An Australian group using the name of a resistance organisation established in Nazi Germany has raised eyebrows after it appeared to minimise a rising tide of antisemitism as neo-Nazi march through a regional Victorian town at the weekend.
As neo-Nazi's chanted antisemitic slurs as they marched through Ballarat, the Australian branch of the White Rose Society took to social media to condemn hatred against a swathe of social groups – but failed to mention Jewish people – the very group the neo-Nazi's were targeting with their action.
"Australia for the White Man" is a threat against every non-white Australian as well as many white Australians (the Rainbow Community, disabled people, anti-fascists and leftists, people in "mixed-race" relationships etc.)," the Society posted on X, formerly Twitter.
The Australian group, which has appropriated the name of the White Rose Society – an organisation originally founded in 1942 to stand against the persecution and mass murder of Jews – has been highly critical of Israel following the October 7 terrorist attack by Hamas, using its platform to signal boost radical Islamist accounts and repeat Hamas talking points.
Ballarat residents expressed shock and outrage as a neo-Nazi demonstration by the National Socialist Network unfolded on Sturt Street in the city's center.
The masked group, chanting 'Australia for the white man,' marched led by an unmasked figure and a megaphone-holder, while shouting 'Heil victory.'
The same group were recently spotted throwing banned Nazi salutes and carrying a banner reading 'Expose Jewish Power' at Flinders Street train station in Melbourne.
Victoria Police confirmed their presence at the unplanned event, assuring there were no major incidents. The police spokesperson stated:
"Our top priority was keeping the peace to ensure the event did not impact the safety of the broader community. Everyone has the right to feel safe in our community regardless of who they are."
The Ballarat Community Alliance swiftly condemned the neo-Nazi presence, asserting, "Neo-Nazis are not welcome," and emphasised the city's multicultural identity. They questioned the lack of enforcement of laws prohibiting Nazi symbols and gestures, claiming police aided the protesters.
Witnesses expressed disbelief, suggesting the demonstration might have been timed to coincide with the Spilt Milk music festival. Critics questioned why police didn't intervene when the group disrupted traffic, contrasting it with the handling of other protests.