The Victorian government has revealed it may look into toughening its laws around the display of hate symbols in public including performing the Nazi salute after a group of protesters did just that outside parliament yesterday.
ICYMI: A group of protesters outside Victoria’s Parliament House performed a Nazi salute during a clash with trans rights activists.
Approximately 30 men from the neo-Nazi group “The National Socialist Movement” blocked traffic along Melbourne’s Spring St on Saturday while the founder of anti-trans group “Standing for Women”, Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshul (also known as Posie Parker) gave a speech.
Following the incident, a state government spokeswoman described the behaviour as an act of hatred.
“Not only have Victorians made it clear they have zero tolerance for these disgraceful beliefs, we’ve made it clear in law with the ban of the Nazi hate symbol,” she said.
“We will continue to monitor the use of hate symbols and may consider the inclusion of additional symbols to the legislation at a later stage.”
Last year, the Andrews government became the first jurisdiction in Australia to outlaw the Nazi swastika. Henceforth, anyone who publicly displayed the Nazi symbol will face a year in prison or a $22,000 fine.
The ban acted on the recommendation from a cross-party parliamentary inquiry into anti-vilification laws, which called for the display of Nazi symbology to be criminalised.
Earlier this year, Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes revealed the government had its sights set on banning the Nazi salute next after a series of incidents in which white supremacists performed the gesture in public spaces, including at a ceremony for Indigenous Australians on January 26.
The salute is already restricted in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Switzerland and Sweden.
The events of yesterday prompted a lengthy Twitter thread from the Premier, who said he wouldn’t “share a photo because they [the Nazis] simply don’t deserve the attention.”
He labelled the Nazi ideology as “evil”, with a goal to “scapegoat minorities – and it’s got no place here”.
I won't share a photo because they simply don't deserve the attention.— Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) March 19, 2023
But yesterday, anti-trans activists gathered to spread hate.
And on the steps of our Parliament, some of them performed a Nazi salute.
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