Phillip Galea, linked to far right groups Reclaim Australia and United Patriots Front, was arrested on August 7 as part of raids on four properties in and around Melbourne and charged with making documents likely to facilitate a terrorist act and planning or preparing for a terrorist act. He was jailed last November for possession of several stun guns and bomb precursor chemicals.
On August 13, The Age reported that police believed his target was the radical left.
Green Left spoke to Moreland Socialist Alliance councillor Sue Bolton about the growing far right threat.
Bolton has been denounced by far right figures, including Galea. On July 27, Galea posted on Facebook a graphic containing a photo of Bolton. This graphic appears to originate on a page of the website of another far right group, Restore Australia, who want Islam banned.
That page is dated June 19, three weeks after Bolton initiated a rally against racism in Coburg that was targeted by far right groups vowing to forcibly stop the rally.
Bolton's picture appears in a montage of "faces of socialism" along with Hitler, Mussolini and German chancellor Angela Merkel. That, and the page's inclusion of John Howard as a socialist, may seem bizarre, but Restore Australia, in a typically far-right conspiracy theory, says “socialism” is organised by international bankers, “globalists”, refugees and welfare cheats, and, as such, is the source of economic and political decline.
"The far right appeals to ordinary people's economic insecurity and disgust with the political establishment as one way of promoting racism and nationalism," said Bolton. "Of course in power they always turn out to be ruthless enforcers for the rich and powerful who turn to such forces when there's a serious threat to their system.
"The far right is in a continuum with and enabled by increasingly racist scapegoating by mainstream politicians. Pauline Hanson has spoken at a Reclaim Australia rally as has Liberal MP George Christiansen.”
“Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi rants against Halal certification. The 'liberal' Turnbull has continued Abbott's brutality towards refugees. On refugees, Labor has fallen in line, including its left wing: just a little more shame-faced.
“The extreme right have no power compared to establishment politicians who blame First Nations people, refugees and Muslims for the social and economic problems caused by capitalism. But they can be dangerous because they recruit on the basis of provocation and aggression, and they can potentially grow in a racist climate.
“The left needs to unite the biggest possible forces to publicly campaign against both government and far right racism. We need to show maximum solidarity with those suffering the brunt of the racism.
“Crucially we need to put forward an all-round positive alternative, to combine anti-racism with clear solutions to the economic crisis and social alienation: putting the burden of the crisis on the corporate rich who caused it; creating jobs and improving communities through revitalising public sector health, education, transport, housing and renewable energy; and real democratic control over communities and workplaces.”