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Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee

DENSON, Associate Professor Nida, Social Sciences, Anthropology and Sociology, Western Sydney University [by video link]

DUNN, Professor Kevin, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research, Western Sydney University [by video link]

OBOLER, Dr Andre, Chief Executive Officer, Online Hate Prevention Institute [by video link]

QUINN, Mr Matthew, Director of Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism, Online Hate Prevention Institute [by video link]

CHAIR: The committee will now resume this public hearing. I welcome representatives from the Challenging Racism Project and the Online Hate Prevention Institute, joining us via videoconference today. Thank you for taking the time to meet with the committee. Information on parliamentary privilege and the protection of witnesses and evidence has been provided to you and is available from the secretariat. The committee has received your written submissions. Would anyone like to make a brief opening statement before we go to questions?

Dr Oboler : I believe some slides have been circulated to the committee.

CHAIR: Yes; we have those in front of us. Thank you very much.

Dr Oboler : I want to start by explaining who the Online Hate Prevention Institute is and then highlighting some points relevant to this inquiry. I've been listening in to the previous testimony. We're a little bit of a different organisation to the other witnesses. We've been operating for 11 years now. We're a national charity, tackling all forms of online hate and extremism. We're particularly known in this space for removing both manifestos and videos taken from live-streamed terrorist attacks around the world. We're also a world leader at deconstructing hate, with over 350 briefings that we've published over the last 11 years. In 2013 we incorporated Exit Australia into our work. I'll hand over to Matt to explain a little bit about Exit.

Mr Quinn : Exit Australia is in New Zealand now too. It was started to reduce the risk of individuals that were looking to use violence for an ideological or political cause. We since have worked with 250 clients. About 10 of them are individuals that have sought to move towards violence or have committed a terrorist attack. We've been doing that. We continue doing that.

Dr Oboler : Matt, there are a couple of images that you asked to share. The committee members all have them in front of them. Do you want to explain what these are?

Slide s were then shown--

Mr Quinn : Yes. I will talk about the image where you can see the swastika, first up. That's Atomwaffen Division, which has now been proscribed as a terrorist group in Australia. The other flag, next to the swastika, is the Atomwaffen Division flag. Usually, these individuals wear the siege mask, which shows detailed teeth, and they use this to identify themselves online. There are different masks. They've got their own brand, so individuals can't just go and buy one off eBay and copy it. They've got their own one to identify that they are part of Atomwaffen or the Order of Nine Angles. The horrifying image of the person going through, shooting, which is a take of the Christchurch attack, is a way to glorify that incident. It's using the symbols and writing and things like that were on the weapon and on the Christchurch attacker at the time. The last image is of the Kali Yuga. That is linked to eco-terrorists, which have been rising since before COVID. That's like the end of the world, and it mixes in a little bit with the Hindu culture. These are all images that highlight how Nazis glorify and identify online. Banning the Nazi symbol, the swastika, isn't enough.

Dr Oboler : I want to highlight that I have been involved in this work for the last 20 years and I'm currently serving, on behalf of the Australian government, on our delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. I think that is a very important resource for tackling these issues. We are a member of a group of countries that are working all year round on tackling anti-Semitism, tackling Neo-Nazism, ensuring that the memory of the Holocaust is protected and understood. I think we need to make more use of that.

A graph on the next slide shows that Holocaust related content in 2015 made up about 12 per cent of the anti-Semitism we were seeing. We are collecting data now in a joint project with ECAJ. Our work has collected a sample where we have seen Holocaust related content more than triple. It is up to 37 per cent of the sample we have so far. This is all online content, but it highlights a significant change in the nature of anti-Semitism. This content is not only visible in Australia, but a significant part of it comes from Australians, highlighting why this legislation is so important.

