In recent times, governments throughout the Western world have warned of an increase in far-right violence. A range of government and academic sources have also made spectacular claims regarding a rise in far-right violence in Australia. However, for a range of reasons, the actual prevalence of far-right violence occurring in Australia remains largely unknown. To address this gap in knowledge, the following documents acts of far-right violence and terrorism in Australia between 1990 and 2020. This study demonstrates that no clear increase has actually occurred. A total of 181 incidents are identified across almost all geographic locations, with concentrations of violence noted in Melbourne and North Queensland. A clear spike in violent incidents was identified between 2005 and 2010. However, a complete reduction in fatal violence has occurred since that time, and there has also been a notable reduction in violent events across most years since that peak. Notably, only a vanishingly small number of incidents were perpetrated by individuals associated with organised far-right groups. Rather, the vast majority of attacks are committed by lone actors or small unorganised groups, often spontaneously. To date, this more chronic form of far-right violence has been almost entirely overlooked by policymakers. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see if Australia’s existing counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism infrastructure, built primarily to address a Jihadist threat that is highly networked, geographically concentrated and transnationally linked, can be adapted to combat a far-right that is largely unorganised and geographically decentralised.
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The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) is a think-and-do tank based in The Hague, Netherlands. We provide research, policy advice, training and other solutions to support better counter-terrorism policies and practices worldwide. We also contribute to the scientific and publi.…