Victoria has become the first Australian state or territory to ban the public display of the Nazi swastika in a landmark move.
The Victorian government introduced the legislation to Parliament, becoming the first jurisdiction in the country to deem the display of the Nazi swastika as a crime and enabling police to remove and confiscate items displaying the symbol.
Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes announced the reform on Wednesday (May 11), saying: “The Nazi symbol glorifies one of the most hateful ideologies in history – its public display does nothing but cause further pain and division.
“As a government we want to do all we can to stamp out hate and give it no room to grow.”
Anyone breaching the ban could face fines of $22,00 and 12 months imprisonment; however, the legislation won’t come into effect until a year after passing.
Attorney-General @JaclynSymes announcing Victoria will become first state to ban the nazi swastika symbol, with new laws to be introduced into parliament today. Fines of up to 22k or 12 months jail. Hindu cultural swastika not included @abcmelbourne #springst pic.twitter.com/Cu1IwYtEWU— Bridget Rollason (@bridgerollo) May 10, 2022
Symes says the year will allow an education campaign to raise awareness on the importance of the religious and cultural swastika to Buddhist, Hindu and Jain communities, who do not use it as a symbol of hate.
Symes said: “We do know that the swastika is a symbol of peace, love and acceptance for the Hindu, Buddhist and Jain communities and is a really important symbol for their faith.”
Chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission, Dr Dvir Abramovic has been campaigning for the public displays of the Nazi swastika to be outlawed.
He told reporters: “This is a day for the history books, this is an uplifting and triumphant moment for every Victorian and it’s a thunderous blow to the solar plexus of the neo-Nazi movement here in Victoria who would love nothing more than to put people like myself in the gas chambers and who dream of an Australian Hitler and Fourth Reich.”
Today is one of my proudest days in politics driving a campaign to finally see the ban on the evil Nazi symbol of hate in Victoria.— David Southwick MP (@SouthwickMP) May 11, 2022
Caulfield has the largest Jewish community in Aus and we have all been exposed to this evil symbol and a rise in anti-semitism.#springst
Deputy Liberal leader David Southwick, who is Jewish and member for Caulfield, called it the ‘proudest moment’ of his political career.
Southwick tweeted: “Today is one of my proudest days in politics driving a campaign to finally see the ban on the evil Nazi symbol of hate in Victoria.
“Caulfield has the largest Jewish community in Aus and we have all been exposed to this evil symbol and a rise in anti-semitism.
“This ban sends a clear message that there is no place for Nazi symbols or hate in Victoria.”
However, he urged that the ban come into effect immediately.
He continued: “My only criticism is that the ban can’t come soon enough and we shouldn’t have to wait another year.”
Featured Image Credit: Jay Kogler / Alamy. CHROMORANGE / Christian Ohde / Alamy.