Nazi salute, hate symbols now outlawed in Australian-first

Publicly performing the Nazi salute and displaying or dealing in symbols like the swastika are now illegal acts, with landmark new laws now in effect.

Under the counter-terrorism legislation passed by parliament last month, doing so is punishable by 12 months imprisonment.

From Monday, the trade and public display of flags, armbands, T-shirts and insignia promoting Nazi ideology is illegal, as is the publication of symbols online.

It is also now illegal to display or trade in Nazi memorabilia, and it is an offence to seek to profit from such material either in store or online.

It is also now a crime to publicly display or trade in symbols linked with terrorist organisations.

The government had initially flagged its intention to criminalise public displays of and trading in Nazi hate symbols, but late last year extended the legislation to include public displays of the salute.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said there was “no place in Australia for acts and symbols that glorify the horrors of the Holocaust”.

“This is the first legislation of its kind and will ensure 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 statement.

Mr Dreyfus said the new laws also ensure that “glorifying and praising acts of terrorism” are also criminal offences.

The government cracked down on Nazism after a group of neo-Nazis appeared at a Melbourne rally last March and performed the salute on the steps of the state’s parliament.

The swastika ban does not apply to religious uses, including in Hinduism and Buddhism. There are exemptions to academic, educational, artistic, literary, journalistic or scientific purposes.

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