Far-right trio convicted but the seeds of the 'Fourth Reich' were already sown

By | | comments |
United Patriots Front members Blair Cottrell, Christopher Shortis and Neil Erikson found guilty of inciting contempt, revulsion or ridicule of Muslims in Bendigo. (Screen shot via tenplay.com.au.)

Contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence discusses whether global neo-Nazism and far-right white supremacy are the new normal.

THREE NEO NAZI LINKED ANTI-MOSQUETEERS recently copped fines in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court for staging a mock beheading when campaigning against the building of a mosque in Bendigo on 4 October 2015. 

That protracted, well orchestrated and clearly well-funded campaign, fought on legal, societal, mainstream and social media fronts, was built on the familiar scaffolding of Islamaphobia, cultural and religious bigotry, racial profiling, a warped and fundamentalist version of Christianity and the implication that all Muslims are terrorists — the usual toxic ingredients.

Is the jackboot of global neo-Nazism and far-right white supremacy now stomping upon the throat of the new world disorder and becoming the new "neo" normal? Is civil society becoming more inured to the increasing prevalence of such dangerous malevolence?

It would seem so. 

Is what happens in our own backyard in tandem with international mayhem and propaganda?

Of course. 

The global social upheavals caused by the lost and wandering tribes of immigrants and refugees have lent both excuse and spurious legitimacy to the bullying victimization of innocent victims of horrible and brutal circumstance.

The success of the eurosceptic Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) Party in Germany's recent Federal election means that for the first time since 1945, a far-right party will sit in the Bundestag — as the third biggest party, no less. 

The menacing long shadows still cast by the swastika, the Second World War and the Holocaust loom large in our collective psyche, headlines and, these days, on social media. 

Australia has long been part of the West's obsession and hagiography of past wars. Hardly a week goes by without some ceremony of remembrance on foreign shores drenched in Australian blood; so often the nation has been the military valet and political vessel of what is now left of the decayed empires of Great Britain and the United States. 

There is hardly a single contemporary theatre of war and conflict, including civil and tribal wars, various terrorist and insurgency groups that cannot trace its roots to some form of empirical interference, colonisation and realignment of borders and the imposition of Christianity upon "savages" and "ignorant" peoples. 

Thus the tribal allure of the "them versus us" mentality and the demonising of  "the other" manifested in the Third Reich has, to humanity's great shame, never left us. 

Perhaps we should acknowledge we are now confronted with the Fourth Reich. 

In truth, the vulgar brutality we have always inflicted upon the weak and vulnerable has been ever thus. 

No matter the exquisite brilliance of our intellectual pursuits and sophistry, we continue to wage war upon one another. 

There is still so much inequality in our world. Millions still die from starvation, malnutrition and disease, lack of clean drinking water, medical care and decent shelter. So many of us are denied education — some simply because of gender and sexual preferences.

Many tribal communities are displaced through the enforced acquisition of land, sometimes misappropriated, leased or stolen through cunning corporate witchcraft, murder and mercenary private armies and rampant political corruption.

All the while, we fashion even more despicable and lethal weaponry to feed the insatiable appetite of the lucrative global war machines. Clients and carpetbaggers alike monger without conscience, their corporations daily trading billions of dollars in shares and civilian lives on global stock exchanges.

Some of us may be unaware that as we open a fridge or press a button on a washing machine, that same manufacturer could also be producing weapons, including bombs and landmines. No pre-wash stain removal spray will ever remove the bloodstains of those killed from the shareholder portfolio — each has their finger on the trigger and button that can unleash such terror that is indiscriminate and indifferent to civilian targets, so often children.

Our world continues to shrink. Even without the breathtaking technology we have been gifted by fine and curious minds, we were all inextricably linked by our actions and reactions — now more so. 

The malignancy of white supremacy in all its dialects and dilution is not solely confined to the AfD, or the Ku Klux Klan, or once distance shores. 

Our illegal and inhumane treatment of refugees, let alone Indigenous Australians, is a subtext of our once proud proclamation of the White Australia Policy and the viral remnants that exist in evolved legislation long supported by successive Australian governments, and now metastasised under the Liberal National Party Coalition.

The New South Wales Coloured Races Restriction and Regulation Act of 1896 provided a basic template for the notorious Immigration Restriction Act of 1901 that enshrined the alleged superiority and desirability of the white race and formalised parliament's judgement that coloured people were inferior and undesirable. 

The blistering irony of white men introducing legislation to disbar coloured people from entering and sharing Australia, when white men had themselves blatantly stolen Australia itself from "coloured" people, has continued to evade our monarchs and their parliamentary lackeys to this day. 

Our shameless refusal to accede to a Treaty between the real and traditional owners of Australia is a violation of justice and human rights. Our country is founded on a lie. That lie remains a weeping sore and embarrassment.  

The facile intellect and argument from the likes of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Senators Bernardi, Hanson, Abetz and their ilk – all of immigrant stock – seems to ignore this salient fact.

They are excellent creators of the myth that Australia, as the now defunct Bulletin magazine once proudly proclaimed, was 'for the white man'. Moreover, since that white man was a Christian, Australia therefore, was a Christian nation.

