SYDNEY (JTA) — Five Jewish candidates in Australia — including the first Jewish Liberal from New South Wales in the 115-year history of the Parliament — have been assured seats in the next Parliament.
Several days later, Australia was still awaiting the final results of Saturday's tightly contested general election.
Three Jewish incumbents — Michael Danby and Mark Dreyfus (Victoria) of the Labor Party and Josh Frydenberg (Melbourne) of the Liberal Party — appear to have held their House of Representatives seats. Danby, who will be starting his fourth term, was the shadow attorney general in the last government, while Frydenberg was minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia.
The first Jewish Liberal from New South Wales is newcomer Julian Leeser, who was elected to the seat of former Liberal lawmaker Philip Ruddock, the second-longest serving member of the Parliament.
"I am very conscious of being the first Jewish Liberal elected to the House of Representatives from New South Wales," Leeser told JTA. "I commenced my campaign with a mezuzah-affixing ceremony which was attended by hundreds of people and am looking forward to serving the people of Berowra and being a proud Jewish voice in the federal Parliament."
On the outskirts of Sydney, pediatrician Dr. Michael Freelander of Labor won in his in his first foray into federal politics, defeating an incumbent Liberal member.
In the meantime, Australia was still waiting for the final results to see if the Liberals could hold on to the government.
The morning after Saturday's election found the Liberal/National Party with 65 seats but Labor with 67. Five seats are held by others and 13 remain in doubt. One party has to win 76 seats to form a majority government.
The counting of votes, including postal votes, resumed Tuesday.