Nazi symbol banned in Victoria

June 22, 2022 by AAP J-Wire
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Victoria has passed legislation banning the public display of the Nazi swastika.

The bill, hailed as a “thunderous blow” to white supremacists when it was introduced last month, was passed in parliament on Tuesday.

It makes it a criminal offence for anyone to intentionally display the Nazi symbol in public, and those who do will face penalties of up to nearly $22,000, 12 months in jail, or both.

People will only be charged if they do not comply with a police directive to remove the symbol.

Victorian Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes said the swastika glorified one of the most hateful ideologies in history, and its public display did nothing but cause further pain and division.

“It’s a proud moment to see these important laws pass with bipartisan support,” she said.

“I’m glad to see that no matter what side of politics, we can agree that this vile behaviour will not be tolerated in Victoria.”

Religious versions of the symbol tied to Hindu, Buddhist and Jain faiths will remain legal.

There will also be exemptions for historical, educational and artistic purposes, while memorabilia bearing the Nazi swastika can still be traded as long as the symbol is covered when on public display.

The legislation will come into effect in six months’ time to allow for a campaign about the origins of the religious and cultural swastika to be rolled out, the state government said.

The President of The Jewish Community Council of Victoria Daniel Aghion told ABC: “There may be other symbols that might be looked at in future but we have to start somewhere and the Nazi swastika is something that we know from a survey 80% of the population they should be banned. It creates fear, and that’s the real issue. I think that there’s a difference between some graffiti somewhere that tends to upset us as being a defacing of public property, or sometimes private property, and a Nazi swastika, which is designed for a particular purpose that is to intimidate.”

He issued a statement saying: “The JCCV sincerely thanks the Victorian Government, particularly Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes and Minister for Multicultural Affairs Ros Spence MP, for engaging and working with the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) in drafting this new law.

“This new law, which was supported by the Coalition and the Greens, will come into effect after six months, following an education campaign.”

AIJAC welcomed the adoption by the Victorian Government of legislation banning the public display of the Nazi swastika outside of educational, artistic and religious contexts, as well as the introduction of a similar bill in the New South Wales parliament yesterday.

Encouragingly, Victorian Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes said: “It’s a proud moment to see these important laws pass with bipartisan support – I’m glad to see that no matter what side of politics, we can agree that this vile behaviour will not be tolerated in Victoria.”

NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman also released a welcome statement on a newly-introduced bill, saying “Hateful and vilifying conduct is completely unacceptable in our community. This Bill recognises that the public display of Nazi symbols is generally considered abhorrent, except in very limited circumstances such as for education purposes, and causes profound offence and distress.”

AIJAC said that both Queensland and Tasmania, which have also announced they intend to introduce swastika bans, and the other states and territories as well will move quickly to introduce and adopt such legislation. These bans are an important tool to deter open displays of antisemitism and further marginalise racist extremists and will help strengthen communal cohesion and harmony across Australia.


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