Sunday 31 March 2019

More evidence of Australia’s national extinction crisis

Twenty years ago my garden and the street in which I live rang with the sound of frogs calling after dark - at times it was deafening and drowned out the sound of the television news presenter.

Frogs of different species were in my letterbox, in the garden trees, catching moths on the window sills, hopping about on my patio and frequently in the house.

No more.

Anyone living in urban areas of the NSW Northern Rivers region would be aware that fewer frog species and fewer numbers within those frog species have been part of garden, park and nature reserve landscapes over the last twenty years.

Loss of habitat due to land clearing, drainage or development, depredation by introduced species, over use of herbicides/pesticides by councils and homeowners, decease in available food sources and disease are taking their toll on local frog populations.

When one sees the scale writ large it is terrible to behold.......

The Guardian, 29 March 2019:

A deadly disease that wiped out global populations of amphibians led to the decline of 500 species in the past 50 years, including 90 extinctions, scientists say.

A global research effort, led by the Australian National University, has for the first time quantified the worldwide impact of chytridiomycosis, or chytrid fungus, a fungal disease that eats away at the skin of amphibians.

The disease was first discovered in 1998 by researchers at James Cook University in Queensland investigating the cause of mysterious, mass amphibian deaths.

Chytridiomycosis is caused by two fungal species, both of which are likely to have originated in Asia, and their spread has been facilitated by humans through activities such as the legal and illegal pet trade.

Forty-two researchers worked on the new study, published in Science on Friday, which pinpoints the extent of the disease and how devastating it has been for frog, toad and salamander species.

They found evidence that at least 501 species had declined as a result of chytrid fungus and 90 of those were presumed or confirmed extinct.

“The results are pretty astounding” Benjamin Scheele, a research fellow at the ANU and the project’s lead researcher, said.

“We’ve known that chytrid is really bad for the better part of two decades but actually researching and quantifying those declines, that’s what this study does.”

The scientists identified declines in amphibian species in Europe, Africa, Central and South America and Australia because of the disease.

Scheele said there were no declines in Asia because species had evolved to be naturally resistant.

The impact of the disease has been hardest in Central and South America and in eastern Australia, where it flourishes in cool and moist conditions. It does not survive at temperatures above 28C.

In Australia, chytrid fungus is present in upland areas along the Great Dividing Range, down to the Otways in Victoria, and the edges of South Australia and Tasmania.

It is also found in some of the cooler mountain areas of Queensland.

Scheele said in Australia alone, there were 240 species of amphibian, 40 of which the researchers believed had suffered population declines as a result of chytrid fungus.

Seven of those 40 are believed to be extinct. One of those is the mountain mistfrog, which was last year added to a group of species the Australian government has been assessing to determine whether it should be moved to the national list of extinct wildlife.

Other species, including both the southern and northern corroboree frog, have suffered because of chytrid fungus, but large-scale captive breeding programs have worked to prevent their extinction..... [my yellow highlighting]

In which Clarence Valley Council fails to take due consideration of biodiversity & only pays lip service to potential cultural landscape when voting on an inadequately researched council master plan

Wooded area above the dirt road seen in the bottom right-hand corner of this snapshot was that section of land covered by the Clarence Valley Regional Airport Master Plan which figured prominately in councillors' debate.

When the regular monthly meeting of predominately white, middle-aged male, elected councillors in a NSW local government area again deliberately choose to have the meeting opened with a prayer
* by yet another 'ordained' representative of one of the Protestant religious institutions named in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, it can only go downhill from there - and it did.

Predictably Cr. Williamson sought to close down debate at the earliest opportunity with regard to any alternative approach to planning issues surrounding adoption of a master plan on council-owned operational land.

Just as predictably Cr. Baker displayed a level of ignorance concerning everything from how far a 10 km radius surrounding airport land actually stretched (seems he believed it went as far as est. 25kms southeast to Wooli beach) through to the professional conduct of accredited ecologists and motives behind their reports ( a subject on which he sounded more than a little paranoid).

However, the incident that would have had regular council watchers sitting up in their seats occurred when the council general manager rather aggressively inserted himself into the debate uninvited and without permission, by directing a question to an elected councillor. 

