The NSW upper-house of parliament unanimously voted to officially condemn far-right groups United Patriots Front and Reclaim Australia, over their "racist and threatening behaviour" and alleged threats made against a journalist.
Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi moved a motion in the Legislative Council on Tuesday afternoon that the chamber respond to recent actions allegedly carried out by the UPF and Reclaim groups. The root of the motion stretches to a story published by the Daily Mail in February, with pictures claiming prominent anti-Islam campaigner Blair Cottrell -- who has links to both groups, which both lobby against halal food certifications -- had eaten at a halal kebab shop in Victoria.
In her motion, Faruqi claimed that the female journalist who wrote the story was "subject to extreme online threats of violence and abuse by people associated with the United Patriots Front group, including threats that people were ‘coming’ for her."
Faruqi's motion, which she said was unanimously agreed to in the chamber, stated:
- That this House unreservedly opposes violence and threats of violence against journalists, and reiterates its support for freedom of the press.
- That this House calls on the New South Wales and Australian governments to condemn far-right groups such as Reclaim Australia and the United Patriots Front for their racist and threatening behaviour.
"It is good to see the Upper House unanimously support my motion calling on the NSW and Australian Governments to condemn far-right groups such as Reclaim Australia and the United Patriots Front. Extreme anti-Islam groups should be criticised and called out for their hateful views which have led members of the community to feel threatened, intimidated, and unsafe," Faruqi said in a statement.
"It is particularly concerning to see members of the press targeted for their reporting on these groups. Freedom of the press is an essential part of our democracy."
Reclaim Australia was the group behind several large public rallies in Australia in recent times, and had links to the the controversial "memorial" for the Cronulla riots in December 2015. The UPF has branched off into a political party, Fortitude Australia, of which Cottrell is chairman.