Dr James Saleam, Australia First and the Patriotic Youth League

“But Dr Saleam dismisses suggestions the party is in any way neo-Nazi.”

File Under: Failed Attempt At Political Rehabilitation

Name: James ‘Jim’ Saleam
Address: 725 Princes Hwy, Tempe, Sydney, NSW
Phone: (02) 9559 2070
Birth: September 18, 1955

James ‘Jim’ Saleam nailed his political colours to the mast very early on in his public life, while still a teenager joining the Australian National Socialist Party (ANSP) — to be confused with the National Socialist Party of Australia (NSPA) — in the late 1960s. Peter Henderson notes that: “David Harcourt [author: Everyone Wants To Be Fuhrer] accurately portrayed Smith’s National Socialist Party of Australia as a juvenile parade of misfits in uniform, playing soldiers.” And I don’t suppose the NSPA was much different to the ANSP…

Little’s changed since then for Saleam: he was a neo-Nazi then, and he’s a neo-Nazi now.

Saleam and National Action

After emerging from the wreckage of Australian neo-Nazism of the late ’60s to the mid ’70s, Saleam helped establish National Action. The article below provides a potted history of Saleam’s fascist activism:

NA’s origins can be traced to the Australian Party, formed in 1955. The Australian Party evolved into the pro-Nazi Australian Nationalist Party, which then mutated further to become the Australian National Socialist Party in 1963. Its first act was the desecration of a Sydney synagogue.

Members of the ANSP dressed in full Nazi regalia and made a habit of beating up anti-war and anti-apartheid demonstrators. They openly admired Adolf Hitler, stockpiled arms and ammunition and kept a “death list” of people they would kill if they took power.

It is suspected the ANSP was behind the April 20, 1972 (the anniversary of Hitler’s birth), bombing of the Brisbane office of the Communist Party of Australia.

The ANSP’s most notorious member was a tall, musclebound and shaven-headed stormtrooper by the name of Ross “the Skull” May. The Skull intimidated protesters in Sydney until the late ’70s. He was jailed for six months for bashing a journalist in 1972, and served other stints in jail for similar offences over the years.

May and another Nazi Party leader, Robert Cameron, eventually formed the National Front in the 1980s, an imitation of the British party of the same name (May’s activities these days [1999] are limited to being a fanatical follower of the St George Dragons rugby league team, to the acute embarrassment of dedicated supporters).

Another young ANSP member, Jim Saleam, was arrested in 1974 and found guilty of firebombing a left-wing Brisbane bookshop. After the collapse of the Nazi Party in the mid-’70s, Saleam moved to Sydney and enrolled at Sydney University. He soon fell out with May and Cameron.

In 1977, Saleam formed a group which proclaimed its commitment to the “permanent and unapologetic reintroduction of the White Australia Policy”. In 1978, the group announced: “The Australian National Alliance has the greatest pleasure in announcing to the enemies of Australian nationalism that their days are numbered”. Other former members of the Australian Party and the NSAP [?] joined.

National Action was officially launched on Anzac Day, 1982, the culmination of a number of fusions with tiny far-right and racist sects.

Under Saleam’s tutelage, NA replaced open identification with Hitlerite Nazism with an emphasis on home-grown anti-Asian racism and nationalism of early Australian labour movement figures like William Lane and Jack Lang, as well as poet Henry Lawson.

[David (I was a teenage fascist) Greason recalls some of the difficulties encountered by NA in propagating this ‘line’. One typical reaction (pp.282-283): ‘Bullshit’.]

NA hailed as “revolutionary” incidents such as the atrocities committed against Chinese diggers by white miners during the gold rushes of the 19th century. It adopted the flag of the 1854 Eureka Stockade rebels as its symbol.

In the 1983 campus year, NA launched a campaign against the presence of overseas students. Asian students and anti-racists were threatened by NA thugs late at night. NA violence increased when it launched a goon squad called the “Sons of Kokoda”.

In 1983-84, NA thugs: beat and hospitalised an anti-racist UNSW student leader; attacked the offices of Greenpeace and the Movement Against Uranium Mining, Community Aid Abroad, the Socialist Workers Party, Bob Gould’s Pitt St Bookshop, and the Maoist East Wind Bookshop; threw a brick through the window of the home of anti-apartheid activist Meredith Burgmann; and made threatening phone calls to members of the Southern African Support Committee after a mailing list was stolen. A firebomb was thrown through the bedroom window of an anti-apartheid movement leader John Brink.

Another escalation in racist violence occurred in 1987-1989: in Adelaide, the People’s Bookshop was firebombed and the New Era Bookshop and the Resistance Centre were attacked. In Sydney, 10 NA thugs wearing balaclavas disrupted and intimidated a Sydney meeting of the Gay and Lesbian Immigration Task Force.

