From next week, jail, fines await neo-Nazis in Victoria

December 20, 2022 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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From December 29, Victorians who display the Nazi swastika – could face a year in prison and a $22,000 fine.

The laws were passed by the Victorian Parliament earlier this year but will soon be effective, sending a clear message to all Victorians that the Nazi swastika is a symbol of evil that causes great offence to all Victorians, including Jewish Victorians.

Daniel Aghion, President of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV), said: “The Nazis represented the worst type of evil and while this evil was defeated, the memory of their crimes lives on. It is satisfying that Jewish Victorians, indeed all Victorians, will not have to face these symbols of evil as we head in to 2023.”

CSG continues to record reports from members of the Jewish community of Nazi swastikas being displayed in public and graffitied on public property. And during the recent Victorian election, campaign posters were vandalised with the Nazi swastika. The new law will allow Victoria Police to prosecute those who refuse to remove this offensive symbol from view.

Exemptions to the law exist for genuine educational or artistic purposes or if the symbol is used in opposition to Nazism.

The new law was drafted following consultation with the JCCV, as well as representative bodies for the Victorian Hindu, Buddhist and Jain communities. As part of their religious practice, Hindus, Buddhists and Jains all use the cultural swastika – which looks different to the Nazi Hakenkreuz, and represents wellbeing, guidance or good fortune. This practice can continue under the new law because it is only the Nazi Hakenkreuz that has been banned.

Leaders from these four communities were scheduled to gather on Friday afternoon at the Pillars of Light Festival to reflect the trust and harmony built between the four communities during the consultation process for this new law.

“We had to collaborate in order to make legislation that was going to be worthwhile and meaningful in protecting the Jewish community, but was also going to be worthwhile and meaningful in restoring the original meaning to the symbol – which has represented goodness and auspiciousness for thousands of years,” said Dr Diana Cousens, Vice-President of the Buddhist Council of Victoria.

Hitesh Choradiya, Vice President for the Melbourne Shwetambar Jain Sangh, added: “The communities worked collaboratively and put forward their case for exceptions for the religious use of the swastika in Victoria because there is no connection between the holy swastika and the Nazi symbol of hatred. We are very thankful these exceptions were put in place.”

Makarand Bhagwat, President of the Hindu Council of Victoria praised the Victorian Government for consulting with the four religious communities ahead of the introduction of the new law: “We requested the Victorian Government and the Attorney-General to stop calling the Nazi symbol a swastika, to outline clear exemptions to the legislation, and to put an education campaign in place to protect all faith groups. We’re very happy the government listened to our requests.”

Pillars of Light founder, and JCCV executive member, Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann welcomed the new laws, as he prepared to welcome Cousens, Choradiya and Bhagwat to the Chanukah celebration.

“The Victorian Government legislating and banning the Nazi Hakenkreuz is a clear message to all Victorians that hate speech and symbols, antisemitism and discrimination do not belong in a multicultural and diverse society like ours,” said Rabbi Kaltmann.

To report incidents of antisemitism, contact CSG on 1300 000 274 or visit


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