Interview With Ross L. May: Special Exerpts
Conducted and edited by Dr. Jim Saleam
I am pleased to publish exerpts from an interview conducted with Mr. Ross L. May in December 2005. The remainder of the interview is not relevant to the present purposes of Kangaroo Reich, but rather will be used later for an academic project still in the works.
It is a matter of record that Ross May is (or was) better known as 'The Skull'; he was a colourful identity of the 1960's and down to the mid-1970's, whose speciality was confrontation with the political Left. As a 'National Socialist' active in one or another of the 'Nazi parties' of the time, Ross May achieved a certain notoriety. Times have changed. In this interview, Ross tells us some inside details on the operation of Sydney neo-nazism in the 1990's. These things tally with the general flavour of this Page. A couple of necessary introductory quesions set the context.
Q. Can you tell me your history in what is generally called 'National Socialism' in Australia?
A. I was active from 1962 on the Sydney Domain. I was recruited for the National Socialist Party of Australia in late 1963 and met the founders Don Lindsay, Ted Cawthron and Arthur Smith. After that I was a fixture in that scene. The party had a broken history down to 1975, although I was active after this date in some follow-on groups. I suppose I have met most of the main identities who passed through it.
Q. You have a colourful reputation as 'The Skull'. Why was that?
A. It would have to be all the incidents in which I was involved. I freely admit it. These were radical times and I ran across a number of leftoid activists and collided with them ...... Simon Townsend, or Slimey Townsend, was smacked ...... Yeah, Jimmy Spiegelman now Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He was an anti-apartheid activist at Sydney University when I hit him...... Meredith Burgmann, now the president of the upper house .... I was at a meeting at the Ironworkers' Hall ... she threw herself on the ground as part of the protest ... so I kicked her ... And Denis Freney, the last editor of the Communist Party paper,Tribune .... he was a consistent idiot. Even the coppers didn't mind Denis being corrected .... I went to gaol a few times for some of these things and a lot more...
Q. Okay, I'd bring you forward to the 1990's. David Palmer: how did you meet him? What were the circumstances?
A. Well, I was talking to XX (name suppressed) in 1990 and he told me that some bloke was trying to get the National Socialist Party up and going again. I was pretty curious and I rang. I'll never forget the conversation. Palmer knew who I was and he said he was trying to get all the old National Socialist members to join him. He said the first thing he would do is organised break and enters of people's homes to raise money to acquire weapons. I thought: this conversation is probably being recorded. I went around and met him. He was dressed in a made-up brown uniform and a swastika armband. He told me that he converted to be a National Socialist: "one night I went to bed as a Liberal; I woke up the next day as a National Socialist". Yeah, schizos do that ... the voices ....
I kept in touch with Palmer. I saw him one day speaking on the Domain with a monocle in his eye. He had something with him (I didn't know if it was male or female) who said she was a Nazi who liked animals. This was Veneta, a nut case, whose house was used for meetings ..... Just for fun I went to his 1991 Hitler Birthday Party. It was like the sheltered workshop was let out for the night. Later on, Palmer involved me in a few of his interviews with the media over time. I should have stayed away. Palmer would talk about violence and so on. I was thinking: why is he getting away with all this?
Q. Can I assume you became suspicious of something?
A. More than that. Palmer asked me to introduce him to old Don Lindsay, I think in 1991. He told Don he needed finance. So he asked Don to sign his house over to him and he'd give Don a lease to live there rent free and he'd pay the rates etc. When Don passed away, he'd get a HQ and name it Don Lindsay House. He tried the same with me and then with Veneta. I think the Guardianship people stopped him over Veneta..... I started to see this bloke was a crook.
One thing that really got me about these nutters was that I heard all sorts of chit chat that you should be killed. Palmer never stopped going on about you and stopping you from being active in politics. I didn't know what you were doing or why all this was going down. There was talk about terrorism and underground action. There was weird stuff about ASIO being a 'friend' not to be provoked. Most of the people hanging around were head-cases. I distanced myself little by little until by early 1996 I hardly saw them at all. It's like you know something just isn't right. It was a feeling and I didn't want to be around. What contact that there was served the purpose of me keeping tabs with who was in and who out.
Q. Was there any crunch-time thing that caused a final break?
A. Yes. Much later. In 1999, Palmer appeared on national TV about the Ku Klux Klan in Australia. He asked me and a few blokes if we'd dress up and pretend to be Klansmen for New Zealand Television. We finally agreed. He mentioned money and I believe he was paid well for the performance. I was already moving to support groups that had a fair message and some support and I was concerned this KKK business might be aimed at Pauline Hanson. Palmer said that it wasn't. We went to some place back of Liverpool when Palmer turned up with weird cardboard costume hats and funny bedsheets. We told Palmer that was it and we left him with it. I later saw the Palmer pantomime on television. Then I found out it was all to discredit Hanson. So that ended any association with Palmer.
Q. There was a famous incident in 2001 at a Sydney meeting of League of Rights. What do you say about it?
A. Well, that was the night Palmer, 'Der Fooower', got massaged. I saw you there and you told me Palmer might be coming with some blokes to cause trouble. I went inside. I heard later the sounds of a fracas when YY (name suppressed) came in and said: "Palmer's here. What side are you on?" Well I already knew that and I came out to see you arguing with Palmer. Someone said: "isn't it true that Palmer has been saying that Jim Saleam ought to be killed?." Well I said: "he's been on that for years." Palmer lunged at you, you hit him back and it was on. Last thing I saw was that fat heap out on his arse outside the hall. I had seen ZZ (name suppressed) jump in and put in a few good ones for all that had ben done against people. I suppose it was just Karma.
Q. You know the allegation against Palmer, that he was an agent? Comments?
A. It has to be right. This was a strange circus. It wasn't anything political. I thought there was some strange stuff in the old NS party but this was way out. It was just on-going chaos with big talk and no action. Like a spy novel. Palmer is now pretty much exposed, but I think if there's justice anywhere, he should get it.
Thankyou for your free thoughts.(J.S.)
Inside The Kangaroo Reich