24 March 2014
I rise to inform the House of the passing of a much loved member of my local
community Mr John Cohen OAM on 18 March 2014. John was born in Cologne,
Germany, in 1919.
After being thrown out of school at 14 by the Nazis, John came to Australia as a refugee in
1938. He joined the Labor Party in Perth in 1940 when he was nominated by the late Kim
Beazley Snr. John later moved to Melbourne with his wife, Shirley, where he became well
known as a tireless believer in, and worker for, the Labor cause.
I have many fond memories of John, most recently at Caritas Christi, his mind still engaged
in politics. In 2011 local Labor branch members gathered to celebrate John’s 70th year of
I recall his passionate speech that day about his vast life experiences: in Europe as a young
man, his journey to Australia before the war and the role that Labor had played in his life.
I recall the great pride he showed in receiving a moving tribute from Bob Hawke, thanking
him for his service to the party. He was a man whose beliefs were born out of sheer life
He is a deeply considered and passionate man. My thoughts are with his family: his wife,
Shirley; his children, Rhonda, Roslyn and Keith; and his grandchildren.