Wednesday, 17 May 2023

Questions without notice and ministers statements

Nazi symbol prohibition


Nazi symbol prohibition

David LIMBRICK (South-Eastern Metropolitan) (12:16): (142) My question is for the Attorney-General. Last year the government set an unusual and somewhat chilling precedent of banning symbols, starting with the almost universally despised swastika. If the intent of this ban was to suppress national socialist activity in this state, on the face of it one would have to conclude that this has backfired and is an epic failure. After being handed their new victimhood status by the government, although tiny in number, national socialists with their ridiculous ideology and dress sense appear to have become emboldened to the point of openly protesting in the streets. Predictably, they just changed to a different symbol. Can the Attorney provide any evidence that this ban has had any positive effect whatsoever?

Jaclyn SYMES (Northern Victoria – Attorney-General, Minister for Emergency Services) (12:17): I thank Mr Limbrick for his question. Mr Limbrick, there are a range of measures that the government and indeed others want to take to ensure that we stamp out hate and bigotry in Victoria. Banning of the Nazi hate symbol, the Hakenkreuz, which received a lot of support in this chamber, was one such measure. I made public commitments in relation to the salute after we saw horrible behaviour on the steps of Parliament and again recently. This is just one measure to help promote tolerance and promote appropriate behaviour and to support minorities that are often targeted by such behaviour. A piece of legislation is not a shield for someone from such hate, but it is a great statement from a government, from a chamber, from the Parliament, that we will not stand for this type of behaviour in Victoria. So we will continue to come up with a range of measures that hopefully disrupt that type of behaviour and just as importantly provide a really positive message to people that are targeted that we have got their back.

David LIMBRICK (South-Eastern Metropolitan) (12:18): I thank the Attorney for her answer. My supplementary question is: what symbols does the government plan to ban next?

Jaclyn SYMES (Northern Victoria – Attorney-General, Minister for Emergency Services) (12:18): In relation to the consultation that we are undertaking in relation to the salute, we will look at a range of measures and see whether there is anything else that could be captured by the next suite of legislation. It is something that I will be happy to brief you on once those consultations have been completed.