On a rainy, windswept Saturday afternoon some of the worst Australia has to offer descended on St Kilda beach in Melbourne for a gathering of far-right extremists, many of whom proudly displayed symbols of Nazism and performed “Heil Hitler” salutes.
Despite the claims of the rally’s organisers, only a few hundred people showed up, illustrating how easily the appeal of their cause was dented by a little bit of bad weather.
Counter-protesters, however, were there in force, proudly proclaiming that right-wing extremism and neo-Nazism has no place in modern Australia.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but Saturday’s events made me proud of my fellow Australians. When extremists and Neo-Nazi wannabes took to the streets, the people of Melbourne reacted not with violence and confrontation, but with a firm resolve that we would defend the values of inclusivity and equality that define the Australian experience.