"I thought of this again this week after watching footage of admitted far-right fascist Blair Cottrell as he and a group of similarly hate-filled men harassed and physically intimidated a street performer on the streets of Melbourne. The footage was posted online by Cottrell, and shows him and the other men aggressively circling the performer, screeching threats at him and accusing him of being a paedophile because, wait for it, he was wearing a pink leotard in front of children."
To: Kingston Council
Shutdown neo-Nazi clubhouse at 9/158 Chesterville Road, Cheltenham, Melbourne
Dear Kingston Council
We the undersigned who live in, work or visit Cheltenham and surrounding South Eastern Suburbs, express our opposition to neo-Nazi’s operating a clubhouse and business in Cheltenham. We demand the Lads Society and associated businesses immediately be shutdown.
1. Investigate our concerns that there is an unlicensed gymnasium operating with poor occupational health and safety practices and that Nixon Industrial, who are aware of what the property is being used for, have failed in their duty to ensure tenants do not use the premises for unlicensed and unregistered activities.
By their own admission there is a commercial gymnasium operating from their premises at 9/158 Chesterville Road, Cheltenham, however, they do not have a license to operate a commercial gymnasium. This poses serious health and safety issues and Nixon Industrial who manage the commercial rental are aware that an unlicensed gymnasium is operating off the premises but have failed to act. This also needs to be investigated and both the Lads Society and Nixon Industrial be held accountable. There also appears to be no public liability insurance.
2. By their own admission the Lads Society is males only, however, they do not fit the “exception” or “special measures” under the Act (2010) nor have they sought or been granted an exemption by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) who have the legislated power to issue exemptions under the Act (2010). In reality this so-called business appears to be just a cover for neo-Nazi organising.
3. Investigate the Lads Society serving alcohol without a liquor license.
In Victoria any business serving alcohol is required by the Liquor Control Act (1998) to be licensed and ensure all volunteers and/or staff have their serving alcohol certificates. Kingston Council reject any forthcoming applications from the Lads Society for a liquor license and take the strongest action under the Liquor Control Act (1998) against the Lads Society for serving alcohol without a liquor license.
Investigate our concern that the Lads Society contravenes the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (the Act (2010)) and take action to hold Australian Lads Society Pty Ltd accountable for serious breaches of the Act (2010).
Shutdown the neo-Nazi clubhouse in Cheltenham.
Why is this important?
The Lads Society are at Unit 9/158 Chesterville Road, Cheltenham near the Waves leisure centre and their commercial warehouse is leased on their behalf by Mr Thomas Sewell through Nixon Industries. The Lad’s Society is a clubhouse, training facility, recruitment centre and safe space for neo-nazis and others on the far-right. The Lad’s Society poses itself as ‘...an organisation consisting of young, Australian men, committed to restoring the elements of our nation, starting at the individual, and community levels’, and offers a gym, a place to drink and meet people. Concerningly, because of the way they’ve structured themselves as a kind of ‘men’s club’ with a nationalist bent, insecure and otherwise unaligned young men in the neighbourhood could be at particular risk of being radicalised toward Nazi politics in this space. As well, these men operating out of Cheltenham is an immediate danger to the multicultural neighbourhood, due to their violent histories and politics, and the fact they gather on Fridays from 5PM, drink, lift weights and fight each other until late in the evening.
To say these men are nazis is not an exaggeration. One of the founders of The Lad’s Society is Blair Cottrell, who has been documented suggesting pictures of Hitler should be hung in every classroom, and Mein Kampf should be handed out to every student every year (evidence of his ideas are readily available by google search). He has also been convicted and served time for stalking and burning down an ex-partner’s house. He is the founder of United Patriots Front, a group he was the chairman of that involved other found members of The Lad’s Society, including Thomas Sewell, pictured below with Blair Cottrell celebrating Hitler’s birthday and flashing the ‘white power’ hand gesture.
There are also active associations within The Lad’s Society with an explicitly Nazi group called ‘Antipodean Resistance’, who Stuart Von Moger (pictured above) is affiliated with. This group is known to recruit as a resurgence of Germany’s ‘Hitler Youth’. They’ve attacked international students, jews and the LGBTQIA+ community on university campuses and abroad with extremely racist propaganda and can be seen unfurling banners with swastikas on them from overpasses.
How it will be delivered
We will email our petition to Kingston Council and ensure that the Mayor and Deputy Mayor take action.