The AJN welcomes the NSW Government’s commitment to ban hateful displays of the Nazi swastika.
We also commend Upper House Labor MP Walt Secord for introducing the initial bill to do so.
The NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel deputy chair, who has long been a staunch supporter of our community in parliament, has been campaigning tirelessly to push the legislation since he first submitted his draft in September last year.
Banning public displays of the Nazi symbol is long overdue.
Unfortunately, we have become accustomed to seeing these hateful displays which reflect a surge in right-wing activity, not only in Australia, but also globally.
In December, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry reported a 35 per cent increase in antisemitic activity from the previous year, while in 2020 there were 31 documented cases of Nazi flags being flown across NSW, including across the street from Newtown Synagogue.
Attorney General Mark Speakman has made it clear that the recent rise in far-right groups, particularly during the COVID lockdowns, was a large part of the move to ban Nazi symbols.
The Holocaust was one of the darkest times in the history of humanity. There is no room in our peaceful and harmonious society for celebrating the murderous legacy of the Nazis and their heinous crimes.
Criminalising the display of the Nazi Hakenkreuz will also bring comfort to Holocaust survivors and their families, the Jewish community in general and ex-servicemen and women and their descendants.
We commend all those groups who contributed to the enquiry and applaud the historic cooperation between the
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBOD) and Hindu Council of Australia (HCA), who made a landmark joint submission.
As a people who value our own religious symbols, we appreciate the Hindu Council’s desire for the new legislation to exempt their use of the Sacred Swastika, which has a superficial resemblance to the Nazi hate symbol of the Hakenkreuz.
And just as we laud that cooperation, we take in good faith that bipartisan cooperation in the halls on parliament will see this new bill through, and the ban will become reality.