The Crimes Amendment (Prohibition on display of Nazi symbols) Bill 2022 has unanimously passed the upper house of the New South Wales Parliament, meaning that the knowing public display of Nazi flags or memorabilia bearing swastikas in the state could land an offender with up to one year in jail or a possible fine of over AU$100,000.
The bill was introduced earlier this year, and it makes New South Wales the second state, after Victoria, to pass such legislation.
The law would allow use of the swastika when it is in the public interest, for example in academic, historical and educational contexts, as well as in religious settings, particularly for Hindus, Buddhists and Jains.
The Attorney General of New South Wales, Mark Speakman, said that the passage of the bill was a significant moment for Holocaust survivors and their families. He said: “The events that occurred under the Nazi regime represent one of the darkest periods of recorded human history. The atrocities committed during that period are almost unimaginable, and the intergenerational trauma they have caused continues to be felt by many people today.
“This new offence sends a clear message that the display of Nazi symbols, and the hatred and bigotry they represent will not, and should not, be tolerated. This new criminal offence will provide important, additional safeguards against hate speech and vilification in our state.”
Surinder Jain, the Vice-President of the Hindu Council of Australia, said: “For too long, the Hindu community has not felt comfortable to display our symbol of peace because it resembled a symbol of evil. This is no longer. We were so pleased to work with the Jewish community to make this a reality. Thank you to everyone involved in this important work for the benefit of our entire community.”
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