A march and rally supporting a ‘No’ vote in The Voice referendum was held in Melbourne CBD yesterday, one of several that took place in cities across the country. The Melbourne event, the latest in a series titled a ‘World Wide Rally for Freedom’, coincided with similar rallies around Australia organised and promoted by Australia’s No.1 Putin fanboy Simeon Boikov. Sadly, Mr Boikov was unable to attend any rallies as he’s bravely tucked himself away in the Russian consulate in Sydney in order to avoid an arrest warrant (issued after he allegedly assaulted an elderly Ukrainian late last year).
According to the ABC, about 1,000 people gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park, hundreds in Melbourne, and smaller crowds in Brisbane, Adelaide and several regional towns. For reasons best known to itself, in its coverage of the event in Hyde Park — which starred ‘John Ruddick MLC and former MP Ross Cameron, One Nation’s Tania Mihailuk MLC and former United Australia Party MP Craig Kelly’ — SBS News elected to provide an opportunity for neo-Nazi activist Joel Davis (of ‘The Joel Davis & Blair Cottrell Show’) to complain about “the Aboriginal industry”:
For those of you coming in late:
On Saturday, 14 October 2023, Australians will have their say in a referendum about whether to change the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing a body called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
Voters will be asked to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on a single question. The question on the ballot paper will be:
“A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
Do you approve this proposed alteration?”
The campaign against the vote has unleashed a torrent of lies and propaganda, naturally, as well as provided some Very Fine People an opportunity to resurrect some hoary old chestnuts like The Communist Plot to Erode Australia’s Sovereignty; or: How Australian white supremacists used a 40-year-old documentary to divide voters on the Voice (Kevin Nguyen and Michael Workman, ABC, September 23, 2023):
The ABC has analysed dozens of Telegram channels and Facebook groups showing mentions of Red Over Black — created by former Communist Party member turned right-wing activist Geoff McDonald — dating back to August last year.
During the first re-shares of his documentary, there was no mention of the Voice to Parliament.
But then on January 30, the anti-Semitic website XYZ — founded by white supremacist David Hiscox — linked McDonald’s work to the proposed Voice and described it as “communism by the back door”.
Two days later, a new telegram channel, Aboriginal Voice Exposed (AVE) was created. It would go on to become one of the most shared anti-Indigenous and anti-Voice to Parliament spaces on Telegram.
Hiscox — a UniMelb graduate, children’s music teach and relative veteran of the AltRight — announced his retirement from publishing antisemitic and neo-Nazi propaganda just last month, so he must be pleased that his vituperations in January continue to have their desired effect. As it happens, David’s kameraden in the National Socialist Network made an appearance at the Melbourne rally holding a banner reading ‘Voice = Anti White’.
The nazi contingent at the march and rally was small — about two dozen or so — and heavily outnumbered by those joining the ‘mainstream’ participants, organised by way of various superannuated influencers thrown up by the anti-lockdown movement of 2020–2021, including Harrison McLean. In 2021, McLean was using the handle ‘Dominic D’ to shitpoast, and a Guardian investigation revealed:
… Dominic’s engagement with a number of far-right groups online, including one used by the far-right Proud Boys group to vet new members and another made up of white supremacists including neo-Nazi Tom Sewell, who last month was charged after an alleged assault of a Channel Nine security guard.
Dominic D’s real name is Harrison McLean, a 24-year-old IT programmer, “blockchain architect” and former competitive cheerleader from Wantirna South in Melbourne’s outer suburbs.
Using his pseudonym, he has outlined plans to introduce his “freedom” group to more radical political views, while expressing deeply antisemitic opinions.
Antisemitism permeates right-wing opposition to The Voice, as it did the anti-vAxx movement (from which it draws much support). Another prominent ‘Voice At the Rally’ against ‘The Voice to Parliament’ was Darren ‘No Political Solution’ Bergwerf:
In the days before 7.30 attended his market, Mr Bergwerf shared anti-Semitic conspiracy theories to a My Place social media channel. When quizzed about its contents, he condemned last month’s demonstration by neo-Nazis in Melbourne but said he believed there was a question mark over the Holocaust in part because “I wasn’t there”.
See : The new frontline for conspiracy theorists: how Victorian councils were driven online to avoid chaos The Guardian, July 8, 2023 and for ongoing discussion of the anti-lockdown/freedumb movement hear Tinfoil Tales podcats.
As for the neo-Nazis, Rohan Smith (Neo-Nazis gathered in Melbourne for ‘No’ rally against Voice to Parliament, news dot com dot au, September 23, 2023) writes that ‘Days after neo-Nazis clashed violently with anti-fascists in the Melbourne suburb of Thornbury, they were out again — this time in a disturbing show of support for the No campaign against the Voice to Parliament’ and notes that the boys wore ‘black masks to cover their faces and were heckled by members of the public and, on one occasion, pepper-sprayed by police’ as they were forced from the steps of Parliament: a position they’d previously occupied in May and March.
The NSN has been having a number of brushes with the law this year. In Adelaide in June, ‘Duncan Robert Cromb, 38, and Jackson Trevor Pay, 23, pleaded guilty to possessing documents and records of information for terrorist acts’ and received prison sentences in return. Last month, NSN fuehrer Tom Sewell and his sidekick Jacob Hersant (previously of defunct neo-Nazi grouplet Antipodean Resistance) pleaded guilty to a charge of violent disorder and are due back in court this week for sentencing. Also last month, another NSN loser was charged with making violent threats against senator Lidia Thorpe.
The NSN can, however, rely on the Christian nationalist crowdfunding site Give Send Go for financial support, having raised over $50,000 to date via that Goodly Christian site. Posing as both ‘Christian’ and ‘conservative’, Give Send Go was the gold sponsor of Warren Mundine’s Conservative Political Action Conference, the site of many bizarre claims about Indigenous peoples in general and The Voice in particular.
See also : Media holds power to end neo-Nazi threat, Tom Tanuki, Independent Australia, September 23, 2023.
You won’t take my sunshine away
Finally, also on Saturday but this time in Melbourne’s west, the Campaign Against Racism and Fascism organised a rally and march to protest the National Socialist Network’s gym and organising base in Sunshine West. It’s estimated that around 500 attended, a similar number to a previous event in July. The protest follows closely upon the failure of the NSN to disrupt an anti-fascist benefit gig at Cafe Gummo in Thornbury on Friday, September 15. Another night of Anti-fascist Oi organised by SHARPs will take place in November, so keep an eye open and an ear out if that’s your thing.