Posted on May 3, 2023

Nazi Symbol Sparks Fears of Physical Danger for Groups

Dominic Giannini, AAP, May 2, 2023

Marginalised groups say the hate associated with the most well-known Nazi symbol can make them feel instantly vulnerable in their communities.

The national director of equality advocacy group Democracy in Colour said on Tuesday Nazi Hakenkreuz, or hooked cross, was enough to make people of colour and members of the LGBTQI+, Jewish and other communities fearful.

“It made me feel unsafe and that myself and others around me could be in danger of physical harm,” Neha Madhok told a parliamentary inquiry looking into legislation for penalties over use of the symbol.

She said that while she supported fines for using the symbol, there could be unintended consequences for sending people to prison.

“By putting people into the prison system, they are far more likely to be exposed to other radical elements, people with far more extremist views,” Ms Madhok said.

Australia-Israel and Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubenstein said jail and fines could have an impact, especially on recruitment to extremist groups.

“This legislation is one of the strategies to deal with the evil,” Mr Rubenstein said.

He said political leadership and education were also needed.


The Australian Federal Police says the new laws could close the current gap, with the public display of the Nazi symbol normalising the hateful ideology that can lead to radicalisation.

Counter-terrorism investigations commander Nicholas Read told the inquiry radicalisation online has increased, including through games that simulate scenarios from Nazi Germany.


Buddhist groups are calling for a carve-out when it connects to Buddhism, Hinduism or Jainism due to the swastika being derived from an ancient symbol for wellbeing or peace.