Sydney, Australia, Aug 14 (EFE).- The Australian island state of Tasmania passed a bill on Wednesday banning the Nazi salute and symbols, becoming the first region in the country to do so, the regional government said in a statement.
The legislation, which has successfully passed its final phase in the legislative council, is expected to come into effect later this year.
“This bill is the first of its kind in Australia and will contribute to the creation of a safer and more inclusive Tasmania,” said the state’s Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Elise Archer.
Archer reiterated that Nazi symbols and salutes are a breach of moral and community standards and are not welcome in Tasmania.
“We strongly condemn any display of hate in our community,” she said.
According to the law, first time offenders will face a fine of AU$3,900 (some $2,521) or three months in jail with maximum penalties for repeat offenders doubling within six months.
The move comes months after a group of neo-Nazi protesters executed the Nazi salute in front of the Victoria state parliament in March, causing a controversy throughout the country.
The justice minister underlined the law would protect the use of the swastika by certain religious communities that has nothing to do with the Nazi gesture and symbols.
“Importantly, the bill also acknowledges the continued importance of the swastika to the Buddhist, Hindu and Jain communities, and clearly states that the display of a swastika in this context is not an offense,” she said.
In June, the Australian government introduced a bill to ban Nazi symbols nationwide, although it does not include the Nazi salute. EFE