Australia lists right-wing terrorist organization for first time
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Australia lists right-wing terrorist organization for first time

Australia has listed a right-wing group as a terrorist organization for the first time. The move was revealed in a statement released Monday by the country’s Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton.

Terrorist organizations are listed under Division 102 of the Criminal Code Act 1995. The country made regulations to list Sonnenkrieg Division (SKD) as a terrorist organization so that following the disallowance period, the SKD will join 26 other organizations currently listed, including al Qaeda, the Islamic State and Jaish-e-Mohammad. By listing SKD as a terrorist organization, all Australian terrorist offences and the penalties for their conviction, including up to 25 years’ imprisonment, apply to SKD.

The US-based SKD was founded in 2013. It has neo-Nazi ideals and has killed up to 14 persons within the US and the UK. Dutton said that listing it as a terrorist organization reflects “the Government’s commitment to stamping out violence and extremism of all kinds, regardless of ideology or motivation.”

Dutton stated:

SKD adheres to an abhorrent, violent ideology that encourages lone-wolf terrorist actors who would seek to cause significant harm to our way of life and our country. Members of SKD have already been convicted of terrorist offences in the United Kingdom, including encouraging terrorism, preparing for a terrorist attack and possession and dissemination of terrorist material. SKD’s active promotion and encouragement of terrorism has the potential to inspire extremists across the world, and the availability of SKD propaganda online throughout the pandemic has provided fertile ground for [radicalization].

While the move is laudable, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) believes there is more work to be done listing other organizations based on their ideology. Mike Burgess, ASIO’s Director-General of Security, said at a Senate Estimates Hearing that the ASIO had recommended other organizations to be listed in addition to the SKD, and if it believes an organization promotes violence, it “will consider pushing that forward.”