New NSW Liberal leader a ‘friend and supporter’ of the Jewish community

Mark Speakman, who played a key role in the bill banning the public display of Nazi symbols, has been elected as NSW Opposition Leader.

Mark Speakman. Photo: Noel Kessel
Mark Speakman. Photo: Noel Kessel

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBD) has congratulated Mark Speakman on his election as state Opposition Leader.

Speakman – who as attorney-general in 2018 saw the passage of stronger incitement legislation and last year the banning of Nazi symbols in NSW – was elected to the post on Friday following the Perrottet government’s defeat at last month’s election.

“Mark has long been a friend and supporter of the Jewish community,” JBD president David Ossip and CEO Darren Bark said.

Noting that Speakman played a key role in the bill banning the public display of Nazi symbols, they concluded, “The board looks forward to working with the new Opposition Leader and his team.”

The Liberal Party plans to install Natalie Ward as deputy leader once it changes the rules to allow an Upper House member to fill the role. Ward was chair of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel from 2019 to 2021.

Damien Tudehope has been elected Opposition Leader in the Legislative Council.

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council has sent letters to congratulate the new leadership team.

AIJAC thanked Speakman for his support as attorney-general, citing his role in helping to criminalise the public display of Nazi symbols in NSW.

“It was groundbreaking legislation, which occurred under your administration and it had the support of AIJAC,” the letters stated.

AIJAC also praised Speakman, Tudehope and Ward for their roles in NSW becoming the first Australian state or territory government to officially adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, and thanked Ward for her tenure as chair of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel.

“We remember in 2020, you visited Israel for the first time and spoke movingly about visiting the Kotel, Yad Vashem and Sderot. In the NSW Parliament, we note that on many occasions you spoke in support of the Jewish community, Jewish causes, the State of Israel and against antisemitism,” AIJAC said.

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