Victoria is poised to become the first Australian state or territory to ban the public display of the Nazi swastika in a “thunderous blow” to white supremacists.
The Victorian government introduced legislation into parliament on Wednesday banning intentional public displays of the symbol across the state.
The Summary Offences Amendment (Nazi Symbol Prohibition) Bill is expected to pass both houses with bi-partisan support and only applies to the Nazi swastika, also known as the Hakenkreuz.
Religious versions of the symbol tied to Hindu, Buddhist and Jain faiths will remain legal.
There will also be exemptions for historical, educational and artistic purposes, while memorabilia bearing the Nazi swastika can still be traded as long as the symbol is covered when on public display.
Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes described the legislation, which does not cover online displays of the hate insignia, as a landmark in the fight against hatred.
“We know that this is a symbol of hate and it promotes anti-Semitism,” she told reporters.
Those caught breaking the law face up to one year in prison and a $22,000 fine, although people will only be charged if they do not comply with a police directive to remove the symbol.
Ms Symes said there is scope to add other Nazi and hate symbols, such as the SS Bolts.