Which immediately raised the question - has he caught a bad case of the dreaded Greensill-itis and if so can it be cured?

The Daily Examiner, 28 May 2019, p.1:

Clarence Valley Mayor Jim Simmons has apologised for a procedural error which led to a councillor walking out of the chamber during a heated debate.

At Tuesday’s Clarence Valley Council meeting Cr Greg Clancy accused the council of gagging debate on a proposed Master Plan for the Grafton Regional Airport, before departing from the chamber without seeking leave.

Cr Clancy had moved a motion calling for environmental reports and information about Aboriginal heritage in the area to be included in the plan, which sparked a fierce argument among the councillors.

After about an hour of questions and debate Cr Richie Williamson, moved the motion be put, but this sparked an outbreak of interjections.

“What, are we being gagged right down the line?” interjected Cr Peter Ellem.

Mayor Jim Simmons adjourned the meeting for 10 minutes to seek advice on the matter.

“When the meeting resumed Cr Clancy came in to gather some things and I did apologise to him at the time, but he didn’t stay.”

Cr Simmons said he didn’t think council would act on some strong language Cr Clancy used at the time.

“Greg is a very strong advocate for the environment and I can understand he was disappointed how things were going,” he said.

“I’m very disappointed how things panned out and other than some language about gagging debate, I can’t really recall what was said.”

Cr Simmons blamed himself for the mistaken ruling, which inflamed the situation.
“What I said didn’t help the situation and I take full responsibility for that,” he said.

He said the council code of meeting practice required councillors to seek permission to leave the chamber early, which Cr Clancy did not do, but he did not think councillors would seek to take this further.

“In my view it would have been better for Greg to stay in the chamber,” he said.

“Councillors voted against his motion, 5-3 I think from memory, so it was a close thing.”

Cr Simmons said the meeting did approve the plan on a motion from Cr Ellem, which called for involvement of the Ngerrie Local Aboriginal Land Council in any development planning for the site.

Clarence Valley Council posted the 26 March 2019 podcast of this meeting on its website where it will remain for twelve months and, at approx. 2hrs 4 mins into the podcast the debate of Item 15.031/19 can be heard - but don't expect to hear the entire debate.

Because it appears that at a vital moment in his response to being improperly gagged by the mayor Cr. Clancy did not have his microphone turned on.

I have been given to understand that one of his observations was words to the effect that democracy is dead in the Clarence Valley.

An observation that in my opinion is frequently applicable to both local and state governments.

* It should be noted that Cr. Clancy did not agree with a 2017 change to Clarence Valley Council's Code of Meeting Practice which formally established an opening prayer as well as a rota of ordained Protestant ministers praying over the elected councillors and members of the vistors' gallery at the start of each ordinary monthly meeting.

Saturday 30 March 2019

Quote of the Week

“People generally conform to the mores of their society, and if they believe racism to be acceptable they are more likely to behave in a racist way. Racist concepts are kept alive through communication of racist viewpoints and social mediation and the use of racist scapegoating as acceptable aspects of political debate. Where there is ‘social permission’ to be racist, racism is a permissible way of releasing frustrations and aggression. Conversely, discouraging racist attitudes and behaviour is likely to cause racism to decrease.”  [Tamsan Clarke, February 2005, RACISM, PLURALISM AND DEMOCRACY IN AUSTRALIA: Re-conceptualising racial vilificationlegislation]

Tweet of the Week

The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 March 2019:

The world's tallest building has been lit up with a giant image of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern embracing a woman at the Kilbirnie mosque in Wellington.

The Burj Khalifa, an 829-metre-tall skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, beamed out a photo taken by Wellington photographer Hagen Hopkins, as well as the Arabic word "salam" and its English translation, "peace".

Friday 29 March 2019

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation sought US National Rifle Association support for a social media campaign during the 2019 federal election campaign and millions in political funding from gun lobby & Koch Brothers

Pauline Hanson's One Nation (PHON) political party currently only has two members in the Australian Parliament and they sit in the Senate.

PHON wants to hold the balance of power in the Australian Parliament after the May 2019 federal election.

