’Evil’: Wild neo-Nazi rally lashed

Peter Dutton has defended the Liberal Party as a broad church. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Opposition Leader Peter Dutton have both blasted “evil” Nazi sympathisers after a rally in Melbourne on the weekend.

He said right-wing extremism was the most significant threat facing Australia, and said the “time for tolerance of these matters has long gone; people should have a look at the consequences of that hatred” and that theirs was an “ideology of hate”.

His comments came after an anti-immigration rally at Victoria’s Parliament House was held by neo-Nazis on Saturday. In March, an anti-trans rights rally in Melbourne was gatecrashed by right-wing extremists, with a group of men performing a Nazi salute.

Mr Albanese, speaking in Melbourne, said there was “no place in Australia” for such demonstrations.

“There is no place in Australia for the sort of demonstrations that we’ve seen now on a number of occasions here in Melbourne, with people paying tribute to Nazism and evil doctrine that resulted in the mass murder of people on the basis of their religion, on the basis of who they were, on the basis of their sexual preference,” he said.

“(The ideology) is rejected overwhelmingly by all fair-minded Australians and certainly the authorities will continue to monitor and will have every support for any recommendation that is put forward by those authorities to the government.”

Police and neo-Nazis clashed at an anti-immigration rally in Melbourne on Saturday. Picture: Twitter/@AlexGrey156
Police and neo-Nazis clashed at an anti-immigration rally in Melbourne on Saturday. Picture: Twitter/@AlexGrey156

Earlier, Mr Dutton also condemned the neo-Nazis.

“They are scumbags; they are sick individuals … of all the causes to take up,” Mr Dutton said.

“How on Earth anybody in their right mind could take up a Nazi cause or wave that flag or salute in a way that a monster taught them to salute is beyond me.”

Asked about the position of ousted Victorian Liberal MP Moira Deeming – who was expelled from the party room for attending the anti-trans rally in March gatecrashed by neo-Nazis – Mr Dutton defended the sanctity of a broadchurch.

Mr Dutton said while it was ultimately an issue for the Victorian branch, the Liberal Party was not a group of “cyborgs who have a compulsion to have the same view” and that a variety of views in a party room was “healthy in a democracy”.

“I believe that we should have a broad membership where people express their views – provided they’re not breaching the law,” he told ABC Radio.

“Their views might not be consistent with mine, but I will defend their right to express it.”

Peter Dutton says the Liberal Party is a broad church where difference of opinion should be celebrated. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

Given the weekend’s protests were galvanised by an anti-immigration rhetoric, Mr Dutton brushed off the idea he needed to be more careful about his own language on the topic.

Mr Dutton buckled down on criticising the government’s “Big Australia” migration plan.

Mr Dutton is critical an estimated 1.5 million people could migrate to Australia over the next five years amid a buckling housing crisis and without the necessary infrastructure.

“I think if you bring in 1.5 million people – more than the population of Adelaide, while at the same time the budget has cut infrastructure spending … I just don’t think that’s a well-planned program,” he said.