The most serious act of violence occurred in January 1989, when the home of the Australian representative of the African National Congress, Eddie Funde, was shot at. Two NA members were arrested.

[Eddie Funde was the first Chief Representative of the ANC in Australia. He was given the task of setting up the mission. Funde arrived in Perth on 5 December 1983… In 1991 Ndumiso Ntshinga was appointed Deputy Chief Representative for a few months until Funde left Australia for South Africa.]

They testified that Saleam had supplied them with the shotgun. Saleam had also thoughtfully given them each some money to buy a drink to calm their jitters before the attack. Saleam was sentenced in May 1991 to three and half years’ jail.

[David (I was a teenage fascist) Greason again (pp.302-303): “The case that brought [NA] undone, however, came in January 1989, when Eddie Funde, Australian representative of the [ANC], had his front door shot through. Shotgun pellets were found near his child’s cradle. [NA] members Jason Frost and Michael White were arrested. They both implicated Saleam, telling the court that he had given them a balaclava, a shotgun and eight dollars each for a drink to steady their nerves. That had to be Jim, I thought on reading their story. Anyone else would have given them a fifty each.

Saleam claimed it was the political police again, trying to wreck the nationalist [sic] cause. The jury was not so persuaded and, in May 1991, Saleam was sentenced to three and a half years jail. This was his second time inside — in April 1989 he’d been sentenced to two years’ hard labour for fraud and receiving stolen property. ‘Ironically, Saleam received his sentence on the same day as the centenary of Hitler’s birth’, the Sydney Morning Herald noted.”]

On April 20, 1991, NA member Perry Whitehouse murdered another NA member, Wayne “Bovver” Smith, at the organisation’s inner-Sydney headquarters after an argument.

With the departure of Saleam and the collapse of its Sydney base, control of NA fell into the lap of Adelaide NA führer Michael Brander.

Source: ‘Neo-Nazi thugs offer their services to Hanson’, Norm Dixon, Green Left Weekly

Fast forward a few years to 1997. As fuhrer of NA, the racist Michael Brander decided to pull up stumps and re-locate his HQ from Adelaide to Melbourne, opening a shopfront/’bunker’ in January 1997 in Fawkner in Melbourne’s north. (Incidentally, this move was preceeded by a number of NA rallies in other Melbourne suburbs, including an infamous one in Brunswick in 1994: “During an anti-fascist demo in Brunswick, [NA] leader Michael Brander receives a direct hit to the mouth with an egg. Later that night the winning lob is replayed in slow motion on Channel 9 News as the ‘Goal of the Day’ and a ‘Hole in One'”! Source: the indispensable How To Make Trouble And Influence People (1996).) Fifteen months later, in April 1998, and following a concerted community campaign, the bunker was closed. Brander went on to receive an MA from LaTrobe University. His topic: ‘Alexander Solzhenitsyn and the Modern World’. Most recently, Brander took part in the Conference for Australian Post Graduates Working in Areas Related to European Studies on Friday, 17 June, 2005 at The University of Sydney.

Well, The University of Sydney is certainly a step-up from Brander’s previous surroundings!

Australia, Australia, Australia

The Australia First Party (AFP) is a minor political party in Australia. The party’s policies are in general nationalist and protectionist. It is described [by] some observers as a party of the extreme right, although the party itself denies this. The AFP is not a registered political party with the Australian Electoral Commission, has no parliamentary representation and has not contested a federal election since 1998. The party is currently attempting to be re-registered.

The Australia First Party was founded in June 1996 by Graeme Campbell, who was an Australian Labor Party member of the Australian House of Representatives for the seat of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, from 1980 until he was expelled from the party in November 1995. Campbell had become increasingly critical of the policies of the Labor government of Paul Keating, particularly in matters relating to economic deregulation, Aboriginal land rights and multiculturalism.

Campbell hoped to see the AFP became a serious political party, drawing on a current of populist opinion which rejected the policies of both the Labor Party and the opposition Liberal Party. But the AFP was overshadowed by the appearance in 1997 of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, a rival populist party led by a former Liberal MP, Pauline Hanson. Hanson monopolised media attention and [arguably!] prevented the AFP becoming a significant party.

At the October 1998 federal election, Campbell lost his seat, polling only 22 percent of the vote in a seat he had represented for 18 years. The AFP failed to win significant support, being heavily outvoted by One Nation. In June 2001, Campbell left the AFP in order to stand (unsuccessfully) as a One Nation senate candidate in Western Australia.

Following Campbell’s resignation, Diane Teasdale became the national president of the Australia First Party, but at the national level the party has been inactive since the 2001 election, which it did not contest.