The next slide shows the Daily Stormer, one of the sources of Neo-Nazi content. We found it within weeks of it first being created in 2013. Last year we found it being bookmarked by the attacker who was killing people in Buffalo, New York. We managed to get a screenshot of their desktop computer and you could see the bookmark of the Daily Stormer there. In January this year we managed to get the latest incarnation of the Daily Stormer, which was being posted out of India, shut down by Internet authorities in India. So this is ongoing work.

Just yesterday, late last night, we documented the removal of an account—we believe it is Australian—from Facebook that was sharing Nazi symbols. In this case it was the skull-and-crossbones image which comes from the Combat 18 logo; it was an exact copy of it. We met with Meta yesterday morning, and within a few hours we managed to get this account shut down. The account was also promoting transphobia, anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and misogyny. Our key message is that the Nazi symbols cause harm to the community at large, particularly the Jewish community and other targeted communities, like the LGBTIQ+ community. But it is not just them; it impacts the entire community.

Beyond that, Nazi symbols and Neo-Nazi symbols, even those that are not readily recognised by the public, cause harm because they are used for recruitment and for building communities amongst the far right. Those symbols also connect people in Australia who are engaging in a path towards radicalisation with similar groups overseas. That is a key point as well. It is not just about causing fear; it is about building communities that can inspire people into violence. The symbols are changing rapidly. Some are dual use.

The 'okay' symbol was mentioned in previous discussions. There are other symbols which have everyday uses and which Neo-Nazis can use to promote their ideology. We need legislation that can handle that, and stop the glorification of Naziism and Neo-Naziism, even when it is amongst themselves. So legislation may need to go further than what we are seeing at the moment.

We are falling behind internationally in our response to this problem. That has been mentioned by others who have appeared. In the online world, not only do we have a problem in Australia, but Australia is becoming a world problem. Not only was the terrorist attack in Christchurch by an Australian, but Australian extremists are creating content that they are pushing out into the world, causing issues in other countries. I will leave it there, but there is more material for the committee. Thank you.

CHAIR: We will cover off some of that in our questions. Professor Dunn, did you have an opening statement in addition to the submission you have provided to the committee?

Prof. Dunn: Professor Denson will make a statement.

Prof. Denson : We agree with what Andre and Matt have been saying. I would like to add our case: Nazi symbols are powerful symbols of hate and racism that cause significant harm to individuals and communities. These symbols are used to incite hatred, violence, discrimination. The most common form of racism in Australia is hate discourse. In the Challenging Racism project, we agree that it is important that the bill acknowledges the legitimate use of swastikas as a sacred symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism that is unrelated to the promotion of Nazi ideology. The bill also allows exemption for the legitimate use of Nazi symbols in the context of scientific, educational, artistic, journalistic, or public-interest purposes. We recommend that these permitted uses might overtly reference anti-racist research as an exemption, as well as other legitimate anti-racist uses.

CHAIR: I want to address some questions firstly to the Online Hate Prevention Institute. In your submission and in the comments you have made today you have articulated the nexus between the use of Nazi and Neo-Nazi symbols and online radicalisation. What are your concerns about that nexus, and the radicalisation that leads to the incitement of terrorism?

Dr Oboler : The use of Nazi symbols can start off, even for young children, as being something edgy. In our report on the terrorist attack in Halle in 2019, we documented how a forum on the 4chan message board started off using Nazi symbols and being pro-Nazi as a sort of edgy joke and over a number of years it was infiltrated by people from the Neo-Nazi forum Stormfront. Those people actively converted that community into a radicalisation space, whose members then went on to carry out a number of terrorist attacks. Tarrant was involved in that community, as well as many others. It was a deliberate ploy. So we see how the symbols get used to pull people in and signal people who may be vulnerable to being radicalised by more hardcore extremists. Stopping the symbols is important, but we need to recognise that, as soon as you explicitly ban one symbol, they just move on to the next symbol. In the slides that have been circulated there is the example of the inverted Nazi salute. This was something that was created. It is relatively recent. It was all over the news. There is a link to a BBC article on it. It was invented because the Nazi salute has been banned. Someone created this alternative variant saying, 'Well, this isn't banned' and suddenly it was being used by public figures. It was being used by sports stars, et cetera as a way of promoting Neo-Nazi ideology. So we need to be careful, as others have mentioned. We need to have a way of allowing the courts to determine what is or is not a Nazi or Neo-Nazi symbol or allowing police to make some sort of determination. The minute we lock it down to a fixed list, the Nazis will move faster than we can. I think that is a real threat, particularly with the online content and their ability to grab symbols from the communities which they are part of all over the world with other symbols, other slogans, other languages. Matt, did you have anything to add?

