Background Briefing has today published the results of an investigation into neo-Nazi infiltration of the Young Nationals in New South Wales.
Earlier this year The Australian and The Land newspapers reported that a “former” alt-right figure, Clifford Jennings, had been elected to the Young Nationals state executive at their May 2018 conference in Lismore.
The Land reported that Jennings and “an alleged alt-right bloc attempting to hijack proceedings” and that:
A motion calling for strict controls on migrants who were not from ‘culturally appropriate nations’ was narrowly defeated after a 90-minute debate.
Responding to media inquiries back in May, Jennings claimed he had long since abandoned any connection with the alt-right and denied that he had any “sympathies towards white nationalism or the alt-right movement”.
The Background Briefing report details how a group of up to 25 people with links to the far-right joined the Young Nationals in New South Wales just in time for this years conference. Despite their denials, it is clear that Clifford Jennings and others involved in the group have fascist politics and that they joined the Young Nationals with the explicit aim of capturing that organisation for the far-right.
This information has come to light as the result of an ongoing project by research group, the White Rose Society. White Rose researchers have gained access to a range of Facebook groups used by the far-right.
Clifford Jennings and other NSW Young Nationals infiltrators were members of a closed Facebook group called The New Guard. Facebook records reveal the group was created on 25 February 2017 and that it was originally titled “Fash Queensland”. The about section describes the group’s politics:
“Our Cause started with an Australian fascist group – the original new guard… We are the soil in which the movement will grow. Our Objectives are to enable nationalists to begin businesses, acquire funds,
learn skills… Nationalists, fascists, national socialists, libertarians, Christians, pagans, agnostics, atheists and truth seekers are welcome in this place.”
The group’s administrator signed posts as “The Aussie Fascist”.
In this group, Jennings and others discussed far-right politics, made plans, and recruited young people drawn to fascist politics online to undertake action in the “real world”. To the media, Jennings has claimed that he has long since ended his association with the far-right.
But in January 2017 on a closed Facebook group Jennings wrote:
“I view fascism as being in the interests of my blood, it’s probably better to just call me a nationalist, all I care about is the fourteen words”.
Jennings’ posts are littered with references to coded neo-Nazi slogans.
The Young Nationals infiltrators have since moved from organising online. The group has links to both the Lads Society and neo-Nazi outfit Antipodean Resistance. Background Briefing journalist Alex Mann staked out the Lads Society HQ in Sydney and confirms in his report that multiple members of the far-right plot attend its Friday fight nights.
The Background Briefing report indicates that The Nationals are taking fascist infiltration of their party seriously, and that a number of individuals with revealed links to far-right politics have been sent ‘show cause’ notices which could result in the termination of their memberships. Jennings is yet to be expelled from the party.
Background Briefing will air on Radio National this Sunday, you can click through to listen to their story here. A transcript is not yet available.
Extensive screenshots, photos and other documents, along with profiles of five more far-right activists involved in the Young Nationals infiltration have been posted online by the White Rose Society today.
The far-right infiltrators mentioned in the Radio National piece are Clifford Jennings, Thomas Brasher, Oscar Tuckfield, Nicholas Walker and Michael Heeney. The White Rose Society has also compiled profiles on Stuart Churchill, Lisa Sandford, and Justin Beulah.
The far-right in Australia are active, organising, and seeking inroads into mainstream politics. The likes of Fraser Anning, Pauline Hanson and Clive Palmer are making various barely concealed appeals to this constituency. The Young Nationals infiltrators are just one far-right group who have moved from closed Facebook groups to “real world” politics, theirs is unlikely to be the last attempt.