Our say | Australia’s good sense will always prevail over extremism

REVELATIONS that extreme right-wing group Antipodean Resistance might be trying to recruit support in Bathurst should be of no great concern to most of us.

Propaganda for the mysterious group has been spotted on the Bathurst campus of Charles Sturt University, perhaps the least likely place in Bathurst for a right-wing extremist group to develop.

The group’s website claims that members are out to protect Australia from “crumbling under the weight of progressive degeneracy”.

Members also call themselves “the Hitlers you’ve been waiting for” who seek to build a better society by (among other goals) “abstaining from degeneracy such as alcoholism, drugs and race mixing”.

It’s disturbing stuff to read, and it’s concerning to think there might still be people in this world that believe such views have political legitimacy.

But while the extreme views expressed by Antipodean Resistance have no place in modern, mainstream Australian society, we would do ourselves no credit as a nation by seeking to censor them completely.

This is a nation of free speech, though those rights are (correctly) tempered by laws restricting hate speech.

And while there is always going to be just the finest of lines between the two, we must have faith in the good sense of Australia – and the vast majority of Australians – to know the difference.

Indeed, the existence of these groups can help us focus on what is good about our country, because we intuitively know that while there will always be a few who see merit in the agenda being promoted by the group, the vast majority of our citizenry will shun it with the disdain it deserves.

Australia is not a place where political extremes have prospered and our nation is all the better for it.

This is a country that overwhelmingly believes in the fair go and compassion for others. Australia is a mature democracy where the sensible majority has held the balance of power for more than a century since federation, though the political stripes of those in government might change every few years.

Extremists will always struggle to gain a stronghold in a nation where there is more good than bad, and where the people have a natural radar for bull####.

But even extremists are entitled to an opinion, within the bounds of the law. Just as the rest of us are entitled to ignore them.