In 2002, however, a new AFP branch was formed in Sydney. The party announced the formation of a new “nationalist youth oraganisation,” the Patriotic Youth League. This body’s website suggests that it is affliated to the British National Party, an far-right political party in the United Kingdom. The phraseology at the AFP website, such as “the politics of New World Order liberal-globalist-capitalism,” also suggests that the party has been revived by people of a more systematically extreme-right persuasion than was the case under Campbell’s leadership. The Secretary of the Sydney Branch is Dr. Jim Saleam, a stalwart of the Australian far right who is perhaps best known for organising a shotgun attack on the home of a political rival in the late 1980s.

The AFP website says that the party fielded candidates in the 2004 local council elections in Sydney, Newcastle and Coffs Harbour. But the real extent of the AFP’s organisation and membership is not known.

In November 2005, AFP president Diane Teasdale stood in the elections for the Shepparton [Council] Office and received 1367 votes, representing over 4% of the electorate.

On December 11, 2005 the Sydney AFP branch, along with the PYL, distributed pamphlets and stickers at the Sydney beach side suburb of Cronulla where an estimated 5000 people had gathered to protest against alleged harrassment by Lebanese gangs. SBS World News on December 13, 2005 reported that Sydney AFP Secretary Jim Salaem had organised around 150 members and sympathisers to attend the rally.

Enter the Patriotic Youth League: Australian Nationalism Boldly Ventures Back to the Nineteenth Century

I first encountered the Psychotic Youth League in the form of a racist sticker a year or two ago at LaTrobe University (Bundoora campus). A cheap and nasty sticker from a cheap and nasty group:

The Patriotic Youth League (PYL) is a White Nationalist youth organization in Australia whose members describe themselves as ‘radical nationalists’. They are described as Neo-Nazi by broad sections of the community and the media, a tag which they repudiate.

The PYL was founded in late 2002 by its current president, Stuart McBeth, a student at the University of Newcastle who was previously involved with the One Nation Party. It acts as the youth wing of the Australia First Party, under the mentorship of former National Socialist Party of Australia member and National Action leader Dr. James Saleam (generally known as Jim). Dr. Saleam is perhaps best known for the shotgun attack which he ordered on the home of African National Congress representative Eddie Funde in the late 1980s. He has also served time for arson and fraud.

The PYL has numerous links to international White Supremacist groups, including the New Zealand National Front and Volksfront. Andrew Wilson, then the president of the PYL’s Sydney branch, told the Herald that McBeth had founded the Australian branch of the Volksfront. Many PYL members also use the white supremacist Stormfront message board.

Prior to their main website going offline, the PYL advertised openly neo-nazi bands, saying “soon the Newcastle foreshore will be packed with lowered utes with chrome rims and awesome stereos pumping out Fortress.”

[From a neo-Nazi website: “Australia’s Fortress is one of the greatest skinhead Rock Against Communism bands in history! This live cd captures all of the energy and power of Fortress and is one of the best concert albums, comparable to the infamous “Live At Waterloo” Skrewdriver cd. If you are a Fortress fan, you will definitely want to add this to your collection immediately: Another Nail In The Coffin – Here Comes The Thunder – Hail Rock ‘n’ Roll – Victory Or Valhalla – The Warrior – I Hate Commie Scum – Loss Of Identity – Hail The New Dawn (Skrewdriver) – On The Horizon – Ace Of Spades (Motorhead) – We’re Still Alive – I Hate Commie Scum (Encore) – Hail Rock ‘n’ Roll (Encore) – Johnny Joined The Klan and For Faith And For Folk.” Another site gives the same contact details for Fortress as the neo-Nazi Southern Cross Hammerksins. Turn It Down has the right (not ‘white’) idea: “Youth culture has been attacked by organized white supremacists. By using music to recruit a new generation of haters, the white power music industry must be stopped.”]

The PYL is believed to have branches in Sydney, Newcastle, Canberra, Melbourne, and the Central Coast.

The image of the Eureka Flag is used as a logo by the League. This is ironic as the first person to be prosecuted for the Eureka Stockade (where the flag orginated) was an African American from New York.

Alleged Links to Violence

The PYL has been linked by the Sydney Morning Herald to racially motivated attacks at the University of Newcastle.

In December 2005, there were a series [?] of race riots in Sydney. Neo-Nazis were accused of participating in and deliberately inflaming the situation. MSN reported that “one woman was pictured among the angry crowd holding a poster… which advertised a group known as the Patriotic Youth League.