Mr Quinn : Yes. Talking about symbols, it is true that they use edgy images and memes. They even use video games. After the Christchurch attack, two games came out within five days. They were using GTA, which is like an Xbox console game. Also, talking about symbols, on Mother's Day on Facebook they had a little flower symbol that you could send around to mothers. Nazis saw that they could fit the Nazi sun wheel into that flower, that emoji. So they were sending the flowers to each other, to identify each other as Nazis. Another thing is used. When there was a lot of work going on in social media where we were ripping down all the different images and memes and things like that, Satanic Nazis started to use the Monster can, the energy drink, to identify themselves. They saw that the claw mark on the Monster can was '666' upside down. That is how they are identifying each other in their profile pictures. So I am totally with Andre about the glorification. They will move faster, like Andre says.

CHAIR: The bill does not clearly set out what applies in the online environment. In the submission from Online Hate Prevention there is a recommendation around a civil penalty in cases of the online use of symbols. Why do you think online symbols should be treated differently from public display, or at least defined in a specific way, in any legislation that deals with this?

Dr Oboler : We would support having a civil penalty for both online and offline activities as an entry level penalty. If someone persists, then we believe that incarceration is an ultimate penalty that should be useful. But when it comes to online symbols and hate and the burden of getting a prosecution for a criminal conviction, there is too much of this content and it is too high a burden for it to practically be applied. So either it ends up being applied selectively because people have been targeted, which is a problem, or it needs to be something that could be applied with very little barrier. That also means having a very small penalty. It is a bit sad that right now you could get a higher penalty for putting your feet up on the seats of a train than you could for posting Nazi swastikas and other symbols promoting Neo-Nazism and other forms of hate and extremism. That is not an ideal situation.

Mr Quinn : A lot of the time you can view the radicalisation process online. You can see where individuals start getting involved in some ideology and then they move along. The memes and images they show, show that progress. That helped in the arrest of the people in Nowra who were going to blow up the substation. I totally agree with Andre that there needs to be more in the legislation.

Dr Oboler : It is a matter of having a low barrier, low cost, and low effort if the evidence is clear that something has been done. Also, unless there is actually legislation, how do we find out if the person is even in Australia? There needs to be some trigger to go to the companies, something a regulator can do. Again, I met with Meta yesterday morning. It does not need to be criminal. If there is a civil penalty in some form and some regulator is then empowered to enforce it, they can go and say, 'Can we have the account details? Can we find out who this pseudo anonymous user is?'

Prof. Denson : I agree. I picked up as well that online settings were not mentioned. A lot of research shows a link between online communication and offline conflict. Even before COVID the Australian Human Rights Commission showed that there are close to one in 10 racism complaints online. Various community organisations have reported significant levels of online racism, including anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and incidences against Asian-Australians since COVID-19. Something should be done about going after the online perpetrators.

CHAIR: Thank you for the slides you provided. This bill was introduced quickly after a rally in Melbourne. The rally was attended by Neo-Nazis, but the purpose of the rally was around the anti-trans, anti-LGBTI movement. As a member of that community, it has been concerning to see the rise in hatred towards those groups. The comments I was getting online and the online material that was sent to me that week as a public LGBTI member included Nazi symbols. It was prolific and deeply upsetting. Could you comment on why Neo-Nazis were even there in the first place? I know you cannot put yourselves in their shoes. What seems to be the link? What is the historical connection between these symbols and targeting LGBTI people?

