In response to an increase in far-right activity, Australia has decided to implement a ban on the sale and public display of swastikas and other Nazi symbols. The ban extends to include the emblems of the Schutzstaffel (SS), the paramilitary division of the Nazi party. Mark Dreyfus, the federal attorney general, emphasised the repugnant nature of these images and stated that they have no place in Australia.

Under the new legislation, it will be illegal to utilise Nazi symbols as flags or armbands, as well as to print them on clothing. Offenders may face penalties of up to 12 months’ imprisonment. However, the federal law will not encompass a ban on the Nazi salute, as Mr. Dreyfus believes that state and territory governments are better equipped to enforce such restrictions, particularly regarding street offenses. He explained that state governments hold more responsibility in this regard, while federal law primarily addresses public display, including online platforms.

Australia’s intelligence agency has issued warnings about the increasing visibility and organisation of far-right groups. Incidents, such as clashes between neo-Nazis and transgender rights protesters in Melbourne, where individuals were observed giving Nazi salutes near the state parliament building, have underscored the need for action. Last year, a football fan was banned for life from attending any Football Australia-sanctioned games after performing the Nazi salute at the Australia Cup final.

Expressing concern over the surge in public displays of these abhorrent symbols, Mr. Dreyfus stated during an interview with Channel Seven television, “We’ve seen, very sadly, a rise in people displaying these vile symbols, which are symbols that have no place in Australia – they should be repugnant.” He further acknowledged that all Australian states and territories have either passed laws or announced plans to prohibit Nazi symbols, and the proposed federal legislation will align with these local measures.

The federal government aims to introduce the law to parliament in the upcoming week. Mr. Dreyfus highlighted the government’s responsibility regarding the import and export of such items and expressed the desire to put an end to the trading of Nazi memorabilia or any items bearing these hateful symbols. He firmly emphasized that Australia should not tolerate the dissemination of hatred and violence within its borders.

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