As neo-Nazism continues to be a growing problem in Australia, it's important to be aware of the dangers it presents. Digital editor Dan Jensen checks out a new documentary taking us inside the world of right-wing extremism.
THERE HAS BEEN a growing number of news reports and articles written about the rise of neo-Nazis within Australia. But while it’s always a heartbreaking affair to learn about the spread of hatred throughout our country, it’s even more harrowing to witness it firsthand.
Revealed: Amongst Us is the first episode in a new documentary series, starting with an investigation into the rise of right-wing extremism conducted by journalist Nick McKenzie. McKenzie hosted a 60 Minutes special last year on the subject in which a man by the pseudonym “Davo” infiltrated the National Socialist Network led by Tom Sewell, posing as a recruit.
Revealed is almost like a companion piece to that report, but focuses on Davo’s undercover journey into the recruitment process of the neo-Nazi cult, wearing a hidden camera to capture every conversation and meeting. It’s often shocking, always engrossing and serves as a wake-up call to just how dangerous the problem is in Australia.
Through the hidden camera footage, we’re introduced to various members of the NSN and explore how the recruitment process works, from initiation through to the higher ranks. One of the most terrifying aspects of this is seeing just how “normal” these hatemongers appear to be. One is a window cleaner, one is a security officer at a casino, several are high school students. In one scene, a 22-year-old male and his girlfriend are shown fawning over Davo’s dog, discussing how cute he is and sounding like the nicest, most regular young couple you could meet.
But in the next instance, we're privy to conversations regarding NSN members' racial viewpoints and listening to some of the vilest hate speech, discussed casually and with total conviction. It's disgusting, heartbreaking and frightening to know that people like this are our neighbours or people we meet in the workforce.
By the end of the experiment, Davo even admits that the brainwashing process was so efficient that he himself started to fall into danger of believing Sewell’s propaganda and was relieved the task was over. Revealed shows how easy it is for young people to become indoctrinated into the neo-Nazi cult and join Sewell’s “army”.
And frighteningly, that’s just what Sewell had tried to achieve. Footage shows his grand plan was to purchase property for his fellow Nazis to begin a community, with the aim to spread out and cleanse Australia from the inside. Currently on bail with a trial pending next year, it’s unlikely that Sewell will achieve his endgame. But Revealed offers a glimpse at how fast the cancer of neo-Nazism can spread in our country and how important it is to be aware.
There is a conversation that revolves around the NSN’s political view and how its members feel about the Liberal Party’s conservatism, saying that it died the day Tony Abbott was couped. Not surprisingly, Fraser Anning is a hero to them and they truly believe that they will be instrumental in bringing back strength in the Liberal Party over the next decade. All while having dinner with a framed photo of Adolf Hitler on the table.
As far as documentaries go, the aim is always to offer an unbiased report of an event, either current or historic. The 1999 film One Day In September, which presented a chilling account of the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, was bold enough to include an interview with one of the surviving terrorists for his side of events.
Revealed achieves this goal well, never outright accusing Sewell and his gang of being despicable human beings but rather letting them demonstrate this themselves. Through conversations, some proudly describe their past criminal histories including armed robberies, burglary and even kidnapping. It’s fascinating being placed in the middle of these candid revelations while also being quite stressful at times, especially when the subject of someone possibly wearing a wire is raised in a meeting.
At times, Revealed does lean towards the dramatic a little. Scenes where McKenzie is asking Davo to go undercover, along with a couple of other scenes, are clearly set up with multiple camera angles and feel scripted. But moments like those are few and most of the 75-minute run time offers nary a dull moment. It’s darkly intriguing and rather essential viewing, well crafted and will give the viewer a perspective of a problem within our country that shouldn’t be ignored.
Revealed: Amongst Us is currently streaming on Stan.
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