Tuesday, 28 November 2023
Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Prohibited Hate Symbols and Other Measures) Bill 2023; Second Reading
In 1982, the great Australian novelist and playwright Thomas Keneally wrote the story of Oskar Schindler in his Booker Prize winning work, Schindler's Ark. Later, in 1993, the book was made into an Academy Award winning film, Schindler's List, directed by Steven Spielberg. No one could come away from that film unmoved. The imagery of the little girl in a red dress is one that I will never forget. Movies such as Schindler's List remind us of events in living history. It was not that long ago, and there are still survivors today who bear the marks of their experiences on their arms. Indeed, it was only October 2021 when Eddie Jaku, the author of another moving story The Happiest Man on Earth, passed away. Eddie's story of survival against all odds and against the most evil of regimes was remarkable, to say the least, and Eddie's book should be compulsory reading.
That said, those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. We in this House must never forget the atrocities committed by fascism. We must never allow another regime as described by the likes of Keneally and Jaku to exist again. Some symbols unite us, such as our coat of arms, representing a united Australia held up by two of our most iconic native animals and featuring the seven-point Commonwealth Star. Similarly, the Olympic flag represents much that is good: faster, higher, stronger, together. Unfortunately, not all symbols are in this category. Symbols such as those that this bill proposes to ban only exist to promote hate, cause division and allow evil to flourish—symbols that fascist movements, from the Nazis on, have used to rally people to the cause of hate. So it is appropriate that we, together, prohibit the exhibition of these symbols of hate.
This bill has a number of different provisions. Schedule 1 of this bill will criminalise the public display and trading in of three particular items. These are the Nazi Hakenkreuz, the Nazi SS Bolts and those associated with terrorist organisations. The symbols will be prohibited in a broad range of settings, including online. There will, however, be specific exemptions for religious, academic, educational, artistic, literary, journalistic or scientific purposes where that display is not contrary to the public interest. Importantly, it needs to be pointed out that the sacred swastika in connection with Buddhist, Hindu or Jain religious observances will not be captured by these provisions. The government acknowledges the importance of this ancient symbol and its significance to these faith communities.
The government's amendments will criminalise performing the Nazi salute in public, to address the significant harm that this behaviour causes to Australian communities. The ideas represented by this are fundamentally incompatible with Australia's multicultural, democratic and inclusive society. Finally, the trading offence in schedule 1 will target commercial profiting, including selling, renting or leasing paraphernalia containing prohibited Nazi symbols or symbols associated with terrorist organisations.
Schedule 2 of the bill will criminalise using a carriage service for violent extremist material and possessing or controlling violent extremist material obtained or accessed using a carriage service. A carriage service will include a range of platforms, including webpages, social media platforms, email, chat forums, text messages or the download of violent extremist material from the internet onto a digital storage device.
Violent, extremist material, which is used to radicalise people and instil fear in our community, has no place in Australia. Criminalising the use of a carriage service for violent, extremist material would allow law enforcement to take actions against persons who are exploiting the internet to recruit, spread propaganda and incite violence, particularly those targeting young people. Offences under schedule 2 will be punishable by up to seven years imprisonment, and allow law enforcement intervention at an earlier stage in individual's progress towards that radicalisation. In turn, it will provide greater opportunity for rehabilitation and disruption of violent, extremist networks.
Schedule 3 of the bill will expand the 'advocating terrorism' offence in section 80.2C of the Criminal Code to include providing instruction on the doing of a terrorist act or praising such an act where there is substantial risk that praise will lead to another person engaging in a terrorist act. This will address increasing concerns about the promotion and idealisation of extremist views as a form of radicalisation, particularly with respect to young people becoming radicalised online. Recognising that advocating terrorism is a serious and intentional act which can incite violence against innocent Australians, schedule 3 of the bill will increase the maximum penalty for this offence from five to seven years imprisonment. This will ensure that the penalty more appropriately accounts for the potential severity of the offending and better aligns with penalties for similar offences in the Criminal Code.
Schedule 4 of the bill will remove the sunsetting requirements from regulations listing organisations as terrorist organisations under division 102 of the Criminal Code. At present, listings cease to have effect after a period of three years and must be remade for an organisation to remain prescribed. The removal of the sunsetting requirements from terrorist listing regulations will help align the framework within the enduring nature of a terrorist organisation and its operations. Of the 29 organisations currently listed, the majority have been relisted multiple times, some as many as eight times. While there are existing strong safeguards to ensure that any listing of an organisation is appropriate and ceases should the organisation no longer meet the threshold, the bill will enhance these safeguards.
I understand that the provisions of this bill have the support of key community organisations, including the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the Australian Muslim Advocacy Network, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, the Hindu Council of Australia and representatives of the Australian Buddhist community. The bill deserves the same unanimous support in the House. We obviously have our differences on many issues. Healthy debate in this chamber is essential for democracy, and it is that that these terrorist organisations seek to undermine.
We have enough examples on the historical record to prove that radicalisation, and the glorification of these symbols, is not going away. Good thoughts and wishes are not going to deal with the problems this bill addresses. Like other members in the House, my electorate is home to those who have fled their former homes and have been victims of persecution, so in a very real sense this bill has personal resonance for me. We need to send a clear message to those who might be attracted to the organisations these symbols represent. We need action, and this is what the bill delivers, and it does so in the clearest of ways. I commend the bill to the House.
Last week, I was doing my regular phone canvassing program and I spoke to a lady who's now retired but spent her life as a nurse in Australia, having grown up in the United Kingdom. She also happens to be Jewish. As many members of parliament do, I was speaking to local residents to see if they have any issues or concerns they want to raise with their local federal member of parliament, and she said to me, 'I'm shocked to say that the thing I want to raise with you is that I'm Jewish and, for the first time in my life, I genuinely feel uncomfortable living here locally in the eastern suburbs of Adelaide.'
