Australian political party sets up its headquarters in building once home to infamous doomsday cult that promised to ‘save followers from death by taking them to The Island’
- Family First Party establish headquarters at Oakden complex in South Australia
- The building was once home to notorious doomsday cult Agape Ministries
- Party leader Jack Snelling said he was unaware of the building’s history
- In 2010 the compound was raided with police seizing a stockpile of firearms
South Australia’s Family First Party have set up its headquarters at a building once home to an infamous doomsday cult.
The party led by former Labor treasurer Jack Snelling and minister Tom Kenyon, have moved into the Oakden complex, formerly occupied by Agape Ministries.
Agape leader Rocco Leo warned his followers of a 2012 apocalypse, claiming that everyone on Earth would be implanted with microchips and those who refused would be killed by the government.
Family First leader Jack Snelling (pictured) said he was unaware of the building’s history
Leo reportedly promised to save cult members by taking them to a place called ‘The Island’ in the South Pacific if they handed over their life savings.
Mr Snelling said he was unaware his party had moved into the former cult’s headquarters which had once been used to stockpile ammunition and firearms, reports The Adelaide Advertiser.
‘It was the old Hillcrest Hospital,’ Mr Snelling said. ‘We are not renting it off the Agape cult, it has changed hands since then. It is owned by an Indian dentist and we are renting the facilities off him.
The Family First Party has established its headquarters at the Oakden complex in South Australia which was formerly occupied by doomsday cult Agape Ministries
The Oakden complex was once occupied by Agape leader Rocco Leo (pictured) and his followers which stockpiled firearms and ammunition for an apocalypse
‘I can’t see any irony in there, well not even coincidence. I don’t see any particular irony, we have nothing to do with religious cults.
He added his party was merely using the complex for ‘a bit of office space and somewhere for storage and stuff like that’.
Family First had taken the lease to have a registered office and said it would reassess its position depending on the party’s success at the state election.
The newly revived party, which recently survived a legal challenge against its registration, expects to field more than 30 candidates for the lower house as well as its upper house candidates.
Cult leader Rocco Leo (pictured, right) fled to Fiji where he owes millions of dollars to his followers and the Australian Tax Office
In 2010 the Oakland complex and 11 other properties linked to Agape Ministries were raided by police, uncovering a stash of firearms, detonators and ammunition.
Cult leader Rocco Leo fled to Fiji after his assets were frozen which included eight properties, a fleet of vehicles spanning two states, and millions of dollars in 10 different bank accounts.
Cult family members said Leo told his followers he had bought an island in Vanuatu and convinced them to hand over money – in some cases as much as $1 million – to fund their new life.
In 2010 Leslie Baligod, whose son and two granddaughters were members of the cult, said the young girls aged six and eight had been promised in marriage to adult cult members and issued a public plea for their safety.
She said the group was stockpiling weapons and all cult members had been given firearms training.
The Australian Taxation Office issued Leo with a $10million tax bill while he raised funds through a Swiss bingo scheme to continue his operations in Fiji.