A Nazi flag flying over a home in the Victorian town of Beulah last year.

State to ban swastika as part of anti-vilification reform

Victoria will become the first Australian state or territory to ban the use of Nazi symbols including the swastika as part of landmark reform aimed at boosting human rights protections.

Legislation expected to be passed early next year willmake the public display of Nazi symbols illegal following a recent rise in neo-Nazi activity and calls from the opposition and Jewish leaders to stamp out hateful behaviour.

The proposed ban will form part of sweeping new anti-vilification reform aimed at reaching beyond race and religion to cover areas such as sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability and HIV/AIDS status.

Anti-Defamation Commission chairman Dvir Abramovich applauded the decision.

“This is a day for the history book, a joyful and profound moment,” he said.

“Bravo to the government for rising to the challenge and declaring in a clear and unmistakable voice that the ultimate emblems of inhumanity and racism, that are meant to break our spirit and instil fear, will never find a refuge in our state.”

The changes follow the release of a report from the Victorian Parliament’s legal and social issues committee, which found vilification was common for many Victorians, including people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders, particular faith groups, those who identify as LGBTI and people with disabilities.

Read the article by Erin Pearson in The Age.