Berejiklian Government must purge key figures in neo-Nazi infiltration

In Parliament | 15.04.19

The NSW Labor Opposition today slammed the Berejiklian Government for appointing figures linked to the “Alt-Right” neo-Nazi National Party infiltration scandal to senior ministerial staffing posts.

NSW Labor also called on the Premier to indicate whether the appointments were approved by her office as ministerial staffing positions are all vetted by her office.

“This is an arrogant move which flies in the face of decency,” NSW Labor interim leader Penny Sharpe said.

“These groups have no place in Australian political debate and any individual linked to them should not serve in key government decision-making positions.”

Ms Sharpe was referring to separate appointments in the offices of Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Water Minister Melinda Pavey. The posts are Director of Strategy to the Deputy Premier – Jock Sowter – and Chief of Staff to the Water and Housing Minister – Jeffrey McCormack.

She also called on the Premier to remove them from the positions immediately.

In October 2018 the ABC exposed a Neo–Nazis and white supremacist infiltration the National Party’s youth wing – the Young Nationals.

Members of far-right hate groups were recruited by Nationals political staff to the Young Nationals and were used to “stack” the 2018 NSW Young Nationals conference in Lismore where Mr Sowter was elected President.

At least 35 members of the Young Nationals with neo-Nazi links as well as at least three National Party political staff who recruited them were then investigated by the National Party’s head office.

Both Mr McCormack and Mr Sowter were named in NSW Parliament in October 2018. At the time, the then Deputy-Leader of the Nationals Niall Blair took a strong stand and said there was “no room” for people with neo-Nazi views in The Nationals. 

Ms Sharpe said that she agreed with Mr Blair that there should be no place for such views in mainstream politics and questioned why the individuals in question had been promoted.