Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Elise Archer has today tabled the Police Offences Amendment (Nazi Symbol and Gesture Prohibition) Bill 2023 in the House of Assembly.
The Rockliff Liberal Government strongly condemns any display of hate in our community, and the Attorney-General said Nazi symbols and salutes, and the appalling message they send, have absolutely no place in our society.
“I am strongly committed to ensuring our laws appropriately reflect community expectations, and we know that such Nazi displays are a blatant breach of both our moral and community standards,” the Attorney-General said.
“The Bill amends the Police Offences Act 1935 (the Police Offences Act) to require that a person must not, by a public act and without a legitimate public purpose, display a Nazi symbol if the person knows, or ought to know, that the symbol is a Nazi symbol.
“Further, 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.
“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.”
Importantly, the Bill acknowledges the continued importance of the swastika to the Buddhist, Hindu and Jain communities, and clearly states that the display of a swastika in this context is not an offence.
The Bill also acknowledges other legitimate public purposes for display, including other religious, cultural, academic, educational purposes and in opposition to fascism, Nazism or neo-Nazism.
The penalty for a person convicted of committing either the offence of displaying a Nazi symbol or performing a Nazi gesture is a maximum penalty not exceeding 20 penalty units, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months.
Similar to other offences in the Police Offences Act, repeat offending is considered serious. If the person has previously been convicted of the offence within six months, the person is liable to a penalty not exceeding 40 penalty units, or imprisonment not exceeding six months.
“This nation-leading reform will send a very strong message that offensive and hateful conduct is absolutely not welcome here in Tasmania.” the Attorney-General said.
“It builds on our ongoing commitment to create a more caring community in Tasmania, and I look forward to the Bill’s passage through the Parliament.”