Legislative Council: Wednesday, June 15, 2022


Summary Offences (Nazi Symbol Prohibition) Amendment Bill

Introduction and First Reading

The Hon. S.L. GAME (16:15): Introduced a bill for an act to amend the Summary Offences Act 1953. Read a first time.

Second Reading

The Hon. S.L. GAME (16:16): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

I rise to introduce my amendment bill on Nazi symbol prohibition to the Summary Offences Act 1953. There are strong reasons why this law should be introduced in South Australia. For anyone who thinks this is a minor issue, please take a closer look.

Sticker campaigns brandishing the Hakenkreuz have littered Adelaide Stobie poles and university campuses of the past few years. These same stickers were out in force during the recent state election campaign, slapping hate symbols on the corflutes of people in this very room. Only last week, The Advertiser ran a full-page article on a convicted Neo-Nazi who was actively spreading hate messaging from his prison cell. The week before, there was national reporting of an auction of various Nazi memorabilia and paraphernalia, people making money buying and selling historical items not for the purpose of education and historical categorising but for celebrating this horrific time.

This movement is active worldwide, and it is gaining ground. There is a swell of activity through social media and the dark web across continents, spreading Nazi ideologies and fostering a hatred of Jews. This movement openly denies the impact of the Holocaust and celebrates the worst kind of fascism this world has witnessed.

This growing problem is acknowledged by our peers interstate. In Queensland, the Palaszczuk Labor government has introduced similar legislation. In Victoria, the Andrews Labor government has introduced similar legislation. In New South Wales, Chris Minns, Labor Leader of the Opposition, has announced similar legislation very recently. Finally, in Tasmania, the Attorney-General, Elise Archer, from the Liberal government, also announced this week that they are introducing this legislation.

I have consulted widely with the Jewish community. Many young Jewish adults are extremely hesitant to identify publicly as Jewish as they genuinely fear for their safety. No South Australian should have to live like that. People should be able to celebrate their heritage, not have to hide it for fear of Neo-Nazis and hate-based violence. Banning Nazi symbols is one tool law enforcement can utilise to deny Neo-Nazis and antisemites one part of their communication campaign. Similar bills that have been introduced in Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and 17 countries worldwide have adopted this ban of Nazi symbolism and memorabilia on a national level.

This bill and others similar elsewhere offer protection against offence and distress for Jewish people and really for anyone who abhors the disgusting and terrible annihilation of six million people in Europe during World War II. Where this legislation differs slightly to other jurisdictions in Australia is the tightening of some of the definitions. One adaption is inserting a grandfathering clause around body modifications. Currently, no state has attempted to prosecute someone who currently has a Hakenkreuz openly tattooed on their body, but here, once this bill is adopted, the new scarification, branding or implantation of a Hakenkreuz will be illegal moving forward.

Another tweak, as we learned from interstate and overseas legislation in action, is tightening the loopholes around the defence of hate thinly veiled as art. Section 35B(3) tightens the definition of 'legitimate public purpose'. A Hakenkreuz may be displayed as part of an art gallery's installation on, say, the effects of war on women or a museum's historical display on the cause of European migrations. There are no concerns for these kinds of institutions when the display of symbols is for legitimate public purpose. However, someone spray-painting a Hakenkreuz on a bridge along with the words, 'Don't believe the big lie', which has occurred in another jurisdiction, cannot hide behind the defence that their graffiti was art and therefore legal under the act.

Some jurisdictions are also currently reviewing the act and tightening the same loopholes as we have. Brazil, for example, has a suite of amendments currently under review, and I am watching these with close interest. Additionally, the South Australian law gives protection to police officers doing their jobs in the removal of such imagery. These strengthening laws are outlined in 35C and have been drafted based on outcomes from interstate and international applications.

The only Nazi imagery you should find in South Australia is in exhibits devoted to understanding the horror of the period, and I commend the bill to members.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. E.S. Bourke.