Australia’s state of Victoria has recently implemented a new law that prohibits making Nazi salutes in public. The legislation was passed by the local legislature on Tuesday and will take effect on Saturday. The state’s police have already warned that they will start taking action against individuals who violate the ban.
Victoria’s premier, Jacinta Allan, expressed both praise for the new law and disappointment that it was necessary. In a post on social media, she explained, “I wish making these new laws wasn’t necessary, but we’ll always do what we need to do to tackle hatred, antisemitism, and racism.” The new regulation carries a maximum fine of up to AUS$23,000 or up to one year of imprisonment.
This ban on Nazi salutes comes in response to a small neo-Nazi rally that took place in Melbourne last week. During the rally, participants displayed anti-Semitic banners and repeatedly demonstrated Nazi salutes. The police are currently investigating the event to determine if any existing laws were violated at the time.
Deputy Commissioner Neil Paterson has made it clear that the police will take action against individuals who attend rallies and engage in Nazi salutes. He stated, “If any member of the public, including the National Socialist Network, attends any of those rallies and undertakes a Nazi salute, then police will be pursuing those individuals to ensure that we enforce the new law, hold them to account, charge them, and bring them before a court of law.”
Prior to this new legislation, displaying Nazi memorabilia had been largely unregulated in Australia for decades. However, Victoria became the first state to outlaw the public display of the swastika last year. The country has a small neo-Nazi community that often stages public rallies.
In the past few months, other Australian states, including Tasmania and New South Wales, have also implemented laws banning the display of Nazi symbols and gestures in public. Queensland has taken a broader approach with its anti-hate symbol legislation, empowering prosecutors to recommend which symbols should be banned.
These measures aim to combat and address the rise of far-right extremism and hate speech in Australia. By outlawing Nazi salutes and the display of Nazi symbols, the government hopes to send a clear message that such actions will not be tolerated and that efforts will be made to protect marginalized communities, particularly the Jewish community, from hate crimes and discrimination.
In conclusion, Victoria’s new law banning Nazi salutes in public is a significant step towards combating hatred, antisemitism, and racism in Australia. The government’s proactive approach sends a strong message that such offensive gestures and symbols will not be tolerated. By implementing similar measures across the country, Australia is taking a stand against far-right extremism and working towards creating a more inclusive and tolerant society.