Australian Jewish lawmaker named attorney general

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – A Jewish lawmaker in Australia was promoted to Attorney-General, the government’s highest law officer.

Mark Dreyfus, a Labor lawmaker from Melbourne, was promoted Feb. 2 by Prime Minister Julia Gillard in a Cabinet reshuffle.

He is the second Jewish Australian to have held the coveted cabinet position.

Dreyfus grew up in Melbourne and became a Queen’s Counsel in 1999. He first entered federal parliament in 2007.

“Australia’s legal system should provide a framework that allows us to protect and care for all Australians, including our elderly, our sick, our injured, our workers, our new arrivals, our indigenous people, our young and our outspoken writers, artists and journalists,” he said in a statement.

The appointment was welcomed by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry. “Mark Dreyfus QC is an excellent choice as Australia’s new attorney general and follows Sir Isaac Isaacs as the second Jewish Australian to hold that senior Cabinet position,” said its president, Dr. Danny Lamm. “His new appointment has been warmly welcomed by the legal profession, political commentators and the Australian Jewish community.”

In his poignant maiden speech to federal parliament in 2007, Dreyfus noted that three of his great-grandparents perished in the Holocaust.

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