In order to gain the required seats in the House of Representatives, in September 2018 the party was secretly promising to subvert Australia's gun laws in an attempt to gain millions from the powerful US gun lobby to assist its federal election campaign.

Al Jazeera, YouTube, 25 March 2019:

A three-year Al Jazeera investigation into the U.S. gun lobby has uncovered an effort by an Australian political party to seek millions of dollars in political funding while offering to soften strict, anti-gun laws in Australia.

Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit used concealed cameras to track ‘Pauline Hanson’s One Nation’, a right-wing, anti-immigration party, as representatives travelled to Washington, D.C. to hold meetings with the National Rifle Association and other lobby groups, as well as the energy giant Koch Industries.

One Nation’s Chief of Staff James Ashby was accompanied on the U.S. visit by Steve Dickson, the party’s leader in the Australian state of Queensland and a candidate in upcoming Australian elections. Ashby and Dickson were recorded seeking up to $US20 million for their election war chest while promising to soften laws, put in place following a massacre in Australia in 1996.

The strict Australian gun laws have often been condemned by the NRA.

Al Jazeera approached all the groups and individuals featured in this programme. 

After meetings with the US gun lobby Ashby and Dickson met with a representative of the Koch Brothers. Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch, are the billionaire co-owners of Koch Industries - one of the largest privately-held companies in the world - who are known to support far-right political parties, movements and policies.

Despite there being a federal legislated ban on foreign political donations since November 2018 the Al Jazeera video footage clearly shows that just weeks after this ban was put in place Pauline Hanson and One Nation were still considering seeking support from the US gun lobby and the Koch Brothers.

Having been publicly exposed One Nation now denies it had any intention of watering down national gun laws. 

However, it is clear from the Al Jazeera video that One Nation was promising to open doors for the National Rifle Association with the aim of assisting that exact purpose, because it believed that any significant increase in One Nation representation in the Australian Parliament after the next federal election meant it would have the government "by the balls"

The video also reveals that it was canvassing the possibility of concealing any funding it might receive from the US gun lobby by arranging for the NRA to create and pay for a social media campaign for One Nation's benefit in the lead up to the May 2019 federal election, as well as using the Koch Brothers' network of companies to hide the source of any donations they might make. 

After initially pleading intoxicated bragging while in the US Pauline Hanson's Chief of Staff then had this to say.
Prior to these revelations Australian Prime Minister and Liberal MP Scott Morrison had refused to rule out the Liberal Party preferencing Pauline Hanson's One Nation ahead of The Greens and Labor at the federal election.

He partially walked back from this position and announced that the Coalition will be placing PHON below Labor on how-to-vote cards in all states and territories except Queensland. However he would not commit to putting PHON last.

So it is looking as though One Nation may possibly get a third member into the Senate.


Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Queensland official and Senate candidate in 2019 Steve Dickson has a dream voters should be aware of:

“I’m going to be in one of those drug dealing mansions on the beach. I’ll hire it for a month. The ones that are 25 rooms and the chef and everything. We’ll drink and shoot the s**t [out] of everything down the water. Machine guns and everything. That’s my dream….And we can protect ourselves just in case” [Steve Dickson in How to Sell a Massacre Part 2, You Tube 27 March 2019]


According to The Guardian on 7 March 2018 Australian gun lobby groups spent more than $500,000 helping minor right wing parties, including One Nation, win seats in the Queensland state election in 2017.

According to ABC News on 27 March 2019 the Australian gun lobby has donated $1.7 million to political parties since 2011 and now per capita spends as much on political donations and campaigns as the US National Rifle Association (NRA).

According to The Sydney Morning Herald on 27 March 2019 the number of firearms in Australia is dramatically higher than before the Port Arthur massacre that killed 35 people, raising fears the gun lobby’s efforts to relax national restrictions are bearing fruit. Pre-Port Arthur in 1996 there were est. 3.2 million firearms in Australia, the post-Port Arthur gun buyback under theAustralian National Firearms Agreement saw that number reduced to est, 2.5 million but by 2017 firearms held in the private hands had risen to 3.6 million.

