Sydney, Australia, Jun 8 (EFE).- Australia will present a bill next week to prohibit the public display of Nazi symbols, such as the swastika and the Schutzstaffel or SS, amid a growing presence of extreme right-wing groups in the country, the government announced Thursday.
The Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment will penalize the display of these symbols with up to a year in prison.
“The ban includes, but is not limited to, the trade and public display of flags, armbands, t-shirts, insignia and the publication of symbols online promoting Nazi ideology,” Attorney General Mark Dreyfus said in a statement.
“There is no place in Australia for symbols that glorify the horrors of the Holocaust,” he added.
With the measure, the Australian government “is sending the clearest possible signal to those who seek to spread hatred, violence and anti-Semitism that we find these actions repugnant and they will not be tolerated,” Dreyfus said.
The legislative proposal excludes the public display of these symbols for academic, educational, artistic, literary, religious, scientific or journalistic reasons, according to the statement.
The ban “will not in any way apply to the display and use of the swastika which is of spiritual significance to religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism,” the statement added.
The bill, which is expected to be approved by the parliament at the end of the year, does not include a ban on the Nazi salute leaving it to the state and territory governments.
The measure comes after Victoria, the country’s second most populated state, banned the Nazi salute after neo-Nazi groups clashed with peaceful transgender rights activists in the state’s capital, Melbourne, in March.
Victoria became the first jurisdiction in Australia to ban the public display of the Nazi swastika in 2022, followed by Tasmania, which took similar steps in January.
In Australia, terrorist threats from far-right groups constitute about 30 percent of the Australian domestic intelligence agency’s caseload, its director-general, Mike Burgess, told a parliamentary committee in May.
The display of Nazi symbols is prohibited in several countries around the world, including Germany and France. EFE