The ECAJ and the ZFA lodge their submissions to the inquiry into extremist movements and radicalism in Australia.

February 17, 2021 by J-Wire News Service
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On 23 November 2020, ECAJ co-CEO Peter Wertheim met online with Senator Kristina Keneally at her request to discuss burgeoning right-wing extremist activity in Australia.

She said that she and Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus would write that day to the Attorney General, Christian Porter, expressing their concern at “the accelerating threat of violent right-wing extremism in Australia”, and calling for the Chair and Deputy Chair of the PJCIS to co-sponsor a motion in the House of Representatives to refer an inquiry on right-wing extremism to the PJCIS. Senator Keneally expressed a desire for the ECAJ to lodge a written submission if the Inquiry were held, and I confirmed that we would do so.

The Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton was initially dismissive of the call for an Inquiry, seeing it as motivated solely by party politics. However, on 9 December 2020 he and Senator Keneally agreed upon Terms of Reference for an Inquiry by the PJCIS into extremist movements in Australia “including, but not limited to, Islamist and far right-wing extremist groups”.  On 10 December 2020 the ECAJ received an Invitation to make a submission from the PJCIS itself.

The Terms of Reference are wide-ranging and cover many issues that have been of long-standing concern to the Australian Jewish community and have been the subject of advocacy by the ECAJ.  These include:

·         measures to be taken against extremist groups such as National Socialist Network (and its predecessor Antipodean Resistance) and Hizb ut-Tahrir, which advocate violence but have thus far stopped short of engaging in violence.

·         the efficacy or otherwise of current hate crime laws ie laws against crimes which include, among their defined elements, hostility or prejudiceagainst the victim on the basis of a protected attribute such as race or religion.

·         the need to list the entire Hezbollah organisation (not merely its so-called “External Security Organisation”) under Australia’s terrorist organisation listing laws.

·         banning the public display of hate symbols.

·         the need for a much more systematic, whole-of-government approach to address the problem of extremism, both through legislation and, most especially, through education.

·          the need for a uniform national system for classifying and recording hate crime and hate-motivated crime.

The ECAJ sought and obtained input from each of the State and ACT roof bodies, and others they wished to consult, including the CSG.  The ECAJ submission covered each of the above matters and was necessarily a longer submission than usual.

Read the ECAJ submission here.

The Zionist Federation of Australia recommended that the government changes terrorism legislation to close a loophole allowing organisations to associate with terrorists.

In a statement, they recorded: “Australian counter-terrorism law casts a wide net over the terrorism-related activity of individuals, including a prohibition against associating with a proscribed terrorist organisation.

However, the Criminal Code does not prohibit an organisation from associating with a terrorist organisation.

The ZFA recommended in its submission that any organisation that willingly and knowingly associates with a proscribed terrorist organisation (in order to help that organisation) should itself be proscribed. This is the practice of Canada, New Zealand and the United States.

ZFA President Jeremy Leibler said of the submission, “This is a focused submission that seeks to close a hole in Australian counter-terrorism legislation and, in doing so, will restrict the operational environment of terrorists everywhere.”

Read the ZFA submission here.

The PJCIS is due to bring down its report to the Minister in April.


2 Responses to “The ECAJ and the ZFA lodge their submissions to the inquiry into extremist movements and radicalism in Australia.”
  1. Adrian Jackson says:

    Right wingers are also anti vaccination types like Bernie Finn a Victoria MP. However their rally in Fawkner Park, South Yarra, and called “a March of Millions” only attracted a hundred or so of these clowns this week.

  2. Rabbi Chaim Ingram OAM says:

    Methinks the threat to us from the extreme Left is more insidious that that from the extreme Right – particularly if the former danger is made light of.

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