Watching the news, following some of the protest movements and invocations at these atrocious events that are occurring in our country right now, is making some Jewish Australians, for the first time ever, feel something in our community that they thought was to be left in history and another part of the world. It's quite heartbreaking that Jewish Australians, like the lady I spoke to last week, are feeling that way. I have a fantastic community servant in my electorate, Andrew Steiner, who is a Holocaust survivor and established the Adelaide Holocaust Museum. He was a young boy in Budapest and lost many members of his family to the Holocaust. As a young man he made it out, probably escaping a fate of death at the hands of the Schutzstaffel in Eastern Europe. Now, in his early 90s, he's seeing things that remind him of the childhood that he remembers with great horror and the terror that he fled.
We have an opportunity here, as a parliament, to send a message which we hoped we'd never have to send. We're banning the swastika, when we never thought any human being that knew anything about what that symbol means in a certain context would want to invoke it. Unfortunately, as a parliament, we have to take action because, in the year 2023, there are people that want to glorify and relive the most horrific elements of what the Nazi regime, which is represented by that symbol, did. They attempted to wipe out an entire race of people—genocide—and they had a good go of it, with six million dead. Unfortunately, in the modern era, there are people that want to promote that, celebrate it and, one fears, perhaps even call for its occurrence again. We've seen it in our own country at some of these events—people uttering slogans and statements that are very much calling for or seeking a second form of holocaust. I made comments about that in another debate, and I won't relive the horror and horrendousness of some of the things that have happened, but I also fear what may be yet to come. The current situation in the Middle East is far from over, and there are people, right here in our own country, who are elevating and extending some of the vile and disgusting things that they're saying and the behaviour that they're displaying.
As a parliament, we have to stand up and send a very clear, united message that we won't stand for that, that we don't support that. One way we can do that is to unanimously support this important measure through the parliament. I hoped that we could've done it a bit sooner than this, and we did attempt to—
A division having been called in the House of Representatives—
Sitting suspended from 16:43 to 17:01
As I was saying, it is in some ways regrettable that we need to pass this legislation. It seems unfathomable that in 2023, nearly 70 years after the awful horrors of the Nazi regime in Europe during the Second World War, there would be anyone living in our community who would want to invoke and celebrate Nazism and display representations of the horrors of the Nazi regime. But regrettably we've seen, particularly in the last six weeks or so, that that is indeed the case. There are some awful invocations of that era that I thought was left well and truly in history and in another part of the world. There are Jewish Australians in particular who are for the first time feeling so uncomfortable living somewhere where they should never expect to have visited upon them the sort of treatment that was visited upon Jewish people through the 1930s in Germany and, as the Third Reich expanded, more broadly in Europe. We know that the persecution of Jewish people had endured through history well before Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime, but the most vile manifestation of antisemitism was beyond question the Holocaust.
I reflected on the principles of free speech when this legislation was first mooted. I thought about whether or not people have the right to hold opinions, despite how appalling and outrageous they might be, and say what they want and what they think in a free society. People have that right. But this is beyond the principle of free speech because, by using these hate symbols, this is the glorification of criminal activity, of genocide and of vile, disgusting behaviour and seeking to inspire it in other people. That is beyond the principles of free speech. That is seeking to relive and celebrate previous crimes and to inspire new crimes into the future, and we absolutely should have no ambiguity about standing up against that.
Regrettably, we do need this legislation. I appreciate the hard work of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security and I know that they made sure they looked at a whole range of things that are important to look at. Firstly, we obviously respect the use and display of these symbols that we are seeking to ban in one particular category. In certain religions, the swastika is an enduring, important symbol for that religion and that culture, and it's not the fault of those people that it was adopted by the Nazi regime. We certainly are making sure that, on religious grounds, that is not captured.
It is also important that the stories of the horrors of the Holocaust are told—it's more important now, unfortunately, than ever. So, again, we do not want restrictions in the teaching of history or in the depiction of the Nazi regime in culture, film and on the stage et cetera. We don't want these laws to cover what is an important part of keeping the memory of one of the most appalling, awful chapters in the history of humankind alive so it is a lesson for people today. We are, indeed, in debating this legislation, remembering that lesson.
I've been to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem and I've been to the Dachau concentration camp. I was very proud to work with former Treasurer Frydenberg in securing a significant investment in the Adelaide Holocaust Museum and, in particular, giving students access to visit that very confronting display of that horrible period of human history, because we know how important it is that our next generation understand what the atrocities of the past were, so that we never see them repeated again.
The fact that, in the last few weeks, we have heard things said and seen placards, depictions and slogans at rallies and events—things that I am still in a degree of shock about and that I never thought I'd see in my own country—goes to show, regrettably, that Holocaust education, as well as Holocaust commemoration, is as important now as it has ever been.
It is regrettable that we need this legislation, but it is important that we pass it. I think the parliament coming together—I hope, unanimously—to legislate the banning of these vile, hateful symbols will send a very powerful message to anyone that is partial towards them or the disgusting, appalling ideology that underpins them: that the Australian parliament is absolutely united against anyone that has any sympathy for the Nazi regime or the crimes that they committed and that we stand in great solidarity, particularly with Jewish Australians, who right now in particular are feeling very uncomfortable, even in their own country. This sign from the leadership of our nation, the parliament of our nation, is a great opportunity for them, hopefully, to have an experience of hope in what's been a very difficult few weeks for them. I commend the bill to the House.
