Jessica Strutt hosts a program called Focus on ABC Radio Perth every weekday morning for broad, in-depth panel discussions on a range of topical issues and news of the day. On Tuesday 22nd September 2020 Jessica hosted a segment on the rise of the sovereign citizen movement in Australia. I was cordially invited by the Producer Sarah Taillier to be involved in this conversation, as I have the experience of what it is like to be on the other side of this movement.
“Do you know what a sovereign citizen is? In the simplest form – they’re people who believe in ultimate personal freedoms…that doesn’t sound so bad, does it? But the realities of how that belief could play out, with its implications for a community in a democracy, has some law enforcers pretty worried. Sometimes called organic citizens, they come in many guises with many beliefs but what they have in common is they don’t play by the rules the rest of us generally subscribe to. Coronavirus has seen a rise in anti-government sentiment and many conspiracy theories have been super-charged, experts believe that the sovereign citizen movement has recently gained traction.
To find out more, Jess Strutt was joined on Focus by Dr Harry Hobbs, a Lecturer at the Faculty of Law at the University of Technology Sydney, Dr Mark Balnaves, an adjunct research fellow at the University of Notre Dame where he’s researching the rise of sovereign citizens and the role of conspiracy theories, and Kosta Lucas, a researcher and practitioner in preventing and countering violent extremism in the community. The program also heard from former “organic citizen” Rob Sudy from regional NSW who explained how the movement had appeal for him, and how he came to see its flaws.”