events

  • 15 March: JCCV/Beit Aharon Debate on the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 at Gandel Besen Campus of Mt Scopus Memorial College
  • 19 March: In One Voice
  • 20 March: JCCV/ICV Comedy Debate at Melbourne Town Hall

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