Vanguard for SRC have denounced Sukith Fernando after it emerged that he had posted material on Facebook defending Adolf Hitler. In a reply to a video questioning the Holocaust posted on his wall, Fernando commented “Wow Hitler really did nothing wrong”.
Fernando is a co-founder of Australian alt-right website The Unshackled. He is a member of a Facebook group called ‘Holocaust Revisionism’ and has attended Reclaim Australia rallies in the past.
Fernando was confronted on Eastern Avenue by members of both Stand Up (Labor) and Switch (Grassroots/independents) who questioned him about his beliefs. Fernando repeatedly claimed that he “didn’t know” whether the Holocaust happened.
Eventually, Fernando removed his Vanguard shirt, and claimed he was no longer contesting the election, saying, “my presence is not appropriate for this environment”.
David Wan, who is heading the Vanguard ticket, told Honi that he was unaware of Fernando’s beliefs prior to asking him to join, and that he would not have let him run if he was. Wan confirmed that Fernando would be removed from the ticket after his views came to light. However, due to SRC regulations, his name cannot be removed from the ballot paper and he will remain on the ticket. This was confirmed by the electoral officer Pauline Graham.
According to Wan, who identifies as a Liberal, Vanguard is an apolitical ticket. One of their main priorities is to open up unused rooms in Carslaw as study spaces.
Vanguard is endorsing Vision’s Brendan Ma (who is a Liberal Party member running as an independent) for SRC President. The ticket is authorised by USU board director Hengjie Sun.
Ma condemned Fernando’s views in a statement given to Honi. “Vision does not want the endorsement of any ticket or individuals who promote such horrid beliefs”. It is unclear whether Vision will distance themselves from the rest of the Vanguard ticket.
Ma told Honi his ticket was having “extremely thorough conversations with Vanguard to direct them to investigate their team”.
Vanguard shares a name with an American white nationalist group, which included Charlottesville murderer James Fields among its number. Wan denied any association between his ticket and the US organisation.