A parliamentary inquiry has found that kids as young as 10 in Victoria are being radicalized online.
During a parliamentary inquiry into extremism in Victoria, it was said that online radicalization of children as young as 10 is on the rise.
The inquiry is looking into how far-right extremism has grown in the state and what kind of dangers it poses to communities.
Nick McKenzie, an investigator for The Age who spent last year as a member of the National Socialist Network (NSN), told the inquiry that the groups were dangerous.
NSN is an online neo-Nazi group that wants to make Australia white through a race war or the collapse of society.
“The NSN is working hard to get young, impressionable Victorians to join, and even kids as young as 10 are joining,” McKenzie said.
He said that programs to stop people from becoming radicalized weren’t doing enough to stop the influence of extremism.
He said there was “no doubt” that extremist groups were looking to the Australian gunman who killed 51 people in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2019 as an example.
“The NSN itself thinks that programs to stop people from becoming radicalized are a joke that should be studied and used,” McKenzie said.
“Our programs to stop people from becoming radicalized in prisons and schools aren’t working.”
From what I’ve heard from people in law enforcement, they’re a bit of a joke.”
Michael Stanton, the president of Liberty Victoria, said that extremist groups were using the pandemic to recruit new members.
“We need to make sure that our legislative response to disturbing scenes in the Grampians, like Nazi salutes, swastika displays, or putting up gallows in front of parliament, doesn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” he said.
“Sometimes that means letting people say things that hurt or embarrass us.”
McKenzie said that Victoria Police would not say it publicly right now, but they were “overwhelmed by the amount of threatening language online from Victorians, especially young Victorians.”
“It’s almost impossible to keep an eye on a lot of these companies,” he said.