Australia

The lawyer, the lies and the fast ladies

By Keren David and Dan Goldberg, March 26, 2009

He was a highly respected member of the Australian Jewish community, a human rights lawyer honoured as an “Australian National Treasure.”

But when, in 2006, former judge Marcus Einfeld, 69, drove his silver Lexus sedan at 60 kmh through a 50kmh zone, he was on a highway to a prison cell — and by the most bizarre route.

Rather than pay a $AU77 speeding fine — around £37 — Einfeld claimed that he had lent the car to an old friend, an American academic called Teresa Brennan.

But his alibi failed when police discovered that Professor Brennan had been dead for three years.

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Australian anger over Iran invite

By Dan Goldberg, March 19, 2009

An invitation to the former president of Iran to speak in Melbourne next week has enraged Jewish community leaders, writes Dan Goldberg.

Mohammed Khatami is due to speak at La Trobe University in Melbourne on March 26.

John Searle, president of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, resigned from the university’s dialogue committee in protest against the invitation and said it was “inconceivable” that the Anglican archbishop of Melbourne, Philip Freier, was meeting Khatawi.

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Man fights Nazi crime indictment

March 12, 2009

A man who is alleged to have killed a Jewish teenager during the Second World War is fighting extradition to Hungary in an Australian federal court. Charles Zentai, 87, is accused of torturing and murdering Peter Balazs in Budapest in 1944.

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Australian, 90, survives bush fire

By Dan Goldberg, February 18, 2009

A 90-year-old Jewish man feared dead in Australia’s worst bush fires has been found alive.

Eugene Goodvach’s burnt-out car was found last week near his country house in Marysville, a small Victoria town destroyed in fires that have killed more than 180 people.

His family was unable to contact him but it is now understood that Mr Goodvach had been evacuated to a nearby village by emergency personnel.

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Expat couple killed in Australia inferno

By Dan Goldberg, February 12, 2009

The deadliest bushfires in Australian history have claimed more than 180 lives, including at least two Jews, and razed at least six properties belonging to members of the community.

John and Jenny Barnett, originally from London, died trying to escape the inferno from their holiday home some 30km from Victoria.

John, an associate professor at the University of Melbourne, and Jenny, a researcher at the National Parks Association, were in their 60s and had no children.

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Award for Oz Everest mother

January 29, 2009

Cheryl Bart, the Jewish mother who made history last year when she climbed Mount Everest with her daughter, has been made an Officer of the Order of Australia. The Sydneysider dedicated her award to her late father, Eric Klinghoffer, a Holocaust survivor.

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British National Party leader's tour of Australia has been postponed

By Dan Goldberg, December 15, 2008

A planned speaking tour of Australia by British National Party leader Nick Griffin has been postponed.

Griffin had been invited by the Australian Protectionist Party, a fringe far-right political group formed last year, to speak about the “demographic genocide” caused by immigration from the Third World.

Griffin, who was refused a visa to visit Australia in 1998, had lodged an electronic visa application, but was asked by the Immigration Department to submit a full written application because he appears on the federal government’s Movement Alert List, according to ABC News.

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The Aboriginal who stood up for the Jews

By Dan Goldberg, December 11, 2008

A remarkable 1938 Aboriginal protest against European antisemitism has been honoured at the State Parliament in Melbourne.

On December 6 1938, just weeks after the Kristallnacht pogroms in Germany, William Cooper, an Aboriginal elder, delivered a petition to the German consulate in Melbourne.

They were denied entry to the consulate but handed over the petition, which condemned “the cruel persecution” of the Jews by the Nazis.

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Australians in bid to block BNP leader

By Dan Goldberg and Leon Symons, November 24, 2008

Australia's Jewish and Islamic communities have united to urge the country's immigration minister to deny a visa to British National Party leader Nick Griffin.

Griffin, who has a 1998 conviction for incitement to racial hatred for material denying the Holocaust, plans to visit Sydney and Melbourne in December to speak about the "demographic genocide" caused by immigration from the Third World.

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Sydney shul hosts first gay 'marriage'

By Dan Goldberg, September 26, 2008

In an Australian first, a same-sex commitment ceremony was held in a synagogue on Sunday.

Scott Whitmont, 47, and Christopher Whitmont-Stein, 38, stood under a chuppah at Emanuel Synagogue in Sydney in front of about 75 guests.

The pair, who had a civil-commitment ceremony six years ago, exchanged rings, smashed a glass and walked around each other three-and-a-half times.

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