Er, no. It was for the black man and woman. 

And "we" not only took this magnificent land from them, we continue to have the damn cheek to lease/sell off huge tracts of it to overseas multinationals so that they can disembowel from its rich treasures, minerals and other spoils of undeclared assets on the moral registry.

Both the above acts of legislation were an awful indictment of our enduring talent for hypocrisy and white armband revisionist history. Their DNA is manifest in today's rigid and frigid immigration laws, detention centres – here and outsourced – and symptomatic of our policy and governance of Indigenous communities, both urban and remote. 

They also expressed the fear and loathing firmly directed towards Chinese miners, and hapless dragooned slaves/indentured and low-paid labour — sometimes culled and kidnapped from the Pacific Islands.

Was it people trafficking? Yes, it most certainly was. Was it people smuggling? Indisputably. All such people smuggling was done with the authorisation and, indeed, legislation of successive governments. 

Some of those kidnapped were on three-year "contracts" and supposed to be transported to whence they came once those contracts concluded. There were instances when a contract was renewed, but unscrupulous whitefellas sometimes just put them on a boat and dumped them on any old island — usually in the Torres Straits.

Of course, some were treated according to the terms of the various contracts in place, but the reality is the overall relationship was not that between an employer and employee but categorically that of a master to a slave and the Queensland Master and Servants Act of 1861 defined it as such.


Bluebirds may well have been flying over the white cliffs of Dover in the Mother Country while the bluebloods and squattocracy in the Antipodes had no compunction in the shocking practice of blackbirding and tricking "coloured" South Sea, Pacific, Polynesian and New Guinean islanders, and neighbours from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Africa and Asia to work as servants — manual labourers on sugar and cotton plantations, cattle and sheep farms and other agricultural pursuits and industries, working for low or no wages.

So prolific was the kidnapping of islanders that some islands were completely robbed of males.

Moreover, White Australians had no compunction in kidnapping children.


Although our formal race archives could include more detailed information, at least they acknowledge a quote from a plantation owner in Mackay that succinctly summed up an attitude that is still perpetuated by some to this very day:

'It has been conclusively proved … that white men cannot and will not do the work done by niggers in the field, and … that if white labour were available, it would only be at wages which the planters could never afford to pay. The sugar industry is entirely dependent upon coloured labour.'

Deja vu for you too?

Work and living conditions were generally deplorable. Their death rate was even higher than that of our Indigenous brothers and sisters, who, of course, were also subjected to such abuse.

Basically, Australia used "coloured" peoples as slave labour and then decades later started deporting them, in the cruel process, tearing apart families of several generations of Australians and intermarriage.

Sound familiar?

There will surely come a time when place names and streets and indeed statues erected in honour of Australia's slave traders will be challenged by the descendants of slaves and supporters. 

18 years after the second Act was passed, former Prime Minister "Puffing" Billy Hughes was still snorting its praises, describing it to Australians as "the greatest thing we have achieved".

Immigration and Border Minister Peter Dutton might be able to top that, given his distaste for refugees and penchant for inane comments, silly Billy.

Neither Hughes nor Dutton are alone in their racist attitudes. Former Prime Minister John Curtin was adamant that Australia was an outpost of the "British race".

Former Immigration Minister Arthur Calwell wrote shamelessly on the virtues of the White Australia policy in a paper with the now infamous title of 'I stand by White Australia':

'... After the outbreak of hostilities with Japan, Prime Minister John Curtin reinforced the philosophy of the "White Australia" policy, saying, "This country shall remain forever the home of the descendants of those people who came here in peace in order to establish in the South Seas an outpost of the British race".'

Immigration Minister Arthur Calwell vigorously defended the White Australia Policy – current Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and he would surely have got on. (Source: collections.museumvictoria.com.au.)

I remember reading a compelling article in the Sydney Morning Herald by activist Emelda Davis, president of the Australian South Sea Islanders (Port Jackson), fighting for justice and recognition for the descendants of blackbirded men and women. 

She wrote of her grandfather who, as a 12-year-old, was taken from his family in the late 1800s from an island belonging to Vanuatu to work on Australia's sugar cane fields. 

'More than 55,000 people, mostly men, were brought from Vanuatu, the Solomons and 80 surrounding islands under what Australia called the indentured labour trade, which was akin to slavery. They were first brought to NSW in 1847 with an influx to Queensland between 1863 and 1904 … our forefathers were enslaved regardless of the pretence of contracts. Most definitely this was a legal framework for what was in fact criminal activity, which saw the early deaths of 30 per cent of these "labour recruits", buried in unmarked graves across north-eastern Australia.'

The badge of dishonour, White Australia – Australia for the Australians. (Image: National Museum of Australia.)

No doubt for Federal parliamentarians, political Hansonites and like thinkers, and their advocacy for a whiter and less Muslim Australia, their racist rhetoric and religious bigotry are inspirational role models and touchstones for those Australians who believe that all Muslims are terrorists and that there is no place for Islam in Australia. 

It would be interesting to know if there was any direct or indirect contact between Bendigo's anti-mosqueteers and Pauline Hanson's One Nation.

