The Algemeiner – January 31, 2013

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced that the Australian national election will be held Sept. 14, a date that falls on Yom Kippur, stirring a major debate among politicians on whether the choice of the date is insensitive to Australia’s Jewish community.

“As a matter of personal conscience I will be unable to participate on Election Day. It is my practice, with my wife, Amanda, to observe Yom Kippur,” Australian Jewish parliament member Michael Danby of the Labor party said in a statement, according to the Jerusalem Post.

About 107,000-120,000 Jews live in Australia and constitute about 0.5 percent of the population. There are a few federal electorates in the country with a large number of eligible Jewish voters, meaning the timing of the election on Yom Kippur could have a significant impact on the result.

Traditionally, Australia already holds elections on Saturday, which makes it impossible for observant Jews to participate, though they are allowed to submit their votes by mail. Given the decision to hold the election on Yom Kippur, which is observed by a larger portion of the Jewish community than Shabbat, Jewish Liberal party parliament member Josh Frydenberg tweeted that the decision “disenfranchises many Jewish Australians.”

2 Responses to “Australia Schedules Elections for Yom Kippur”

  1. 1 John McAllister

    What gets me is most australians don’t get the point of that date. According to wikipedia..

    Yom Kippur is the tenth day of the month of Tishrei and also regarded as the “Sabbath of Sabbaths”. According to Jewish tradition, God inscribes each person’s fate for the coming year into a book, the Book of Life, on Rosh Hashanah, and waits until Yom Kippur to “seal” the verdict. During the Days of Awe, a Jewish person tries to amend his or her behavior and seek forgiveness for wrongs done against God (bein adam leMakom) and against other human beings (bein adam lechavero). The evening and day of Yom Kippur are set aside for public and private petitions and confessions of guilt (Vidui). At the end of Yom Kippur, one hopes that they have been forgiven by God.

    Julia Gillard choose that date. Think about it a call to repent on and leading up to election day, by Julia Gillard a ‘self confessed athiest’, who choose this day months in advance.

    To make it fair though Some of the times Julia Gillard has tried to do what’s right she has been stopped. Like the time when the vote on the Palestinian State happened. A number of people will need to repent. Including the indipendants, Labour members and the voters.

  2. 2 Tim Lovett

    Michael Danby: Postal vote.

    To become a general postal voter you must:

    live 20km from a voting centre;
    be seriously ill or infirm, or caring for someone who is;
    be 70 or more years old;
    be in prison (but still on the electoral roll);
    be a silent elector; or…

    be unable to attend on election day for religious reasons. !!!!!!!

    I bet Julia she wouldn’t call it on a Muslim day though. She’s a tad fatwa phobic.

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