1 August 2023, 14:24
Legislative Council of Victoria, Melbourne

David ETTERSHANK (Western Metropolitan):

My constituency question is for the Attorney-General. My constituent is a resident of Sunshine, and like many other Victorians she was alarmed to see reports of a so-called ‘White power lifting meet’ at a gym in Sunshine North over the weekend.

She was disgusted to find that the event organised by the European Australian Movement and the National Socialist Network called on members to ‘celebrate the movement’s exponential growth’.

My constituent is feeling unsafe in her community knowing that white supremacists are holding recruitment events that can only result in an escalation in bigotry, in racism, in misogyny, in antisemitism and in violence.

So my constituent asks: what is the Attorney-General proposing to ensure that our western suburbs do not become a safe haven for violent right-wing extremists?

Written Answer
Received: 13 November 2023
Hon. Jaclyn Symes MP
(Attorney-General, Minister for Emergency Services)

The Victorian Government condemns the event organised by the European Australian Movement and the National Socialist Network at a gym in Sunshine North. Victorians have zero tolerance for this behaviour and so do we.

That’s why we are committed to banning the display of the Nazi salute. This commitment follows the legislation of a new summary offence prohibiting the public display of Nazi symbols which commenced operation in December 2022. The government’s commitment is in recognition that Nazi symbols and the salute is used to incite hatred not only towards Jewish people, but also our culturally diverse community members as well as our LGBTIQ+ communities. This legislation has now been introduced into Parliament and is due to be debated soon.

The Victorian Government has also committed to strengthening anti-vilification protections to better prevent and address hate speech and conduct. This includes implementing recommendations made by the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Anti-Vilification Protections. The Inquiry found that vilification is all too common for many Victorians. It recommended changing the law to increase anti-vilification protections.

As many of these reforms are significant, complex and require funding and legislative change, it is important that government takes the time to get these reforms right. Seeking input from the Victorian community will be an integral part of this.

The development of the anti-vilification reforms is underway with public consultations only closing a couple of weeks ago on 16 October.  Further targeted consultation is scheduled for early next year.


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