By MADELINE GOURLAY
Neo-Nazi material has repeatedly appeared on Victorian University campuses in the past year despite 24-hour campus security surveillance.
Hundreds of Neo-Nazi recruitment stickers were placed around Monash University Clayton campus, RMIT Bundoora and Melbourne campuses on their open days.
Swinburne University Hawthorn was also targeted, but campus security identified and approached the perpetrators on campus.
Monash University, The University of Melbourne, RMIT, La Trobe, Swinburne and Victoria University have 24/7 security patrols, CCTV and emergency call operators.
Swinburne University spokesman Nick Adams said people were seen putting up posters and stickers before its open day.
“Swinburne security cameras identified three people with their faces obscured vandalising property with offensive material at the Swinburne Hawthorn campus," he said. "When approached by security, the perpetrators fled the scene.”
All material was removed and the police were contacted, Mr Adams said. Swinburne now seeks out offensive material before key events on campus.
“Prior to Swinburne’s Pride Day in October this year, plainclothes Swinburne security officers patrolled campus on the look-out for potentially disruptive vandals and offensive materials. None were detected,” Mr Adams said.
RMIT University and the University of Melbourne were asked how Antipodean Resistance was able to evade campus security the night before their open days.
RMIT spokesperson Amelia Harris said: “The material was removed quickly and we considered this the end of the matter.”
University of Melbourne spokesperson Paul Bird said: “The University of Melbourne aims to respond in a proactive manner when offensive materials – either stickers or flyers – are found on campus.”
Monash University did not respond to requests for comment.
Badly written Mandarin posters appeared around Monash University’s Clayton campus and The University of Melbourne July last year. One translation of the Mandarin poster is: “Attention! This is a place that prohibits Chinese people to enter. Any offence is subject to prosecution or possible deportation.”
Monash Chinese Student Union president in 2017 Andy Zhang said some students felt frightened by Antipodean Resistance’s anti-Chinese posters, but most were angry.
“We are here to study, not to be frightened about our safety because of our identity or nationality,” Mr Zhang said.
Twenty-three posters were found and removed, according to Monash Security.
Andy Fleming, author of the blog Slack Bastard which monitors the activities of Australian neo-Nazi members, says universities could not be expected to do more than they already did.
“When such material is brought to [the university’s] attention, it’s removed, and public assurances made that universities welcome members of groups (gays, Jews et al) [that] Antipodean Resistance would prefer to see dead.”
“Of course, given that Antipodean Resistance targets universities on open days and the like, it would presumably be possible for university authorities to proactively seek out such material on or about those dates,” Mr Fleming said.
The August stickers were a successful recruitment tactic, according to the Antipodean Resistance website. Their August Action report said there was “more chatter amongst students” resulting in new recruits contacting them “to join the fight”.
Antipodean Resistance is an anonymous neo-Nazi youth group formed in 2016 in Melbourne. It has since expanded throughout Australia.
The group's origins are in several far-Right organisations in Australia including True Blue Crew, Reclaim Australia, the now defunct United Patriots Front and the now defunct online forum Iron March, according to the Slack Bastard investigations. Current and ex-members of these groups have been identified as Antipodean Resistance and the Lad’s Society members by The White Rose Society and Slack Bastard.
The Lad’s Society formed in 2017 and publicly recruits those “feeling disheartened by the seemingly degrading state of our country”, according to their website. Members attend weekly fight nights and White Nationalist books are provided at their library.
Antipodean Resistance have connections with international Neo-Nazi groups, including the banned UK terrorist group National Action, as well as eastern European group Skydas, US group Atomwaffen Division, Sonnenkrieg Division and Nordic Resistance movement. An ASIO investigation, reported to Parliament, was conducted because of these links to international terrorist groups.
Antipodean Resistance, or “The Hitlers you’ve been waiting for”, as they describe themselves, state they see Australia as “terminally ill.”
The group’s August Action report invites young people to join: “For all the disenfranchised, rebellious young men and women, if you feel like sticking it to this awful state that is systematically destroying your future, get in contact with us so you can help to make a change and fight for your future.”
There has been a general increase of prejudice-motivated crimes (previously known as hate crimes) in Victoria since the last publicly available data from 2010. Between 2010 and 2016, prejudice-motivated crimes have increased by more than 500 per cent.
Victoria Police declined to comment.
Mr Fleming said an increase of such crimes made sense in relation to broader societal shifts.
"Groups are increasingly identified as posing some kind of threat to others, even civilisation itself, it makes sense that some might be further impelled to act out their hateful fantasies of ridding Australia of such groups,” he said.