There are two experiences that I recall, as a politician in this place on overseas trips, that really struck me and really affected me. The first one was visiting Yad Vashem, which is of course Israel's national Holocaust museum, a place dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust—to preserve the memory of those Jewish people who were murdered by the Nazi regime in Germany and their allies—and also those non-Jewish people who selflessly assisted the Jewish people to escape and aided them in their efforts to flee the Nazi regime.
I recall that occasion, walking around—by myself—and being there with a bunch of young men and women, who were conscripts in the Israeli military, who were being taken through Yad Vashem and being reminded of what happened. It was very profound, as a person with my surname, a Germanic surname, whose ancestors, on my dad's side, had come to Australia in the 1880s, fleeing religious persecution themselves. I felt very moved on that occasion.
The second occasion was when I was visiting the German parliament. In the German parliament you can see the bullet holes in the wall, and there is a little stand there with a book that looks like the Torah or the Talmud or the Bible or the Koran. But, when you open the pages, on each page there is a biography of those members of the German parliament who were slaughtered by the Nazis when Hitler came to power and in the years after that. This could have been many people in our country: Social Democrats, Labor MPs, Christian Democrats, conservative Liberal and National Party MPs. There was no discrimination.
The Nazi regime burned down their parliament and blamed the communists and then proceeded to persecute Jews, Catholics, trade unions, and any civil organisation and politicians who opposed the regime. The ferocity of the denunciation by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the great Lutheran pastor, on national radio—almost on the night that Hitler came to power—was a great demonstration of standing up for freedom and liberty by a person who followed their moral core and compass and who, by ethical and strong convictions, from a religious point of view, opposed the Nazis.
I will never forget those two occasions in my life. So I rise to speak on this particular legislation that deals with Nazi symbols. I agree with the member for Sturt that it is a shame that we have to do this in a liberal democracy. But we need to do it, because there are people out there on the extremes of our society who do the wrong things, who venerate and idolise and admire the Nazi regime, Nazism, fascism and militarism. It is just abhorrent.
Many people gave their lives. Six million Jews and many others, including gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses and people who opposed the Nazi regime, were slaughtered. This legislation that is before the chamber shows that there is no place for this, and I hope this parliament decides to support it unanimously. There is no place for violence and hatred and antisemitism—and there is absolutely no place for symbols that glorify the Holocaust or human rights atrocities. We can never allow people to profit from the display and the sale of items that celebrate Nazism and its evil ideology. To that end, in June, this government, the Albanese Labor government, introduced a comprehensive package of reforms to protect the community from those who want to spread hate and radicalise others to commit acts of terror.
This bill before the chamber, the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Prohibited Hate Symbols and Other Measures) Bill 2023, makes it clear that there is no place for those who seek to profit from these symbols.
The bill makes it a criminal offence to publicly display Nazi and Islamic State symbols or trade in items bearing these symbols. The bill criminalises public displays of the Nazi hakenkreuz, the hooked cross; the Nazi Schutzstaffel; the double sig rune, the SS bolts; and the Islamic State flag, hate symbols, as well as banning the trade of these items. The bill will exclude public displays of these symbols for religious, academic, educational, artistic, literary, journalistic or scientific purposes.
These symbols are widely recognised as symbols of hatred, violence and racism. The ban includes but is not limited to the trade and public display of flags, armbands, t-shirts, insignia and the publication of symbols online promoting Nazi ideology. The ban will not in any way apply to the display and use of the swastika, which is of spiritual significance to religions such as Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. We consulted with these communities to ensure nothing in the bill would impinge on the use and display of these symbols in association with legitimate religious expression and worship.
The bill also creates offences for accessing and sharing violent extremist material online. These new offences will allow law enforcement to intervene earlier and disrupt violent extremists before their actions place the community in danger and inspire others to follow these dangerous paths of radicalisation. The bill also amends the terrorist organisation listing framework. It provides that the listing of a terrorist organisation will apply indefinitely unless revoked. This is because the current sunsetting date of three years is unnecessarily short and does not reflect the longevity of terrorist organisations.
I'll just outline some of the key provisions. The bill amends the Criminal Code—that's the Commonwealth Criminal Code—in light of the evolving threat environment, particularly the threat of ideologically motivated violent extremism. Firstly, it criminalises the display, as I stated, of prohibited hate symbols. These symbols are associated with recruitment activities of violent extremist groups and have the effect of harassing or vilifying targeted groups. The offence will apply to a broad range of settings, including online. There will be specific exemptions, as I said. The bill does not prevent the private ownership of such material. However, anyone seeking to pass on such items will not be able to seek payment unless an exemption is applied for, because no-one should be able to profit in this way. The Federal Police and the state and territory police enforcing Commonwealth offences will be provided with a new power to issue a direction that materials containing a prohibited symbol be removed from public display.
Secondly, it would criminalise the use of a carriage service to deal with violent extremist material, including instructional terrorist material. This would facilitate law enforcement intervention at an earlier stage in an individual's progress to violent radicalisation and provide greater opportunity for disruption of such networks. A carriage service would include a range of platforms such as webpages, social media applications, email, chat forums, text messages and the like. We're introducing these provisions because this type of violent extremist material is used to radicalise people and has no place in our society. There'll be punishments of up to five years imprisonment, and this will facilitate law enforcement intervention at an earlier stage. It complements existing frameworks for regulating online service providers, including offences for hosting abhorrent violent material, and the eSafety Commissioner's powers to require providers to remove or cease to host certain content.
