The ‘New’ Far-Right in Australia: Networks and Narratives Online and on the Streets

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 15:30
Oral Presentation
Mario PEUCKER, Victoria University, Australia
Debra SMITH, Victoria University, Australia

Radical far-right and right-wing extreme parties and movements have attracted significant research attention in North America and across Europe for decades. The aftermath of the global economic crisis and the ‘refugee crisis’ in Europe has reinvigorated research in this area as new or revitalised groups and movements become seemingly more popular. In Australia, however, research on the radical far-right and contemporary forms of right-wing extremism has been notably under-developed. While Australia does have a history of far-right activism, which has at times also resulted in violence, these groups have for most parts remained marginal and with very little organised support for their views. More recently this has changed as a far-right political party has achieved representation within the Australian parliamentary system and far-right activist groups vigorously recruit and disseminate their messages through online and offline engagement with a growing community of sympathisers.

Systematic and targeted research on these ‘new radical right’ movements (Dean et al. 2016) is still very limited and little robust evidence is available on their narratives, tactics and connectedness. This presentation will discuss selected empirical findings from an innovative mixed-method study on the activism of more than a dozen different far-right groups in Australia. After providing an overview on the main groups and their divergent and shifting key propaganda themes, the presentation will explore the networks and relationships between these groups. The analysis of data reveals a high level of social interconnectedness between most groups, based on a shared pool of active supporters and information sharing. However, pockets of isolation and fragmentation also became evident.