Australia’s opposition Labor Party has called on the government to list right-wing extremists as terrorists.
Kristina Keneally, Labor’s Home Affairs spokesperson, on Thursday evening called for a national discussion about how widespread far-right extremism has become.
The Opposition said Australia was the odd one out among the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, which comprises Australia, the United States, Britain, New Zealand and Canada, in not officially listing any right-wing groups as terrorists.
“Such proscription would be symbolic, but it would be more than just symbolic,” Keneally said in a speech to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“Some experts suggest that, in our increasingly networked world, any practical distinction between domestic and international terrorism has almost gone completely.”
“Movements do not exist in isolation, but rather link and take inspiration from each other and from individuals within movements.”
Officially listing an organization or individual as a terrorist in Australia gives authorities extra powers to monitor them.
Keneally’s comments came after Australian Brenton Harrison Tarrant was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole over the 2019 Christchurch mosque shooting.
Keneally said that potentially dangerous ideologies had spread quickly online during the COVID-19 lockdown.
“Right-wing extremists are hiding in plain sight, on Facebook and other common-use social media platforms,” she said.
“They use certain words and phrases that have everyday meanings but also convey coded content to those in the know.”