28 November 2022

ACT prepares to outlaw public display of Nazi symbols

| Lottie Twyford
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Shane Rattenbury

Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury introduced laws that would ban the public display of Nazi symbols in the Territory. Photo: Lottie Twyford.

Displaying Nazi symbols in public and on social media will become a crime in the Territory under new laws introduced to the ACT Legislative Assembly on Wednesday (23 November).

The laws will also give police the power to direct a person to remove the symbols from display while perpetrators could face a $19,200 fine or 12 months in prison.

Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury, who introduced the legislation, said the laws would make it a crime to display the Hakenkreuz (the Nazi symbol) at an event, to post it on social media or to wear the symbol.

The Hakenkreuz is different to the swastika which is a symbol of purity, good fortune and love for people of the Hindu, Jain and Buddhist faiths.

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Under the proposed laws, the symbol would still be allowed to be used for cultural or educational purposes, including “for a genuine academic, artistic, religious, scientific, educational or cultural purpose”.

It would also still be allowed to be used in opposition to fascism or Nazism.

For example, a bookshop could display the symbol on the cover of a textbook about World War II.

Mr Rattenbury said the laws were intended to reduce opportunities for racism and vilification and send a strong message that the ACT Government and the community would not tolerate the display of Nazi symbols and the “hate they represent”.

“The new offence will support the right of minorities, including the right to culture under the Human Rights Act by reducing the likelihood that members of the community will feel intimidated or threatened and therefore unable to engage in their own religious beliefs or culture,” he told the Assembly.

Victoria and NSW have recently adopted similar laws while Queensland and Tasmania have proposed them.

In NSW, waving a Nazi flag or displaying memorabilia bearing swastikas can land a person in jail for up to a year, along with a fine of $11,000.

Those laws passed that state’s parliament in August this year.

Similar to those proposed by the Territory, they allowed exceptions for people who wanted to display the swastika for religious reasons.

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NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Darren Bark described the passing of those laws as “a historic day”.

“[This is a] significant blow to those who promote hate and vilification in our community,” he said.

“Nazi symbols are a gateway to violence and are used as a recruitment tool by extremists.”

Victoria was the first state to ban the public display of the Nazi symbol. It did so in June.

Anyone who now intentionally displays the Nazi symbol in public in that state faces penalties of up to almost $22,000, 12 months’ imprisonment or both.

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Who gets to decide what is a nazi symbol. Apparently, the ok sign is one too?
Are we also going to outlaw communism? no, because that’s where we’re headed.

SigmaOctantis7:22 am 29 Nov 22

The only symbol anyone associates with the Nazis is the swastika, yet that one is ok because Hindus use it? Is this a joke?

Capital Retro12:38 pm 29 Nov 22

I
The Hindus use a mirror image version.

Pretty sure the way most people use the hakenkreuz today is to say “this politician is behaving as badly as the Nazi did”, for example the graffiti on the Parliament of Victoria sign. Would this be illegal too?
One of the things the Nazi did was to make it illegal to criticize their government in any way. Sounds like our government is getting dangerously close…

That’s quite repressive behaviour.

People have the right to display Nazi symbols and the rest of us have the right to laugh at them.

This is absolutely a waste of tax payers money and more virtue signalling garbage from the greens. Rattenbury should concentrate on real issues that are affecting Canberrans every day and quit his job as NAZI HUNTER , when was the last time we had anybody attacking the Jewish community in Canberra with anti Semitic symbols ? This just shows how out of touch with real community issues politicians are.

Good to see that Rattenbury and the ACT government are focused on the important things. This is evidently far more important and affects far more people than critical issues around health, domestic violence, education and the environment, welfare of the elderly and disabled etc etc etc.

Smoke and mirrors. The ACT Government has been doing it since day 1

Ok, I get the significance of the Nazi symbol, to the Jewish community. It represents a dreadful part of history; although it is history that we should learn from.

I think its not so much the symbol that is the problem, but the intent of those displaying it. Are they “celebrating” those horrific past events or are their intentions less sinister, maybe even innocent and just in bad taste?

I’m not sure where this goes? Based on the politics of the government of the day, what else gets banned? Why just the Nazi symbol? There have been many atrocities, going back to day dot. Some have argued that symbols of colonialism be removed from our society.

devils_advocate2:58 pm 28 Nov 22

Interesting point. I’m sure the Union Jack would be quite triggering for First Nations people who were the subject of genocide during colonisation.

Capital Retro9:08 pm 28 Nov 22

That’s a big call to claim the settlers committed genocide on aborigines.

Actually, there are records of farmer-settlers giving aborigines food and water during droughts.

SigmaOctantis7:18 am 29 Nov 22

Exactly. So where does this end?

Good to see our local pollies are working on important issues.
Monty Python & Mel Brooks would probably be in trouble because they satirized nazis.

At school we did Hitler impressions so maybe we would have been in trouble.

Will they also ban Stalinist & Khmer Rouge symbols seeing those regimes t killed millions of people ?

wodenresident12:27 pm 28 Nov 22

Re Monty Python, I think that would fall under artistic use.

Re Stalin & Khmer Rouge, the only people pushing Marxism are tenth wave feminists types/far left and they don’t seem to be inciting violence.

“Re Monty Python, I think that would fall under artistic use.”

You’d like to think so but the BBC banned the “Don’t mention the war” episode this year, much to the chagrin of John Cleese.

The BBC pulled the episode from its streaming service in June 2020 but made it available again 2 days later, with a content warning about racial slurs made by the Major Gowan character about West Indies cricketers, not Basil’s comments about the Germans (or his goose-stepping silly walk): http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-53032895

Sorry ‘bate – I was out a couple of years. And I only mentioned the episode not why it got it taken off the air.

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