Australia Bans Nazi Salute and Hate Symbols

Australia has banned the Nazi salute in public and outlawed Nazi hate symbols such as the swastika in landmark legislation that went into effect in the country Monday.

The new legislation also criminalises the glorification or praise of acts of terrorism. Offenses such as publicly performing the Nazi salute or displaying the Nazi swastika are subject to a penalty of up to 12 months in prison.

Mark Dreyfus, Australia’s Attorney-General, said that the new legislation sent “a clear message: there is no place in Australia for acts and symbols that glorify the horrors of the Holocaust and terrorist acts.”

Australia has banned the Nazi salute in public and outlawed Nazi hate symbols such as the swastika in landmark legislation that went into effect in the country Monday. Credit: supplied.
Australia has banned the Nazi salute in public and outlawed Nazi hate symbols such as the swastika in landmark legislation that went into effect in the country Monday. Credit: supplied.

“No one in Australia will be allowed to glorify or profit from acts and symbols that celebrate the Nazis and their evil ideology,” he said in a press release.

The landmark laws are a government response to a nationwide increase in anti-Semitic incidents in recent months, amid the ongoing Israel-Gaza war.

In the aftermath of the October 7 terror attack in southern Israel by Hamas militants, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry reported a surge in antisemitic incidents.

The Israeli government claims the attack resulted in more than 1,400 casualties. In response, Israel initiated a war on Hamas, with health officials in the Gaza Strip reporting nearly 23,000 deaths.

Data released in December indicated a total of 662 antisemitic incidents reported in Australia during October and November 2023.

“By comparison, there were 495 anti-Jewish incidents reported in Australia for the entire 12 months to 30 September 2023,” the council said.

In October, unverified video went viral online showing a small group of people appearing to chant antisemitic slogans at a pro-Palestinian demonstration outside the Sydney Opera House.

A video posted on social media on Oct. 8 by the conservative Australian Jewish Association group purportedly showed protesters launching flares and chanting “Gas the Jews” and other antisemitic refrains. However, some critics have questioned the authenticity of the footage.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese condemned the reports of the chants as “horrific” and “appealing” at the time of the incident.

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