In a historic milestone for New South Wales, a new law making it a criminal offence to knowingly display a Nazi symbol in public without a reasonable excuse, has come into force.

Member for Manly James Griffin said the offence carries a tough new penalty to crack down on this highly offensive and distressing act.

“Those found guilty will face a maximum penalty of 12 months’ imprisonment or a $11,000 fine or both for an individual; or a fine of $55,000 for a corporation,” Mr Griffin said.

“This new offence sends a clear message that the display of Nazi symbols, and the hatred and bigotry they represent will not, and should not, be tolerated.”

The NSW Government introduced an amendment to the Crimes Act 1900 to provide further safeguards against hate speech and vilification in NSW.

Attorney General Mark Speakman said the new law is a significant moment for survivors of the Holocaust and their loved ones.

“The events that occurred under the Nazi regime represent one of the darkest periods of recorded human history,” Mr Speakman said.

“The atrocities committed during that period are almost unimaginable, and the intergenerational trauma they have caused continues to be felt by many people today.

The new law contains broad exceptions to allow Nazi symbols to be displayed where it is in the public interest in good faith, including for an academic, artistic or educational purpose.

Minister for Multiculturalism Mark Coure said the new law is a victory for our state’s rich multicultural society.

“This law shows that our Government stands against the Nazi symbol and the hateful ideology it represents,” Mr Coure said.

“The law also protects those that use a swastika for religious and spiritual reasons including Buddhists, Hindus and Jains. It clearly states that the displaying of a swastika in connection with these spiritualties will not constitute a Nazi symbol.”