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June 20, 2024

Short-term rental accommodation supporters share many characteristics with right-wing extremists

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A few years ago the Victorian government commissioned us to research violent extremism in Australia. ASIO refers to these groups as ideologically motivated violent extremists (IMVE).

Initially, our research focused on the threats posed by religious extremism. This was a reasonable approach, given the devastating impact of events like the Bali Bombings (2002, 2005), the Lindt Café siege (2014), and the rise of ISIS.

Our investigations quickly revealed, however, that the threat posed by religious extremism is being matched, or even eclipsed, by new forms of violent right-wing extremism (RWE).

Right-wing extremists

Right-wing extremists have been active in Australia for at least a century, but there is now clear evidence of a resurgence of totalitarian sentiment in Australia and elsewhere in the world.

This view is confirmed by the federal government’s own homeland security website. It’s also corroborated by a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Assembly of Sciences  (PNAS, 2022). 

We’ve seen direct evidence of this resurgence in the United States, Brazil and other democratic nations.

The targeted assassinations of Muslim worshippers in Christchurch (2019) and police in Queensland (2022) are linked to this framework of violent right-wing ideology.

Our own study found that RWE has developed increasingly sophisticated communication and persuasion strategies.

These strategies are designed to distribute information, propaganda and ideology. They are also designed to infiltrate and influence conventional democratic processes.

Several RWE groups have been identified as terror organisations in Australia. The great difficulty for policy and law enforcement, however, is definition. RWE groups in Australia are chameleon, deceptive and diverse. RWE members are from many different backgrounds, bearing a wide range of interests, emphases and motivations.

Common characteristics

Even so, the groups share some common characteristics such as:

• A deep distrust of democracy and governance systems.
• Belief in a homogeneous and hierarchical society that is dominated by those who are ‘the most deserving’ and powerful.
• An exaltation of ‘freedom’, which is defined as unhindered self-interest.
• A deep dislike for public welfare and ‘community’, both of which are seen as weakness and a hindrance to individual freedom.
• A disposition to violence as a legitimate, even necessary, means to express freedom and self-interest.
• A belief that political and social improvement is only possible through the complete liberation of the individual and his self-interest. 

Many of these features, in our opinion, are shared by the active advocates of STRA in the Byron Shire. 

It’s quite clear that the vast majority of the Byron Shire community wants to see the STRA industry regulated and restrained. A rigorous and inclusive democratic process has been undertaken and the outcome is unambiguous.

Democratic process radically thwarted

So why has the local community and democratic process been so radically thwarted at the eleventh hour? And why has the elected state government crumbled under the pressure of unelected corporate property interests?  

Quite obviously, the STRA advocates are largely from big business, most of them based in major cities, and several with international reach. 

Corporations generally, and the STRA corporations in particular, have no real interest in public governance, democracy or public/community rights.

After all, democracy was designed to constrain the excesses of corporate and political power. Therefore, the motivations and ideology of the STRA corporates are in essence antithetical to community-based democracy.

The advertising and lobbying campaigns that the corporate property moguls have inflicted on the Shire exposed a deep disdain for community and neighbourhoods. Used to getting their own way in everything, the corporates have been unrelenting in their attacks on democratic process and community needs.

The corporates’ singular interest

The corporates’ singular interest in profit has demonstrated a complete lack of interest in community wellbeing. Most striking is their ignorance about the complex social and economic determinants of healthy, diverse, equitable and cohesive communities. 

This hostility is fundamentally exercised through the expropriation of territory; houses, rental accommodation, public spaces and infrastructure. It’s also evident in the unceasing and aggressive disruption of peace for neighbourhoods, families and vulnerable residents.

No doubt, these corporations would deny their affiliation with right-wing extremism. They would defend themselves by pointing out that they are working within the aegis of the law and that their activities are not directly ‘violent’.

Our research into right-wing extremism shows, however, that violence is insidious and not always direct and explicit. As in family or racial violence, much of the STRA ‘violence’ is exercised through domination, alienation and threat.

Profit is made on the misery of others – that is, our community. 

Inflicting constant disruption on neighbourhoods

Inflicting constant disruption on neighbourhoods, families and individuals is cruel enough. But depriving people of affordable accommodation is one of the worst acts of violence one group can ever impose on another.

The right-wing extremists we studied are largely clandestine. They cloak their violence in language and ideology. They despise the impediments of regulation.

