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Lads Society

Lads Society
Lads Society Logo.jpg
PredecessorUnited Patriots Front
Australian Defence League
Reclaim Australia
Formation2017; 2 years ago (2017)
FounderThomas Sewell
TypeWhite nationalist organisation
PurposeNeo-Nazism,White nationalism
Location
  • 9/158 Chesterville Road, Cheltenham, Victoria, 3192 and 34 Thomas St, Ashfield, New South Wales, 2131
Chairman
Thomas Sewell
AffiliationsUnited Patriots Front, Antipodean Resistance, Soldiers of Odin, Fraser Anning's Conservative National Party, True Blue Crew, Reclaim Australia,
Website[www.ladssociety.com]
Formerly called
United Patriots Front
Split from Reclaim Australia

The Lads Society is an far-right white nationalist extremist group founded by several former members of the United Patriots Front (UPF) in late 2017, with club houses in Sydney and Melbourne.[1] The Lads Society came to national prominence after it staged a rally in St Kilda, Victoria, targeting the local African Australian community. Attendees were seen making the Nazi salute and one was photographed brandishing an SS helmet.[1] In 2017, the group's leader Thomas Sewell approached the perpetrator of the Christchurch mosque shootings, Brenton Harrison Tarrant, asking him to join the Lads Society, but Tarrant refused.[2] The group's members and allies attempted to infiltrate the Young Nationals in NSW, and engaged in branch stacking at the May 2018 conference. Lads Society members attained leadership positions in the Young Nationals, but were later forced out of the party.[3]

History

Ashfield Community Action group Antifascist poster protesting the presence of Lads Society in Ashfield

In 2017, members of the United Patriots Front, Blair Cottrell, Neil Erikson, Chris Shortis and former UPF lieutenant Thomas Sewell, along with Nathaniel Anderson and Jacob Hersant, members of the neo-Nazi Antipodean Resistance, were involved in the creation of the Lads Society, a private far-right men-only club, with a base in Melbourne.

A Sydney club followed in April 2018, while there were plans to expand into other states. The clubs include a boxing gym where weekly “fight nights” take place and a library.[4][5]

In 2018, a local Sydney community group called Ashfield Community Action (ACA) formed to oppose the Lads Society. The group distributed posters which aimed to warn the suburb's residents about the group, stating that “The Sydney Branch is known to be led by committed Nazis”, and that the organisation “has attracted the interest of hundreds of hard line far-right racists from around Australia". It accused the group of “training white men for racist violence” and called for it to be "shut down as soon as possible”.[4]

Lads Society members provided a security detail for far-right white nationalist Lauren Southern during her 2018 Australian tour. Photo's from the event show members displaying the white power symbol hand sign gang signal.[4]

In early January 2019, Erikson and Cottrell promised to unleash a Cronulla-style race riot on Melbourne. During the rally a significant number of participants were documented giving Nazi salutes.[6][7][8]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Campion, Kristy (April 2019). "A "Lunatic Fringe"? The Persistence of Right Wing Extremism in Australia". Perspectives on Terrorism. 13 (2): 12–13. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  2. ^ Begley, Patrick. "Threats from white extremist group that 'tried to recruit Tarrant'". The Sydney Morning Herald. Nine. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  3. ^ Koziol, Michael. "Nationals members resign en masse amid investigation into neo-Nazi ties". Sydney Morning Herald. Nine. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Graham, Ben (30 November 2018). "Secret location of Aussie underground fight club leaks". News.com. New.com. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  5. ^ Puddy, Rebecca. "Far right nationalists open private men-only clubs in Melbourne and Sydney". ABC News. ABC. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  6. ^ The new extremist threat in Australia: Right-wing groups who have ASIO’s attention
  7. ^ "Opposing race protesters and police converge on St Kilda foreshore". The Age. 5 January 2019. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  8. ^ Wroe, David. "Fake facts and normalising extremists: why it was right to jump all over Fraser Anning". The Sydney Morning Herald. Nine. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  9. ^ "Romper Stomper reboot is a compelling investigation into Australia's extremist politics". ABC News. 30 December 2017. Retrieved 14 January 2018.

Further reading