Victorians Now Face Up To A Year In Prison If They Display The Nazi Swastika
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Victoria has officially become the first state in Australia to ban the display of the Nazi swastika, with the bill passing through both houses of Parliament.
Yesterday (Tuesday June 21), the piece of legislation was approved, making it illegal to publicly and intentionally show the Nazi symbol.
Those who breach the law can be fined up to $20,000 (USD $13,854 or £11,323) or face up to 12 months behind bars.
However, the hate symbol can still be displayed in religious and cultural contexts.
ABC News reports that before passing the bill, the Victorian government consulted with 'religious, legal and community groups’ to understand the religious use of the swastika while ensuring it could be used for historical and artistic purposes.
In a press release, Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes said that the swastika glorifies Nazi rhetoric, causing ‘further pain and division'.
He 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.”
Minister for Multicultural Affairs Ros Spence also said: “These laws are part of our unwavering commitment to challenge antisemitism, hatred and racism wherever and whenever they occur."
The Premier added the law change ensures ‘nobody has the right to spread racism, hate or antisemitism’.
In our state, nobody has the right to spread racism, hate or antisemitism.— Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) June 21, 2022
That's why last night we passed legislation to ban the Nazi symbol.
And now, it's the law.
The state government also stated that they will continue to monitor and assess other hate symbols.
The law will come into effect in six months.
Following Victoria drafting this bill, Queensland has also announced plans to prohibit the display of the Nazi symbol.
Last month, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in a statement: “Nazism is evil.
“Evil triumphs when good people do nothing.
“These crimes are not harmless and nor is the ideology behind it.”
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman also said the move would help encourage an inclusive community that doesn’t promote ‘hate crimes’.
She said: “We are committed to a Queensland that is harmonious, fair and inclusive, not one where individuals or groups are vilified based on their race, religion, language, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation or gender.”
The Premier revealed she was prompted to update the legislation after a Nazi flag was displayed outside a Brisbane Synagogue and trains were vandalised with hate symbols last year, according to SBS News.