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Australia's Government Bans Nazi Hate Symbols

By: Sophia Chen

Australian Attorney General Mark Dreyfus declared on Wednesday that a bill criminalizing public displays of the Nazi swastika has been sent to Parliament. The new legislation comes after a six-year campaign by civil rights groups, such as the Anti-Defamation Commission, that called for the bans.

The proposed ban includes Nazi flags, t-shirts, and armbands, as well as online posts encouraging Nazi ideology. People who don’t follow these rules can receive a sentence of up to a year in prison.

“The Albanese 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 declared. “There’s been a rise in this kind of violent far-right activity. We think it’s time for there to be a federal law, which I’ll be bringing to the Parliament next week.”

Dvir Abramovich, the Anti-Defamation Commission’s chair, said that “A terrible wrong has been made right, and anyone who loves this country will support this ban. Bravo to the Attorney-General and the federal government for taking the high moral ground in declaring that Australia will never provide a haven for the ultimate emblems of inhumanity.”

Exceptions to this new ban include public displays for the use of educational, religious, artistic, literary, and scientific reasons. The law does not prohibit the use of the Nazi salute and leaves the question for state and territorial governments to decide. The bill will be introduced next week and will be considered by Parliament in the spring. Many Australian states, such as Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland, have passed similar bills.

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