In the past weeks, Australian counter-terrorism officials have arrested and charged a man who encouraged anti-lockdown protesters to bring firearms to the State Parliament in order to shoot Premier Dan Andrews “…in the head with a .50 cal explosive tip! Just to make sure hes [sic] gone for life!”. The man also instructed protesters on how to manufacture Molotov cocktails. In other incidents, the daughter of a politician was hospitalised after being attacked on the streets, and death threats have been levelled at a pro-vaccination celebrity and a school student, among others.
Elise Thomas, a researcher with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, has recently pointed out that while there is ample of evidence of some far-right involvement in the COVID-19 conspiricist movement, it is largely unnecessary to make this connection before viewing the movement as a potential source of violent extremism. As the rhetoric and action of the movement escalates, it is prudent to consider the nature of ‘conspiracy extremism’ in its own right.