Exploring the ideologies and motivations of extreme right-wing groups in Australia

Miss Tiahna Mulholland1, Dr Kristina Murphy1, Dr Keiran Hardy1, Dr Louise Porter1

1Griffith University, Southport, Australia

Globally, the threat of right-wing extremism (RWE) is rising. In addition to acts of terrorism based on far-right ideology, RWE poses a wider threat to society through hate crime, discrimination, and the potential for large-scale violent protest. While RWE groups are commonly understood to hold neo-Nazi or white supremacist beliefs, we lack specific understanding of what this ideology means in an Australian context. This study therefore aimed to investigate the beliefs, motivations, and narratives of Australian extreme right-wing groups in order to understand what constitutes RWE ideology in Australia. Thirteen RWE groups with an Australian branch that had been active since 2001 were identified for analysis. Information pertaining to each group was gathered through media articles, secondary academic sources, and available group homepages, Twitter pages, or Facebook pages. Each source was content analysed for indicators of motivational factors; in particular, factors related to Van Den Bos’ Unfairness Framework of radicalisation, which considers grievance narratives, uncertainty, unfairness, and perceptions of out-group threats. Results indicate that RWE ideology in Australia largely consists of anti-immigrant, white supremacist beliefs. While this can be punctuated by neo-Nazi symbology, the grievances expressed by Australian RWE groups are distinct and more localised. They appear to be fuelled primarily by perceptions of terroristic threat (aimed towards Muslims) and symbolic threat (as groups believe immigrants will displace ‘Australian values’ with their own culture) as well as feelings of procedural unfairness (specifically, a lack of voice). These findings contribute to theoretical understandings of right-wing radicalisation, and emphasise the need to comprehend Australian far-right extremism in its own national context.


Tiahna Mulholland is a PhD student in the School of Criminology & Criminal Justice at Griffith University


Dec 09 2021