FRESH AIR

Election campaign marred by swastikas, as MPs in various states consider ban

Apr 5, 2022 | Naomi Levin

Image: Twitter
Image: Twitter

An unfortunate trend that emerged during the 2019 federal election campaign seems set to remain a regrettable hallmark of the 2022 federal election campaign.

Image: Twitter

Swastikas and other Nazi-related symbols are being scrawled on political hoardings of candidates from across the political spectrum – especially, though not exclusively, Jewish ones. Treasurer and Liberal candidate for the Melbourne seat of Kooyong Josh Frydenberg, his independent challenger Dr Monique Ryan and Labor MP and candidate for the Melbourne seat of Macnamara Josh Burns have all posted images on social media of campaign billboards vandalised with Nazi symbols.

The good news is that there has been widespread condemnation from across the community for this activity.

To quote just a few, Labor Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator Penny Wong commented: “This is disgraceful and should be universally condemned. We have seen what happens when hatred takes root in a society.”

Greens candidate for Kooyong Piers Mitchem stated: “This just should not and must not happen, and as a Kooyong candidate I condemn it in the strongest possible terms. Never again.”

Dr Fiona Martin, Liberal Member for Reid, said “This is criminal behaviour.”

Dr Martin is correct that vandalism is criminal behaviour, however it is worth noting that defacing campaign posters is not in itself a breach of the Electoral Act 1918 and there is no Australian jurisdiction that currently bans the public display of Nazi symbols, including Nazi swastikas. However, this may be about to change.

Image: Twitter

On March 29, NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman announced the NSW Government would legislate to criminalise the public display of Nazi symbols.

This followed the introduction by NSW Shadow Minister for Police Walt Secord of a Private Members Bill on this issue, followed by a report produced by the NSW Legislative Council Standing Committee on Social Issues expressing cross-party support for such a ban.

In January 2022, Queensland Parliament’s Legal Affairs and Safety Committee conducted an Inquiry into Serious Vilification and Hate Crimes and among its recommendations, proposed a ban on the public display of both Nazi and ISIS symbols.

In September 2021, the Victorian Government signalled its intent to legislate on the public display on Nazi symbols after conducting a thorough review of religious vilification laws in the state. AIJAC understands that drafting of this new law is currently underway.

Nazi symbols and Holocaust comparisons are becoming increasingly common in political discourse, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when they have been appropriated by coronavirus conspiracy theorists and the anti-vaccine movement.

While these laws are unlikely to stop night-time vandals defacing election material, they would send a clear message to the community that Nazi symbols are not acceptable in Australian public discourse.

RELATED ARTICLES


(Credit: akramalrasny/ Shutterstock.com)

Yemen’s ceasefire will likely have disastrous consequences

Jun 29, 2022 | Featured, Fresh AIR
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Backgrounder: The Temple Mount “Status Quo”

Jun 29, 2022 | Featured, Fresh AIR
Israeli PM Naftali Bennett (R); Alternative PM and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (C) and Defence Minister Benny Gantz  (L) (Photo: Noam Moscowitz / Knesset spokesperson)

Some key points to understand about the dissolution of Israel’s Government

Jun 22, 2022 | Featured, Fresh AIR, Resources
Image: Shutterstock

Unhealthy obsessions return to the annual World Health Organisation assembly – yet there are signs of positive change

Jun 17, 2022 | Featured, Fresh AIR
IAEA head Rafael Mariano Grossi briefs the press on Iran (Image: Dean Calma/Flickr)

IAEA Board rebukes Iran, Iran unplugs IAEA cameras

Jun 10, 2022 | Featured, Fresh AIR
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and head of Iran's Atomic Organisation Mohammad Eslami (R) speaking to media during a visit to Bushehr nuclear power plant, in the city of Bushehr, southern Iran, 8 October 2021. (Image: EPA/AAP)

New revelations: Iran apparently spied on the UN nuclear watchdog

Jun 2, 2022 | Featured, Fresh AIR

SIGN UP FOR AIJAC EMAILS

RECENT POSTS

India has historically had a distant relationship with Israel, but this has changed dramatically in recent years, as evidenced by the close relationship between former Israeli PM Netanyahu and Indian PM Modi (Image: Isranet)

Essay: Israel looks East

The struggle to succeed 86-year old PA President Mahmoud Abbas is consuming Palestinian politics (Image: Shutterstock)

Does Mahmoud Abbas finally have a successor?

Image: Shutterstock

Polls suggest yet another deadlocked election

The UN Human Rights Council in session (Image: US Mission/Eric Bridiers/Flickr)

Deconstruction Zone: A UN Commission’s war on Israel

(Credit: Shutterstock)

Noted and Quoted – July 2022

India has historically had a distant relationship with Israel, but this has changed dramatically in recent years, as evidenced by the close relationship between former Israeli PM Netanyahu and Indian PM Modi (Image: Isranet)

Essay: Israel looks East

The struggle to succeed 86-year old PA President Mahmoud Abbas is consuming Palestinian politics (Image: Shutterstock)

Does Mahmoud Abbas finally have a successor?

Image: Shutterstock

Polls suggest yet another deadlocked election

The UN Human Rights Council in session (Image: US Mission/Eric Bridiers/Flickr)

Deconstruction Zone: A UN Commission’s war on Israel

(Credit: Shutterstock)

Noted and Quoted – July 2022

SORT BY TOPICS