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Australian Government institutes a new ban on Nazi Symbol Swastikas

By: Sunny Liu

As part of a set of reforms, the Australian Government has made public displays of the Nazi swastika illegal.

Attorney-general Mark Dreyfus announced on Wednesday that the federal government will introduce a new bill to the Australian Parliament the following week. The bill will incriminate the display of the Nazi symbol and the Schutzstaffel, the German party's protection squad.

In this legislation, the notorious Nazi symbol will be banned from trade and sale, preventing people from profiting from selling and displaying Nazi-themed items. As part of the bill, public displays and the trade of clothing and other items featuring a swastika are not limited but also include the use of public displays.

The Australian government is sending the clearest signal to people whose clearest intention is to spread violence, hatred, and antisemitism that their actions will not be tolerated. If the counter-terrorism legislation amendment bill becomes a reality, people caught breaking the law will face a punishment of up to 12 years in prison.

In the new bill, both online and physical images of the symbol are banned. Exemptions for public display for religious, academic, educational, artistic, literary, journalistic, or scientific purposes were put into place. The government has said the ban will not apply to the use of the swastika for purposes such as Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism.

Even though the new bill is cracking down on Nazi symbols, it will not prohibit the Nazi salute. This remains a matter for territory and state governments.

The bill will be introduced to parliament by the government next week and will be reviewed in the spring. Many states such as Victoria, NSW, and Queensland have introduced similar laws regarding the topic.

These new laws have caused several protests involving Neo-Nazis performing the Seig Heil, the solute used in Nazi rallies. One of those protests took place on the steps of Victoria’s Parliament.

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