Adam Schipkie, 28, is an alleged neo-Nazi who lived in the Jewish neighborhood of Caulfield in Melbourne Australia and constantly harassed its residents with anti-Semitic abuse. He has a shaved head and photos of Nazi items on his Facebook page. He was accused of carving swastikas into his neighbors’ cars, using the Nazi salute, and hurling verbal abuse on his neighbors.
Efforts to reach an agreement with Schipkie failed and residents, including some Jews, filed a complaint after his outbursts turned into real threats. When the residents initially complained to police, they were advised to consider moving from the neighborhood, forcing them to turn to VCAT instead for assistance. The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) provides a low cost, accessible, efficient and independent tribunal delivering high quality dispute resolution.
VCAT issued the urgent eviction ruling on August 22, 2012 after Caulfield residents gave evidence they feared for their lives if he stayed on at the property. Adam Schipkie was ordered to leave his taxpayer-subsidized flat in the heart of Melbourne's Jewish community within 48 hours.
The unemployed cook did not attend the hearing, but later denied being a white supremacist and told the Herald Sun he felt persecuted by his neighbors. "Everyone around here has targeted me." “I’m not a neo-Nazi,” he said.
Mr Schipkie blamed acquaintances who sometimes visited for the anti-Semitic behavior alleged by his terrified neighbors. One acquaintance had carved swastikas on his neighbors' cars. He said he shaved his head because it looked better than long hair, and claimed images of Nazi paraphernalia on his Facebook site proved his love of military antiques, not a hatred of Jews.
A resident of the Caulfied apartment building, Janet Waite, said she had woken to find blood all over concrete in the driveway of the residence. "For two hours last night, at least two hours in the middle of the night he was howling and screaming and f'ing and banging on doors," Ms Waite said. "I came out to go shopping and there's blood everywhere, it's not the first time."
Ms Waite said living with the man in the complex had been a nightmare and she would be a lot less worried once he had left. "Every so often there are awful noises that come out of the front, very loud. "There are little kids living in these flats and it can't be very pleasant for the parents when all this stuff is going on."
Ms Waite said she wasn't aware of the man's alleged behavior towards Jewish neighbors. "Let's say it's a multi-race annoyance."
Before the police entered the apartment, Mr Schipkie and a male companion walked out. Mr Schipkie kept his head down as the pair walked away while his friend screamed abuse at waiting media. Shortly after the pair left police, Hanover house staff, a locksmith and professional cleaners entered the property. The locks on the apartment were changed and blood on the path at the front door and driveway was washed away by cleaners.
Neighbors who spoke to the Herald Sun at the Inkerman Rd block of flats were too scared to be identified. One man said he feared retaliation even if the eviction went ahead: "He knows where we live." Another said: "I've never seen anything anti-Semitic in my whole life in Melbourne, and now it is here, in my building. It's really hit a nerve." A woman whose car was defaced with a swastika by one of Mr Schipkie's visitors said she was ashamed to drive along Caulfield streets with the offensive marking.
Residents queried why Hanover Welfare Services had allocated Mr Schipkie the government-subsidized flat, and why they'd had to resort to VCAT for action. Another queried the police response when residents complained: "One woman was asked if she'd considered moving. It's not that easy for Jewish people to move."
Nina Bassat, the president of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, said: “In a country which prides itself in its multiculturalism, it is regrettable that people should experience anti-Semitism and racial abuse. Both Jewish Care and the Anti-Defamation Commission will be looking into the incident.
Tony Keenan, CEO of Hanover Welfare Services, which manages the flat on Inkerman Rd on behalf of Department of Human Services, said the agency would not have awarded Mr Schipkie the home if they'd suspected any anti-Semitism. The staff had acted as quickly as they could to remove the troublesome tenant.
He said Schipkie left without any intervention from them or police. "He packed up and went today. We offered him temporary accommodation elsewhere but he refused that and left."