Prof. Dunn: I'd like to make a couple of observations there. Recent research at Western Sydney University and elsewhere in Australia has been finding a direct intersectional link between far-right ideology and transphobia. In fact, the research suggests—and this is from social psychology—that they can be indicators or predictors of each other, in terms of behavioural traits and the like. So this is a very important piece of research that is being undertaken at the moment. There is some state government funding for some of the projects that are examining these links, and some of that research is starting to become public now. But there is most definitely a link. We're so satisfied with the link that we can see one as a predictor of the other.


Dr Oboler : I might go even further, if I may. Let's not forget that the LGBTIQ+ community was also targeted by the Nazis. Everyone knows about the yellow stars, but there were also pink triangles, and that ideology is part of today's Neo-Nazis as well. I don't know whether people recall that we captured the first indications of the formation of what became Antipodean Resistance, which is now absorbed into the National Socialist Network, the group that was on the steps of the Victorian parliament. We captured their first posts on Neo-Nazi forums before they formed and then when they formed and invited people to join them. Their first activities were postering campaigns around Melbourne: around the zoo, around the University of Melbourne and I think one or two of the other universities. Some of those posters were anti-Semitic, some of those posters were anti-Asian and some of the most horrific posters were anti-LGBTIQ, and particularly anti-trans. We've still got archives of those posters. I did not include them in the materials because they are that horrific that they need warnings.

As for the group that was on the steps, we have a non-public report that we've shared with some stakeholders. Posie Parker, who arranged that speaking tour, has connections to the far right. They've appeared at multiple similar events that she has run as part of a speaking tour in the UK and the US, and she's been a big supporter of Tommy Robinson from the English Defence League. This was not a surprise; it was fully predictable. Also, there are very strong links between Neo-Nazis, Holocaust deniers and that particular speaker and speaking tour. So, as Kevin says, it's connected and intertwined. There are causal links; it's not just coincidence.

Mr Quinn : Five clients of Exit are individuals from that Nazi group down in Melbourne. Most of it is that they just try to get attention. The more attention that they can cause by pushing hate towards the LGBTI groups and stuff like that, the more it helps them to recruit; it causes that little bit of edginess. Also, there are some individuals that are actually LGBTI who are part of that group, but they hide it. They're in traditional families and they don't feel that they can 'come out', as the general term is. They're worried about being isolated. There was one individual who, about a year before the Christchurch attack happened, I had actually reported. He wasn't part of the LGBTI community but identified as being so, and he was planning a similar attack to the Christchurch attack. I'm sorry about that.

CHAIR: That's very distressing. Thank you. I think that's important evidence for us to hear.

Senator SCARR: Thank you for the submissions you have made and for the ongoing work that you are conducting in this area. I will first ask some questions of Dr Oboler. You make a number of recommendations in your submission, and I want to tease out those recommendations and the thinking behind them. The first is that you propose an alternative for section 81.1.1(a), which currently simply reads that 'A person commits an offence if: (a) the person publicly displays a Nazi symbol'. You're proposing that should be amended to read that 'a person commits an offence if the person publicly displays a symbol in a manner that glorifies or promotes a Nazi or Neo-Nazi group, movement or ideology'. I'm looking at that. I'm a lawyer by background, so please excuse me for going down legal rabbit holes; I just can't help it. That seems to me to complicate the definition somewhat because, instead of just having a plain, vanilla definition where all that you have to prove is the public display—and I want to get to 'public display' shortly—of a Nazi symbol, it needs to be displayed in a manner that 'glorifies or promotes' a Nazi or Neo-Nazi group, movement or ideology. From my first reading—and this is why I'm putting the question to you—at first blush, it seems to complicate the section because you need to have that element of glorification, as opposed to it simply being a display. How would you address that concern?

Dr Oboler : I'll have to check the submission, but I believe it doesn't say 'Nazi symbol'; it says 'the use of a symbol to glorify Nazism'.

