AUSTRALIA, June 22, 2022 (The London Economic): The Parliament of Victoria, Australia’s second-most populous state, passed laws late on Tuesday that set penalties of US$15,150 and 12 months in prison for displaying the Nazi swastika, or Hakenkreuz (“hooked cross”). Dvir Abramovich, chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission, which fights antisemitism, said on Wednesday he expects Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, and the states of Queensland and Tasmania will soon pass similar laws. “The fact that we’ve got a resurgent white supremacist and neo-Nazi movement is a cause for concern in every state,” said Mr Abramovich, who lives in the Victorian capital, Melbourne. “What the Bill does is to say to those forces of evil that are trying to break our spirit and instill fear that the laws are no longer on their side,” he added. Mr. Abramovich began a national campaign to ban the Nazi symbol five years ago.

The law becomes official in two weeks and the ban takes effect six months later following a public education campaign. The law does not prohibit the display of swastikas in certain religious and cultural contexts. The swastika for Buddhist, Hindu, Jain and other faith communities was an ancient and sacred symbol, a Victoria government statement said. Victorian attorney-general Jaclyn Symes said she is proud the law passed with the support of opposition politicians. Mike Burgess, directory-general of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO), the nation’s main domestic spy agency, said in his annual threat assessment in February that concerns were growing about the rate at which young people were being radicalized.