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  • Writer's pictureGeoff Harrison

Displaying a Nazi Symbol

Displaying Nazi Symbol, Criminal Barrister, Criminal Lawyer,

Published By Geoff Harrison | 28 August 2023

On 19 August 2022 NSW became the second State behind Victoria to ban the displahing of a Nazi symbol via a public act. The definition of a 'public act' is very broad and includes, speaking, displaying and via electronic methods. In relation to this legislation and background, in the second reading speech, the Hon. Walt Secord stated:

....the Nazi flag is deeply offensive to all Australian and allied veterans who fought and sacrificed to defeat fascism. Displaying the symbols of an enemy that Australians died to defeat is an affront to them, to survivors of the Shoah and to their descendants. The Nazi flag is an emblem of genocide and racism. The decision to fly a Nazi flag is a simple expression of hatred. The Nazi swastika represents a regime that murdered six million Jews, including more than a million children. It represents a regime that sought nothing less than total fascist domination of Europe. Accordingly, it is unlawful in many European countries, including Germany, Austria and France, to publicly fly the Nazi flag.

The maximum penalty for an individual is 100 penalty units ($11,000) and/or 12 months imprisonment.

Other Sources:



Offence of displaying Nazi symbols

(1) A person who knowingly displays, by public act and without reasonable excuse, a Nazi symbol commits an offence.

Maximum penalty--

(a) for an individual--100 penalty units or imprisonment for 12 months, or both, or

(b) for a corporation--500 penalty units.

(2) For subsection (1), the display of a swastika in connection with Buddhism, Hinduism or Jainism does not constitute the display of a Nazi symbol.

(3) Also, without limiting subsection (1), a reasonable excuse includes the display of a Nazi symbol done reasonably and in good faith--

(a) for an academic, artistic or educational purpose, or

(b) for another purpose in the public interest.

(4) In this section--

"public act" has the same meaning as in section 93Z.



"public act" includes--

(a) any form of communication (including speaking, writing, displaying notices, playing of recorded material, broadcasting and communicating through social media and other electronic methods) to the public, and

(b) any conduct (including actions and gestures and the wearing or display of clothing, signs, flags, emblems and insignia) observable by the public, and

(c) the distribution or dissemination of any matter to the public.

For the avoidance of doubt, an act may be a public act even if it occurs on private land.

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