Australian Jewish politician faces suspension over corruption investigation

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – A Jewish politician in Australia faces suspension from the Labor Party amid a corruption investigation.

Eric Roozendaal, 50, a former treasurer in the New South Wales state government, was told by party leader John Roberston that he should be suspended pending the outcome of the Independent Commission Against Corruption investigation into allegations he inappropriately received a $10,000 gift.

“This suspension is not intended to pre-judge the findings of ICAC, however a number of serious and as yet unresolved allegations have been raised in public hearings,” Roberston said.

Roozendaal, who sits in the New South Wales Upper House, denies any impropriety. The findings of the inquiry are expected to be handed down early next year.

Roozendaal ran the Labor Party in New South Wales as general secretary from 1999 to 2004, and served as treasurer in the Labor government between 2008 and 2011.

In his maiden speech to state parliament in 2004, he said: “I am named after my grandfather, a man I never knew. He perished in Auschwitz in 1944. As he was herded into a train, he threw his signet ring to a local railway worker, who later gave it to my grandmother. I proudly wear that ring today.”

He continued: “I am here today because in 1942, at great risk, a kind Dutch policeman hid a little Jewish seven-year-old boy, his four-year-old sister and his mother for over 15 months. That seven-year-old boy was my father. In those 15 months, he and his family never saw daylight.”

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