Thirdly, the bill will align different 'advocating terrorism' definitions in the Criminal Code and expand the advocating terrorism offence in section 80.2 to include providing instruction of the doing of a terrorist act and praising the doing of a terrorist act where there is substantial risk that the praise will lead to another person engaging in a terrorist act.
Fourthly, the bill will increase the maximum penalty for the offence of advocating terrorism from five to seven years, which recognises that advocating terrorism is a serious, intentional act that can incite violence against innocent Australians. This is more appropriate in my view. This is because the promotion and idealisation of extremist views are of increasing concern, and it's not just here in Australia. A few short weeks ago I was in Trafalgar Square and saw legitimate people protesting in relation to Palestinian issues. But there were—I saw them clearly—symbols of Nazi glorification that clearly identified with antisemitic views. It was quite confronting to see that in a place that is so beloved by Londoners and by the world generally—a place that celebrates that great cosmopolitan city. It is absolutely legitimate to protest and to express your views in a liberal democracy, but antisemitism and the glorification of Nazism are not. They simply are not.
At present, can I just say that in this country we have real problems. It's not just overseas; you can see it by watching any news—Al Jazeera, BBC, France 24. On any form of news network, you can see it. We have major problems that we have to work with, and we've got to work with state and territory colleagues and law enforcement agencies to keep our communities safe and to make sure that we stamp out hatred in all its expressions. We're sending a clear message through this legislation to those who seek to spread hatred, violence and antisemitism: we find it repugnant, and it will not be tolerated.
This bill was referred to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security for an inquiry, and the Attorney-General requested the committee consider the bill promptly.
The committee has reported back, and I understand that tomorrow the Attorney-General will introduce amendments in the House, based on these recommendations, to strengthen our legislation by making the Nazi salute a criminal offence under Commonwealth law. It's important that the Commonwealth provide leadership in this space; under the amendments, the Albanese government will ban the public display of the Nazi salute, making clear there's no place for that expression in our polity. The Attorney-General, I'm sure, will have more to say about that tomorrow.
We can't ignore the bigger context in which this is happening. It is worth noting, since the atrocities of 7 October in Israel and Israel's incursions into Gaza, regrettably, there's been an alarming uptick of antisemitism in this country. Many Jewish Australians are feeling fearful and anxious, and this has stirred up long and painful memories of the Holocaust. That should not be happening in a land that offered them refuge then and embraces them now. The Chifley government brought in 35,000 Jewish people fleeing the horrors of Nazism after World War II. I want to thank Jason Steinberg, the president of the Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies and Board Chairman of the Queensland Holocaust Museum and Education Centre, for the work that he does and many others do with the Jewish community in my home state of Queensland.
As this conflict continues, it appears antisemitism is on the rise and we are determined not to let it get a foothold in this country. We should always denounce it and reject it utterly, as we do with all forms of racism and prejudice. With this legislation, the government is taking a strong stand. There is no place in Australia for symbols that glorify the horrors of the Holocaust and there is no place for those who seek to profit from the trade of these evil symbols or to use them to promote their hatred. We owe it to our multicultural society and to our Jewish community and their survivors. In the words of a Holocaust survivor Peter Gaspar, who lost 40 members of his extended family:
The Holocaust didn't start with gas chambers and murders and executions. It started with stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination, hate speech …
These are words we need to heed even today and every day. We need to remember Australians are stronger when we work together.
Sadly, right now, events in our world seem to be tearing us apart. Now more than ever, we must remind ourselves of Australia's fundamental strength. The cohesion of our multicultural society is one of our greatest national assets. This asset is something we should all contribute to every day. Generations of Australian migrants, from all over the world, have given us this very precious gift, and today we are the most successful multicultural nation on earth. These trailblazers worked across languages, cultures and faiths to build a country that we love, and everyone from politicians to people attending protests need to play their part in protecting it. Legitimate protest is fine; displaying Nazi symbols is not. That means being considerate in what we say to our friends and our colleagues and in those things we choose to post and share online. It means: pause and consider your fellow citizens during this time. In doing so, we are supporting a safer community.
Our intelligence agencies have made it very clear they see a direct relationship between language and violence. We see it in domestic situations, and we see it in our polity. In this febrile environment, it behoves us in this place to choose our actions and our words very carefully. Everyone is in a leadership position in this parliament, all 151 of us. We have a special responsibility to build national unity, not to amplify or create division, and safeguard our social cohesion. We should stand with people, not against them.
Let's be clear: we stand with both the Jewish community and our Muslim community. No Australian should experience terror or horror as a price of their faith. The government continues to monitor the domestic security situation closely. We should always do everything we can to not only oppose Islamic extremism but also protect legitimate expression for Islamic people as well. We should be protecting both our Jewish community and our Islamic community locally. They contribute to our society, our economy and our polity. We should be a beacon of light and faith and hope and love.
As we awoke this morning, the newspapers were carrying a two-page advertisement from more than 600 prominent Australians—business, community and sporting leaders—decrying the increase in antisemitism in the seven weeks since the appalling Hamas terrorist attacks on Israeli communities. According to the organisers of the advertisement, there has been an increase of 482 per cent in antisemitic incidents in Australia in those seven weeks. As the signatories say:
We are unequivocal in our resolve that racism in all its forms is deplorable and abhorrent. Whether directed towards Jewish Australians, Muslim Australians, Asian Australians, Indigenous Australians or any other minority, we will not tolerate such conduct in our workplaces and firmly reject it in our communities.
To our Jewish employees, business partners, customers and all who are affected, we acknowledge the heightened feelings of threat being felt by your community right now and affirm your right to physical and psychological safety.
This is in line with what I've been saying publicly, including in parliament, for weeks now.
