The Victorian government is set to become the first Australian state or territory to ban the public display of the Nazi swastika, Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes said in a Wednesday statement.
“We want to do all we can to stamp out hate and give it no room to grow,” Symes said, according to Melbourne 9news.
According to the report, Anti-Defamation Commission chairman Dvir Abramovich has said the move has been much-needed in Victoria.
“I’ve said it again and again, we have a Nazi swastikas epidemic in this state,” he said. “This is a war between good and evil, and we have to win this war.”
Displaying the Nazi symbol in public will lead to fines of close to $22,000, a year of imprisonment or both - only once the legislation is in effect.
The Victorian government is set to become the first Australia state or territory to ban the public display of the Nazi symbol. Statement from Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes: pic.twitter.com/N4WoVQz5O5— Benita Kolovos (@benitakolovos) May 10, 2022
“We welcome the announcement that the Victorian government is to criminalize the public display of the Nazi swastika,” Zionism Victoria, a cultural organization, said in a press release:
“Given the significant Holocaust survivor population within the state, and given Victoria prides itself on tolerance, multiculturalism and respect, it is long since time this symbol of hate – a reminder for so many of the horror and pain they and their families endured – should have been placed beyond the realms of acceptable expression,” the press release reads.
“We thank the government for its action – the first state in Australia to do so – and express our gratitude to all those who have campaigned for this outcome.”
The Zionist Federation of Australia and Zionism Victoria published a joint statement responding to the decision: "Zionism Victoria and the Zionist Federation of Australia welcomed the announcement by Premier Daniel Andrews that the Victorian government was adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Working Definition of Antisemitism. The announcement was made at an Israel Independence Day reception, co-hosted by the two organizations. Both organizations have been campaigning for the definition's adoption for a number of years by governments, NGOs and other institutions. Addressing the 200 MPs, community leaders and other dignitaries who attended the ZV and ZFA reception at the Hotel Windsor, the Premier noted that antisemitism was on the rise globally and locally."
Welcoming the announcement, ZV President Yossi Goldfarb said, “We are tremendously grateful that the Premier has taken this critical step. In doing so, he has sent an unequivocal signal that racism and antisemitism have no place in Victoria. The importance of adopting the IHRA definition was underlined just two weeks ago when the University of Melbourne Student Union passed a blatantly antisemitic resolution, despite protests from Jewish students fearful of the impact it would have on their well-being and safety."
ZFA President Jeremy Leibler also thanked the Premier for his decision, and added, “Antisemitism is increasing everywhere. Premier Andrews has demonstrated that he stands with the Jewish community in the fight against bigotry, and the community thanks him for it."
Leibler continued, “The bipartisan consensus shown by Mr Andrews and Mr Guy tonight reflect the bipartisan consensus in support of the IHRA definition at the federal level.