Today (January 4, 2021) on Sky News (where else?) Hillsong’s Alex Hawke denied that far right extremism is on the rise in Australia. This was in response to a Senate motion by the Labor Party to condemn far-right extremism, including claims about voter fraud in the US election and the cause of the Capitol insurrection promoted by Liberal MP Craig Kelly and National MP George Christensen. The motion passed on Thursday, but only after references to the conspiracy theorists Kelly and Christensen were removed, and condemnation of far-left extremism, communism, anarchism and violence generally were added.1
Hawke’s denial directly contradicted a recent Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) report into Australia’s security environment and outlook. In this, ASIO said:
“Extreme right-wing groups and individuals have been in ASIO’s sights for many decades—while we have maintained continuous and dedicated resources to this area, extremists such as neo-Nazis represent a serious, increasing and evolving threat to security. The 2019 Christchurch attack continues to be drawn on for inspiration by right-wing extremists worldwide.
These groups are also becoming ideological: more aware of and committed to specific dogmas, philosophies and views. They draw from a diversity of ideas and are attracting a younger membership who display few overt signs of their extremist ideology.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been used by right-wing and issue-motivated extremists to promote their views. They are seeking to exploit social and economic dislocation; and their extremist ideology has been spreading more quickly and widely as Australians spend more time online engaging with like-minded individuals. However, calls for violence and sabotage have not yet been acted on in Australia.”2
ASIO have been watching these fruitcakes for decades, so why would Hillsong Hawke spout such abject rubbish? It is because the far right forms a part of the group of voters who either vote for, or preference, Pauline Hanson’s One Notion Party and other far right groups. As Australia becomes less religious and more progressive, the Coalition need these people. Love of nazism is no obstacle.