An alleged far-right extremist has been arrested and charged after being accused of using social media to encourage terrorist acts.
A Tamworth man has been arrested and charged with urging violence and encouraging terrorism following a police investigation into a series of online posts featuring nationalist and racist extremist messaging.
Police will allege in court that Wade John Homewood, 37, used social media platforms to encourage violence against several groups of people “which he identified by race, political viewpoints and occupation”.
He is also accused of encouraging violence against a number of Australian political leaders.
Counter terror police launched an investigation into the man’s alleged activities in September after spotting concerning social media posts.
Officers raided a home in Tamworth, and two rural blocks in the area, earlier this week.
They seized a number of electronic devices and a variety of handwritten and printed material which will undergo forensic analysis.
The man was arrested at his home on Tuesday afternoon and taken to Tamworth Police Station.
He was charged with one count of urging violence against members or groups and one count of advocating terrorism.
Each offence carries a maximum penalty of five years behind bars.
Federal Police were concerned the man’s alleged criminal messages that were published online but encourage others to commit violent acts.
“This man’s quantity of messages on online forums was of similar concern to the actual content of the messages – resulting in the very real fear that it would inspire someone to commit a violent or terrorist act,” AFP Assistant Commissioner Scott Lee said.
“The AFP and its partners will not hesitate to act quickly and lay charges if we identify criminal offences in online activity that promotes violent extremist messages, as our core duty is to ensure the ongoing safety of our entire community.”
NSWPF Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Commander, Assistant Commissioner Mark Walton, echoed those comments.
He said the online environment can be exploited to spread extremist views and incite violence.
The man appeared at Tamworth Local Court on Wednesday.
He was refused bail and will appear in Parramatta Local Court on December 10.
Anyone with information about extremist activity or possible threats to the community should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or the National Security Hotline on 1800 1234 00.
“There is no ongoing threat to the community in relation to this investigation,” police said.