White supremacists a growing threat to social cohesion in Australia, NSW Police deputy commissioner Nick Kaldas says
Angela Lavoipierre 17 July 2015
New South Wales Police have named the rise of white supremacist groups as one of the main threats to social cohesion in Australia.
Police Deputy Commissioner Nick Kaldas said a number of organisations fitting that description are moving out of the shadows.
"Racist groups who have in the past worked under the radar, coming out, spreading hatred, particularly on the far-right," he said.
Mr Kaldas said police were watching the trend closely although he declined to name any specific groups.
"I'm loathed to give them any oxygen but I would say that there is definitely activity on the right wing, the extreme right wing, of politics and people who are using events around the world to create incidents in Australia and NSW and in Sydney," he said.
In contrast to what the NSW Deputy Commissioner said, in Victoria anti racist protesters were pepper sprayed by police. Here is some anti-racists being treated after being pepper sprayed at the reclaim rally in Melbourne.
Victoria Police extending a hand of solidarity with fascist reclaim protesters in Melbourne.
(Colin Ryans photo - Facebook)
"We're not taking our eye off that ball. We are watching it just as much as we watch anybody else."
He was speaking today at a community cohesion conference at the University of Western Sydney, in Parramatta.
'Online mobilisation' contributes to growth of extremism
Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Tim Soutphommasane also gave a speech, in which he echoed the concerns of police.
"It's of concern that extremist organisations are being emboldened and conducting their activities in public more frequently and more visibly," he said.
"Part of it must have something to do with online mobilisation, the fact that you can attract attention and support more easily through social media and the internet."
Confirming his appearance in a Facebook post this week, Nationals MP George Christensen (right) said he chose to speak at a Reclaim Australia event because he wants to “support people who seek to defend our Australian way of life, our culture and our freedoms from the threat of radical Islam” ... Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has refused to condemn the Coalition MP for his planned attendance at the right-wing extremist rally, despite warnings from the Australian Federal Police about the rising danger of such movements.
Dr Soutphommasane said he is happy with the police response so far, but he warns that Australian white supremacists may become even bolder in the future.
"Vigilance is going to be important here and we need to ensure that we monitor developments closely and that there isn't an escalation in the situation," he said.
"The last thing we would want to see is physical violence involving racism in our streets and in our suburbs."
He said national unity is the best response to violent extremism, no matter its persuasion.
"The best antidote we have is for a cohesive and harmonious society where people can feel that they belong to Australia, where they don't have the need to repudiate our society and it's institutions and values," Dr Soutphommasane said.