NSW Young Nationals’ members Thomas Brasher (L), Clifford Jennings (top right) and Oscar Tuckfield (bottom right) are or were associated with self-described fascist group New Guard. (Source: Instagram, Facebook, ABC News)
The NSW Young Nationals have temporarily suspended processing new memberships, after an ABC Background Briefing investigation revealed an infiltration of the party by self-described fascists.
The Young Nationals declared “radical ideologies have no place” within the party, and announced they would carry out an “urgent investigation” headed by the party’s constitution and ethics committee.
“Allegations regarding the infiltration of the NSW Young Nationals by ‘alt-right’ and/or ‘far-right’ persons or groups is of the upmost concern to the NSW Nationals,” a statement issued by the organisation read.
“The rise of splinter groups that threaten to undermine our democracy are taken very seriously by the NSW Nationals and we declare that such radical ideologies have no place within our Party.
“The National Party rejects all forms of racism and hatred. Neither have any place within the NSW Nationals and our party will not become a battleground for forces that have no history, allegiance or understanding of our party.”
The Background Briefing investigation showed members of the NSW Young Nationals were attending a secret men’s-only fight club set up by some of the country’s most prominent alt-right nationalists.
At least three NSW Young Nationals — including Clifford Jennings, who sits on the executive of the party’s youth wing — are, or recently have been, members of a group called The New Guard. The others include Thomas Brasher and Oscar Tuckfield.
The decision to temporarily suspend memberships was made in consultation with the state chairman of the NSW Nationals and the chairman of NSW Young Nationals, according to the statement.
“We are and always have been a Party representing the people of rural and regional areas,” the statement read.
We are seeking additional information from media and other sources to assist the investigation and we will act swiftly if any member is found to belong to these extremist groups.”