NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman.

JBD CEO Darren Bark interviewed on ABC Radio Sydney:

NSW to push anti-Nazi laws in parliament (AAP): https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/7685211/nsw-to-push-anti-nazi-laws-in-parliament/

NSW to introduce ban on Nazi flags and swastikas (Daily Telegraph): https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/nsw-to-introduce-ban-on-nazi-flags-and-swastikas-as-treasurers-poster-defaced/news-story/89b6985d443ace71a7ae061dea2d0856

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and Hindu Council of Australia have today welcomed NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman’s commitment to introducing new legislation to criminalise the display of Nazi symbols.

The announcement follows a unanimous recommendation by the NSW Parliament’s bipartisan Standing Committee on Social Issues in February, which “expressed strong support for the bill’s protective objectives, including for individuals and groups in our community who are hurt, offended or intimidated by the public display of Nazi symbols”.

Under the proposed legislation, the maximum penalty for an individual flouting the ban would be a $5500 fine or imprisonment for six months or both. The Bill provides specific exceptions for using the Nazi Hakenkreuz for educational purposes. The Bill also recognises that the Sacred Swastika (also known as the Hindu Swastika) is an icon of faith for Hindus, Jains and Buddhists and specifically exempts any restrictions on its use for those religious purposes.

Announcing the NSW Government’s commitment, Speakman said, “Hateful and vilifying conduct is completely unacceptable in our community.

“The NSW Government recognises that the public display of Nazi symbols is generally considered abhorrent, except in very limited circumstances such as for religious purposes, and causes profound offence and distress.”

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Darren Bark commented, “This is an important next step in ensuring symbols of hate, genocide and vilification can no longer be used to torment the public and propagate hate whether in-person or online.

“We commend the NSW Government for its commitment to introducing the Government Bill into Parliament. Unless used in a historical or educational sense, Nazi symbols do not belong in NSW.

“For the Australian ex-servicemen and women who fought to defeat the Nazi regime, and the remaining Holocaust survivors and their descendants living in Australia, seeing these symbols on our shores are disturbing and vivid reminders of the atrocities they endured at the hands of the Nazis.

“Nazi symbols are also being used by right-wing extremists both in-person and online, to embolden and recruit those to their cause.

“This legislation will ensure there is a clear distinction between legitimate and unlawful use of Nazi symbols. It is a much-needed law in our state.

“We thank our submission partner, the Hindu Council of Australia; Labor MLC Hon Walt Secord for introducing the original Bill that was considered by the Committee; and the NSW Government and Attorney-General Mark Speakman for committing to introduce the Government Bill.

“We look forward to this legislation coming into effect as soon as possible.”

Hindu Council of Australia National Vice-President Surinder Jain added, “Due to a superficial resemblance between the Sacred Swastika and the Nazi hate symbol of Hakenkreuz, faith communities have not been able to display their Sacred icon in public for fear of persecution.

“This important legislation exempts the use of the sacred icon of Hindu, Jain and Buddhist Swastika and it is hoped that community education on the differences between the Swastika and Hakenkreuz will help release the sacred icon of Swastika from its self-imposed indoor prison.”