In my article of April 28 ‘How Abbott, Morrison and Hawke bungled Warringah’ I mentioned that when I first voted in December 1961 there were nine “blue ribbon Liberal” seats. Listed in order of Liberal strength in each city the seats were Bradfield, Warringah, Wentworth, Mackellar and North Sydney in Sydney, Kooyong, Higgins and Balaclava (now called Goldstein) in Melbourne and Curtin in Perth.
For May 21 my confident prediction was that independent sitting member Zali Steggall would retain Warringah and that Liberal incumbents would retain Bradfield, Mackellar and Curtin. I also promised that my next article would predict the winner in North Sydney, Wentworth, Goldstein, Higgins and Kooyong. I keep that promise today.
Which brings me to the Kooyong conversation with my Kew-residing 79-year-old friend, a woman I have known for sixty years. Her father held a high position in the Liberal party in the fifties and sixties. When I told her of my hope that Frydenberg would win Kooyong again she stunned me by saying she hoped he would be defeated. “He’s a Zionist”, she declared, and she would not vote for him.
When I gently suggested she might be accused of anti-Semitism she reacted strongly. “I would vote for any Jew who does not defend Israel’s outrageous occupation of the West Bank, but not for Frydenberg who defends the state of Israel and everything it does.” She lent me a book Balcony Over Jerusalem by John Lyons, the reading of which makes me understand why so many Australians are hostile to Israel. It sounds a pretty horrible place, but Lyons describes all the middle eastern countries as horrible, even if very interesting.
Anyway, that would not discourage me from voting for Frydenberg, but it leads me to speculate what commentators would say in the unlikely event he is defeated. Among other things they would say that ant-Semitism was a factor.
My guess is that Frydenberg will one day be Australia’s Prime Minister. If so, Australia might well be one of three countries with a Jewish head of government, the other two being Israel and Ukraine. Volodymyr Zelenskyy will win Ukraine’s war with Russia. His hold on the presidency of Ukraine will last so long he will still lead Ukraine when Frydenberg reaches his goal to be our PM.