The unfolding conflict in Israel and Gaza had reached the streets of Melbourne in a frightening way, on a Friday, Shabbat, when members of our Jewish community were at worship in a synagogue nearby. A fire in a nearby Palestinian-owned store drew protesters into a heavily Jewish neighbourhood, at a time when residents were walking the streets to and from shule with their families. … No-one was seriously hurt, thankfully, but the anxiety among the Jewish community after the terror attacks of 7 October in Israel affecting, in many cases, people who they know, has been magnified.
As the signatories to today's advertisement affirm, antisemitism is on the rise. We've seen antisemitic stickers plastered over a Starbucks outlet in central Melbourne, businesses with Jewish employees targeted by protesters with intimidating anti-Israeli signs and, recently, a Nazi sympathiser giving the Nazi salute as he left court and Neo-Nazis doing the same on the steps of the Victorian parliament. This is what this legislation is designed to help address. The question is whether it goes far enough, and I'll come to that shortly.
In the days since 7 October, many Jewish people have become fearful and anxious when outside their homes—and with justification. Some students from Jewish schools are avoiding wearing uniforms, and Jewish businesses are facing protests and boycotts. At the same time, Palestinian Australians and others are traumatised by events in Gaza. I am too. I'm desperately concerned about those in the Jewish community in Goldstein and the deaths of thousands of civilians in Gaza, especially children. As I've previously said in this place, the two feelings can coexist—indeed, they must.
Some weeks ago, the director-general of ASIO warned:
… words matter. ASIO has seen direct connections between inflamed language and inflamed community tensions.
It's not just words but also symbols that matter. That's what this legislation is about: symbols of hate designed to inflame and arouse fear, and to promote collectives of people to do both those things. The legislation would criminalise the public display and trading of two Nazi symbols representing, as the Attorney-General has said, the vile ideology of the Third Reich and conjuring fear in many sectors of the Australian community whose families suffered the horrors of the Holocaust. However, the question is: what about other Nazi symbols? Jewish community leaders I've consulted are deeply worried, especially the Executive Council of Australian Jewry. As Peter Wertheim said in an email to me, Nazi groups will easily circumvent this by using other well-recognised Nazi symbols. In my view, the prohibition should be more general so that it can't be circumvented. I've discussed this with the Attorney-General, and he's undertaken that a close eye will be paid to this potential loophole for alternative hate symbols to be used.
ECAJ has also noted the need to prohibit Nazi salutes, and I'm pleased that the government has come around to including this in this legislation, despite initial hesitancy around jurisdiction. I agree with the executive council that there should be a federal law against Nazi gestures being performed in public so that there is a consistent legal regime across the country. So I welcome this measure. I'm also pleased that the legislation will ban trade in the outlawed Nazi symbols immediately, rather than being delayed by six to 12 months to give collectors a chance to dispose of those items. Those in possession of those items should have seen this coming, and I see no reason for a substantive delay.
Australia has limited ability to influence the course of events in Israel and Gaza. What we can do and have a responsibility to do is to articulate multipartisan calm, to encourage empathy and, at all costs, to take the politics away as well as to pull the legislative and policy levers that are available to us.
From that perspective, this legislation is urgent. We must do everything that we can to maintain and promote social cohesion. I'm sure that most of my colleagues in this place will have been alarmed at the tone of communications from constituents to their offices in recent weeks—threats, anger and hatred from all sides.
Personally, on that level, having seen the aftermath of conflict around the world and, as a reporter, having been amid deadly civil unrest myself, I remain extremely concerned about what happens next, and that goes to triggers for hate in our communities here. Some years ago, I was amid the Red Shirts unrest in Bangkok, where pro-democracy protesters shutdown the city for several months until the military cleared them out, on a deadly day for both reporters and civilians, in 2010. In that case, a red shirt was the symbol, and wearing one could get you shot. I will never forget hiding under a Skytrain bridge that afternoon with a camera operator and producer as bullets pinged off the buildings around us—nor witnessing the bodies on the ground after. Anger and political tension—I learnt, through lived experience—can degenerate very quickly, and that's without the deep and scarring memories of the Holocaust, which are underpinning the very real and justified fear among Australia's Jewish community right now.
Recently, I was informed of the circulation in Goldstein and Kooyong of a Neo-Nazi flyer laden with antisemitism that vilified current and former MPs with language redolent of the catchphrases of the Nazism of Germany in the 1930s and 1940s. The horrors that led to the Holocaust were enabled, in part, by the Nazi regime's sophisticated harnessing of the popular media of the time: radio, film and print. The digital landscape of the 21st century is far more complex, enabling evil actors not just to spout their extremist invocations but to interact with each other and to seduce those vulnerable to their conspiracist siren songs.
As I've said before, and will now say again, free speech is not hate speech, and hate speech should not be defended as such. The two things are vastly different and should be called out as such, as should right-wing extremism and those who fan it for their own ends. As Lydia Khalil, the Lowy Institute's project director of digital threats to democracy, put it in her submission to the inquiry into extremist movements and radicalism in Australia that was conducted in the last parliament by the Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security:
Conspiracy theories and conspiratorial mindsets are not new and have been identified as a factor in radicalising extremist movements. However, conspiratorial movements or individuals who believe in a conspiracy and are connected online, are now emerging as a standalone domestic extremist threat.
Khalil quoted the FBI in support of her argument:
Anti-government, identity-based, and fringe political conspiracy theories very likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the modern information marketplace over the near term…occasionally driving both groups and individuals to commit criminal or violent acts.