Gun ownership per capita has fallen reportedly since the Port Arthur massacre, with gun number increases since 1997 reflecting the fact that multiple guns are now being held by individuals. The highest numbers of gun owners appear to be in rural/regional northern and central NSW. Grafton and environs is an area with 7,930 registered guns, spread across the collections of 2,043 owners, with one individual owning 91 registered firearms according to The Daily Examiner on 12 April 2016.

Despite the rise in gun possession since 1997 the number of homicide incidents involving a firearm decreased by 57 percent between 1989-90 and 2013-14. Firearms were used in 13 percent of homicide incidents (n=32) in 2013-14. In 1989-90 it was 24 percent (n=75) of incidents, according to Crime Statistics Australia.

Thursday 28 March 2019

“Every year, the world's five largest publicly owned oil and gas companies spend approximately $200 million on lobbying designed to control, delay or block binding climate-motivated policy”

Forbes, 25 March 2019:

Every year, the world's five largest publicly owned oil and gas companies spend approximately $200 million on lobbying designed to control, delay or block binding climate-motivated policy. This has caused problems for governments seeking to implement policies in the wake of the Paris Agreement which are vital in meeting climate change targets. Companies are generally reluctant to disclose such lobbying expenditure and late last week, a report from InfluenceMap used a methodology focusing on the best available records along with intensive research of corporate messaging to gauge their level of influence on initiatives to halt climate change.…..

The research also found that the five companies listed support their lobbying expenditures with a financial outlay of $195 million annually for focused branding activities which suggest they support action against climate change. The most common tactics employed are drawing attention to low carbon, positioning the company as a climate expert and acknowledging climate concern while ignoring solutions. The report said that the campaigns are misleading the public given that the companies listed continue to expand their oil and gas extraction activities with only 3% of spending directed to low carbon projects. Both Shell and Chevron rejected the report's findings and reinforced their commitment to reducing greenhouse gases and addressing climate change.

Since 2013 these tactics appear to have been quite successful in shaping the political debate within the Liberal and National parties in Australia.

One again the Liberal-Nationals Coalition goes into a federal election campaign without a genuine climate change policy or a viable energy policy.

The fact that the fossil fuel industry made political donations to the Coalition of an est. $270,717 in 2016-17 and the top 10 fossil fuel donors gave a further est. $512,261 in 2017-18 can not be ruled out as a factor in the continuing absence of genuine climate change policies on the conservative side of politics, 

Cometh the rain, cometh the cane toads

Cane Toad eggs & tadpoles
Image: The Conversation, 31 August 2011

The Daily Examiner
, 25 March 2019, p.13:

With a solid drop of rain falling in the coastal area of the Clarence Valley last Friday night, cane toads will be taking up this much overdue opportunity to reproduce their kind, much to the disappointment of those who are working hard to control this pest.

Landowners can help by simply inspecting their dams, ponds and any temporarily flooded areas for toad spawn (long strings of eggs that do not float and resemble jelly shoes laces) or toad tadpoles (typically jet black in colour and seen ‘grazing’ in shallow, warm water schooling in tight schools or clusters).

The consistent effort of CVCIA volunteers and increasing effort by landowners at Micalo Island has seen numbers of toads plummet over the last three seasons and this season to date round-ups have collected an average of 328 toads compared to 397 and 764 in the 2017/18 and 2016/17 seasons, respectively.

The best time to inspect such water bodies is during daylight hours when the sun is high and visibility into the water is at optimum levels and anyone who believes they have found toad spawn is encouraged to remove it immediately while other signs of toad breeding should be reported to either Clarence Landcare on 66435009 or CVCIA Landcare on 0477616210 or email

This Friday night CVCIA Landcare’s effort will return to Yamba Golf Course where volunteers will meet in the southern car park at 7.30pm and any interested persons are most welcome to come along.

Adult Cane Toad
Rhinella marina
Image: Australian Museum

Wednesday 27 March 2019

Taking the xenophobic temperature of the NSW Northern Rivers region

These quotes below give an indication of what Pauline Hanson's One Nation political party (PHON) believes and acts upon.

