People showing Nazi symbols will face jail time or fines under proposed laws in Queensland and Tasmania amid intense concern about a recent neo-Nazi protest in Melbourne.
Victoria and NSW have already criminalised the display of Nazi symbols, while bans are also planned in Western Australia and the ACT.
Queensland Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman tabled a bill on Wednesday to outlaw the display, distribution or publication of extremist hate symbols such as the Nazi Hakenkreuz, or hooked cross.
She says new laws are needed to counter incidents including a pig’s head left at a Gold Coast mosque and Nazi propaganda pamphlets being put in home mailboxes in Brisbane’s west.
“We’ve also seen horrifying scenes in Melbourne, where neo-Nazis have attended anti-trans rallies to spread fear, hatred and division,” Ms Fentiman told parliament.
“These views and the hatred that they represent have no place in Queensland, and no place in our country.”
The ban will also cover social media posts and the public display of tattoos.
Offenders will face prison terms of up to three years under the proposed laws.
Performing a Nazi salute in public will be considered an aggravating factor in sentencing for public nuisance offences as well.
Hate symbols will be able to be added to the banned list through regulation, meaning new laws won’t need to be passed to extend the reach.
“We’ll be able to respond to new symbols or hate movements that may unfortunately emerge,” Ms Fentiman said.
Tasmanian Attorney-General Elise Archer has tabled a bill to ban Nazi symbols and the salute, which she called “a blatant breach of both our moral and community standards”.
“Following the recent disturbing use of the Nazi salute during a demonstration in Victoria, the Bill will also prohibit the use of the Nazi salute,” Ms Archer said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Our government wants everyone in our community to feel safe from these disturbing displays, whether it be the display of Nazi symbols or the use of the Nazi salute, as we know they can cause hate and fear.”
People convicted of displaying Nazi symbols or making salutes in Tasmania will face fines of up to $3620 or three months’ imprisonment.
Fines or prison terms will be doubled for repeat offenders.
The Queensland and Tasmania bills make exceptions for religious groups including Hindus, Buddhists and Jains who used the swastika for millennia before it was appropriated by the Nazis.
There will also be “sensible exemptions” if Nazi symbols are displayed for cultural, academic, and educational purposes and in opposition to fascism, Nazism or neo-Nazism in both states.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was time to take more decisive action against vilification and hate, particularly with the state’s new holocaust museum set to open this year.
“I’ve spoken about the experiences of my own family who fled post-Second World War Europe to seek a better life here,” she told parliament.
“We must never forget history and its ongoing legacy on our community.”