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Counter Terrorism Legislation Amendment

I rise to support the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Prohibited Hate Symbols and Other Measures) Bill 2023. The public display of Nazi symbols, including the Nazi salute, is abhorrent to the Australian way of life. Nazi symbols have no place in Australia. I don't particularly like the phrase 'un-Australian', but, if there were ever something that was truly un-Australian, the use of Nazi symbols would be it. The display of these symbols is the antithesis of what Australia stands for. Australia is a multicultural nation, a nation where our strength, our richness and our depth of character is our diversity. We have built an identity on giving one another a fair go, on mateship, on respecting one another and on helping our neighbour. This bill builds upon this positive identity, and I thank the Attorney-General and the government for introducing it.

We are all diminished by the sharing and the glorification of an ideology which underpinned genocide, mass murder and the persecution of vulnerable groups of people. But in recent years we have seen a rise in Neo-Nazi groups which recruit and train mainly young men in these toxic ideologies, and we've seen demonstrations outside the Victorian parliament, where masked men made the Nazi salute—masked men? How cowardly. They themselves understood how shameful it would be to show their faces whilst displaying these vile symbols. As the horrifying events have unfolded in the Middle East over the last number of weeks, we have seen a rise in antisemitic attacks on our Jewish communities. This behaviour has no place in Australia. Many of us have family members who fought and died fighting the Nazi regime in World War II. We have members of our communities, friends and relatives who endured unspeakable horrors of concentration camps, who lost family and who found safe haven in this country. They deserve to feel safe in Australia. That's why I will be supporting this bill.

There are further reasons to support this bill. I'm a big supporter of free speech but not unfettered free speech. We already have a number of necessary limits on free speech that balance competing policy objectives such as protecting our children from sexual exploitation, protecting reputations and protecting people from vilification and hate speech. Social cohesion is a precious and potentially fragile commodity that we in Australia have managed to nurture while creating a diverse, rich and multicultural community. I fear in recent times that this cohesion has been under strain like never before, which is why we must take steps to criminalise the use of these hate filled symbols. Similar legislation is now being passed in New South Wales and Victoria, and it's more than appropriate that it apply nationwide.

I also note that the bill includes several exceptions to ensure that the legislation does not unintentionally criminalise actions that are unrelated to the promotion of Nazi ideology. Firstly, it will not apply to displaying the swastika in connection with Buddhism, Hinduism or Jainism. Secondly, the prohibition will not apply if the display of a Nazi symbol is reasonable, in good faith and for legitimate scientific, educational, artistic or journalistic purpose or in the public interest. But, if a person deliberately seeks to incite hatred by displaying Nazi symbols so entrenched in the ideology of hate, then we should do all in our power to deter it. I commend this bill to the House.