As a foreign correspondent in the United States, I observed these disturbing developments, or the aftermath of them, firsthand. I strongly therefore believe that banning both Nazi salutes and hate symbols removes the mechanism for such collectives to identify and connect with each other, and I would further urge the government to consider whether there are further mechanisms to deal with hate speech online. That said, I support this legislation wholeheartedly—not a moment too soon.
The Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Prohibited Hate Symbols and Other Measures) Bill 2023 is a crucial piece of legislation aimed at bolstering Australia's national security framework and protecting our communities. In an era characterised by evolving threats posed by violent extremism and terrorism, the need for proactive and adaptable legislative responses cannot be overstated. Today I'd like to highlight some of the key provisions of the bill in addressing these contemporary challenges, and, of course, these contemporary challenges remind us of a very dark period in our world's history.
It's essential to understand the broader context of the evolving threat landscape that we currently find ourselves in. Terrorism, particularly that driven by extremist ideologies, remains a persistent global concern. Like every other nation, Australia has not been immune to these threats. The nature of terrorism has undergone significant transformation in recent years, with extremist groups exploiting the internet and social media to radicalise and recruit individuals. We know extremists utilise symbols, propaganda and instructional material to further their ideologies and incite violence. The bill recognises this evolving threat and seeks to address it comprehensively.
One of the fundamental components of this bill is the criminalisation of the public display of prohibited hate symbols. Specifically, the bill targets symbols associated with Nazi ideologies—such as the hakenkreuz, or swastika, and the double sig rune—and those associated with terrorist organisations that are widely recognised as representing hatred, violence and racism and are incompatible with Australian values. As such, the use of these symbols poses a severe threat to Australia's multicultural and democratic society, something we simply cannot accept. The bill's provisions are essential for several reasons, including prohibiting the public display of these symbols, which prevents their use as tools to incite hatred, fear and violence in our community. Of course, symbols like the swastika, or hakenkreuz, have a dark history of association with atrocities, and their public display can have a profound psychological impact.
Something I don't often talk about is the fact that my great-grandfather was murdered by Nazis in a concentration camp. My grandparents lived through the horrors of Nazi occupation, and my grandmother, as a child, remembers Nazis coming to her family's door to take her father away. She still carries this trauma. Many people still carry the trauma of World War II, and I do not want that trauma to be experienced in multicultural Australia through the display of these hateful symbols. It's important that we help people to heal from these traumas. I know many Holocaust survivors and their families and others for whom these symbols are a painful and traumatic reminder of evil. If this bill helps with the healing, through not exposing people to such disgusting, evil symbols that remind them of a time where they were attacked, persecuted and murdered, then that is a very good thing.
Extremists use these symbols as a means to recruit and radicalise individuals. When we criminalise their public display, we're able to disrupt their extremist narrative and therefore make it more challenging for people who want to exploit these symbols to attract vulnerable Australians to violence. Hate symbols disproportionately affect certain communities, causing harm and distress. This bill aims to protect those communities from the psychological and emotional impact of such symbols, and I've described some of my own experiences of that previously here. This legislation aligns with Australia's international human rights obligations, particularly those aimed at eradicating incitement to racial discrimination and prohibiting discrimination.
In addition to criminalising the public display of prohibited symbols, this legislation takes a comprehensive approach by also addressing the trading in goods that bear these symbols. This is significant for several reasons. Firstly, extremist groups often use the sale of merchandise bearing hate symbols to fund their horrible activities. By criminalising this trade, the bill strikes a blow against their financial resources, thereby undermining their operational capabilities. Secondly, the sale of goods with prohibited symbols extends their reach and influence. By curtailing this trade, the bill prevents the spread of extremist ideologies and their associated symbols. Thirdly, holding individuals accountable for trading in such goods sends a clear message that there is absolutely no tolerance for extremist ideologies. This not only deters potential offenders but also supports law enforcement efforts to address radicalisation. Finally, the bill's provisions—
A division having been called in the House of Representatives—
Sitting suspended from 17:39 to 17:57
To return to what I was saying earlier, the bill's provisions align with international standards and obligations, particularly those aimed at eradicating racial discrimination and hate speech.
Another critical aspect of this bill is the introduction of new offences related to the use of carriage services for violent extremist material. In an age where the internet plays a pivotal role in radicalisation, these provisions are timely and necessary. Extremists exploit the internet to spread propaganda and recruit individuals. These offences target the use of carriage services for disseminating extremist material, effectively curtailing their online reach. By introducing these offences, the bill enables law enforcement to intervene at an earlier stage in individuals' progression towards violent radicalisation. This not only prevents potential acts of terrorism but also provides critical opportunities for rehabilitation and disrupting extremist networks. These offences complement existing regulations governing online service providers and the eSafety Commissioner's powers to remove harmful content. Together, they create a robust framework for regulating online extremist content.
The counter-terrorism legislation amendment bill also expands the offence of advocating terrorism. This expansion includes instructing on the commission of a terrorist act and praising the commission of a terrorist act in specified circumstances. The significance of this expansion will be evident in several ways: the expanded offence targets individuals who provide instructions or praise acts of terrorism, thereby preventing the incitement to violence against innocent Australians; and it acts as a deterrent against those seeking to radicalise and promote extremist ideologies. Increasing the maximum penalty for advocating terrorism from five to seven years imprisonment underscores the gravity of the offence. It ensures that individuals who engage in such conduct face appropriate consequences for their actions. The expansion of this offence also aligns with Australia's international human rights obligations, particularly those related to incitement to violence and discrimination.
This bill also addresses a critical aspect of national security by removing the sunsetting requirements for regulations that prescribe terrorist organisations. As we know, terrorist organisations pose ongoing threats to national security. Removing the sunsetting requirements ensures that these organisations remain listed until they are actively delisted by the minister, aligning with the seriousness of their offences. Listing terrorist organisations facilitates the prosecution of individuals associated with these groups, deterring support for terrorism and importantly safeguarding the Australian community.
