Qld to join Vic with Nazi, hate symbol ban

May 26, 2022 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszcuk will make her state the second to ban Nazi and other hate symbols to ensure extremists are “called out, confronted and condemned”.

Police have seized a Nazi flag that was flown from an apartment window near a Brisbane synagogue. (PR HANDOUT IMAGE PHOTO)

She will introduce a bill that criminalises the intentional display of symbols to promote hatred or cause fear, such as the swastika, which is also known as the Hakenkreuz.

It’s understood there will be exceptions for Hindus, Buddhists and Jains for whom swastikas are religious symbols.

Ms Palaszczuk says her decision comes after a Nazi flag was displayed near the Brisbane Synagogue and a train carriage being vandalised with Nazi slogans and symbols last year.

“That will make it a criminal offence to display symbols promoting hatred and causing fear,” she said in a statement to AAP.

“These crimes are not harmless. Nor are their ideologies.

“They are to be called out, confronted and condemned.”

Queensland’s plan for a ban on hate symbols comes after the Victorian government introduced a bill to ban them. The NSW government is also set to follow suit.

Last year, a Queensland parliamentary committee recommended prohibiting hate symbols, including those representing the Nazi and ISIS ideologies, after an inquiry into serious vilification and hate crimes.

It’s unclear if the premier’s bill will cover social media and internet displays of hate symbols, which was also recommended by the committee.

“The committee notes the proliferation of vilifying commentary on various social media platforms and considers that the public nature of social media usage needs to be recognised in the definition of ‘public acts’ for the purpose of anti-vilification legislation,” its report said.

The cross-party panel said the legal discrimination protections should be widened from race, religion, sexuality and gender identity, to include disability, medical status, sex characteristics and intersex status.

It also proposed to make hate or serious vilification an aggravation in criminal cases and that the civil incitement test be lowered so it shouldn’t have to prove offenders actually incited hate crimes, only that their actions were likely to.

The committee called on the government to set up a hate scrutiny panel for police and community groups to engage in mutual education on vilification.

The Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies (QJBD) welcomed the Queensland Government’s response to the Parliamentary inquiry into serious vilification and hate crime, in particular, the recommendation to criminalise the public display of Nazi hate symbols.

QJBD president Jason Steinberg said the proposed new laws were a landmark step forward in the fight against hate in Queensland.

“This is a significant move to protect our community and it is very encouraging to know the government has no tolerance for hate in our society,” Mr Steinberg said.

“Hate begins with words and symbols. The Premier’s announcement that the Government will introduce legislation making it a criminal offence to display symbols promoting hatred and causing fear sends a clear message that those who peddle racism and hate have no place here in Queensland.

“For too long, right-wing groups and individuals who share Nazi ideologies have acted with impunity across Queensland. The display of these symbols impacts the sense of safety and security of all Queenslanders, including those who are members of groups and communities that have historically been the targets of Nazi policies of genocide, mass murder and other forms of persecution, such as Jews, Roma people, the disabled and LGBTIQ people.

New laws will empower the police to be a useful tool in countering the proliferation of extremist ideologies.”

Incidents of antisemitism have been on the rise in Queensland, including the flying of a Nazi flag over a synagogue in Brisbane,and posters on the Gold Coast depicting the swastika and antisemitic stereotypes.

Sadly, the pervasiveness of antisemitism in Queensland was clearly demonstrated via a survey conducted in 2021 by the QJBD, which revealed that 6 in 10 Jews have been a victim of racial abuse and vilification.

The banning of hate symbols, such as the swastika, was part of the QJBD’s submission to the Queensland Parliament’s Inquiry into vilification and hate crime laws. 

Victoria and New South Wales have legislation Bills pending banning Nazi symbols, as do a number of countries, particularly those which historically suffered most at the hands of Nazi tyranny.

Most of these jurisdictions, which have introduced banning legislation, provide exemptions or exclusions for the display of certain symbols when the purpose is clearly not to promote hatred. For example, the swastika in certain formats has, for centuries, been a religious and cultural symbol in several eastern and European traditions, including Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Similarly, the use of Nazi symbols to educate the public about the appalling history of Nazism or for other genuine academic, research, scientific or artistic purposes, or other purposes in the public interest, should not be proscribed in the new Queensland laws.

In addition, the QJBD advocated that any banning legislation that is introduced in Queensland would need to be flexible enough to accommodate the constant evolution of new hate symbols.

“If legislation was in place before some of these recent incidents occurred, the perpetrators would have found themselves facing criminal charges, instead of getting a ‘slap’ on the wrist,” Mr Steinberg said.

“Hate symbols are like a cancer. If not treated, the environment in which they exist allows them to spread and flourish. The proposed new laws will prohibit this, which will benefit all Queenslanders and pave the way for a more safe, harmonious and tolerant society.”

AIJAC Executive Director Dr Colin Rubenstein said of the proposed bill, “It is encouraging to see Queensland join Victoria and New South Wales with plans to ban the hateful symbol of the swastika, which stokes the flames of hatred and extremism against Jewish people and is beyond the pale. As I’ve noted in the past, the public display of Nazi symbols should be a red line in Australian public discourse, and banning these symbols of hate represents an important step towards creating a safer, more cohesive and more harmonious society. We commend Queensland’s Premier, Attorney General and all the Government advisors and officials that have helped Queensland embark upon this bold policy. We call on the ACT, Tasmania, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory state governments join hands with all other states and usher in the day when the swastika, and by inference all the hatred and racism it symbolises, will not be displayed anywhere in Australia.”



One Response to “Qld to join Vic with Nazi, hate symbol ban”
  1. william h rocheblave says:

    it’s amazing how they still fly that hate killing Hitler’s flag, and they don’t realize just what the Nazis did to this world.

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