Senator SCARR: It does; you're correct.

Dr Oboler : That pedantic distinction was to cover, for example, what Matt mentioned: the use of the Monster can as a symbol for identifying, promoting and glorifying Neo-Nazi ideology, even though the can itself is not a Nazi symbol. The can is a commercial thing that is available in supermarkets. So this wording was an attempt to cover the use of any symbol. The speaker from the Sydney Jewish Museum spoke about the need to extend the definition of 'symbol'. We would support that as well, and have done so in some media articles. But it was the use, effectively, of any symbology, action, gesture et cetera in order to promote the ideology. The problem is not the symbols in and of themselves; it's what they represent and how they're used. I have read through the Hindu Council of Australia's submission and I agree with half of it and disagree with half of it. The symbol of the swastika used in Hindu culture, Jainism, Buddhism et cetera is not a problem at all; it's just a symbol. It's when it's used in a particular way that it becomes dangerous and a threat. It would be the same for a smiley face, if it were to be used in that context.

Senator SCARR: Do you think that complicates the enforcement of the law? I'm open-minded on this question because I think you've raised a good point, but is there a danger that it complicates the law in the sense that you need to prove that intent of glorification or promotion?

Dr Oboler : I think the law could be worded in such a way that it isn't an element of mens rea. It's a factual question: is it being used in such a way? The glorification isn't something that's necessarily in a person's head. Even if they didn't intend it but were using a Nazi symbol—let's say a Nazi swastika—in a place where it was having that effect, it should be covered. It's a factual question of: are you inciting others; are you building a cohesion around a group of people promoting an ideology of hate? That's really where we're targeted.

Sen ator SCARR: You mentioned in your comments that you agreed with half of the Hindu Council's submission but not the other half, which begs the question: which half? Perhaps I can ask you to take this on notice, if you wouldn't mind. They proposed some amendments to the legislation. I think everyone is alert to the sentiments of those religious communities—our Hindu community, Buddhist community and Jainist community—and we want to make sure that this legislation does everything it can to respect those sentiments. I'm happy for you to provide some preliminary comment in that regard now, but perhaps you could also take on notice to provide a more detailed response to their submission. I'm happy to hear your preliminary comments now.

Dr Oboler : Yes. Very simply, I agree with the first part: I believe in having that explanatory text. I disagree and think they've gone too far when they object to the term 'Nazi swastika'. I agree that 'swastika' by itself is problematic and I understand their reasoning for that. However, 'Nazi swastika' as a phrase is used, including by people from those communities and scholars who have written about this topic. It's also the language that is used in all the educational material and all the research material. It is the accepted English translation of the Nazi material that was in German. I think that if we try to distance ourselves too far, we end up undermining ourselves, because people looking at the law won't understand what it means. As for any students who are being educated about it, any resources that they look at are going to talk about Nazi swastikas. So that's my concern. This legislation, as it is worded, is actually less of an issue because, unlike the Victorian legislation, the legislation itself doesn't refer to it; it's only in the explanatory material. But I do have an issue with saying that 'Nazi swastika' is wrong, because you can give hundreds of thousands of examples of scholarly work, expert work and government work all using that phrase, including from within their own communities.

Senator SCARR: I'm pleased that you've given us some testimony in relation to that, because that was an area I was struggling with. On the one hand, you want to give deep respect to those religious communities and their sensibilities. I was struggling with whether you could replace the word 'swastika' with the word 'Hakenkreuz'—the Nazi adjective—so that it said 'Nazi Hakenkreuz' instead of 'Nazi swastika', but I query whether or not that actually conveys the meaning to the general population. So there's that issue to be concerned with, isn't there? We can't stop the fact that symbol was appropriated evilly by the Nazis and that, in our day-to-day life and experience, 'Nazi swastika' is a term that is commonly used. We can't avoid that is a reality. Is that the point that you're making?

