Experts issue right-wing warning
Australian security experts have issued clear warnings about the local rise of right-wing terrorism.
ASIO director-general Mike Burgess says extreme groups are now more organised than before.
“ASIO notes that the use of international online forums and spaces by the extreme right wing allows rapid and easy connections between extreme right-wing individuals globally,” he said in the preface to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute's Counterterrorism Yearbook 2020.
He says extremists are meeting in suburb areas, saluting Nazi flags, inspecting weapons and training in combat.
Charles Sturt University terrorism researcher Kristy Campion says government efforts to fight the online presence of right-wing extremist material may block some carriers of the views, but fails “to provide meaningful counter-narratives or to undermine the value that individuals attach to ideological affiliation”
“Ideologically driven narratives serve to recruit, motivate and guide violent actors, but they don't always contain violent content; nor are they disseminated solely in open online spaces,” she has told the Canberra Times.
“It's been well established that public rallies, marches and protests are significant for right-wing extremist movements as means for building offline interpersonal networks, recruiting, establishing social identity and building group cohesion.
“While peaceful protest should continue to be protected by Australian law, divisive narratives that damage community cohesion and inspire violent action should be challenged.”
Dr Campion said politicians should be more willing to condemn right-wing extremist language and ideas.
“More practically, confronting and exposing these ideological narratives must be prioritised to inhibit recruitment to specific groups and the broader extreme-right milieu,” she said.
“Without confronting the central motivating ideology, online countermeasures such as de-platforming and censorship will address only isolated aspects of right-wing extremism, while the fundamental premise for violent action endures.”