This bill also introduces safeguards to ensure that organisations are appropriately listed and that delisting declarations specify the date on which conditions justifying proscription no longer exist. This protects individuals from unjust convictions related to their association with listed organisations. It's really important that this bill balances rights such as freedom of expression and privacy with our international human rights obligations and for people to be free from being persecuted or discriminated against while balancing the curtailment of freedom of expression and privacy in instances where national security is our primary focus.
This bill criminalises the praising of terrorist acts only when there is a substantial risk of incitement. This ensures that that limitation on freedom of expression is proportional to the objective of preventing terrorism. The limitations on privacy introduced by the bill are lawful, not arbitrary, and necessary to protect national security, public order and the rights and freedoms of others. This bill includes provisions to exempt legitimate religious uses of otherwise prohibited symbols, such as the sacred swastika, ensuring religious freedoms are respected and protected.
This important piece of legislation represents a critical step towards safeguarding Australia's national security in the face of evolving threats from violent extremism and terrorism that unfortunately we are seeing in our communities. Its provisions, including the criminalisation of prohibited hate symbols, addressing online radicalisation, expanding the offence of advocating terrorism and removing sunsetting requirements for terrorist organisations are necessary, proportionate and aligned with international human rights obligations.
In an era when the Internet has become a powerful tool for extremists, when symbols of hate continue to incite violence and when terrorist organisations pose ongoing threats, this bill stands as a robust legislative response. We know thousands of Australians fought and died to defeat the evil that some within our community now seek to promote with these symbols. We know too, as a multicultural nation, that people from all over the world escape violence and persecution to create a safe home for themselves and their families in Australia. Prohibiting these hate symbols is part of making sure people feel safe and included in their communities. I've already described my own family's experience and the need to make sure that we look after people who are going to be traumatised when they see these symbols, as it reminds them of a period of unbelievable evil in the world.
We're taking action in this legislation to ensure that people in our communities can live their lives safe and free and without fear. By addressing the contemporary challenges we're presented with, we protect the safety and security of our Australian community and we also uphold the values of democracy, multiculturalism and human rights that are at the absolute core of Australian society.
Even prior to the current conflict in the Middle East, far-right extremism and the use of Nazi symbols to promote hate and violence were on the rise in Australia and across the world. Earlier this year, we watched footage of Neo-Nazis in a monstrous display of intimidation outside the Victorian parliament. Alarmingly, in Northern Tasmania, in the small town of Longford just outside my electorate, a local park has been vandalised with Nazi symbols and messages of white supremacy and antisemitism. In my own electorate of Bass, there have been similar incidents, which the local Jewish community have quietly gone about cleaning up themselves or with the local council's support to avoid inspiring copycats.
The ASIO chief told the Senate estimates earlier this year that at its peak—considered to be during the height of the pandemic—right-wing extremism accounted for around half of ASIO's counterterrorism workload. By February this year that number had fallen to around 30 per cent who are ideologically motivated. Most of that is nationalist and racist violent extremism, he told Senate estimates.
That 30 per cent is 30 per cent too much. I commend the federal government for bringing forward this bill, the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Prohibited Hate Symbols and Other Measures) Bill 2023, which makes significant and necessary changes to the Commonwealth Criminal Code to support law enforcement in their efforts to manage and protect the community from anyone who is planning, preparing or working to inspire others to do harm.
Though the number of Tasmanians who identify as Jewish is small—the 2021 census recorded 376 Jewish people in the state, the smallest state population in the country—the community, like any other, deserves full protection from hate speech and discrimination. I was proud that our Tasmanian government, earlier this year, led the nation in implementing legislation that would prohibit Nazi symbols and salutes in our island state. Like the federal bill before us today, the legislation is careful to acknowledge the continued importance of the swastika to the Buddhist, Hindu, Jain and other communities of faith, and recognises the difference between the sacred swastika and the misappropriated Nazi hakenkreuz, which protects legitimate purposes for public display.
Importantly, this legislation also criminalises the public display of and trade in the Islamic State symbol, used by a terrorist organisation with a violent and hateful ideology, while also recognising the distinction between Islamic State and Islamic faith. With the rise in both Islamophobic and antisemitic incidents in Australia since 7 October, this support of both our Muslim communities and our Jewish communities in this country is more important than ever.
Since being elected as the federal member for Bass around four and a half years ago, I've had the privilege of building relationships with my local Jewish community. I've had the honour of participating in the menorah lighting and Hanukkah celebrations in our city, and I have a deep admiration for Rabbi Yochanan Gordon. When this bill was originally presented to the House by the Attorney-General back in June, I reached out to Rabbi Gordon, keen as always to seek the advice of a local community who would be directly affected by this legislation. I was struck by his call for togetherness, unity and love for one another, no matter our background. I will read his words today:
Today, living in Australia, land of diverse cultures, we want to reaffirm our commitment to a society free from bigotry and hatred. In Tasmania, we have a number of descendants of Holocaust survivors and victims. As we work to pass this upcoming law, let us remember the lessons of history and vow to protect the values that bind us as a community.
The Holocaust, one of the darkest chapters in human history, was orchestrated by the Nazi regime, which shamelessly adopted the swastika as a symbol of their warped vision of the Aryan race. This emblem, once an ancient symbol representing well-being and prosperity in various cultures, was perverted to propagate hatred and cruelty on an unimaginable scale. It is a chilling reminder of the destructive power of intolerance and discrimination.
