Victoria to ban Nazi salute in expanded legislation following anti-transgender rally


Legislation banning the Nazi salute in Victoria will be fast-tracked in state parliament but will take months before it comes into effect.

Victorian Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes on Monday confirmed the government would expand current legislation banning the Nazi swastika to include the salute.

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It comes after National Socialist Movement members repeatedly performed the salute on the steps of the Victorian parliament on Saturday at an anti-transgender rights rally.

Symes described the behaviour as disgraceful and cowardly, noting the salute was being used to incite hatred.

She said the expanded legislation would ensure Victorians felt safe, welcome and included.

“We’ll look at how this can be done carefully, with considered consultation with a variety of groups and will have more to say on the details of this legislation as we undertake that,” Symes said in a statement on Monday.

Legislation banning the Nazi salute in Victoria will be fast-tracked in state parliament but it will still be months before it comes into effect. Credit: AAP

Opposition leader John Pesutto said the opposition would work constructively with the government if it moved to ban the Nazi salute.

“We support free speech but every sensible and reasonable person will know there have to be some limits on free speech,” he told ABC News Breakfast on Monday.

“People who engage in actions and gestures which incite hate and violence will never be acceptable in our state.”

Anti-Defamation Commission chair Dvir Abramovich welcomed the ban.

“There is no perfect cure for the disease of extremism but this law is a first good step,” he said in a statement.

“Now law enforcement will have the tools they have been asking for.”

Liberal MP to be expelled following protest

Pesutto will move to expel outspoken Liberal MP Moira Deeming from the parliamentary party after she spoke at the rally.

He said the scenes of black-clad white supremacists marching along Spring St were an “abomination” and “affront” to values all Victorians should hold dear.

He said he met Deeming on Sunday afternoon and discussed her involvement in organising, promoting and participating in the rally.

Western Metropolitan MP Moira Deeming. Credit: Julian Smith/AAP

Pesutto said Deeming’s position was “untenable” and he would move a motion at the next party room meeting to expel her as a member of the parliamentary Liberal Party.

“This is not an issue about free speech but a member of the parliamentary party associating with people whose views are abhorrent to my values, the values of the Liberal Party and the wider community,” Pesutto said in a statement.

“Regardless of religious faith, race, sexual preference and identity, Victorians everywhere should know that the Liberal Party is inclusive and can be a voice for them.”

Deeming was elected to the Victorian parliament last year as a member for Western Metropolitan region, replacing the controversial Bernie Finn.

Deputy Premier Jacinta Allan said the state government, which banned the public display of the Nazi swastika last year, was looking at what further action it could take to address Saturday’s “disgraceful” scenes.

“The government has absolutely no tolerance for this sort of behaviour and we’ll continue to work very, very hard to address what sits behind those sorts of disgraceful actions,” she said on Sunday.

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