Under the proposed changes aimed at expanding the state’s anti-defamation laws, Victoria will become the first state in Australia to ban the public display of Nazi symbols (including swastika).
The state government confirmed this initiative on September 2 and is expected to introduce legislation into the Victorian Parliament in the first half of 2022.
The move came after a parliamentary investigation in April, which recommended a ban on extremist signs and propaganda after neo-Nazi activity increased.
“All forms of hatred are unacceptable and have no place in Victoria,” Victorian Attorney General Jaclyn Symes said in a statement. statement“[E]Expanding our anti-defamation laws to protect more Victorians has sent a clear message that this kind of despicable behavior will not be tolerated. “
According to the government, the proposed changes will not include the use of Nazi emblems for educational or historical purposes statement.
In addition, it is not clear whether the proposed changes include other uses of the swastika character by Eastern religious groups, which have considered the symbol to be one of divine and spirituality for thousands of years, such as those in Buddhist traditions.
The Epoch Times sought comment from the Victorian Multicultural Council, but received no comment at the time of publication.
Opposition police spokesman David Southwick welcomed the statement, stating that the Victorian police and the local community had been “powerless” for many years to prevent the Nazi swastika from being “used as a tool to spread hatred”.
“Recently, we have seen the rise of ultra-nationalist and racist individuals and groups, and this ban will greatly eliminate their hidden symbols,” Southwick added.
In August, Australian spy chief Mike Burgess stated that half of Australia’s domestic terrorism cases came from far-right groups that promote violence. For example, according to reports, the neo-Nazi organization National Socialist Network posted pictures of members posing in front of a burning cross on social media.
“They look like ordinary Australians. They did not publicly display their true ideology, nor did they publicly display their belief in violence or use violence. They thought it was reasonable,” Burgess said. age.
However, Morgan Begg, a researcher at the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), said the proposed changes would hinder freedom of speech.
Berg said: “The proposal will give the human rights bureaucracy great powers to monitor and review mainstream opinions in Australia.”
Dara MacDonald, also from IPA, said at the public hearing (pdf) In March 2020, regardless of the law or not, people who hold “evil views” will still hold them, and it is recommended that education be used to “inculcate” young people, rather than a “top-down” approach to let people be Tell what can be said and what cannot be said.
According to the government statement, the proposed anti-defamation law will also cover gender identity, sexual orientation, HIV status and disability. Prior to this, a state investigation filed in March found that the state’s Racial and Religious Tolerance Act legislation was “underutilized” and was ineffective in “promoting racial and religious tolerance and providing remedies for victims of defamation” .
The government stated that defamation will also be easier to prove for those seeking justice through the courts.
“Plans are being developed for the best way to make these changes. Some of these recommendations require the government to amend the law, while others require input from the Victorian community-such as community groups that have suffered defamation.”
AAP contributed to this report.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times