This looks very much like the strategy and ideology of STRA corporations and their affiliates.

While they continue to accumulate wealth and property, the advocates of unrestrained STRA bully and infiltrate the political process. This is precisely the approach of RWE.

The sudden intervention of the State Planning Office in a clearly defined democratic process is an act of violence; right-wing extremism at its most pernicious. 


Further Reading:

Jasko Katarzyna and colleagues, A comparison of political violence by left-wing, right-wing, and Islamist extremists in the United States and the world. Jeff Lewis and colleagues, ‘Social cohesion, Twitter and far right politics in Australia’ The European Journal of Cultural Studies.

Lydia Khalil ‘The new global extremism and the threat to democracy’ (2022) The Lowy Institute.


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31 COMMENTS

    • Left Wing Extremists is fully anti-democratic. As soon as the population say no to them, they want to send in heavily armed Police to force people to comply with their demands. These ‘doctors’ are obviously Antifa that have read ‘Rules for Radicals’ and are applying it to their political opposition as a demonisation process. The Echo has sunk to a new low publishing this.

    • Is this article a bad joke intended for April 1st?

      The nasty left are bad, so is the nasty right.

      This story only divides people and I’m not fond of short term rentals. Really poor form.

      Perhaps the researchers should go back and update their paper now that Elon has let the cat out of the Twitter bag.

      Left right out!

  1. Great article! Yes, our democracy is weakened considerably by the lobbying industry funded by rich and powerful vested interests… we need more articles like this to shine the light on the shadowy puppeteers pulling the strings…

      • Not so much blame-shifting as using negative labels to smear the ‘other’.

        Negative labels and smearing, instead of honestly contesting ideas, is usually a sign that we have reached the late stages of a lost argument, or just intellectual laziness.

        However, in the author’s defence, they have attempted to set out some of the considerations relevent this argument.
        The anti-democracy one is interesting – the idea that a democratically elected government exercising its power is somehow undemocratic is a doozy.

        The authors need to re-read their political philosophy and in particular the very basis of the modern state being a Hobbesian society. There’s no such thing as a ‘community-based democracy’ in Australia.

        So while I sympathise with and oppose excessive STRA, I cannot share in their desire to wish away the power of the state to lawfully do what it has done.
        If it were not lawful, then out with the truth and lets see it reversed… but lets not start making things up.

        • I would respectfully disagree. The lack of housing supply is a product of the green agenda, construction regulations, restrictions on sub-dividing land, etc that are all pushed by the far left. This is, among other things, an attempt to blame their political adversaries for the results of their own side’s policies. If land rights were respected, owners would be stacking cheap ex-gas project pods on their land to make some extra cash, or installing flat packed houses, there are many options.

  2. Seriously
    You carry on like there will instantly be affordable housing and god like community harmony. The majority of theses homes that are str will not be affordable to most. Byron bay is not an affordable Permenant rental location anymore. Just like Noosa, manly,bondi etc. while we may like things to be like they were, there are not many places left on earth like they were that’s just reality.

    The property market is complex and influenced by supply, credit, govt policy, real estate cycles, tax law etc. the amount of str that may(?) come back to market is not going to solve the supply/affordability issue in byron there’s just not enough houses period for the amount of people that wish to live here. With little to no development this will always be the case with a beautiful east coast Australian location. Byron is not the only place with a rental shortage it’s happening all over the world. This is just part of the bank credit creation real estate cycle.
    Just one more point before we name every mum and dad that worked for a investment property in a place they like to holiday a “corporation”. Or an extremist.
    Who sold these places to them….. locals that did very well for themselves. Should this also not be allowed???
    This is a complex situation with many angles. In the end in a free market the market forces will always have there way.
    No one was winging when landlords cut rents by 30-40% during the pandemic.

    Good luck
    Be nice to each other.
    Larry

  3. sounds like ANTIFA. if you break it down. I think you may have confused investment with facism? Is it a bad thing to want to get ahead? Generally no. Al societies have extremes. Education, communication and understanding is the key. Not divisive articles like this.

  4. Fact ! More lawlessness the world over
    Comes from the left … irrefutable… !
    Far Right-wing ? Anyone that is remotely
    Conservative… notice how conservative
    Protests are all far right-wing..
    Yet when the left Protest ! All good
    Nothing to see here.. point in case
    BLM protests in the good old USA
    Whole cities taken over .. many deaths
    Lawlessness beyond belief.. billions
    In damages.. reported as mostly peaceful ✌️
    Article owners .. Activists !!

