For the first time, Australia brands an extreme right-wing group as a terrorist organisation

June 17, 2021 by Henry Benjamin
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The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security has approved regulations listing the antisemitic far-right Sonnenkrieg Division as a terrorist organisation.

In his report, Senator James Paterson said: “It is the first extreme right-wing organisation to be listed in Australia. The committee is currently conducting an inquiry into extremist movements and radicalism in Australia and may make further recommendations.

The committee reviewed a submission received from the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council. Their submission is supportive of the listing and makes note of the threat to the Australia-Jewish community by individuals and groups who have racist and nationalist ideologies and suggests the government consider additional approaches to combating the threat.”

In its deliberations, the committee determined that the Sonnenkrieg Division seeks to encourage lone-actor terrorist attacks against its political, racial, and ethnic enemies. SKD members acting on behalf of the organisation, have encouraged, promoted, and glorified terrorist acts through online propaganda. SKD adheres to an ideology that is violently opposed to multiethnic Western societies and there is a possibility that a lone-actor attack directed or inspired by SKD could result in harm to Australians.”

Labor Senator Kristina Keneally said: “For anyone who has been paying attention, the fact that right-wing extremist groups have found an audience in Australia sadly comes as no shock. What is shocking is that it has taken this government this long to prescribe just one right-wing terrorist organisation. What is shocking is how long it has taken for this government to realise how very real and very serious the threat posed by right-wing extremism is to our safety and our democracy. I do use the term ‘right-wing extremism’ deliberately. As the ASIO director-general said, he is using terms such as ‘religiously motivated’ and ‘politically motivated ideology’, but he also acknowledges that it is appropriate at times to use the specific term ‘right-wing extremism’ to name the threat that we face, and this is certainly an appropriate term to use in the context of the Sonnenkrieg Division.

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry also sent a submission to the committee which considered the problems with the Sonnenkrieg Division in March this year.

ECAJ’s Julie Nathan told J-Wire: “It is welcome news that a Parliamentary committee has approved the proscription of the UK-based Nazi organisation, Sonnenkrieg Division (SKD), which has been listed as a terrorist organisation in Australia since March. The proscription of SKD sends a clear message that organisations supporting and advocating racism, especially antisemitism, as well as violence and genocide will not be tolerated in Australia. As antisemitic propaganda and incidents increase around the world, it is commendable that the Australian government and parliament are working together to counter the influence of violent extremist groups of all kinds.”

J-Wire understands that the Sonnenkrieg Division does not have a presence in Australia but they have attracted the attention of our legislators following a threat to shoot Prince Harry.

On the following day, Shadow Attorney Mark Dreyfus addressed parliament on the extreme influences which are making their presence in Australia. Although the banning of the Sonnenkrieg Division was a bipartisan effort, Mark Dreyfus has expanded the understanding of the dangers facing Australia.

 

Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton said the decision to list the Sonnenkrieg Division reflected the Government’s commitment to stamping out violence and extremism of all kinds, regardless of ideology or motivation.

“SKD adheres to an abhorrent, violent ideology that encourages lone-wolf terrorist actors who would seek to cause significant harm to our way of life and our country,” Mr Dutton said.

“Members of SKD have already been convicted of terrorist offences in the United Kingdom, including encouraging terrorism, preparing for a terrorist attack and possession and dissemination of terrorist material.

“SKD’s active promotion and encouragement of terrorism has the potential to inspire extremists across the world, and the availability of SKD propaganda online throughout the pandemic has provided fertile ground for radicalisation.”

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