The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies today welcomed the Standing Committee on Social Issues’ report recommending a ban on the public display of Nazi symbols in NSW.

A Nazi flag seen in Newtown, Sydney.

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. There are specific exceptions for the Hindu swastika and for using the Nazi swastika, or Hakenkreuz, for educational purposes.

The bipartisan committee today delivered a consensus view that the Crimes Amendment (Display of Nazi Symbols) Bill, which was put forward in October by shadow minister for police and counter terrorism Walt Secord, proceed.

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Darren Bark on Tuesday commented, “NSW is today one step closer to banning the Nazi swastika and we commend the Committee for its historic recommendation that Nazi symbols, unless used in a historical or educational sense, have no place in our state.

“The Nazi swastika is an emblem of pure evil. It represents the dehumanisation of millions of people; the death of our Australian servicemen and women; and one of the most inhumane, hate-based and murderous regimes and ideologies to ever exist.

“It is a symbol of immense pain and suffering for many in the Jewish community. Those who intentionally intimidate or cause fear by displaying the Nazi flag, or use it as a tool to recruit young people to right-wing extremist groups, should be accountable for their actions by law.

“We now look forward to the bill being debated in Parliament. Fighting hate, racism, intimidation and provocation of NSW citizens is our collective responsibility, and we must counter those who wish to cause us harm and to undermine our multicultural, inclusive state. The time to act is now.”

Hindu Council of Australia National Vice-President Surinder Jain said, “The Hindu Council of Australia fully supports the ban on displaying the evil symbol of Hakenkreuz.

“Jews were persecuted in Europe and this symbol raises fear and hate. Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists have also suffered then and since. Our sacred symbol of the Swastika representing peace and prosperity is often confused with the evil Hakenkreuz. Since the second world war, we are not able to display our symbol in public without raising scorn.

“We hope that this legislation will ban the hate symbol while freeing our sacred symbol from indoor imprisonment.

“School education in explaining the difference between the peaceful Swastika and hateful Hakenkreuz will strengthen Australian multiculturalism.

“The Hindu Council of Australia fully supports this bill and hopes that it is passed in the NSW Parliament.”

The full report can be found here.