'It's time to fix it'

Our Jewish republican

"To my mind that is a system that's broken. It's time to fix it."

Debbie Scholem with grandson Toby.

When Australian Republic Movement (ARM) chair Peter FitzSimons delivered the organisation’s model for an Australian republic last week, standing behind him was Jewish community member and North Shore Temple Emanuel congregant Debbie Scholem.

Scholem, the NSW branch secretary of the ARM, told The AJN she was inspired after FitzSimons addressed a NSW Jewish Board of Deputies plenum in 2016.

“His arguments and enthusiasm impressed me. As a grateful immigrant to this wonderful country I want it to stand on its own two feet and be seen to be doing that,” she said.

“The day after Peter’s talk I joined the ARM.”

After being a passive member of the organisation for a number of years, the one-time Jewish deputy decided to become more involved two years ago upon retiring.

“I was looking for productive things to do. As a newly blessed grandmother of two naches-giving grandsons I began thinking of their future and what kind of Australia they would grow up in,” the mother of three daughters said.

“I was inspired to stand for the NSW Branch Committee of the ARM and last year became branch secretary.”

On the need for a republic, Scholem, who was born in South Africa, before migrating to Israel, the United Kingdom and then to Australia where she became a professional violinist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, said she agrees with people who say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

“The problem is that it is broken – a country whose head of state, the Queen, is not a citizen here and is neither elected nor appointed but placed there by virtue of her birth,” she said.

“Nowhere else in Australia is it permitted to employ someone on the basis of their ancestry. Australia’s head of state, the head of our country, cannot currently be any religion other than Church of England, cannot live in this land, cannot vote in this land, cannot be one of us.

“To my mind that is a system that’s broken. It’s time to fix it.”

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