Little has been mentioned in the mainstream media about the United Australia Party's ties to antisemitism, writes Tom Tanuki.
WE’VE ONLY GOT a few weeks to go until the 2022 Federal Election and all of my (admittedly fringe-preoccupied) attention is focused on Clive Palmer and the United Australia Party (UAP).
Specifically, I await with bated breath the next antisemite to be platformed or hosted by them. The UAP has great form in this regard. I want to bring this history to the attention of the mainstream.
For years, the UAP has been hovering in an awkward space that exists between overt antisemitism and the “globalist/central banker” dogwhistling discourse popular among politicians in recent years.
The latter can act as rhetoric, if you aren’t aware, that one may deploy for a far-right audience — if one wants their attention without getting in trouble for antisemitism. So, when one might otherwise talk about the Jews controlling the world, instead one just talks about the “central bankers”. Or the “globalist elite”. Or the “cabal”. Same outcome, less trouble.
Clive’s lot didn’t just accidentally stumble across this trick. Before the last Federal Election, Palmer had Radomir Kobryn-Coletti and Andrew Wilson on – or associated with – his social media team. Andrew Wilson is a rich neo-Nazi who once boasted that he shared antisemitic memes on Clive Palmer’s Facebook page.
Radomir was fundamental to building the 2018-era “Palmy Army” branding, wherein Palmer was briefly remodelled to look like a “funny” “meme lord” (cringe).
They both left Palmer’s employ to go and work for Fraser Anning where, along with a group of other suited neo-Nazis, they built up Anning’s White nationalist campaign. (Learn more about Wilson and Kobryn-Coletti from this shocking ABC Background Briefing report.)
Just so you understand: Clive Palmer had media-savvy neo-Nazis on his social media team years ago, who were leading purveyors of creating Hitler-adjacent controversy. And indeed, it’s excellent media fodder for opportunists like Palmer who are all populist angling and have no actual substance.
Remember when Clive reportedly attempted to buy Hitler’s car for some museum? The contrived controversy sends a Bat-signal to the Left to signify it’s time for us to cry out in outrage (“Look, Clive’s doing a tangentially Nazi stunt again!”), while Clive retains all the plausible deniability of being a history buff. Then he gets to say he had nothing to do with it. “Oh boy, we just imagined that media event all along because we’re hysterical leftists!”
These stunts carry a frisson of edginess, lifted wholesale from more genuine White nationalist or neo-Nazi ideologies; but people like MP Craig Kelly or Palmer can deploy them without digging too deep a hole for themselves. They can get the headlines without having actually ever had to stand for a single thing. That’s really convenient for amoral slugs.
Clive elevated Craig Kelly to lead candidate standing for this Election, presumably because of how wildly unpopular Palmer has made himself, and so this time around Kelly’s doing some “antisemitism-adjacent” hard lifting.
Kelly was photographed in 2021 at an anti-lockdown rally with his rally security detail: one Stuart von Moger. Stuart’s a veteran member/associate of Tom Sewell-led neo-Nazi groups the Lads Society and the National Socialist Network. We’re not talking about rich, suited Nazis like Radomir and Wilson. No, these are the “race-war planner” sort of neo-Nazis.
Why did Kelly happen to have that guy as his security detail? I don’t know. It’s not a problem any other politician seems to encounter.
I wonder how many candidates from other parties accidentally fall into friendships with Nazis? UAP candidate Rebekah Spelman is firm friends with Kate Callan, the neo-Nazi who constructed gallows for a 2021 rally outside Victoria’s Parliament House and called for the hanging of politicians. The two organised anti-lockdown rallies through their group Project Phoenix. This friendship appears to have gone unremarked upon by Kelly or Palmer, despite Callan receiving direct attention from the Sydney Morning Herald.
(I suppose I should also mention UAP candidate Elvis Sinosic, who thought that formerly infamous neo-Nazi Blair Cottrell was actually Shane Warne’s son and shared a video from him whining about vaccines. Yes, that also counted as Hitler-adjacent controversy, but this probably demonstrates only that the ideal controversy-peddling Party has deeply cynical people and utter morons working together.)
I was privileged to witness the last UAP “antisemitism-adjacent” moment in person. I went to Canberra to go mildly undercover at an anti-lockdown rally that appeared to have been organised by the UAP.
It was boring and low-energy because the movement is running out of steam, but I did manage to record sovereign citizen Mark McMurtrie spouting the following antisemitic, conspiracist garbage:
“I notice there’s a lot of people here today running around with the red and blue flags. That piece of shit that’s in the corner of the flag is the Union Jack — the ‘Union of Jacob’. It represents three, or it is three, Hebrew tribal flags. And if you’re worried about standing under the Jews and what they represent, that’s what you’re standing under when you carry that flag.”
When Jewish-Australian media outlet Plus61J asked Craig Kelly why he’d platformed an antisemite at a UAP event, he said:
“[Our event] commenced at 5 AM and we packed up at around 10 AM. Separately, another group organised a protest, which they brought a stage on the back of a truck.”
Strange, because Craig Kelly spoke on that same stage — at 12:40 PM. I know, because I was there and recorded footage from that time.
“This was not a UAP event. We have no control, over them — directly or indirectly.”
The event was coordinated by many UAP staffers in bright yellow T-shirts, featured what must have been thousands of dollars of UAP-produced materials in the form of large “billion dollar note” placards (a stunt to help demonstrate the Government’s trillion-dollar debt) and was advertised in advance on the UAP page, with Kelly listed as a headline speaker. Looks like a UAP event to me.
Annoyed that Kelly was able to simply dodge this latest in a long line of antisemitic UAP moments, I recorded a video on this in the hopes that more prominent people than myself would pick it up and run with it.
That hasn’t really happened. Plus61J followed it up with an excellent article, but it isn’t enough for the likes of us to draw attention to it. Where’s the mainstream?
What scares me is the thought that we have all become just inured enough to tactical antisemitism that we simply disregard it as something that one of these “wacky fringe candidates” would do.
But is Clive wacky? Is he fringe? And is it safe to ignore by the mainstream?
We’re told he’s spending 100 times more than major parties on advertising. We’re told this record spend, chiefly on meaningless brainwashing “freedom” talk, may have netted him 4 per cent of the electorate. And of course, we’ve all heard before about how Palmer’s preferencing deals and broader strategic influencing of elections may be the key aim of his election-time pushes — because as many previous UAP and PUP politicians have taught us, running a real political party doesn’t seem to interest Clive much.
It's my hope, in charting this recent history of the UAP and what appears to be outright tactical antisemitism if not a stand-out closeness to it, that the mainstream media will better understand what to run with before the Election. Palmer needs to be asked about this. So does Kelly. They need to be held to account. They have staffed, hosted and highlighted too many antisemites to get away with it unaccounted for.
Tom Tanuki is an online satirist, social justice commentator, writer and comedian. He has worked in anti-racist political comedy, most notably through his satirical group the Million Flag Patriots and anti-racist group Yelling At Racist Dogs (Y.A.R.D.). You can follow Tom on Twitter @tom_tanuki.
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