[News] Victoria brings Nazi swastika ban forward by six months

“Its public display does nothing but cause further pain and division,” Symes said.

The legislation was introduced to parliament in May, when deputy opposition leader David Southwick, who is Jewish, urged the government to have the new laws come into effect immediately.

Southwick wrote in an opinion piece for this masthead earlier this month that the Nazi swastika was the “most hateful” symbol imaginable and that he had personally dealt with the emotional fallout among community members from the symbol being publicly displayed on occasions in Melbourne.

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He said that while the legislation’s passing was a “huge success”, he believed the laws could still come into effect sooner.

“We know the government can bring them in at any time, and we want the government to bring them in as soon as possible to ensure the community is protected against ongoing attacks,” Southwick told The Age on Tuesday evening.

There has been a resurgence of neo-Nazis and other far-right groups in recent years, spurred on by disinformation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and other global events.

Symes said on Tuesday she was pleased that both sides of politics agreed the public display of the Nazi symbol would not be tolerated in Victoria.

The Nazi swastika has become internationally recognised for representing anti-Semitism and racism after Adolf Hitler adopted it as the Nazi Party symbol in 1920.

The Victorian government says it will continue to monitor the use of other hate symbols that could also be banned in the future.

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