Rising Right-Wing Extremism Among Young Australians

Media Release:

A Senate committee has raised concerns about the increasing involvement of young Australians in right-wing extremism. On June 17, representatives from the Centre for Resilient and Inclusive Societies (CRIS) and the Addressing Violent Extremism and Radicalisation to Terrorism (AVERT) Network presented their findings on this troubling trend.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation defines right-wing extremism as the support for violence to achieve political outcomes, often linked to ideologies like white supremacism and neo-Nazism. According to CRIS and AVERT, these movements have been growing in Australia, attracting new demographics, including young people.

Professor Michele Grossman of CRIS highlighted the role of social media in this increase, noting that young people’s exposure to extremist content has surged. Extremist groups have become more strategic, targeting their messaging to young audiences.

Grossman cited various factors drawing individuals into extremism, such as feelings of deprivation, climate change frustration, multiculturalism, the housing crisis, and unemployment. To combat this, she stressed the need for media literacy education across Australian schools.

Deradicalisation efforts, particularly for young people on the fence about extremism, were deemed crucial by AVERT representatives. They suggested toolkits to recognize disinformation and mentoring programs to provide guidance and a sense of belonging.

Despite these concerns, some political experts argue that terms like “right-wing” and “left-wing” are outdated and overly simplistic. They advocate for more precise labelling to address the core harmful beliefs behind violent behaviours, rather than broad ideological categories.

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