Australia will soon add its first right-wing extremist group to the terrorist organisation list amid growing calls to address the rise of far-right extremism.
Sonnenkrieg Division, originally forming in the United States but with networks across Europe, will become the first far-right extremist group added to the government's register of listed terrorist groups.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton confirmed on A Current Affairs the neo-Nazi group would be the latest added to the black list, following concerns over their reach to young Australians.
"They have a presence that we're particularly worried about in the UK, but their reach goes into the minds of young people and Australians here," Mr Dutton said on Monday evening.
"If [there are] other organisations that need to be listed, ASIO will consider those matters."
The group isn't listed at the time of writing but it's understood steps are being undertaken to get it officially added to the list of 27 organisations.
The announcement follows the attack of a security guard at Channel Nine's Melbourne office by an alleged member of a separate right-wing extremist group on Monday afternoon.
Labor's Home Affairs spokesperson Senator Kristina Keneally said the news was welcome but that other violent groups needed to be considered, too.
"Australia is the last of the Five Eyes countries to designate a right-wing extremist group as a terrorist organisation," she said.
"There are several other right-wing extremist groups, some with direct links to Australian groups, that have already been proscribed by our Five Eyes partners.
"The Sonnenkrieg Division is a UK-based right-wing extremist group, which adheres to a violent white-supremacist ideology. It was proscribed by the UK over a year ago.
"The question for the Morrison government now is whether those other groups will also be proscribed in Australia."
Australia's domestic spy agency, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, has repeatedly warned right-wing extremism was now taking up between 30 and 40 per cent of its investigations.
In the agency's annual report, released in 2020, director-general Mike Burgess said the threat was serious and evolving.
"While we have maintained continuous and dedicated resources to this area, extremists such as neo-Nazis represent a serious, increasing and evolving threat to security," Mr Burgess said.
"These groups are also becoming ideological: more aware of and committed to specific dogmas, philosophies and views.
"They draw from a diversity of ideas and are attracting a younger membership who display few overt signs of their extremist ideology."
In December last year, Mr Dutton directed a Parliamentary inquiry to examine the rising threat of right-wing and Islamic extremism in the country.
It would also examine the role of social media, encrypted messaging, and the dark web in allowing extremists to communicate and organise.
The government said it also hoped to better understand how it could counteract hate speech and whether it should consider regulating hate symbols and insignia.
The committee is due to report its findings by the end of April.
Senator Keneally said Australia needed to take the threat seriously, especially following the urging of the country's national security agencies.
"Right-wing extremist groups are sophisticated in their use of mainstream media attention to radicalise, recruit and spread insidious ideologies," Senator Keneally said.
"Our national security agencies tell us that right-wing extremism in Australia is real and growing.
"Australians deserve a government that is on their side, and that includes taking the threat of right-wing extremism seriously."
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