John Cohen OAM

March 24, 2014

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

ALP membership.


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.