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Skins Australia


“Romper Stomper,” an Australian motion picture that depicts savage
violence by Skinhead toughs, has brought worldwide attention to
Australia’s Skinheads. Although the story on which the film is based
is imaginary, there are indeed racist Skins Down Under and some of
them actually liked the film. One such Skinhead has been quoted
thus: “Up to a point it’s against Skinheads … but it’s good
publicity for our cause. With unemployment like it is, they’re
asking for trouble letting all these Asians into the country.”

According to the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Skinhead
numbers have fluctuated over the past decade from a relative few to
300 to 400. There are Skinheads in most state capitols, some
affiliated with such neo-Nazi groups as the Australian Nationalist
Movement, Australian National Action, and the Australian National
Socialist Movement. Both the Australian Nationalist Movement and
Australian National Action succeeded in recruiting Skinheads in 1993
and 1994. As many as one-third to one-half of the participants in
National Action rallies have been Skins.

White Australian Resistance

Two new racist Skinhead groups have made their appearance of late.
One, a Sydney group calling itself Southern Cross Hammer Skinheads,
has adopted the motto: “We must secure the existence of our people
and a future for white children.” (This expression, common among
far-right activists in the United States, is known as “the 14
words,” and was originally coined by David Lane, an American
neo-Nazi terrorist serving a long prsion term. It is noteworthy that
the expression is now being used by an Australian Skinhead group
which has also borrowed from its American cousins the term “Hammer
Skinheads.”) The other Skinhead gang, White Australian Resistance
WAR), located in Melbourne, apparently adapted its name from the
California-based White Aryan Resistance (WAR). The head of the
latter group, Tom Metzger, has boasted on his telephone hotline
about the formation of the Australian organization.[1]

Aussie Skinheads have a record of violence similar to that of their
counterparts the world over. From 1987 to 1989, National Action
members in Sydney – some of them Skinheads – actively harrassed
anti-apartheid activists and members of homosexual organizations. On
January 27, 1989, two National Action Skins fired bullets into the
residence of the Sydney-based representative of the African National

In 1990, Special Branch detectives in Sydney concluded that
Australian National Action had been encouraging Skinheads to mount
“a campaign of terror” to distract attention from the Action group’s
own violent activities. The annual report of Australia’s Security
Intelligence Organization, released in May 1990, indicated that
extreme right-wing groups had shown “a clear potential to cause
distress to sections of the Australian community, and perhaps
threaten life.”

More recently, there have been further reports of sporatic Skinhead
harassment of Asians and Jews. In Brisbane in May 1993, Skinheads of
the Australian National Socialist Movement plastered the synagogue
of the Brisbane Hebrew Congregation with posters and graffiti. In
February 1994, four Skinhead females, chanting “Romper Stomper,”
attacked four Asian girls with a knife and table-leg clubs at a
Melbourne railway station. Train passengers were also reportedly

On March 26, 1994, some 20 neo-Nazi Skins in full regalia
goose-stepped single file into a mall in downtown Adelaide shouting,
“Seig Heil” and “Heil Hitler.” Their march soon turned into a
rampage, resulting in at least 15 injuries and four Skinhead
arrests. A passer-by said “It was like a neo-Nazi riot in Europe you
see on TV.”
“Asian Invasion”

Several weeks later, Adelaide, still reeling from the Skinhead riot,
was the scene of Australia’s biggest neo-Nazi demonstration in
several decades. The rally, sponsored by Australian National Action,
included many Skinheads, along with bikers and other neo-Nazis. The
80 to 100 demonstrators gathered to denounce proposed anti-racist
legislation. A nearby crowd of opponents hooted down National Action
leader Michael Brander, as he railed against “the Asian invasion”
and the “threat of Australia losing its identity to the Asian
capitalists.” Another National Action street demonstration, in an
Adelaide suburb in December 1994, featured anti-Asian and other
bigoted chants.

Australia’s bloodiest Skinhead violence of the 1990’s has pitted
neo-Nazi Skins against each other (a common occurrence in other
countries as well). In 1991, Skinhead Colin Irvine, whose bedroom
was adorned with swastika flags and pictures of Hitler, allegedly
murdered a fellow Skinhead, before being shot dead by police. On
April 21, 1990, a National Action member in Sydney murdered a fellow
Skinhead at a Hitler’s birthday party. The victim, David Noble, of
Adelaide, was killed by Skinhead Dave Sweetman, with the aid of
fellow neo-Nazis Martin Bayston and Sean Shilling. During Sweetman’s
trial he shouted at journalists, “You Zionist maggots are going to
get what you deserve. Sieg Heil!” Sweetman was convicted and is
presently serving 20 years in Pentridge prison.

There is a limited Skinhead music scene in Australia. One band,
Fortress, has produced a recording entitled “Seize The Day,”
according to the British skinzine _Last Chance_. Asked by _Last
Chance_ to describe the aims of Fortress, its spokesman replied,
“The band follows a white racial/nationalist stance … The songs
are about being a Skinhead today, the plight of the white man …
heros liek Rudolf Hess.” Other Australian bands mentioned from time
to time in British and American zines have been Open Season and
White Noise. (Anti-Defamation League, 10-12)

1. A Skinhead gang in Sweden has also adoped as its name the Swedish
tranlation of White Aryan Resistance (Vitt Ariskt Motstand).

Work Cited

Anti-Defamation League. The Skinhead International: A Worldwide
Survey of Neo-Nazi Skinheads. New York: Anti-Defamation League,
1995. Anti-Defamation League, 823 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY

The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Newsgroups: alt.skinheads,alt.politics.white-power,alt.politics.nationalism.white,soc.culture.australian
Subject: ADL: Skinhead International; Australia
Summary: The ADL’s “Skinhead International: A Worldwide Survey
of Neo-Nazi Skinheads”
Followup-To: alt.skinheads
Archive/File: pub/orgs/american/adl/skinhead-international/skins-australia
Last-Modified: 1995/08/12