Genuine regret

Despite the Premier's transgression, we believe his regret and desire to atone to be genuine.

In his political life, Dominic Perrottet has unquestionably been a friend to the NSW Jewish community.

Since becoming Premier he has spoken warmly to and about the community at the annual Yom Ha’atzmaut function and at the ceremony marking the start of construction of Hakoah White City.

Last year, he presided over the introduction of laws to ban Nazi symbols in NSW.

In 2016, amid the federal debate over Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act he told The AJN, “I don’t believe that any racial group should be subjected to public statements intended to cause violence against them, and as a strong supporter of Israel I am deeply sympathetic to the concerns raised by the Jewish community on this issue.”

As NSW Treasurer in 2021 he presided over a $6.25 million funding grant to the Sydney Jewish Museum, declaring it “will help preserve the history of the Holocaust and keep alive the memory of victims and survivors”.

Last Thursday he was at that very museum meeting with the communal leadership to plead for their forgiveness after admitting that he had worn a Nazi costume at his 21st birthday.

In a letter to the Jewish community later that night, Perrottet declared, “I now look back on my decision in 2003 with shame,” and “It is my hope that something good can come from this terrible mistake.”

There is no doubt that 20 years ago, the would-be Premier, who was no doubt already eyeing a political career, made a terrible, stupid decision – one that he then took two decades to own up to.

But despite the Premier’s transgression and the delayed timing of his “mea culpa”, we believe his regret and desire to atone to be genuine.

Also this week, we saw a gathering of neo-Nazis at a Melbourne beach. While a naive 21-year-old Perrottet meant no harm, there are those in our community who do.

Both incidents highlight how much work there is to be done to educate Australians about the evils of the Nazis and the horrors of the Holocaust.

It is up to our leaders to lead the way, and we look forward to the NSW Premier making good on his promise to do so.

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