Australia’s national intelligence agency is predicting a terrorist attack on our soil within the next 12 months.
A parliamentary inquiry into extremist movements and radicalism is underway and heard the prediction from the Director-General of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) Mike Burgess.
“Given the growth we’ve seen in nationalist and racist violent extremism we anticipate there will be a terrorist attack in this country in the next 12 months,” Mr Burgess told the inquiry.
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He says that while the main security threat is from Sunni Islamic extremist groups, the intelligence agency is increasingly concerned with the growth in right-wing terrorism.
“It can come from either ideology and therefore for me doesn’t really matter, because they’re both capable of conducting acts of violence and that’s where we focus.”
Mr Burgess was then asked to clarify his alarming comments, particularly regarding a potential attack in the near future.
“We have credible intelligence that individuals and small groups have the capable intent and we, on that basis, assess that there is likely to be a terrorist attack sometime in the next 12 months as we’ve seen in the last 12 months,” Mr Burgess explained.
“Unfortunately there were two terrorist attacks in this country last year and it resulted in two Australians being killed.
“We anticipate that is likely in the next 12 months,” he said.
Mr Burgess also told the inquiry that right-wing extremism had grown from 16 to 40 percent of ASIO’s workload over the past three years.
However, the intelligence agency will now use the umbrella term of “religiously motivated violent extremism” and “ideologically motivated violent extremism” rather than differentiating between ‘right-wing’ and ‘Islamic’ extremism.