- New Australian laws banning the Nazi salute, as well as the display or sale of symbols associated with identified terror groups, came into effect in the nation on Monday.1
- The law criminalizes the sale and display of Nazi symbols, including the swastika and the lightning bolt insignia of the SS (Schutzstaffel). It was initially introduced in June as a proposal to ban only symbols, but was amended in November to include the Nazi salute.2
- Violations of this legislation could see individuals sentenced to up to 12 months in prison. Religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, which use the swastika, are exempted, as is the display of such symbols for educational, artistic, literary, journalistic, or scientific purposes.3
- The law applies to all groups that Australia labels as “terrorist,” such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Under the legislation, the Hamas symbols are also now prohibited.4
- Attorney General Mark Dreyfus said the law shows that 'acts and symbols that glorify the horrors of the Holocaust and terroris[m]” have no place in Australia. According to the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, there has been a year-on-year rise in antisemitic incidents in the country since the October outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war.5
- Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by The Canberra Times. Australia has sent a clear message against hateful and antisemitic symbols and displays. Antisemitism, which had long been bubbling under the surface of Australian society, was brought to a new level of active aggression following Hamas’ attack on Israel. The memory of the Holocaust serves as a painful reminder of the evil that has plagued Western countries, and modern governments must do everything possible to remind the world that such hatred and genocide must never happen again. Australia's new law is a major victory in that direction.
- Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Vox Popoli. Australia is being hypocritical — the country purports to value individual liberty yet is outlawing free speech, which requires that even the most reprehensible ideas may be expressed. Laws banning certain speech will inevitably be expanded to encompass any sentiment that defies the status quo. In any case, does anyone really think the Third Reich is coming back to take over Australia? This is just the government virtue signalling even as it chips away at people’s freedoms.