Sydney, Australia, June 22 (EFE).- The Victoria state has outlawed the public display of the Nazi symbol swastika, thus becoming the first Australian jurisdiction to do so to prevent incitement of hatred and antisemitism.
“In our state, nobody has the right to spread racism, hate or antisemitism. Ever. That’s why last night we passed legislation to ban the Nazi symbol. And now, it’s the law,” Victoria Premier Dan Andrews tweeted.
The measure was adopted by the Victorian parliament on Tuesday night, and it will go into force in six months.
The crime of openly exhibiting the Nazi swastika entails a fine of up to AU$22,000 ($15,000) and a maximum sentence of 12 months in prison.
But the legislation has some exceptions, including where the display of the symbol is for a “genuine academic, artistic, religious or scientific purpose, or for a genuine cultural or educational purpose.”
“The use of the swastika by religious communities should never be the target of this offense,” Minister for Crime Prevention Natalie Hutchins said.
The minister said the law includes several examples that reflect some of the circumstances in which the swastika continues to be used by the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain faiths “to aid with education, training, and awareness about the religious exception.”
The swastika for Buddhist, Hindu, Jain and other faith communities has been an ancient and sacred symbol for centuries.
The government declared that it would keep an eye on the usage of hate signs and explore adding more of them to the legislation.
Victorian Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes said the swastika glorified one of the most hateful ideologies in history, and its public display did nothing but cause further pain and division.
“It is a proud moment to see these important laws pass. It sends the strongest possible message that this vile behavior won’t be tolerated.”
Mike Burgess, the head of Australian intelligence, warned of a rising rate of youth radicalization in Australia in his threat assessment in February.
Burgess also issued a warning over the rise in offline and online activities by far-right organizations.
He cited an increase in “racist and nationalist violence” as evidence that dangers emanated from radical Islamist and supremacist organizations.
White supremacist Brenton Tarrant, who killed 51 people in the Christchurch mosque attacks in New Zealand in 2019, is an Australian. EFE