Our say

No place for neo-Nazis

THE sight of a mass Heil Hitler salute from neo-Nazis on the steps of an Australian Parliament – as we saw outside Victoria’s Parliament House on Sunday – should chill Jewish Australians, and indeed anyone concerned with preserving a sane, democratic society.

Chilling us was the desired effect of this piece of miserable fascist street theatre at an already ill-conceived rally against the rights of trans communities.

What these masked Hitler acolytes might not know is the resolve within so many communities in multicultural, multi-faith, multi-gendered Victoria to stop them in their tracks.

Premier Daniel Andrews plans to ban the Nazi salute, just as the Victorian Parliament outlawed the Nazi swastika. We heartily endorse his statement that “Nazis aren’t welcome. Not on Parliament’s steps. Not anywhere.”

We applaud the condemnations by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus and Macnamara MP Josh Burns. And we are encouraged by Victorian Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes, expressing Victorians’ “zero tolerance” for Sieg Heil saluting.

We are buoyed by Deputy Liberal leader and Caulfield MP David Southwick, who championed the ban on Nazi swastikas, along with Shadow Police Minister Brad Battin, jointly describing Sunday’s events as “an affront to every Victorian”.

But we share the concern of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry that more needs to be done nationally to prohibit the symbolism of genocidal hatred.

Victorian Liberal MP Moira Deeming, who addressed the rally, has the right to express her opinions, but showing up without any apparent regard as to who might be involved, demonstrated appalling judgment.

Deeming wasn’t just a hapless politician who failed to check her political side mirror before merging right. The MLC, who shared a smiling photo op alongside British anti-trans rights activist Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, reportedly also promoted the event. She shouldn’t remain in Parliament.

Pre-selection of candidates with extremist views was partly to blame for the Liberals’ abysmal showing at the state elections – and new Liberal leader John Pesutto must be supported in his drive to clear the cobwebs.

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