Dr Oboler : That's the point I'm making. But I do agree with them about explicitly explaining this and saying that it was and still is a symbol of hope and good luck within those communities—and that continues to this day and is an appropriate use of the symbol—but the Nazis perverted it. The Nazis' perverted use is what we are discussing. It needs to be recognised as that as well, but we must use the same language that can be found in international usage in legislation, in books, in materials and in museums.

Senator S CARR: The bill, in many respects, reflects that because—putting aside your proposed amendments, Doctor—the prohibition is that a person commits an offence if the person publicly displays a Nazi symbol. Then it says in subsection (4):

To avoid doubt, the display of a swastika in connection with Buddhism, Hinduism or Jainism does not constitute the display of a Nazi symbol.

That is to avoid doubt. It's not a question of it being a reasonable excuse; it's basically stating that it doesn't even fall within the purview of the section because, in that context, it is not a Nazi symbol. Is that correct?

Dr Oboler : That's correct, and the fact that it uses the language 'swastika' by itself like that differentiates it. A swastika is one thing; a Nazi swastika is a different thing entirely.

Senator SCARR: I have one more question. In terms of public display, even adopting your amended terminology, it is one thing for Neo-Nazis to demonstrate using symbols and gestures in front of, say, a Holocaust museum—we have been given examples of that—or before a Jewish museum. Should we also be concerned if a group gets together outside an individual's home and engages in a private rally? On one interpretation that is public, in the sense that members of the public have been invited; they are a self-selecting group. But they are still gathering; there is a gathering. How do we address the latter situation, where it is a group of individuals coming together and demonstrating, and using the symbols and the gestures—which seems to me to be problematic? Where do we draw the line here in terms of what we are trying to cover in the law?

Dr Oboler : 'In public' would include that. To give a practical example, that is what they did in the Grampians ranges, in the national park, on two separate occasions; 'in public' legally would cover that. Our comments on this were really reflecting on the Swiss situation. In Switzerland, the courts interpreted the law in such a way that you had to be inciting hatred, fear, et cetera in other people. So they found that a commemoration of a Nazi anniversary, with people making Nazi salutes amongst themselves, was not illegal. There is a big effort amongst the Swiss community, with support from both sides of politics in Switzerland, to change the law and to say no, the intention is that should be prohibited. So we do not want to end up in the same situation where we prohibit inciting hatred and fear amongst others but allow them to be used for recruitment, further radicalisation, and incitement; potentially, someone could go to a rally and then go out and commit a violent crime. We want to prevent that, as well.

CHAIR: Senator Faruqi.

Senator FARUQI: Good morning, everyone. Thank you for being here to provide us with this great evidence. Perhaps I could go to the Challenging Racism project first and ask: your submission notes that the bill exempts legitimate use of Nazi symbols in the context of scientific education and for artistic, journalistic, or public interest purposes, but you have said that these permitted uses should overtly reference anti-racist research as well as other legitimate anti-racist uses. Could you elaborate on that?

Prof. Dunn : Sure. While it talks about scientific uses, which would cover research, sometimes research is seen as science, if you think about the humanities and social sciences, so there is that issue. Also, a lot of anti-racism is done that isn't research. So we would think it would be wise to—as other anti-discrimination bills do—provide exemptions along those lines. Race discrimination bills, et cetera do at times allow for those exemptions. We thought that would be a judicious, slight amendment. I would like to add to Andre's point that those sorts of public displays are rallying moments. We know this is a risk to public order and bears the risk of violence and extremism. Just on public health grounds, we would not be of a view that there should be some subcategorisation of what constitutes 'public'. If it is public and it is in the way the deputy chair characterised it, that is a risk; there is a public risk, and it should be proscribed as well.

