Submission: Right wing extremist movements in Australia

The Council notes the concerningly growing threat of violent right wing extremism both overseas and in Australia, as well as the major impact of the online environment in radicalising young people towards extremist behaviour. There have been many incidents of right wing terrorist attacks which have caused large death tolls in Western countries. If not properly addressed, the spread of hateful and xenophobic far-right ideology will discernibly continue to threaten democracy, the rule of law and safety of citizens.

The Council submits that the best measures to counter violent extremism in Australia are those that are centred around advocacy, education and cultural/institutional reform targeted towards addressing the underlying social factors which influences at risk people towards radicalisation and violent extremist behaviour, particularly among young people.

The Council further submits that a nuanced model of countering violent extremism should be developed and opposes criminal laws which are not carefully confined to addressing actual harm. We note that Australia has a “hypersensitive” legislative approach to the threat of politically motivated violence and that this approach has arguably, been ineffective in preventing the rise of right wing extremism.

There is clearly a need for forums that bring together experts, practitioners, community leaders, young people and government to discuss the risks of right wing extremism in Australia and to develop not only the public’s literacy with respect to politically motivated violence, but to develop holistic models to prevent and counter violent right wing extremism.

Read our submission here.