On 5 September, United Patriots Front members Blair Cottrell, 27, Christopher Shortis, 46, and Neil Erikson, 32, were all found guilty by Magistrate John Hardy of inciting contempt, revulsion or ridicule of Muslims.

Representing themselves in court, the cocky trio had pleaded not guilty to charges under Victoria's Racial and Religious Tolerance Act but were fined a token $2,000 each — escaping a maximum six months imprisonment and $9,000 fine.

A video of the mock beheading, featuring fake blood and a plastic sword was also posted on their now defunct UPF Facebook page. The bovver boys were booted off the site in the merry month of May.

Undeterred by the judge's slap on their white wrists, later that same day the so-called patriots, defenders of the one true faith, the right, the white and the Australian Way, led again by Erikson, gatecrashed a Yarra Council night meeting, in protest at the Council's recent decision to put the kybosh on Australia Day. 


The hard-working popular Yarra City Councillor Stephen Jolly is himself a dab hand at activism and protest, and was withering about the "master race" anti-mosqueteers, their intelligence and the ineptitude of their protest. 

The gatecrashers were particularly cross with the London-birther Jolly, who has a broad Irish lilt — maybe he has triple citizenship. 

Jolly got wind that the bovvers were on their way to jackboot into the meeting... a rat in the ranks?

He tweeted this about the nasty twits: 

Sadly, Erikson's fellow compatriot in court, Christopher Shortis – nicknamed "Shortarse" by his mates – was not with his beloved leader at the siege of the Yarra. It may be because, as he told an apparently underwhelmed court audience, he has political aspirations — in which case one would have thought storming the Yarra Council meeting with his mates would have made a good practice run. 

Blushing with media success just the other day, the UPF gatecrashed another council – the "Republic" of Moreland, as it is known – yet another council in Victoria that voted thumbs down against Australia Day. 

The anti-mosqueteers, ever hopeful, apparently, of establishing a white Christian caliphate in Australia, seem oblivious to the fact that one, of sorts, is already in place, courtesy of Captain James Cook, his king, his kith and kin.


They plonked the British Flag in the sands of Botany Bay in 1770 on behalf of the Empire and King George III, falsely declaring the land "terra nullius", despite evidence to the contrary before their very eyes and about which they wrote. 

Terra nullius? Bollocks. More like terra bullius!

From Lieutenant James Cook's own log are the words that prove the lie: 

Saturday, 21 April 1770: 'In the PM we saw the smoke of fire in several places; a Certain sign that the Country is inhabited.'

Sunday, 22 April 1770: 'Saw the smoke of fire in several places near the Sea beach .​​.. at 5 o’Clock in the evening,Saw a fire ashore .... and were so near the Shore as to distinguish several people upon the Sea beach​​​​​​​.

It would be stupid and fallacious to deny the great and wonderful things that have been done by Indigenous and settler Australians alike, but our duplicity and unconscionable conduct must also be challenged. 

Sexual and employment slavery is rampant in Australia, as is indentured labour — so-called "loans" given to people to get here and secure visas, and in which they are held for decades in human bondage. 

And while the war crimes conviction of "Captain Dragan" has occupied headlines in recent days, we rarely acknowledge the awful reality that after World War II, Australia knowingly allowed Nazi and other war criminals to settle in Australia, in effect granting them asylum. 

What does this say about us? And the fact that we no longer have a War Crimes Tribunal in Australia? This is intolerable — especially given the thousands of terrorist recruits/devotees and returnees from Australia and our surrounding regions — more dangerous than any volcano. 

We have grown too adept at doing the dirty work for the UK and USA, in particular, and too adept in getting into bed with corrupt multinationals and third parties.  

We have become adept in outsourcing our conscience and dirty work to other countries, including corrupt and criminal regimes; greasing their palms with the hard-earned taxes of Australian workers, averting our eyes to atrocities perpetrated upon even their own people.

We are daily betrayed by self-serving politicians, so much so that our contempt for them is almost palpable. They have squandered our trust, our monies. Not all, of course. But many. Other countries share such disaffection with their own politicians and leaders. 

Such an unstable global political environment incubates the destructive universal manifesto of hate and demonising of the "other". Ask the Jew, the Muslim, the Christian, the homosexual, the other.

This is why the presence of neo-Nazi ideology and white supremacy in Britain, the Bundestag or Bendigo and beyond, is inextricably linked. 

Hate will destroy us. Only love can redeem us. Unlike hate, love cannot be enforced but only freely given. 

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License

Monthly Donation


Single Donation


Expose racism. Subscribe to IA.

Recent articles by Tess Lawrence
#7 TOP STORY OF 2021: The night Porter and allegations of rape

The horrifying rape allegations against Christian Porter proved to one of the ...  
The night Porter and allegation of rape

Attorney-General Christian Porter deserves the backlash received from the public ...  
Trump impeachment: He's so bad they did it twice

The destruction of democracy in the Capitol on January 6, live-streamed by proud ...  
Join the conversation
comments powered by Disqus

Support IAIndependent Australia

Subscribe to IA and investigate Australia today.

Close Subscribe Donate