Australia Moves to Implement National Ban on Nazi Symbols

Henry Jom
By Henry Jom
June 9, 2023Australiashare
Australia Moves to Implement National Ban on Nazi Symbols
A swastika flag (L), for sale at a store at the Gladstone Harbour Festival in central Queensland, Australia, on April 11, 2006. (Chris Donaghy/AAP Image via AP)

The Australian federal government is moving to formally ban Nazi-related symbols nationally as it aims to curb far-right extremism.

Under the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Prohibited Hate Symbols and Other Measures) Bill, which will be introduced next week, the public display and selling of insignia related to Nazism will be criminalised. The crime carries with it a fine of $16,500 (US $11,000) or one year imprisonment.

But the Bill will exclude public displays of the Nazi Swastika for “religious, academic, educational, artistic, literary, journalistic or scientific purpose,” Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said in a June 8 statement.

“The ban includes, but is not limited to, the trade and public display of flags, armbands, t-shirts, insignia and the publication of symbols online promoting Nazi ideology,” Dreyfus said.

The ban will not apply to those who belong to religious groups, such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, which use the swastika as a symbol of spiritual significance.

“We have consulted with these communities to ensure nothing in these laws will impinge on the use or display of these symbols in association with those religions,” Dreyfus said.

The ban also does not apply to the Nazi salute, despite it being considered offensive by a number of groups.

“The Nazi salute is an offensive gesture that has no place in Australian society, but we think that the burning of these gestures is a matter for State and Territory laws,” Dreyfus said.

“We need to make a start. This may not be the end of what we do to criminalise hate speech, this kind of conduct—we need to make it absolutely clear that there’s no place in Australia for Nazi symbols that glorify the horrors of the Holocaust.”

Dreyfus added that the laws would complement state and territory laws. Current state and territory laws ban the public display of Nazi symbols, but federal legislation goes further to ban the sale of items.

Meanwhile, Opposition leader Peter Dutton said the new laws should incorporate the salute.

“You must include in the bill the prohibition of the salute if you’re going to be serious about addressing what the government says is a rising problem,” Dutton told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

“There’s no place in Australia for those who are seeking to glorify hatred and violence and anti-Semitism,” Dreyfus said.

“There has been a rise in this kind of activity, it’s been identified by … the boss of ASIO in each of his annual state-of-the-nation security reports for the last three years.”

This follows the introduction of laws in both the New South Wales and Victorian governments that have banned the display of Nazi symbols following a number of neo-Nazi demonstrations.

From The Epoch Times

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