SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – A longstanding Jewish lawmaker was promoted to junior minister in a cabinet reshuffle after a botched attempt to overthrow the Australian prime minister.
Michael Danby, a Labor legislator in federal parliament since 1998, was made parliamentary secretary for the arts Monday after several senior cabinet ministers left their posts for backing former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who was touted to stage a leadership challenge to Julia Gillard amid waning support for Labor, according to polls.
But after the leadership contest was announced, Rudd declined to challenge.
Danby said he was honored to have been selected by the prime minister. “Gratitude is an obligation incumbent on all men, as the great teacher Lubavitcher Rebbe argued,” he said in a statement.
“This is particularly so in a great country like Australia where people from all backgrounds have so much opportunity; where in one generation, a refugee from Nazism such as my father Fred Danby can see his son become a junior minister."
Attorney General Mark Dreyfus, who is also Jewish, was made Special Minister of State and Minister for the Public Service and Integrity.
Dr. Danny Lamm and Peter Wertheim, of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, congratgulated Danby on his promotion. “We wish Michael a hearty mazel tov on his elevation to Parliamentary Secretary for the Arts, a long overdue recognition of his dedication and hard work," they said in a statement. “The conferral of additional portfolios on Mark Dreyfus is a well-deserved acknowledgement of his talent and capacity for work.”