Vaucluse Labor

Merten’s respect for the community

'Sadly, instances of antisemitism have increased by 38 per cent since 2020. This is shocking and unacceptable'

Labor's Margaret Merten. Photo: Supplied
Labor's Margaret Merten. Photo: Supplied

Labor candidate for Vaucluse Margaret Merten has lived in Bondi for nearly 30 years.

“I have many friends in the local Jewish community,” she said.

“I have a lot of respect and admiration for such Jewish organisations as Jewish House and Our Big Kitchen, both of which I was lucky enough to visit recently, and fully support.

“The work they do to support the whole community is so important and an act of faith and love in action.”

She said Labor takes the issue of communal security very seriously.

“We have made two key policy announcements in regard to this pressing issue for the Jewish community,” she said.

“$15 million in funding for faith organisations to improve safety and security at religious institutions including places of worship, schools, community centres, and buildings. [And] making religious vilification unlawful by amending the Anti-Discrimination Act within 100 days of taking office.”

Close to her heart, Merten said, was Labor’s announcement to establish a Premier’s prevention panel on racism and extremism.

“Sadly, instances of antisemitism have increased by 38 per cent since 2020. This is shocking and unacceptable,” she said.

“To hear that many of these instances have occurred in our local Vaucluse private high schools is so disappointing.”

While security support is essential, she said it is “even more important to address the root cause of these issues and to ensure that the lessons of history are never forgotten”.

“It’s our responsibility to educate future generations so that we never repeat the evils committed in World War II,” she said.

Speaking more generally, Merten cited planning controls, overdevelopment, public transport, education, better staff ratios in hospitals and increased pay for nurses and teachers as issues of importance.

“And then there’s climate change – we have to take practical action so everyone can benefit and thrive,” she said.

“I am very proud that I could announce the fast-tracked funding for 19 new electric vehicle chargers in Vaucluse and Coogee.

“We also need a better deal for renters; 44 per cent of the Vaucluse community rent, and I am proud of the ALP’s policies to better protect renters’ rights.”

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