SYDNEY (JTA) — A Jewish lawmaker in Australia was promoted to attorney general, the government’s highest law officer.
Mark Dreyfus, a Labor lawmaker from Melbourne, was promoted Saturday by Prime Minister Julia Gillard in a Cabinet reshuffle. Dreyfus is the second Jewish Australian to hold the cabinet post; Sir Isaac Isaacs was the first.
Dreyfus grew up in Melbourne and became a queen’s counsel in 1999. He entered the federal parliament in 2007.
“Australia’s legal system should provide a framework that allows us to protect and care for all Australians, including our elderly, our sick, our injured, our workers, our new arrivals, our indigenous people, our young and our outspoken writers, artists and journalists,” he said in a statement.
In a statement welcoming the appointment, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry called Dreyfus an "excellent choice."
“His new appointment has been warmly welcomed by the legal profession, political commentators and the Australian Jewish community,” the council’s president, Dr. Danny Lamm, said in the statement.
In his poignant maiden speech to the parliament in 2007, Dreyfus noted that three of his great-grandparents perished in the Holocaust.