Australian MP ordered 'Nazi salute'

2011-04-15 11:23
Sydney - A key MP who holds the balance of power in parliament was on Friday accused of ordering military cadets to commemorate Adolf Hitler's rise to power, but said he could not remember the incident.

Andrew Wilkie allegedly told teenage army recruits to salute the 50th anniversary of Hitler's 1933 rise when he was a senior cadet at the elite Duntroon Military College in 1983, News Limited newspapers reported.

When one recruit refused to stand to attention in honour of the Nazis, the independent politician allegedly allowed other senior cadets to abuse and punish him.

Wilkie, a key member of Prime Minister Julia Gillard's fragile coalition government, said he had no recollection of the incident and would not be apologising.

But he admitted involvement in "bastardisation", or initiation, sessions at the officer training academy.

"I honestly cannot remember anything about that specific allegation," Wilkie told a press conference, referring to the Hitler claims.

Smear campaign

"But I have never made a secret of the fact that I was one of many cadets involved in the bastardisation scandal at the Royal Military College Duntroon in 1983. In fact I was disciplined for misconduct at the time."

Wilkie said he was "obviously regretful" of that.

"I never physically assaulted anyone, I never sexually assaulted anyone and anyone who makes an accusation like that needs to watch out," he added.

The former Iraq war whistle-blower is currently leading a push against problem slot machine gambling and revealed on Wednesday that he was getting death threats as debate intensified about imposing betting limits.

He claimed the Nazi allegations were part of a deliberate smear campaign over his push to crack down on poker machines.

"This is happening ... against the backdrop of the poker machine industry launching its campaign ... against the government and me personally," he said.

Sex scandal

"I will not be intimidated by that campaign against me. I will not be cowed in any way."

News Limited newspapers quoted former cadet Brendan Etches, whose grandfather fought against Hitler's troops at Tobruk, as saying he was shocked at being ordered to salute the regime.

"I refused to come to attention when they ordered the general salute," said Etches, who was 17-years-old at the time.

Etches left Duntroon soon after and was one of three cadets who blew the whistle on the college's "sick secret cult" of sadistic punishment for trifling or imagined offences.

The scandal led to the resignation of senior officers and the expulsion and disciplining of several cadets, including Wilkie, although he went on to attain the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the army.

The allegations come just days after Defence Minister Stephen Smith ordered a series of reviews into conduct in the military sparked by a sex scandal involving a young female cadet at the Defence Force

Decades of misconduct

The woman went to the media after a male recruit allegedly filmed himself having sex with her and broadcast it via Skype to his friends.

The publicity triggered other complaints about sexual misconduct stretching back decades.

Wilkie urged the government to conduct a specific review of Duntroon as part of its campaign to weed out unsavoury behaviour.

"If we are going to have a fresh look at what's going on... it would be healthy to not just look at the Defence Force Academy but to look at Duntroon as well," he said.

Read more on:    julia gillard  |  australia

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Goalkeeper saves five penalties with his FACE!

Nothing, and we mean nothing, will keep goalkeeper Scott Stirling from stopping the ball!

Hottie of the day: Jesselyn
This invention makes farts smell like chocolate!
11 things men don’t know about their clothes
Hilarious mortal kombat elevator prank!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Software Tester (1 year Contract)

Cape Town
Communicate Cape Town IT
R23 000 Per Month

Junior Architectural Technologist

Western Cape
Express Employment Services - Cape Town
R8 000 - R15 000 Per Month

Financial Accountant

Western Cape
The Ideal Crew
R10 000 - R15 000 Per Month

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

Save up to 60% on toys!

Don’t miss out on this hot offer, save up to 60% on toys. While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


Grandiose ideas and plans can trip you up today. Keep things in context and take one step at a more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.