Swastika: All you need to know about the new Bill passed by the Victorian Government

Victorian Attorney General Hon Jaclyn Symes worshipping a Swastika

By Makarand Bhagwat

The Victorian Government has just passed Summary Offences Amendment (Nazi Symbol Prohibition) Bill 2022.

This amendment is based on a Parliamentary Committee Inquiry into anti-vilification protections. The report was tabled in the Parliament in September 2021 and accepted.

There were 36 recommendations made in this report out of which the Victorian Government accepted 35.

The Bill which was passed is based on recommendation number 24 and 25 which are as follows:

Recommendation 24:

That the Victorian Government establish a criminal offence that prohibits the display of symbols of Nazi ideology, including the Nazi swastika, with considered exceptions to the prohibition.

Recommendation 25:

That the Victorian Government, in addition to implementing recommendation 24, monitor the public display of other hateful symbols to determine whether they should also be prohibited.

It is clear that the main intention of this legislative amendment is about only one symbol which the report called it as a Nazi Swastika.

What is the symbol called in the Bill?

The Bill defines the symbol in Section 41 J as follows:

Nazi Symbol means –

  • A Hakenkreuz, being a symbol of a cross with the arms bent at right angles in a clockwise direction; or
  • A symbol that so nearly resembles the symbol referred to in paragraph (a) that is likely to be confused or mistaken for that symbol;

Example: A cross with the arms bent at right angles in a counter clockwise direction .

It is important to note that the legislative definition of the symbol excludes the word Swastika.

Are the Hindus living in Victoria affected by this Bill?

When the Bill was presented to the Lower House in the Victorian Parliament, it had a provision of implementation of the legislation 12 months after the Royal assent.

This was amended to 6 months before the Bill was passed in the Lower House. Without any further amendment, the Bill passed in the Upper House which now will be presented to the Governor for sign off.

The Hindus living in Victoria are NOT AFFECTED BY THIS BILL.

Firstly the Bill has a clear preamble where it recognises the ancient and auspicious Swastika symbol of purity, love and good fortune.

Secondly the Bill has exclusive exemptions defined for cultural and religious usage of the Swastika

So, all the Hindus can proudly display this symbol in front of their homes, on their façade on the decorations, rangolis etc. etc.

Next Steps:

The Victorian Govt is committed to engage in an educational campaign, to explain the religious and cultural meaning of Hindu Swastika to the Victorian community. This is why there was a proposal to implement this legislation 12 months from the Royal Assent. Unfortunately, during the Lower House debate, this was reduced to 6 months.

The extent of community education is huge, starting from the Members of the Parliament themselves, many of whom called this symbol as a Nazi Swastika during the debate in the Parliament, which was very unfortunate. Other agencies which are targeted for education are Victoria Police, Public, Private and Religious Schools and their teachers so that they can explain the significance of the Swastika to students, Councils etc. etc.

Hindu Council of Australia (Victoria) was actively engaged with the Department of Justice and Community Safety for the past several months to ensure that the proposed legislation while being brought in to protect our Jewish brothers and sisters, ensures recognition of ancient Hindu Swastika and also prevents unwanted vilification of Hindus and protects the right of practicing religious freedom in Victoria.

HCA Victoria thanks all supporting Hindu Organisations to ensure a successful outcome for the Hindu community. A Big “Thank you” to Hon Kaushaliya ji Vaghela, the only Hindu Member of Parliament in the Upper House in supporting this legislation in favour of Hindu community. Her speech in the Parliament was very well researched and inspiring. Thank you Kaushaliya ji for your support.

Above article courtesy Hindu Council of Australia, Victoria

Short URL: https://indiandownunder.com.au/?p=18057

Posted by on Jun 28 2022. Filed under Australian News, Body Mind Spirit, Community, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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