The leadership of New South Wales Premier, Dominic Perrottet, is in turmoil following a revelation about his past behavior. On Wednesday, Perrottet admitted to wearing a rented Nazi uniform at his 21st birthday fancy dress party in 2003.
The premier apologized and said he was "deeply ashamed" of his "mistake" and decided to come clean after a phone call from a cabinet colleague a few days ago. According to a government source, the colleague was the retiring Minister of Transport, David Elliott, who has had a turbulent relationship with the premier in recent months over proposals for gambling reform. The source stated that Perrottet's leadership is now untenable and they don't believe he can make it to the March election as premier.
The Jewish community was left reeling by the revelation, with the Sydney Jewish Museum stating that they received a call from a Holocaust survivor who reached out in distress. The manager of student learning and research at the museum, Breann Fallon, said, "There is a sense of worry about what kind of world we are creating". The uniform is not just an inanimate object. It is a symbol of hatred, bigotry, genocide and discrimination and it will bring back all of those memories."
Rabbi Benjamin Elton from the Great Synagogue in Sydney said that Perrottet's age at the time was relevant. "As we know from other famous people in the world, people do foolish things when they’re young and clearly he regards this as a terrible mistake and I think it’s been torturing him for many years," he said. The Rabbi went on to say that he believed in showing compassion to the premier for his mistake. "In the Jewish tradition, we believe in repentance which is admitting what one did, seeing it was wrong, committing not to do it again."
Despite the revelation, Rabbi Elton pointed out that Perrottet has been influential in passing a law last year making it a criminal offense to knowingly display a Nazi symbol in public without a reasonable excuse. He also praised the Premier for securing $6 million in funding for the Sydney Jewish Museum during his time as treasurer in 2021.