Given the chance, Pauline Hanson's One Nation will initiate a referendum to amend this race based section of the Constitution. …We must rid ourselves of Native Title and just as laws are made by and for the people so can they be amended…. Under One Nation policy the issue of Aboriginality would no longer exist as benefits by virtue of race would no longer exist. [Pauline Hanson, Longreach Speech, 11 September 1988]

I and most Australians want our immigration policy radically reviewed and that of multiculturalism abolished. I believe we are in danger of being swamped by Asians. [Pauline Hanson, First Speech in Australian Parliament, excerpt, 1996]

The indigenous population is experiencing boom growth in Australia. One only has to be recognised as an Aboriginal community to be accepted as an Aboriginal. Identifying as an Aboriginal has definite financial advantages, as Aboriginality allows them to claim a share of the booty of the native title scam as well as various other publicly funded perks not available to other Australians. [Pauline Hanson, Hansard, 2 June 1998]

Pauline Hanson has compared Islam to a disease Australians need to vaccinate themselves against….. "Let me put it in this analogy - we have a disease, we vaccinate ourselves against it," she said on Friday. [The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 March 2017]

The number of Muslims in Australia doubled in the decade from 2006 to 2016 through immigration and the high numbers of children born to Muslim families. If we do not draw a line in the sand against immigration from Islamic countries, the influence of Muslims in this country will continue to grow and Australia will continue down the path of Islamisation. [Pauline Hanson, Hansard, 17 August 2017]

Mark Latham could be forced to pay out more than $100,000 in legal costs and damages after agreeing to settle defamation proceedings brought against him by the ABC journalist Osman Faruqi. Faruqi, a former politics editor of pop culture site Junkee and a former Greens candidate, launched his libel action last year after the former leader of the Labor party accused him of “aiding and abetting Islamic terrorism” and fostering “anti-white racism in Australia”. The comments were made across Latham’s Outsiders webpage, YouTube, the Rebel Media webpage and a post on Facebook. [The Guardian, 26 November 2018]

One Nation NSW would force DNA tests on every person claiming Aboriginal heritage to qualify for government assistance. NSW One Nation Legislative Council candidate Mark Latham said the policy would weed out "the blond-haired, blue-eyed Aboriginal". [Mark Latham, 9 News, 12 March 2019]

Outlaw the new Left-wing discrimination against men, boys, Christians and white people… [Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, 10 Point Plan, March 2019]

We’re not even allowed to own guns in Australia for the self-protection of women….It’s insane. We’ve been importing all these Muslims into Australia….Some really dangerous people. They are just breaking into people's homes with baseball bats and killing people. Basically, stealing everything they own. Gangs. Our county's going into chaos. [Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Qld party official Steve Dickson, YouTube, 26 March 2019]

According to Prof.Kevin M. Dunn (UWS); Between 1996 and 1998, the Federal Government commissioned an inquiry into racism in Australia (see DIMA, 1998:1). The results of that inquiry are not publicly available, and purposefully so. I presume that the research found racism to widespread, and that it also found there to be geography to it.

Because there is little hard information and, what exists is not readily available, it is notoriously difficult - if not impossible - to work out the number of people who hold xenophobic or racist world views in any given population.

However, the NSW Legislative Council election on 23 March 2019 does open a window on that part of the Northern Rivers population who are 18 years of age and older and registered to vote in state elections.

The window exists because although no candidate from the far right, nationalist, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation stood for election to the NSW Legislative Assembly (Lower House) in the four Northern Rivers state electorates, PHON had 17 candidates standing for election in the NSW Legislative Assembly (Upper House). 

State-wide PHON had received 220,847 votes or 5.93% of all 3.72 million Upper House ballots recorded as of 22:58 pm on 26 March 2019. [See:]

So how did the Northern Rivers region fare in relation to the state percentage of voters who were willing to support xenophobic and racist ideology only eight days after an Australian was arrested for a murderous terrorist attack on worshippers in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand?

In the Ballina electorate 1,713 voters cast their first preference for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation in the NSW Legislative Council – 3.66% of all Upper House ballots cast in that electorate.

While the Clarence electorate saw 3.441 voters cast their first preference for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation in the NSW Legislative Council – 8.94% of all Upper House ballots cast in that electorate. 

And in the Lismore electorate 2,556 voters cast their first preference for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation in the NSW Legislative Council – 5.69% of all Upper House ballots cast in that electorate.

