Millman warns of rising extremism

MOUNT LAWLEY Labor MP Simon Millman has warned WA to stay on guard against extreme right wing terrorism creeping in here as unrest over Covid-19 exacerbates radical movements. 

He told Parliament his constituency is particularly concerned by this trend: “The people of Mount Lawley are survivors of apartheid in South Africa and the Holocaust from World War II and they know first-hand the danger that race-based ideologies present to the community.”

Mr Millman was speaking in support of a bill requiring “exceptional reasons” be shown before prisoners with terrorist links are granted early release.

The amendments are based on a federal Council of Australian Governments agreement following the 2017 Brighton siege. 

The perpetrator was alleged to have trained with militant Islamists in Somalia, was acquitted over conspiracy to commit a terrorist attack on Holsworthy Barracks in 2009, spent more time in prison for possessing a firearm in 2011, and then was sentenced to five years prison for committing a home invasion in 2012. 

Despite starting two fires while in prison, he was released early and committed the attack while on parole, killing one person and injuring others before dying in a shootout with police. 

While that perpetrator had Islamist sympathies, Mr Millman said there were growing threats from “right wing extremism… Neo-Nazism and Neo-Fascism”.

He cited an ASIO report from February that stated “Covid-19 has exacerbated a range of anti-government, anti-5G, anti-vaccination and pro-conspiracy narratives raising public awareness of different issue motivated groups”.

ASIO reported: “Extreme right-wing groups and individuals have seized on Covid-19, believing it reinforces the narratives and conspiracies at the core of their ideologies. They see the pandemic as proof of the failure of globalisation, multiculturalism, and democracy, and confirmation that societal collapse and a ‘race war’ are inevitable.”

Mr Millman noted: “We are, sadly, following the path that has been well worn in the United States. So much of the narrative that is being advanced is tested on people in America and then sold into the Australian community through social media and the internet.”

The bill has opposition support and passed its third reading in the lower house on October 20, and has now been sent to the upper house.

by DAVID BELL

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