|Predecessor||United Patriots Front|
Australian Defence League
|Type||White nationalist organisation|
|Affiliations||United Patriots Front, Antipodean Resistance, Soldiers of Odin, Fraser Anning's Conservative National Party, True Blue Crew, Reclaim Australia,|
|United Patriots Front|
|Split from Reclaim Australia|
|Part of a series on|
|Far-right politics |
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. 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. 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. 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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.