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Thursday, 3 September 2020
Page: 6552


Mr SHARMA (Wentworth) (13:43): I am very pleased to inform the House that there's been a significant development in the extradition case of Ms Malka Leifer. Members may recall that Ms Leifer was the principal of the Adass Israel School in Melbourne in the early 2000s and is wanted for 74 charges of sexually abusing three former students from her time there. Ms Leifer fled to Israel in 2008 to avoid justice, and Australia first sought her extradition over six years ago now. Since that time, there have been over 70 court hearings in Israel concerning this matter.

Ms Leifer has consistently and misleadingly claimed she was mentally unfit to stand trial, which is why this has taken so long. But, overnight, the Israeli Supreme Court has rejected her final appeal in this regard, ruling that she was indeed fit to stand trial and, in doing so, as the court said, 'putting an end to the saga that has been drawn out for many years'. It has indeed been a saga that has been drawn out for far too many years. Israeli authorities can now proceed quickly with Ms Leifer's extradition process. I expect that can happen relatively quickly and that this issue, which had become a considerable source of tension in our otherwise good relationship with Israel, can be dealt with quickly by the Australian courts.

I cannot overstate what a victory this is. It's a victory for justice, it's a victory for the victims of child sexual abuse everywhere and it's a victory for those brave victims who have been so courageous in leading this campaign: Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper.