$24m to target regional Australian extremism
The Australian government is hoping a sizeable sum of federal funds will weed out extremist groups and radicalised individuals based in regional Australia.
The Morrison government pledged $60m to extinguish extremism in Australia on Wednesday, the same amount spent to date by the government over eight years targeting the same issue.
Over two thirds of the funds will be spent in Australia’s regions. FlowNews24 has asked the government what regions or form of extremism have emerged in recent times across regional Australia to warrant the spending.
The $24 million regional counter-terrorism funding initiative follows an incident in June last year in the Grampians in Victoria’s west. A large group of white supremacists met a national park, dressed in balaclavas and expressed emotive language which referenced Adolf Hitler.
Police later confirmed the group hadn’t broken any laws despite witnesses reporting that they heard chants of “Heil Hitler.”
Minister for Home Affairs, Karen Andrews, noted the significance of the threat of extremism from radicalised individuals and groups in Australia and said Australians will benefit from increased security from the expenditure:
“Australia is a peaceful, tolerant, and harmonious country, but we cannot be blind to the fact that there are those among us who seek to sow hate, fear, and discord.
“Violent extremists may have a range of ideologies and motivations, but none of them are welcome in this country. This Government has zero tolerance for anyone threatening the peace and cohesion of our society by trying to use violence to achieve a political, religious, or ideological goal.
“The Morrison Government’s significant new investment will ensure Australia’s long-term safety, by funding a range of new and expanded CVE (countering violent extremism) initiatives that will work together to build a safer, resilient and more united Australia.”
Victoria's Andrews Labor government pledged in September to ban the display of extremist symbols such as the Nazi swastika, drawing support from NSW Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi.
Victorian Multicultural Affairs Minister Ros Spence said in September:
"Nazi symbols glorify one of the most hateful ideologies in human history. We must confront hate, prevent it, and give it no space to grow."