Australia should launch an urgent parliamentary investigation into the “rising terrorism threat” of right-wing extremism, says the nation’s Shadow Minister for Home Affairs.
In a statement released Tuesday morning, Labor Senator Kristina Keneally said it was high time to investigate whether Australia’s response to extreme right-wing groups is really up to snuff.
She pointed to a February admission from Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) chief Mike Burgess that right-wing agitation poses a growing problem to the nation.
Despite this claim, Keneally noted that local authorities are yet to list a number of right-wing extremist groups in Australia as serious threats, as several international allies have already done.
“Australia cannot ignore this rising terrorism threat,” Keneally said, adding that young Australians are being “aggressively radicalised” by right-wing agitators.
The AFP are also concerned about right-wing extremists access to weapons and the difficulty in predicting their intent – both factors that are different to Islamic extremists. pic.twitter.com/uLs8S3bG7u
— Kristina Keneally (@KKeneally) December 7, 2020
Tasking the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security with an inquiry would provide a “bipartisan examination of our exiting frameworks” and could determine if “Australia’s framework for listing terrorist organisations is fit-for-purpose,” Keneally said.
Keneally’s comments stand in contrast to those of Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, who has gone to considerable lengths to raise the spectre of left-wing agitation any time he’s been questioned on local right-wing extremism.
Just after Burgess’ comments in February, Dutton said, “I just don’t care whether they’re on the far right, far left, somewhere in between, they will be dealt with”.
He also confirmed that he personally considers Islamic terrorism to be a left-wing issue, despite ASIO’s own advice stating Islamic extremists aren’t pinned to any one corner of the political spectrum.
In 2019, Dutton also made the extraordinary claim that the Australian Greens are “just as bad” as former Senator Fraser Anning, the fuckhead who essentially blamed New Zealand’s Muslim community for the Christchurch terror attack — a massacre which was itself perpetrated by an Australian right-wing extremist.
Keneally today said the parliamentary inquiry could determine if Australia is really focusing its counter-terrorism efforts in the right areas.
“We cannot ignore the growing threat of right-wing extremism poses to community cohesion or the safety of Australians,” she said.