When Prime Minister Julia Gillard met with Jewish leaders in Sydney a few weeks ago and signed the London Declaration on Combating Anti-Semitism, she was given a couple of books as a gift from the Jewish community. One of them was my book on William Cooper presented by Peter Wertheim, Executive Director of the Exec utive Council of Australian Jewry.
At the launch of the Journey of Recognition in Melbourne on May 26, I presented Tony Abbott, Leader of the Opposition, with a copy. He also signed a replica of William Cooper’s 1930’s petition which his grandson, Alf Turner or Uncle Boydie is hoping to present to the Queen for the 75th anniversary with a similar number of signatures. I also gave a book to Prof Mick Dodson, Director of the National Centre for Indigenous Studies at the Australian National University College of Law who was at the Journey of Recognition launch. While in Canberra in May I presented Rev Prof James Haire, Executive Director of the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture with a Cooper book. He was previously President of the National Council of Churches.
It was a surprise to receive photos from Jeremy Jones of his presentations of the book to the President of Israel, Shimon Peres and the Australian Ambassador to Israel Kim Beazley. Jeremy is the Director of International and Community Affairs, Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council, among many other achievements and was overseas for meetings. Jeremy figures strongly in the book and I mention Kim Beazley’s father, Kim Beazley Snr for his work in support of the 1967 referendum.
The first photo was taken in the residence of President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem on 30 May 2013. Jeremy presented him the book after participating in a discussion on the future prospects for peace and Israel’s outreach to Asia. The second photo was taken at the Global Forum of the American Jewish Committee in Washington on 2 June 2013. Jeremy chaired Mr Beazley’s address and presented him with my book during his vote of thanks.
I would really like to see my book on William Cooper put on reading lists in universities and schools in history and/or Indigenous studies courses. We need to know who we are as a nation, our national character, our history and our destiny. Understanding our past can help us create a better future.