Australia lists neo-Nazi group The Base and Hezbollah as terrorist organisations

The federal government has announced it will list neo-Nazi group The Base and the entirety of the Hezbollah group as terror organisations.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews speaks to the media.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews speaks to the media. Source: AAP

A neo-Nazi group known as The Base and the entirety of Hezbollah have been named as terrorist groups under new listings made by the Australian government. 

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews announced the changes on Wednesday, saying the organisations were listed following advice from security agencies.

"There is no place in Australia for their hateful ideologies," Ms Andrews told reporters. 

"We know that there are individuals actively watching what is happening in Australia. There are people here who have the intent and the capability to do us harm."

The federal government has described The Base as a "violent" and "racist" group known by security agencies to be planning and preparing terrorist attacks. 

The white supremacist group - predominately based in North America  - is known to have paramilitary training camps overseas.

It is also proscribed as a terrorist organisation by Canada and Britain. 

Ms Andrews said she was concerned about the group's activity in Australia. 

“We are aware of their activities in Australia and overseas and we will continue to monitor them,” Ms Andrews said.  

It is the second far-right organisation to be listed by the Australian government, after it also moved to list the Sonnenkrieg Division in March.

Ms Andrews has also not ruled out the prospect of proscribing further far-right extremist groups. 

"I am very open to the prospect of looking at any organisation that threatens to do Australians harm," she said.

But Labor’s Home Affairs spokesperson Kristina Keneally has questioned why the Australian government hasn’t moved more quickly to proscribe other far-right groups.

“While it is encouraging that the government has sought to list a second right-wing extremist organisation,” she told reporters.

“It does raise a question about why the government hasn’t moved to list far right extremist organisations that are active here in Australia.” 

Hezbollah and neo-Nazi organisation listed as terror groups

Hezbollah listed as terror group

The decision to extend the terror listing to the entirety of Hezbollah means the determination has been expanded to include the Lebanese Islamist political party. 

Hezbollah's external security branch had been listed as a terrorist organisation since 2003. 

The Shia group based in Lebanon is backed by Iran and its sworn enemy is Israel, engaging in multiple conflicts with its southern neighbour.

Ms Andrews said Hezbollah continued to threaten terrorist attacks and provide support to terrorist organisations. 

The move to list the group follows a recommendation from the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) in June this year. 

It has been labelled as a terrorist organisation by several countries including the United States, Britain, Canada and Israel.

Liberal Senator James Paterson, chair of the PJCIS, said the expanded listing would remove an "artificial division" around the proscription of the group.

"The decision to list Hezbollah is in no way a reflection on the bilateral relationship between Australia and Lebanon," he told reporters.

The addition of the whole of Hezbollah to the list – including the political wing – could complicate aid flowing to Lebanon.

The country has also recently been embroiled by political and economic crisis.

The listing of Hezbollah and The Base will make it a criminal offence to be a member of either organisation.

There are 26 organisations formally listed as terrorist groups in Australia. 

The country's terror threat level remains "probable", according to the federal government.

Published 24 November 2021 at 12:32pm
By Tom Stayner
Source: SBS News