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“there is no place in Australia for symbols that glorify the horrors of the Holocaust"
Australia is poised to implement fresh legislation aimed at prohibiting the exhibition and commercialization of Nazi insignia and related items, in response to the escalating far-right movement within the nation.
On Thursday, Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus announced that the government intends to enact legislation that constitutes the display and trade of Nazi emblems, including the swastika - a highly distinguishable symbol of Nazi propaganda - and the lightning bolt emblem of the SS (Schutzstaffel), a paramilitary division of the Nazi party, as a criminal offense.
The legislation shall prohibit the display of said emblems on flags, armbands, or attire. The introduction of a prohibition on the display of the Nazi salute will also be incorporated into federal law. The legislation will be presented to parliament next week and is expected to pass with opposition support.
“We’ve seen, very sadly, a rise in people displaying these vile symbols, which are symbols that have no place in Australia, they should be repugnant,” Dreyfus told Australia’s Channel Seven television, adding that “there is no place in Australia for symbols that glorify the horrors of the Holocaust,” Dreyfus said.
“And we will no longer allow people to profit from the display and sale of items which celebrate the Nazis and their evil ideology,” he stated.
Australia has announced it will introduce a national ban on Nazi symbols, in an effort to crack down on far-right groups. Public displays of the swastika or SS symbols will be punishable by up to a year in prison. However the new laws will not cover the Nazi salute. pic.twitter.com/dLpKuJ2Gvs
The Australian intelligence agency has issued a warning regarding the escalation of far-right organizations in the country, indicating that they have become increasingly structured and manifestly recognized.
In March, a demonstration on transgender rights held in Melbourne was met with an altercation involving a faction of neo-Nazis, who were observed making the gesture of a Nazi salute in proximity to the state parliament edifice.
The Director of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), Mike Burgess, stated last month an upsurge in the activities of Australian neo-Nazis, who have demonstrated a growing willingness to act more audaciously. Burgess further added that about 30% of the counterterrorism cases pursued by Australia are attributed to right-wing extremists.
“In the case of the neo-Nazi groups, what we worry about is people who get drawn into that ideology,” Burgess said.