Saleam co-founded National Action (NA) on Anzac Day, 1982, having been a member of the short-lived National Socialist Party of Australia as a teenager during the 1970s. National Action eventually imploded due to Saleam's criminal actions which included property offenses and fraud in 1984 and for organising a shotgun attack in 1989 on ANC representative Eddie Funde by two NA members. Saleam served jail terms for both crimes. He pleaded not guilty to both charges, claiming that he was set up by police. This claim was rejected by the courts. Saleam maintains his innocence.
On his release from prison, Saleam earned a PhD in politics from the University of Sydney by writing a thesis entitled The Other Radicalism: An Inquiry Into Contemporary Australian Extreme Right Ideology, Politics And Organization 1975-1995. 
Saleam has acted as a mentor for the Patriotic Youth League and was the Secretary of the Sydney branch of the Australia First Party (AFP) between 2002 to 2007. In August 2007, he was expelled from the party by AFP president Diane Teasdale and later established Australia First (NSW) as a separate entity and incorporated the AFP NSW membership into the new party with himself as the party chairman. He is also the co-organizer along with Welf Herfurth, of the Sydney Forum, a right wing conference that is held annually in Sydney.
Saleam is divorced with two children and was reported to be self-employed in 2008.
- Greason, David (1994), I was a teenage fascist, pp.283,284,289, McPhee Gribble
- Gibson, Jano; Frew, Wendy (12 January 2008). "No apology for white Australia policy". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
- West, Andrew (29 February 2004). "White separatist takes on Marrickville". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
- Australian Nationalist Ideological, Historical and Legal Archive maintained by James Saleam