ON an eventful first visit to Beth Weizmann, Deputy Premier Jacinta Allan chatted with participants of Access Inc, viewed a cupboard that had survived Kristallnacht, and studied state-of-the-art security measures.
Addressing staff and volunteers during Tuesday’s visit, Allan said, “I’m struck by the diversity of what goes on here, with that common thread of keeping the community engaged.”
Allan reflected on “the depth and breadth of the contribution the Victorian Jewish community has made to the state for many decades”.
Speaking to The AJN about the $2 million-plus security upgrade implemented in 2020, of which her government was the principal funder, the Deputy Premier said, “This is an important community centre and also a place where many people come each day for work, so it’s important to provide a safe and supportive work environment.”
During her visit, Beth Weizmann chair Sam Tatarka showed Allan some of the highlights of the centre. She viewed the Lamm Library of Australia, its historical artefacts and samples of Write Your Story, its Jewish memoirs program. She chatted with Access Inc participants and was briefed on its programs.
Prompted by The AJN to comment on speculation she will succeed Premier Daniel Andrews during the current term, Allan, elected to Parliament in 1999, Australia’s longest serving female minister, and like Andrews, from the Socialist Left faction of the ALP, would not be drawn. “I feel very blessed to have a job that I love doing, and to be working alongside the Premier and my ministerial and caucus colleagues … I’ve got the job that I want.”
When The AJN asked Andrews last Friday whether Allan, who became Deputy Premier last year, would make “a good future Premier”, he responded, “That will be for others to judge. I can tell you she makes a fantastic Deputy Premier.”