Canberra, Dec 8 (IANS) Australia’s opposition Labor Party on Tuesday called for the government to establish an inquiry into the threat posed by right-wing extremism.
The party said it would seek a vote in parliament to refer right-wing extremism to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, reports Xinhua news agency.
Security agencies have repeatedly warned that the threat from right-wing extremism in Australia is growing but the government has not listed any groups as terrorist organisations, which would allow agencies to deploy greater surveillance powers against them.
Kristina Keneally, Labor’s Home Affairs spokesperson, said that Australia had to re-assess how it responds to right-wing threats.
“We know that right-wing extremism is on the rise in Australia and around the world,” she told public broadcaster SBS.
“When we are faced with a growing and real threat — we should ask ourselves, are the laws that we have and the tools available fit for purpose.
“Right-wing extremism is different, their ideologies are different — their methods are different, the way that they organise themselves is different,” Keneally added.
The Director-General of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), Mike Burgess, told a Senate hearing in October that right-wing extremists now account for 40 per cent of the agency’s caseload this year.
He had warned that the coronavirus pandemic had enabled the rapid spread of extremist ideologies with more Australians spending time online at home.