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Gosnells attacker arrested amid rising instances of far-right extremism

Aaron Bloch -

The man allegedly responsible for the racist attack of an Indigenous mother and daughter in Gosnells, Western Australia last week has been arrested and charged.

The man, who has been identified as Liam Michael Bradley, 37, was detained in a citizen's arrest before being taken by WA Police.

Bradley was charged with performing an unlawful act with intent to harm and conduct intended to racially harass.

The citizen's arrest reportedly saw Bradley continue to shout racist obscenities whilst he wore a scarf with swastikas on it.

"Wearing that material is vile, it portrays an image that's not accepted by the community and it shouldn't be done," Detective Senior Sergeant Sean Bell of WA Police said.

The attack marks yet another act of far-right extremism following the group trip of 20 to 30 neo-Nazis into the Grampians in Victoria in January.

Following the recent Gosnells attack, Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney said right-wing extremism was on the rise in Australia.

"The racially motivated attack on a First Nations woman is another instance of a disconcerting trend in right-wing extremism and white supremacy in Australia," she said.

Further condemnation from Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton was posted on his Facebook.

"The actions of this individual as reported are disgraceful and have no place in our society," the Minister wrote.

Minister Dutton's comments followed his labelling of the Grampians group as a "lunatic" fringe group.

Yet, what is clear is that this mischaracterisation is no longer a fringe issue; it's a growing problem that requires heightened policy attention and stricter regulation.

Local MP in the Gosnells area, Labor's Matt Keogh, called on the Government to act with greater strength and conviction on far-right extremism.

"ASIO says far-right terrorism is an enduring threat that is real and growing, but like many things this Government is just burying its head in the sand," he said.

Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt spoke to NIT on the matter.

"All forms of hate and division are unacceptable and should be condemned," Minister Wyatt said.

"There is a need to monitor the increasing rise in extremism and the role modern day social media and access to information plays in inflaming tensions."

Previous actions taken by Minister Dutton in efforts to limit far-right terrorism include direction to commence an inquiry into extremist movements and radicalism in Australia by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS).

In a submission to the PJCIS, ASIO noted the increasing danger of right-wing extremists to the Australian public, particularly after the Christchurch terrorist attack committed by an Australian white supremacist. This is shown by the fact that ASIO now reports 40 per cent of its counterterrorism work is directed at preventing violent far-right extremists.

A spokesperson for Prime Minister Scott Morrison has previously told NIT the Prime Minister opposes terrorism and extremism in all its forms.

"Offensive and extremist displays ... are absolutely abhorrent and completely at odds with what Australia stands for," the spokesperson said.

Racial equity organisation All Together Now noted in a position paper from May 2020 that key trends indicated the need for action to be taken to prevent the radicalisation of Australians into right-wing extremist groups.

The paper describes the issue of young people seeking belonging, particularly in a COVID-19 world, driving them to extremist groups.

It goes on to describe that increased incidences of racism and a lack of federal backing to manage right-wing extremism provide a significant risk to Australia in allowing the growth of these groups in society.

The Prime Minister was contacted for further comment by NIT but did not respond to request for comment.

By Aaron Bloch

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