The Australian State of New South Wales (NSW) is close to banning the swastika following the reporting of some 31 incidents in which the Nazi symbol was displayed.
The bill, introduced by opposition Labour Party member Walt Secord, would ban the public display or dissemination of the Nazi symbol. The bill imposes maximum penalties of approximately 4,000 Australian dollars (£2,250) and six months in prison and includes exemptions for its use in Hindu traditions.
Following a joint endorsement for the bill from the NSW Board of Deputies and the Hindu Council of Australia, the Standing Committee on Social Issues will now consider amendments before sending the bill to Australia’s upper legislative body for debate.
“The Nazi swastika is an emblem of pure evil,” said Board of Deputies CEO Darren Bark in a joint statement with the Hindu Council of Australia. “It represents the dehumanisation of millions of people; the death of our Australian servicemen and women; and one of the most inhumane, hate-based and murderous regimes and ideologies to ever exist.”
Mr Secord, the Shadow Minister for Police and Counter-Terrorism, introduced the bill following a report by Australia’s ABC News stating that police had seen a rise in extremist behaviour in NSW. He said that in 2020, police were notified 31 times about Nazi symbols and flags, but were powerless to act.