      • Yes Salty, she did – to her eternal shame too.
        Similarly, as a progressive left-wing media reported a ‘well-ordered’ BLM demonstration, there were a burning buildings in the background. This takes the ‘takes the cake’ even over the ABC’s biased reporting of the Alice Springs community meeting by a FIFO city-centric reporter!

    • When you suppress the speech of your political opposition, when they eventual speak, you will find yourself surrounded. I speak on here for a lot of people that can’t.

  5. Hasn’t anyone noticed, literally the entire world is now being run by extreme left wing politicians? If there’s a conservative leader they take him out. Looks like the Echo is too. The world and our slice of it has become more and more divisive, dangerous and evil. When you can’t get a heart transplant because your not jabbed in Melbourne tells me we have sunk into an abyss of lunacy and to try and string the current rental crises/ holiday letting in with right wing extremism makes me think we have no sanity left. Let’s just all own nothing and be happy and have a universal wage, totally trust our Government because they never lie, eat bugs, let AI make all our decisions, get our CBDCs, get our digital IDs, get all our MRNAs put those into our livestock as well cause safe and effective and we are totally sorted for a wonderful future of control, oh darn that reality is already here. And not a right winger in sight

      • I tried to post the whole WEF Young Global Leaders (2005-2021) and Global Leaders for Tomorrow (1993-2003) Alumni list but it said ‘Error: Post too long’. Here are some… Tony Blair, Angela Merkel, Richard Branson, Nicholas Sarkozy, Emmanuel Macron, Jacinda Ardern, Sarah Hanson-Young. Both Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump, Zelinsky and Putin, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. It’s quite a fascinating list of politicians, heads of corporations, media personalities, non-profit founders, and activist leaders. All taught how to screw you over by Mr ‘you will own nothing and have nothing’ himself. So grab a packet of tasty bugs and go have a read for yourself.

        • Christian I am confused with your reply.
          Many on the list given are not politicians or are former politicians. Also of the politicians not all are left wing, and few, if any, of those who are left wing can be described as “extreme left wing”.
          So my question remains who are the “extreme left wing politicians” who Salty claims now run the entire world?

          • To answer your question I need to know if you consider organisations such as the UN, IMF, WHO, et al, to be political bodies? They write policies you must follow. State and Fed laws are mostly the implementation of foreign policies now, right down to things like how much petrol you are allowed to transport in the boot of your car. That’s part of an ‘International Standard’ on transport that states are obligated to ‘adopt’ under ‘Treaty’. They have international standards for everything that just get sign into our laws and there are people in our government that you will find on that list who are some of the people tasked with making sure Australia stays on the reservation. A politician is someone who makes policy, they don’t have to be voted in to have a political position over you.

  6. I totally agree with the author’s assessment of those who are advocates for the STRA industry. My own unfortunate involvement with these individuals has been extremely negative. Each of them has exhibited bullying, arrogance and lying characteristics where their main concern is making money for themselves. They have absolutely no real concern about the residential amenity of their neighbours and no respect for any STRA regulations.

    • Wow. They sound a little defensive. Like they feel attacked. Try reading ‘The art of the deal’ or ‘The art of the argument’. Quite often when people react to your words with emotion, it’s more ‘how you’re saying it’ rather than ‘what you are saying’.

  7. Marxist ideologists always blame everyone else for their failure in producing what they espouse ; When will they realize they have been nothing more than useful idiots for those out to increase their mercantile gain .

  8. oh geez, i have voted ‘left’ and ‘far left’ my whole life but by modern definition of what make a RW extemist, i am now in that monstrous basket. I just don’t know what to do! where are the lines anymore? propaganda has taken over.
    Seriously all i can do is go hug my favourite tree. At least they always stand solid
    ffft

    • Kay, you claim that you don’t know what to do. The answer is very simple. If you are a short-term rental owner then return the dwelling to the long-term rental market so that it becomes a home.

      • Yes Kay, it’s important that you loose out on money, that your wealth is transferred to others to help patch the problems the new left have created. Cause they ain’t gonna let anyone fix it, and they ain’t gonna pay for it, that’s what you’re for.

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