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Julian Leeser’s flippant dismissal of First Australians’ concerns regarding the name and date of our national day is as instructive as it is offensive and nonsensical. It is completely in keeping with the mean-spirited rejection by the Liberal federal government of the ‘Uluru Statement from the Heart’ which emerged from the 2017 National Constitutional Convention. This year marks the 80th anniversary of the protest by William Cooper and the Australian Aboriginal League at the German consulate in Melbourne against Kristallnacht and Nazi persecution of Jews. Sadly, from his response it seems Leeser just can’t help following Peter Dutton’s lead in sowing discord, lowering the tone of every debate, and viewing the biggest national questions as opportunities to win small political ‘points’.

The cynical ‘whataboutism’ Leeser employs in targeting Labour Day is just as enlightening. What Leeser derides as a celebration of ‘union thuggery’ is rightly seen by most Australians as a day that recognises the historical achievements of the labour movement in protecting workers from exploitation. By all means Julian Leeser, please pursue your ‘Make Bosses Great Again’ campaign all the way to the next election, and if you are serious about renaming Labour Day, may we suggest ‘WorkChoices Day’?

The Jewish Labour Bund stands together with Indigenous Australians and the international labour movement in demanding justice, and freedom from Leeser’s Liberal brand of political cynicism.

United, we will never be defeated. Chavershaft.

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