Australia to place first far-right group on terror list

SYDNEY (AFP) – A Britain-based outfit will become the first far-right organisation to be listed as a terror group in Australia, authorities said yesterday, after growing warnings from security services.

The Department of Home Affairs signalled that the Sonnenkrieg Division (SKD) would join the current list of 27 proscribed organisations, which have so far been exclusively extremist or separatist groups linked to the Middle East and central Asia.

Australia’s domestic spy agency has repeatedly sounded the alarm about the growing threat of far-right violence.

Since an Australian gunman killed 51 worshippers at mosques in New Zealand’s Christchurch in 2019, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation said the far-right threat “increased” and become an “enduring threat”.

But until now the country’s conservative government has been reluctant to formally designate any organisations as terror groups.

The move means that being a member of the SKD or helping the organisation financially will be outlawed.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the SKD had “a presence that we’re particularly worried about in the United Kingdom (UK)”.

“Their reach goes into the minds of young people and Australians here,” he told Nine News.

Officials indicated the process of designating the group would be completed in the coming days.

Extremism experts at United States-based George Washington University have described the Sonnenkrieg Division as “tiny” and an offshoot of much larger organisations. The group gained notoriety in 2018 for suggesting Britain’s Prince Harry – whose wife is mixed race African-American – was a “race traitor”, leading to it being banned in Britain in February 2020.