Australian Counter Terrorism Conference

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


secau Security Research Centre, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia


Originally published in the Proceedings of the 1st Australian Counter Terrorism Conference, Edith Cowan University, Perth Western Australia, 5th - 7th December, 2011


Australia has done what it can to secure its borders and to prevent terrorist attacks at home. The path to radicalisation is paved with the disenfranchised and the alienated. This paper assesses the conditions of radicalisation, and whether Australia’s strict immigration and detention policy for asylum seekers arriving by boat is a breeding ground for radical behaviour. The processes of radicalisation are explored and compared to previous attacks seen in Britain. The narrative of recruitment offered by organisations such as Al Qaeda is appealing to those bereft of cultural identity, incarcerated in prisons and inside detention centres (Gunaratna, 2011; Hamm, 2007)—not just in Australia, but globally. Individuals become de-territorialised, and cast their new lost identity against the sufferings of the community and the perceived perpetrator, in this case, Australia. An act of terrorism therefore becomes an act of defining individual character for the potential new radical, based on the need for identity (Alonso et al., 2008). While this has not happened in Australia, the possibility does exist, albeit rare, in the detention centres for de-territorialised radicalisation.