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TV interview – Seven Sunrise

The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP


Subject: Nazi hate symbols ban

DAVID KOCH: Joining me now Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus. Mark, good morning to you. What penalties would someone face under these laws

ATTORNEY-GENERAL MARK DREYFUS: Morning Kochie, great to be with you. We are bringing laws next week to the Parliament to ban the display of Nazi symbols or the trade in these items, and you'll face a penalty of up to 12 months in jail.

KOCH: Okay, if someone sees this type of symbolism, can you dob people in? Who do they call?

ATTORNEY-GENERAL: They should call state police or the Australian Federal Police.

KOCH: Okay. So why wasn't this already prohibited nationwide?

ATTORNEY-GENERAL: We've seen, very sadly, a rise in people displaying these vile symbols, which are symbols that have no place in Australia. They should be repugnant and that's why all states and territories have either passed laws in the last year, or have announced their intention to do so. Our laws are going to mesh with those state and territory laws.

KOCH: Is there a concern amongst law enforcement authorities that there's a rise in Neo-Nazism, and it's now getting out of control these far right sort of lunatics?

ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Well, there is a concern that we've seen rising public displays from these lunatics, as you call it. But it's not getting out of control because we're going to bring it under control. That's why we're banning the public display of these items, which is a start.

KOCH: Right, and does it usually come with violence? For these people who adopt these symbols has it become more galvanising? Is that the concern?

ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Of course any violence is a concern in our society, and regrettably, we have seen violence associated with some of the public events that these people have put on.

KOCH: What impact will this have on areas like the arts and then there are some other religious areas that they use that symbol from ancient days as well.

ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Of course, and there'll be an exemption for genuine artistic or genuine religious use of any of these symbols. We've consulted, particularly with the representatives of the Hindu religion, Jains, and we will make sure that there is a complete exemption for their religious use of what they call the swastika.

KOCH: Just sounds sensible doesn't it. Mark Dreyfus, thanks for joining us.

ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Thanks Kochie, and on personal note good luck, thank you for all your work.

KOCH: Thank you so much. Appreciate it.