True Blue Crew
The True Blue Crew (TBC) is an Australian alt-right extremist group. Members and supporters have been linked to right-wing terrorism and vigilantism, and members have been arrested with weapons and on terrorism-related charges. Experts who have studied the group say it appears to be "committed to violence".
The group rose to prominence as an anti-Islam group in 2015, and shifted more towards anti-immigration in response to public sentiment and police crackdowns.
Beginning in 2014, members of what would become the True Blue Crew were involved in the "Voices of Bendigo" and "Stop the Mosques" Bendigo protests. A number of far-right groups, including the Q Society, Reclaim Australia, the Australian Defence League, the Antipodean Resistance, and the United Patriots Front opposed the construction of a mosque and Islamic community centre in Bendigo, Victoria.
The True Blue Crew was formed in 2015 as a splinter group from the anti-Islamic Reclaim Australia group, along with a number of small far-right nationalist groups such as the United Patriots Front.
In May 2016, the group attended an anti-mosque protest in Melton along with members of the United Patriots Front and the Love Australia or Leave Party. About 150 people attended, opposing a housing development which they falsely claimed was being built for Muslims only. As the crowd dispersed following a similar protest in August the same year, fighting broke out between members of the True Blue Crew and anti-Muslim vigilante group the Sons of Odin.
In January 2018, United Patriots Front and True Blue Crew were reported by Channel 7 news to be attempting to arrange vigilante patrols to monitor young African Australian men. The report led to accusations that Channel 7 were giving neo-Nazis a speech platform.
Terrorism and criminal activities
On 25 June 2016, police seized weapons including a knife and knuckle duster during an "Australian Pride" rally.
In August 2016, a member of True Blue Crew, Phillip Galea, was charged with terrorism-related offences, including collecting or making documents to prepare for terrorist acts and carrying out acts in preparation for a terrorist act. Police investigators said that Galea was linked to several far-right groups including Reclaim Australia, United Patriots Front, True Blue Crew and the openly neo-Nazi group Combat 18. Galea was accused of ordering ingredients for explosives and video footage seized in raids showed Galea carrying out reconnaissance of a target, the documents allege. His intended target was a small anarchist bookshop on a busy main road in Northcote, Victoria, opposite Northcote High School. Police stated that “Galea outlined his intentions were to cause as much devastation to these locations as possible in a team coordinated attack, using smoke bombs and improvised explosive devices”. Galea was accused of researching homemade bombs, ballistic armour and guns, preparing a terrorist document entitled “Patriot’s Cookbook”. Galea is incarcerated at the Thomas Embling Hospital, a high-security mental health facility.
In the wake of the Christchurch mosque shootings in March 2019, it emerged that the alleged perpetrator, Brenton Tarrant, had three years earlier given fulsome praise to Blair Cottrell as a leader of the far-right movements on social media. He made more than 30 comments on the now deleted UPF and TBC Facebook pages, singling out Cottrell for praise and disparaging Neil Erikson and Shermon Burgess as "useful idiots". The group was banned from Facebook after posting Islamophobic messages in the wake of the Christchurch massacre.