At the same time in the Tweed electorate 1,933 voters cast their first preference for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation in the NSW Legislative Council – 6.76% of all Upper House ballots cast in that electorate.

These figures appear to support the contention that there is a sub-population in the Northern Rivers region which is markedly ethnocentric and willing to vote for an openly racist political party.

This willingness has helped to elect former federal MP Mark William Latham as One Nation's first member of the NSW Parliament. He sits for a maximum term of eight years in the Upper House which will provide him with the protection of parliamentary privilege for some if not all of his frequently divisive nationalistic ideological statements.

Given that in past years a number of academic papers discussing the geography of racism have identified "Northern" NSW, the "North Coast", "Mid-North Coast" and "Richmond-Tweed" as having a relatively high number of markers for ethnocentrism and/or racism, one has to wonder if this current support for an openly racist political party represents more than just the ongoing existence of xenophobia and racism in Northern Rivers communities - that perhaps it might represent a widening acceptance and further entrenchment of such attitudes across the valleys.

The Great Australian Ugliness: how supporters of conservative political parties act on polling day

Tuesday 26 March 2019

Australia’s national science agency CSIRO will release a new biocontrol agent in a bid to help save rainforests from an invasive South American weed

Wandering trad (Tradescantia fluminensis)

, news release, 22 March 2019:

Wandering trad (Tradescantia fluminensis) has become a significant environmental weed in parts of eastern Australia where it forms dense carpets on forest floors, smothering native vegetation and clogging waterways.

CSIRO senior research scientist Dr Louise Morin said weeds like wandering trad had a significant economic, environmental and social impact in Australia.

“Weeds are one of the biggest threats to Australia’s unique environment – in many areas across Australia they are damaging native vegetation, which threatens whole ecosystems including native wildlife,” Dr Morin said.

“Last year Australia spent almost $30 million protecting the natural environment from weeds. In the agriculture sector, weeds cost the industry more than $4.8 billion per year.”

“The fungus is spread through spores and needs the leaves of the wandering trad to survive – if there is no wandering trad to infect, the fungus dies,” Dr Morin said. 

“We know from decades of research in this field, that specialised fungi, like the leaf smut, have specific genes that enable them to successfully infect and cause disease only on single or a narrow range of plant species. “So we look at plants that are related to wandering trad including native plants to make sure the fungus will only infect the weed.” Wandering trad has infested native forests across eastern Australia, from eastern parts of NSW and south-east Queensland, to the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria where the biocontrol agent will first be released.


Wandering Trad is not to be confused with a similar looking plant Commelina diffusa which is native to south-east Queensland and north-east NSW. The native plant has blue flowers (usually flowering in autumn) and a slender tapered leaf, unlike the weedy species Tradescantia albiflora (which has fleshier, rounded, glossier leaves). The native plant is not an environmental weed.

Commelina diffusa
Image: Qld Dept. of Agriculture and Fisheries

Far-right white supremacy is not about to crash & burn in Australia - instead it reached peak extremism on 15 March 2019

How homegrown white supremacist groups reportedly influenced the Australian terrorist who allegedly killed fifty worshippers in two New Zealand mosques on 15 March 2019.........

ABC News, 23 March 2019:

Three years before the mass shooting in Christchurch, [name redacted] was lavishing praise on prominent Australian far-right nationalist Blair Cottrell, referring to him as "Emperor".

The ABC's Background Briefing has uncovered an archive of comments from the accused mosque shooter, which were posted on the now deleted Facebook pages of Australian far-right groups United Patriots Front (UPF) and True Blue Crew (TBC).

The comments give an insight for the first time into [name redacted]'s early radical views.

At this stage, [name redacted] has been charged with one count of murder.

But in the wake of the massacre, his social media accounts were wiped from the internet, leaving very little information regarding the connections he made with individuals and groups on the far-right that operate prominently online.

What remained were fragments and digital impressions of a well-travelled young man who frequented hate-filled anonymous messaging boards and was deeply engaged in a global alt-right culture.

Although the shooter claimed in a manifesto uploaded before the attack that he was never a member of any group, the archive verified by Background Briefing reveals an allegiance to a number of high-profile Australian far-right figures.

