The Victorian Parliament will investigate the growing threat and influence of far-right extremism in Victoria following the introduction of a motion by the Greens.
The Greens motion was introduced at the end of last year and called on the state government to establish an inquiry into the growing threat and influence of far-right extremism in Victoria.
And now this week the Legal and Social Issues Committee has formally approved the inquiry to go ahead.
The inquiry will report later this year after exploring:
The rise of far-right extremist movements in Victoria
Their methods of recruitment and communication
How the pandemic has affected the growth of far-right extremism in Victoria
The risks their plans and actions pose to Victoria, especially to Victoria’s multicultural communities
The violent potential of these movements, including the potential for targeted violence against politicians and public figures
The links between far-right extremist groups, other forms of extremism, radical populist right and anti-vaccine misinformation groups
What steps need to be taken in Victoria to counter these far-right extremist groups
Many Victorians were shocked to see neo-Nazis openly organising in the Grampians last year, yet it was a visible warning of the growing threat of far-right extremism to the Victorian community.
And throughout the pandemic many of these extremist groups have sought to exploit people’s genuine fears and anxieties about the pandemic to spread misinformation and cause deep division in our community.
Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam, said she was pleased the Greens’ motion had led to the establishment of an inquiry, and that it couldn’t come at a more important time.
Ms Ratnam said the Greens had been worried about the rise of these extremist groups for years, and that she herself had encountered their harassment and abuse first-hand, but that the pandemic had exacerbated their dangerous influence.
The parliamentary inquiry into the rise of the far-right in Victoria will report by May 31, 2022.
Quotes attributable to Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam MLC:
“There should be no place for far-right extremism in Victoria.
“Yet at the beginning of last year, we saw white supremacists openly gathering in regional Victoria. And throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen these groups play into the genuine fears and anxieties of Victorians in an attempt to mobilise and grow their movement.
“Our inquiry will investigate the rise of these movements in Victoria and what we need to do to counter them, for the safety of all Victorians, especially multicultural communities.
“History has shown us what happens when we don’t act quickly.”