Senate debates

Thursday, 27 February 2020


Independent National Security Legislation Monitor; Consideration

4:17 pm

Photo of Concetta Fierravanti-WellsConcetta Fierravanti-Wells (NSW, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I move:

That the Senate take note of the document.

In his report Dr Rennick outlines the key aspects of our national security and counter-terrorism landscape. In identifying the various threats, he also refers to radical violent right-wing activity. In light of recent comments by the Director-General of ASIO regarding extremism, it is timely to again remind those opposite, who once again seek to take the opportunity to attack right-wing views, that the Left has a guilty history.

In an opinion piece which I published in The Australian on 27 March last year, I explored this history and it is timely to once again remind the Left in this country of it:

Those who use the label "right wing” or "hard Right" to describe and criticise conservatives fail to acknowledge history and therefore fail to take some ownership of the dark side of communism and socialism.

I ask the question: how did we get to this point in a society steeped in activism and characterised by violence operating in a toxic social media space? History provides some of the answers but not all. Those who continue to criticise conservatives under the guise of right wing need to be reminded that fascism had its antecedents in socialism. Hitler joined the German Workers Party in 1919 and then he rebadged the organisation to be the National Socialist German Workers Party. Its constitution read like a communist manifesto but included anti-Semitism and broader forms of racism.

When Hitler took control of Germany, he joined forces with another emerging giant, Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union. Hitler signed a non-aggression pact with Stalin but history records that he reneged on the deal by attacking Russia in 1941.

Mussolini had a similar path. His antecedents were also in socialism, and he fervently supported the teachings and writings of Karl Marx and the communist cause. And some might recall the disgraceful attacks and use of Nazi labels by the Electrical Trades Union against then Prime Minister Abbott and my friend and colleague Senator Abetz, reported under the headline 'Union flyer furore' in an article in the Herald Sun on 9 May 2014. This attack was like that conducted on Prime Minister John Howard when he sought to clean up the waterfront in Australia, reminiscent of Curtin's actions against Australian communists on our waterfronts who preferred to support Stalin over our troops fighting in World War II.

And as we look back at the abhorrence of the Christchurch massacre, we should remind ourselves of how the narrative emerged. It was reported that the main and only suspect had a familiar rise to infamy outlined in his manifesto. He was immediately branded 'right wing', notwithstanding the fact his manifesto clearly stated that he was a communist, then an anarchist, then a libertarian and then an ecofascist, before his European travels convinced him that violent revolutionary solutions were the only answer to achieving his objectives. And I ask: doesn't this all sound familiar? Margaret Thatcher succinctly summed up socialism and fascism when she noted that 'socialism and fascism are two sides of the same coin'.

Today, half of us were either born overseas or have at least one parent born overseas. In a culturally and religiously diverse Australia, many conservatives come from these different backgrounds. They share values and beliefs that include supporting the family as fundamental to the wellbeing of society; freedom of speech, religion and association; and a strong sense of pride and national spirit in our Australian way of life. So my advice to those opposite, the Labor Party, the Greens, GetUp!, misinformed activists and those who join the chorus is: 'Do not be divisive. Choose your words carefully before you unfairly label decent, hardworking, law-abiding conservative Australians.' Further, take some ownership of the problems facing the world today, because it has been your left-wing ideology that has been the embryo and source which has fostered most of the problems playing out in today's societies around the world.

And as Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, has rightly said in recent days:

I don't really care where people are on the spectrum. I don't care what country it is we're talking about, whether it's China or Russia or Iran—if people pose a threat to our country, they will be dealt with according to the level of that threat.

I seek leave to continue my remarks.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.