THE HMAS Stawell and the first HMAS Ararat, both Navy Bathurst Class corvettes, were awarded battle honours for their role in defending Australia’s northern waters during World War TWo.
The HMAS Stawell attacked and sank a Japanese armed barge and the HMAS Ararat helped escort troops to the hellish jungle battlegrounds of the Pacific.
In World War Two, the threat of invasion by Imperial Japan, supported in a fascist Axis with Nazi Germany, was a clear and present danger.
Ararat’s Langi Morgala Museum is full of portraits of young men who helped command air, sea and land forces across Northern Africa and Europe to push back Adolf Hitler’s forces.
In halls, both large and small, across the Grampians region you can find boards full of names of those who served to help defeat the greatest evil humanity has ever known.
Once safe from invasion, the full horror of the Holocaust was revealed in Europe.
Beside many names is a mark or cross to significant that person, whose name is displayed proudly in gold letters, made the ultimate sacrifice.
Now let’s compare that history with sickening and cowardly display put on by a neo-Nazi group in the Grampians.
There are no names in the video of the group’s training camp, which was uploaded to the internet.
Their faces are blurred out and they wear no uniform except for the odd piece of camouflage clothing from a disposals store.
As many people on social media have asked, if the neo-Nazis are so proud of, and committed to, their beliefs, why hide their faces?
Unless a law is broken, the court system cannot impose harsh penalties against the group.
Could it be that despite their express desire to break down Australia’s multicultural society, the neo-Nazis don’t want to be excluded from its benefits?
The Grampians region celebrates its young men who put up their hand, wrote their name down and fought and died to protect Australia.
Now we see a group of angry young men pledge allegiance to Hitler beside a campfire then slink away to remove their faces from a propaganda video.
Rex Martinich is senior journalist for the Ararat Advertiser and the Stawell Times-News