Senator FARUQI: I want to go to the carceral kinds of responses. The Online Hate Prevention Institute has already expressed its opinion on this, but I want to ask the Challenging Racism project: this bill imposes 12 months' prison time for the public display of Nazi symbols. Other submissions have also raised issue with taking this narrow carceral approach because it may have unintended consequences, as they have said, which for instance could be pushing extremists further into radicalisation. I want to get your view. How do we ensure that a criminal response does not push people further into radicalisation? Are there better ways to deal with this?

Prof. Dunn : In general, my view, as a social scientist, is that anything other than carceral approaches is more effective. But going in the opposite direction, we know that they are the strongest indicator of the public opprobrium that we are attaching to this sort of behaviour. These forms of legislation and instruments are rarely used. They are predominantly an instruction to society about what is considered civil and uncivil and what is considered criminal and not criminal; it is very important as a message to society. So, on the one hand, noncustodial types of remedies are always preferred. Our prisons do not quite work in the way we would hope they would work generally, but having custodial sentences does send a very strong message. As to the second part of your question, I just do not get the argument that, with this type of behaviour, punishing people will have the effect of making them do it more. With all the other types of behaviour which we try to punish people for and dissuade people from undertaking, we do not have that consideration. It seems to me an extraordinary suggestion that, if we have strong punishments in this area, we might make people more likely to undertake that behaviour; it seems perverse.

Senator FARUQI: The Multicultural Youth Affairs Network has said in its submission that 'Neo-Nazi and fascist ideology in Australia aligns itself closely with white supremacy and white nationalism, which has been a feature in Australia since colonialism'. Others have said that, in addition to banning Nazi symbols, we need to address the causes of Neo-Nazism and far-right extremism. Do you have any comments on how important it is? What in your view would be the top few things that would address the root causes of Neo-Naziism, such as far-right extremism and white supremacy? I know it is a big question, but it is important that we tackle those as well as the symbols of those ideologies.

Prof. Dunn : You are right. Again, as I said before, this sort of legislation has a symbolic effect, largely and we need to also pay attention to the underlying causes that give rise to people having far-right or extremist views. That is progressed through an anti-racism strategy and through a multicultural set of policy instruments. I understand that the federal government are developing both of those. To my mind, they are a bit under-resourced for the risks that are presented in our society. We need people who have assimilationist types of thinking to stop them from becoming more right-wing in their views. We need those people who have more right-wing views to be dissuaded from becoming more likely to take that out through behaviour. So we need to have a nuanced set of anti-racism strategies, in the broad, without going into a lot of detail.

Mr Quinn : Perhaps I could jump in. I have worked with over 250 clients, most of whom are involved in far-right white supremacy groups, including individuals who have planned mass murder attacks or have committed terrorism. With most of them there are a few problems. When you talk about how we can prevent it at the lowest level, most of it comes down to people feeling too much shame; they feel like they are going to be isolated from the community or they are too embarrassed in the community to reach out for help. A lot of families realise that their sons are going in that direction, and they will not do anything, until it comes to a point where maybe the police are knocking on their door, or the media has found out or something like that. Then the individuals will reach out to Exit, to get help for their children. Some individuals on the other end of the scale, who are looking at doing violence, are on a thin line; they think about committing suicide or doing a terror attack or a mass murder attack. Most of those individuals come from families that have a lot of neglect. It can be middle-class or upper-class families. There is neglect in the family, or domestic violence. Some of them have had a pretty traumatic background. Most of the really violent individuals also have a connection with a cult—not all of them, but there is a bit of a pattern. Talking about the legislation, I feel that if it is only centred on the Nazis, which is a big problem in Australia at the moment. It will help them in radicalisation because they will be able to push that they are being targeted. So it needs to be a bit fairer. I think that all groups that are proscribed as terrorist groups in Australia should also have all their symbols banned. It is something that the far right and white supremacists talk about quite a bit. They talk about why their symbols are being banned when the ISIS flag is not being banned. So it puts a bit of 'us and them' in the situation, and then they use that for recruitment.

CHAIR: I thank all the witnesses for their evidence today and for their submissions; they are incredibly helpful for the committee.