Yesterday the Victorian Andrews Labor Government unveiled a new Victoria Police unit, the Fixated Threat Assessment Centre which it claims is aimed at protecting Victorians from terrorism and lone actor attacks. It will be staffed by 13 specialist police officers and aims to process 300 people in its first year. It is based on similar centres that have opened up New South Wales, Queensland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
However a closer look at which types of people the centre aims to target reveals it has a disturbing political agenda. Assistant Police Commissioner Ross Guenther defined fixated persons as those who repeatedly write letters, email or call local councillors or politicians and those who display a fixation with an ideology or religion.
Police Minister Lisa Neville said the centre would look at ideologies on all sides, including far-right extremism which she claimed it would “help identify high-risk individuals and have the potential to stop violent incidents before they occur”. Fairfax Media in their report spoke of right-wing terrorists such as Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, and the killer of UK MP Jo Cox Thomas Mair as the type of person this centre was aimed at.
Of course everybody wants to explore ways to prevent terrorism, however we know from experience that the Andrews Government has a very broad definition of right wing extremist. It considers all patriot and nationalist activists in Victoria to be extremists, as demonstrated by putting on trial the Bendigo Three who were found guilty under the state’s Racial and Religious Tolerance Act of offending Muslims for a mock beheading.
In the aftermath of the riot outside the Milo Yiannopoulos Melbourne event in December last year Victoria Police only charged members of right wing groups who were present, none of the left wing and African instigators of violence were reported to have been charged. Senior Victorian Government Ministers labelled the True Blue Crew’s crime crisis meeting to explore community based solutions to the African Youth Gang Crime Wave as a Nazi gathering.
This centre may give the Andrews Government in an election year when it is being ferociously criticized for its inaction on law and order the perfect excuse to take its critics off the streets labeling such people fixated persons. With such loose definitions such as believing in an ideology and writing a letter to a politician it would seem it would not take much for many politically active people to be deemed fixated persons.
None of us would be holding our breath that left wing groups such as Antifa would be targeted by such a centre under this state government. Most of the lone wolf attacks we have seen in Australia have either come from Islamic extremists or the genuinely mentally ill yet they were not mentioned in the opening of this centre yesterday. We should be very afraid of this centre and view it as a grave threat to free speech in Victoria.