And while specific details remain murky, these revelations about [name redacted]'s interactions with domestic far-right groups shed light on a young man captivated by white nationalism and its high-profile figurehead, Mr Cottrell.

Since then he has become the highest profile leader of Australia's alt right.
For many he is the symbol of the so-called "white resistance" in Australia and is the figurehead for a movement that in recent times has been defined by its virulent anti-Islamic views.

Before the Facebook page of his group, the UPF, was deleted, it had more than 120,000 followers, and the data reveals [name redacted] also followed the group.

[name redacted]'s comments, dating back as early as April 2016, showed the Australian-born man was a vocal supporter of then UPF-leader Mr Cottrell.

In the information, [name redacted] made more than 30 comments on the UPF and TBC pages over a 10-month period.

Although there are no screenshots of his comments on the UPF and TBC pages, Background Briefing has verified their authenticity by comparing the archive's preserved metadata — including Facebook ID numbers and timestamps — against other public posts shared by UPF and TBC supporters.

This allowed us to connect names to comments.

In one instance, metadata shows that when members from the UPF violently clashed with counter-protesters in Coburg in 2016, [name redacted] felt compelled to respond to Mr Cottrell's critics online.

"Communists will get what communists get, I would love to be there holding one end of the rope when you get yours traitor," [name redacted] posted….

In the video, Mr Cottrell and Mr Sewell are seen wearing neat collared shirts and grinning ear-to-ear as they described Mr Trump's victory, declaring it as the end to political correctness and "Marxism" in the US.

[name redacted] was online celebrating with Mr Cottrell and Mr Sewell.

"Simply one of the most important events in modern history," [name redacted] commented on the live video.

It was here that  [name redacted]was most effusive in his support of Mr Cottrell and the movement.

"Globalists and Marxists on suicide watch, patriots and nationalists triumphant — looking forward to Emperor Blair Cottrell coming soon," he wrote.

[name redacted] made similar comments months earlier, when Mr Cottrell appeared on national TV.

"Knocked it out of the park tonight Blair," he wrote.

"Your retorts had me smiling, nodding, cheering and often laughing.

"Never believed we would have a true leader of the nationalist movement in Australia, and especially not so early in the game.

"Would gladly stand behind you."

[name redacted]'s comments in the same period also demonstrate he was invested in the rivalry between the country's far-right groups.

He directed anger at one of the UPF founders, Neil Erikson, and former UPF leader Shermon Burgess and called them "useful idiots".

"Leave the nationalist leadership to Blair and the TBC, or be named obvious plants and traitors," [name redacted] wrote in July 2016 on the TBC Facebook page.

Those comments and their metadata were archived in text form by an anonymous source when those pages were still active on Facebook.

As far as we know the ABC is the only media outlet with access to the archives.
The last activity we have from [name redacted] on the UPF Facebook page is from January 2017, in response to a post discussing Mr Cottrell's impending appearance in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court over staging a fake beheading in Bendigo two years earlier.

[name redacted] was one of more than 200 people who commented on this thread in support of Mr Cottrell.

Mr Cottrell and two other former UPF members were found guilty of inciting serious contempt of Muslims in September 2017.....

....a donation had been made to UPF in [name redacted]'s name some years earlier.....

Michael Edison Hayden is a senior investigator on white supremacists' digital strategies for the Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC), a non-profit which is tracking hate crimes across the US and the world.

He said the Christchurch shooting was a "new reality" where the views and statements of the extreme far-right were having a profound reach on young disaffected men.

He said the accused shooter's manifesto and social media strategy was more "self-aware and performative" than anything he had seen.

"It's a signifier he was immersed in this culture of radicalisation, that he is speaking to them and he is responding to what he's seen from them and what he wants them to see," Mr Hayden said.

Mr Hayden said race-related killings from far-right personalities around the world were often based on fears about being replaced by immigrants and having their white identity erased.

"Once you get the idea you're being eliminated, once you integrate that into your everyday way of thinking, they feel like violence is being inflicted against them day in and day out," he said.

"Which is, of course, a complete perversion of the truth."

 All this raises the question ; How many other men living on the NSW North Coast and elsewhere in Australia share [name redacted]'s world view?