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Australia criminalizes public ‘Sieg Heil’ salutes, displays of Nazi symbols

A bill also makes it illegal to spread extremist propaganda online.

The words “Neuremburg 2.0” (sic), next to a hangman noose, and “Covid is Jew” were spray-painted on an underpass in Melbourne, Australia.
Source: Screenshot.
The words “Neuremburg 2.0” (sic), next to a hangman noose, and “Covid is Jew” were spray-painted on an underpass in Melbourne, Australia. Source: Screenshot.

The parliament of Australia has passed a new law making it illegal to promote iconography associated with the Third Reich.

The bill, called the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment, received unanimous support on Wednesday.

Mark Alfred Dreyfus, the attorney general and cabinet secretary, said: “This is the first Commonwealth legislation of its kind and will ensure no one will be allowed to glorify or profit from acts and symbols that celebrate the Nazis and their evil ideology.”

He called it “utterly unacceptable” that the Nazi salute and other pro-Hitler symbols had appeared in Australia.

The bill also makes it illegal to use online services for spreading extremist propaganda.

“Australia is a proudly multicultural nation where everyone should be able to live without fear of discrimination,” Dreyfus said. “We must promote and support respect, acceptance and understanding across the Australian community. This is a moment for the country to come together and today the Parliament has united to do just that.”

Liam Gillespie, a lecturer at the University of Melbourne who has researched the country’s white supremacists, warned that “there is a strong possibility neo-Nazi groups will adapt the symbols they draw upon to circumvent the ban while still demonstrating their adherence to white supremacy. They could effectively adapt the symbolism they use to ‘hide in plain sight.’”

Research shows that since the Oct. 7 attack, antisemitism in Australia has exploded by 591%, one of the highest figures globally.

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