The push comes after a neo-Nazi group tried to disrupt an indigenous mourning ceremony at Coburg town hall on Thursday morning with white racist banners and Nazi salutes.
Footage of the incident shows four police officers forming a line between the Nazi group and those attending the ceremony before proceedings were moved inside. None of the black-clad people involved in the stunt were arrested.
The neo-Nazi group was later spotted in a number of locations in Melbourne’s inner north waving banners with white racist slogans that Age has chosen not to reproduce.
Police say they are reviewing footage from body-worn cameras to determine if any crime has taken place, but said the banner is not a crime under racial defamation laws. International Holocaust Remembrance Day is celebrated in Australia on Friday.
Last year, the Andrews government banned Nazi hate symbols. Anyone who intentionally displays the Nazi symbol in public faces a year in prison or a $22,000 fine.
The government has signaled its willingness to strengthen laws if police say no crime was committed in Coburg on Thursday.
“We realized that this hateful ideology had no place in Victoria – public demonstrations and demonstrations like this do nothing but cause further pain and division. Denigration has no place in our community,” a government spokesman said.
“The government will continue to monitor the use of hate symbols and defamation and may consider further legislative reforms at a later date.”
But shadow prosecutor Michael O’Brien said it was “hard to believe existing laws can’t address this behavior” and to see the individuals charged.
“Victoria’s equal opportunity, anti-libel and public order laws should be able to deal with these attempted provocations by a sad little rabble,” he said.
“Many Australians lost their lives in wars against fascism. It is therefore appalling to see neo-Nazis disrupting public events on Australia Day.
“Intimidation and racial intolerance have no place in our community and will never be tolerated.”
Earlier this month, white supremacist Thomas Sewell performed a Nazi salute while addressing the media outside Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.
Sewell had been handed an 18-month community corrective order after he was found guilty of assaulting a Channel Nine security guard who was also racially abused during the attack. Nine is the owner of this legal notice.
In another incident earlier this month, 20 white supremacists were photographed making the gesture on Elwood Beach. A child was among the prisoners who made the salute.
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https://www.smh.com.au/national/victoria/holocaust-survivors-call-for-nazi-salute-to-be-outlawed-in-victoria-20230127-p5cfuc.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_national Holocaust survivors are calling for the Nazi salute to be banned in Victoria