By Sean Lennon
MELBOURNE — One of the groups supporting Pauline Hanson is the neo-Nazi white supremacist organisation National Action (NA). Since its foundation in 1982, it has become notorious for its blatant racism directed mostly, though not exclusively, at people of Asian origin.
While most of this racism has been expressed through propaganda such as anti-Asian stickers and posters, there are well-documented cases of physical assaults by NA members. These include a rampage in Adelaide's Rundle Street Mall just before Easter 1994 and the assault on a Maori in Melbourne last year for which two NA members have been jailed.
Perhaps the most notorious case was the 1989 shotgun attack on the house of Eddie Funde, the Australian representative of the African National Congress. This attack earned NA leader Jim Saleam a three and a half year jail term.
With his jailing the organisation was taken over by Michael Brander, operating from Adelaide. Under his leadership National Action has held rallies in Adelaide and Melbourne, including one on March 12, 1994, which was chased out of the multicultural inner suburb of Brunswick by a 600-strong counter-demonstration.
Despite this more public face, the shadowy violence has continued. This has included throwing rocks through the window of someone who signed an anti-Nazi petition, scrawling graffiti on the car of a member of the International Socialist Organisation and an assault at a 1995 Parliament House rally for which Brander was charged and convicted late last year.
One of the worst incidents involved members of NA throwing rocks at people they spotted trying to remove racist graffiti in Richmond/Collingwood in early 1995.
Since late last year NA has openly supported Pauline Hanson. Media reports on the opening of NA's Fawkner bookshop featured Brander proudly displaying Pauline Hanson T-shirts.
The shop has stickers saying things like "Sink them. Deport Boat People Now." There are allegations that NA members have intimidated local people from non-English speaking backgrounds to the point where Muslim students have had to find another route to the local high school.
After Campaign Against the Nazis began its campaign against the NA bookshop, there was a spate of attacks on anti-racist activists and left organisations.
The Melbourne offices of the Democratic Socialist Party and the Barricade anarchist bookshop in Brunswick were spray-painted with racist slogans and swastikas, the window of community radio station 3CR was smashed, and an African restaurant in Fitzroy was vandalised. An arson attack was made on a house occupied by a group of anarchists (who were in the house at the time).
Several members of NA allegedly assaulted two members of Campaign Against the Nazis distributing publicity for the second rally against the bookshop. Leaflets distributed by NA in Fawkner display homophobia and sexism as well as lies: they referred to their opponents as "lesbians and drug dealers", claimed that DSP members distributed sex information outside primary schools, and accused two leading members of the ISO of involvement in an armed robbery.