In an effort to combat far-right organizations, Australia has declared it would enact a countrywide ban on Nazi insignia.
The penalty for displaying the SS or Swastika in public is up to a year in jail. The Nazi salute will be exempt from the new laws, though.
Nazi symbols are already prohibited in many states, but the government claims that this ban makes them illegal everywhere.
The action coincides with a rise in far-right activism.
Neo-Nazis made an appearance at a demonstration Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, a prominent opponent of transgender rights, sponsored in Melbourne in March, and they gave the Nazi salute on the steps of the Victorian Parliament.
Despite Ms. Keen-Minshull’s denial of any affiliation with the group, the incident led to calls for more action to be taken against displays of Nazi regalia.
Attorney General Mark Dreyfus declared in a statement introducing the new legislation that “there is no place in Australia for symbols that glorify the horrors of the Holocaust.”
He continued, “We will no longer let anybody to make money from the display and sale of objects which praise the Nazis.
The sale and public display of flags, armbands, T-shirts, insignia, and the online posting of symbols supporting Nazi philosophy are all prohibited, according to Mr. Dreyfus.
However, the Nazi swastika and SS emblems may be shown in public for scientific, artistic, literary, educational, or journalistic purposes.
The Nazi salute is not covered by the law, and state authorities will be in charge of enforcing it. Earlier this year, prohibitions were already declared in Victoria and Queensland.
The swastika’s presentation in religious settings was specifically let out of the prohibition because of its spiritual importance.
The Nazi Swastika is based on an old hooked cross motif that is still revered in Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism.
The decision was hailed as a “profound moment that represents the culmination of a six-year personal campaign” by Dvir Abramovich, the chairman of Australia’s Anti-Defamation Commission.
Holocaust survivors were brought “back to their darkest days” by the recent appearance of neo-Nazis on Australian streets, Mr. Abramovich told the BBC.
Their hearts are torn to pieces by it. They probably had no idea that neo-Nazism would be on the rise in their lifetime.
Even though there is no “magic bullet” to deal with “hardcore bigots,” Mr. Abramovich claimed that the new rules are a start in the right direction.
A society-wide strategy is required to attack the problem at its source, he continued.
Neo-Nazis infiltrated anti-lockdown protests during the Covid-19 outbreak to propagate their message and enlist new members, according to local media prior to current events in Melbourne.
The nation’s extreme far-right was getting “emboldened” to take to the streets, Australia’s security chief warned last month.
Australian Security Intelligence Organization Director General Mike Burgess stated, “We have witnessed a spike in persons driven to this philosophy, for reasons we don’t completely comprehend.