A particularly putrid boil on the pockmarked arse of Australian politics was lanced last week when the West Australian District Court sentenced John van Blitterswyck, a prominent member of the Australian Nationalist Movement to two years' jail for his part in a conspiracy to firebomb a number of Chinese restaurants. He was the final person to be convicted over the plot.
The ANM was founded in 1984 by Jack van Tongeren, a bloke who had some serious problems with Asians. Half-Indonesian himself, van Tongeren suffered a great deal of anti-Asian racism in his early years. Then he went to Vietnam. He returned, in the words of his father, "abnormal", and got it into his head that there was a vast criminal Asian network operating in Australia. He also concluded that the Jews, for some reason, were complicit in the Asian plot to destroy the country. With the assistance of a motley crew of fellow travellers, he engaged in a number of burglaries to finance the ANM's activities and in a firebombing campaign against the Chinese restaurants of Western Australia which he believed were fronts for an opium ring. He was eventually jailed in 1989 after one of his trusted associates, Russell Wiley, turned police informant.