Extremists parade through Ballarat

"Chanting 'Australia for the white man' is a message of hate to anyone who is different in our society," Philip Zajac.

The National Socialist Network march in Ballarat on Sunday. Photo: X
The National Socialist Network march in Ballarat on Sunday. Photo: X

Jewish communal leaders have joined in a condemnation of a march through Ballarat by a group of neo-Nazis on Sunday.

As they marched through Sturt Street, a major thoroughfare, members of the National Socialist Network, clad in black clothes, balaclavas and hiding their faces, chanted, “Australia is for the white man,” and “Hail victory.”

The neo-Nazis stopped at Ballarat’s Eureka monument for pictures on the December 3 anniversary of the 1851 rebellion in the Victorian goldfields that resonates with ultra-nationalists.

Members of the Ballarat Community Alliance expressed their disgust at the march and questioned why Victoria’s new laws banning Nazi symbols and salutes weren’t enforced. “We are a safe and inclusive city and we unequivocally condemn their presence,” it stated.

The group emphasised the Eureka rebellion, which involved local Jewish citizens Charles Dyte and Henry Harris of the Ballarat Reform League, and John Joseph, of African-American origin, had nothing to do with far-right causes.

Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Alex Ryvchin said, “White nationalism remains a persistent and potentially violent threat to our community and to our society. They are intent on exploiting the division and hatred stoked by anti-Israel extremists and using this to advance their vision of race war and a collapse of societal order.”

Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) president Philip Zajac was adamant, “Chanting ‘Australia for the white man’ is a message of hate to anyone who is different in our society. It is a threat to our multicultural home, and should be of great concern to all Australians. There is no place for hate marches in Australian society. We must protect our inclusive, multicultural way of life, by preventing messages of hate and glorification of Nazism.”

Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubenstein said the march “where they occupied city streets to brazenly display their hateful ideology, was deeply disturbing, and has no place in our democratic multicultural community … If Victorian laws were broken, then those involved in the march should feel the full brunt of the legal system.”

Anti-Defamation Commission chair Dvir Abramovich said, “Imagine the grief a Holocaust survivor in Ballarat or their children would have felt, confronted with this outrage … I have been contacted by many people in the Jewish community rightly asking why Victoria Police is allowing these hate marches to take place.”

After the neo-Nazi march, federal Opposition Leader Peter Dutton repeated his call for a statement by national cabinet this week condemning antisemitism. At a media conference, Dutton said Prime Minister Anthony Albanese needs to “be strong and stand up”.

Caulfield MP and Deputy Liberal Leader David Southwick told The AJN, “The Allan Labor government needs to step up, introduce move-on laws and give Victoria Police the powers to arrest these thugs and make an example that this behaviour is not acceptable in Victoria.”

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