If at first you don’t succeed, lose, lose and lose again…

For many years, Saleam has struggled to distance himself from his past and to recast Australian fascism as simple, unadulterated ‘patriotism’. In fact, the bulk of Saleam’s political activity is dedicated to just this mission: giving fascism a respectable face. Unfortunately for Saleam, his long history of involvement with neo-Nazi groups and individuals, criminal record in its cause, and total failure to repudiate racism and fascism, makes this a very difficult — in reality, impossible — task. Nevertheless, Saleam tries. Below is a list of his complaints to the Australian Press Council. All of which, needless to say, he lost. Indeed, one of the most appalling aspects of Huxley’s article featuring Saleam is its failure to acknowledge that just a few days prior to its appearance, the APC dismissed a complaint brought by Dr James Saleam against The Australian for its description of the complainant as a ‘prominent neo-Nazi’ in two articles published by the paper!

Case One:

Mr James Saleam for himself and on behalf of National Action complains to the Australian Press Council concerning three articles which appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on 18 November, 1988: “Masked hate bears a fiery necklace” on page 1, and “Thugs use terror to back apartheid” and “Hairdresser is a target of hate” on page 20. The article on page 1 draws the reader’s attention to the two articles on page 20.

All articles report violence or threats of violence on racist grounds… The complaint is dismissed.

Adjudication No. 401 (April 1989)

Case Two:

The Australian Press Council has dismissed complaints arising from the publication of a feature article by the (then) Daily Telegraph Mirror titled “LOOSE cannons” on 11 November, 1995.

In the immediate aftermath of the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and a public speech of the dangers posed by “right wing militia groups” by the Deputy Director General of ASIO, the feature article examined “political extremism and religious fanaticism”, with a focus on the 2000 Olympics.

It canvassed the views of journalists, police and some of the self-professed extremists, with an emphasis in illustration and text on one David J Palmer, of the National Socialist Defence of Australian Peoples, depicted in military-style uniform upon which swastikas were prominent.

Left: David J Palmer, Fuhrer of the Australian National Socialist Defence of Aryan People Movement (NSDAP), Imperial Wizard of the Invisible Australian Empire of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, qualified chef de cuisine. Photo kindly but inadvertantly made publically available by Ben ‘Getaway Driver’ Weerheym. (December 18, 2005)

Mentioned in passing was the complainant James Saleam for the fact that, when chairman of Australian National Action Group, he was sentenced to three and a half years jail in 1991 for organising a shotgun attack on the home of Eddie Funde, Australian representative of the African National Congress.


Mr Saleam states that he regards this a libel upon him and complains about the article on nine detailed points. His central complaint is that the article gives undue prominence to Mr Palmer’s views as representative of the extreme right, and the very prominent photograph of Mr Palmer tends to identify others mentioned in the article with “Nazi doctrine or similar doctrine”.


The article was not about Mr Saleam; he was mentioned only briefly and was not credited with the views of anyone else mentioned. He disputes the view of the right wing organisations and people identified in the article and is entitled to do so. He submitted a letter to the editor for publication which the newspaper declined to publish due to its length…

Adjudication No. 853 (May 1996)

Case Three:

The Australian Press Council has dismissed a complaint against The Sydney Morning Herald by James Saleam about a report on a campaign that stirred-up racial discontent over Afghan refugees working in Young, NSW.

Dr Saleam was referred to in the article as being a member of the Australia First Party, which had distributed a pamphlet about the refugees. It also said that he was a former head of an extremist political group, National Action. It recorded as background that he had been convicted of firearm offences, and was “caught up in – though never charged” over the murder in 1991 of a National Action member.

Adjudication No. 1177 (September 2002)

Case Four:

The Australian Press Council has dismissed a complaint by Dr James Saleam against New Idea concerning a “Special Report” by Debi Marshall in its 23 March edition.

The report referred to the activities of David Palmer, described as head of the National Socialist Defenders Aryan People and as “Wizard” of an Australian chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, and his use of the Internet to recruit people to his organisations.

Adjudication No. 1183 (November 2002)

Case Five:

The Press Council has dismissed a complaint brought by Dr James Saleam against The Australian for its description of the complainant as a ‘prominent neo-Nazi’ in two articles published by the paper. The complainant felt he had been unfairly labelled by the newspaper.

Adjudication No. 1303 (December 2005)

In 1984, Saleam also managed to lose an election. Badly.

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2024 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
This entry was posted in Anti-fascism, History. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Dr James Saleam, Australia First and the Patriotic Youth League

  1. Anonymous says:

    The Saleam Character is a scary sickening twisted little man.
    What makes him even more disgusting is that he always gets his gull[i]ble little followers to do his dirty work and take the [rap] for him.
    He did it with the pathetic drunks of National Action, and now he is doing it with the gull[i]ble young idiots that make up the Patriotic Youth League.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I agree, dont those kids from the PYL realise how they are going to end up?
    One only has to look at what happens to old neo nazis.. (thats if they live to be old).. Jail sentence after jail sentence they just end up being bitter wrecks of old men.

  3. Anonymous says:

    i remember getting my house graffitied by the NA in the 80s. Saleam is a nutter indeed!

Comments are closed.