Today, we stand to state that bigotry and hate have no place in our community. Each time the symbols of hatred, and specifically the swastika, are displayed, it threatens to fracture the very foundation of our multi-cultural society. We must do what we can against any attempts to resurrect the ghosts of the past and perpetuate ideologies that seek to divide us based on our differences.
Australia holds a special place in history as the first nation where being Jewish was not an impediment to reaching any position. Our nation has shown that inclusivity and diversity are not just buzzwords but the pillars of progress and prosperity. It is a testament to the strength of our society when we embrace our differences, harness our collective potential, and rise above discrimination.
When someone displays a swastika today, they are not merely expressing an opinion or belief; they are advocating for the wholesale murder of innocent people. They are endorsing the use of gas chambers and ovens to annihilate fellow human beings solely because of their birthright and identity. This is an affront to the sanctity of life and the principles of compassion that underpin any civilized society.
If we can focus and remember the stories of Holocaust survivors and the indomitable spirit they displayed amidst the darkest of circumstances. Their stories stand as a beacon of hope, reminding us that even in the face of unimaginable horror, humanity can rise above hatred and prejudice. As this bill is debated, we must not forget to also take up the responsibility to educate future generations about the consequences of hate and intolerance.
Education is our most potent weapon against hatred. By teaching our children about the Holocaust and other instances of human suffering caused by discrimination, we instill in them empathy, tolerance, and the resolve to stand up against injustice.
Together, let us foster an environment where diversity is celebrated, and our differences are seen as strengths that enrich our society.
We must ensure that our legal systems protect the dignity and safety of all citizens and visitors alike. Let us work hand in hand to create a society where everyone can thrive, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, or background.
Let us not forget that there are people among us who lived through World War II and witnessed firsthand the atrocities committed under the Nazi regime, and for whom the symbol would still cause immense pain, including local constituents in northern Tasmania. These include people like Holocaust survivor Felix Goldschmied, who emigrated to Australia in 1948 as a young boy. Dr Goldschmied was born in what was then Czechoslovakia and lost most of his family members at Auschwitz. When attending the announcement of the establishment of a Holocaust education and interpretation centre in Hobart—an initiative spearheaded by then Treasurer Josh Frydenberg—Dr Goldschmied reflected that the establishment of an education centre was incredibly important, as he fears stories risk being forgotten as Jewish survivors grow old and take their memories of the war with them. Then there is another Holocaust survivor in the northern Tasmanian community, Dr Gershon Goldstein. Dr Goldstein was born in the Netherlands during the war to a Dutch mother and a Jewish father. Like Dr Goldschmied, he lost many relatives in the Holocaust—around 100, in fact—including his father, grandmother, uncle, aunt, cousins, six great-uncles and two great-aunts. Dr Goldstein has spent years teaching students about the Holocaust and has long been campaigning for it to be taught more widely in the school curriculum, with a particular focus on countering antisemitism.
My thoughts have often gone to Dr Goldstein, Dr Goldschmied and the entire Jewish community, as we have seen the insignia see a resurgence as a propaganda tool for harassment and vilification of our Jewish communities. And so too have we seen both Nazi and Islamic state symbols used to target Muslims, non-Muslims, other religious minorities and other groups, including LGBTQI+. It is all abhorrent and must be stamped out. We must not be complacent, and this bill is a positive step to send a message to Australians that our parliament and our country will stand united against displays of ignorance and hate. This legislation also seeks to criminalise the use of a carriage service to deal with violent extremist material. It ensures that regulations that prescribe terrorist organisations do not lapse after three years but instead continue indefinitely unless revoked by the AFP minister, and it strengthens the advocating terrorism offence provisions. The latter recognise that advocating terrorism is a serious act that can lead to violence against innocent Australians, and the bill increases the maximum penalty for this offence from five to seven years imprisonment.
Those seeking to promote their extremist views and recruit to their so-called cause are finding increasingly clever ways to do so, particularly seeking out younger people online and targeting vulnerable people who may feel isolated or disengaged from society. Last year, the AFP began urging parents and guardians to be aware of their child's online activities, noting that their own investigators had begun seeing evidence of extremist groups accessing popular online games in a bid to recruit young Australians and stating that they held serious concerns around the spread of extremist content in these platforms. AFP Acting Assistant Commissioner Counter Terrorism and Special Investigations Command Sandra Booth said the following:
We know that nationalist, racist and violent extremist content in online games is almost certainly part of a radicalisation process for some young people.
There are a number of popular games that enable users to create scenarios and record them for others to re-watch and share online across social media.
Our concern is extremist groups are exploiting these platform to target a very young group of Australia's population, by creating content to share and encourage far-right/extremist ideologies and abhorrent violence against others.
In his annual threat assessment last year, ASIO chief Mike Burgess also said that the agency is battling with the challenge of children increasingly becoming the target of extremist groups as they seek to radicalise others to join their cause. He said at the time:
As the director-general of security, this trend is deeply concerning.
As a parent, it is deeply distressing. As a nation, we need to reflect on why some teenagers are hanging Nazi flags and portraits of the Christchurch killer on their bedroom walls, and why others are sharing beheading videos. And just as importantly, we must reflect on what we can do about it.
Burgess is right: we need to look at why teenagers are getting involved in the first place and what we can do about it. The section in the bill which strengthens the advocating terrorism offence means it can certainly lead to a severe penalty, hopefully acting as a deterrent for potential offending or reoffending. But we must be looking at why anyone of any age becomes actively involved in advocating terrorism or using well-known hate symbols to target community groups and instil fear in others. As I mentioned in a speech on far-right extremism just a few months ago, I've pondered the effect of loneliness, isolation and the breakdown of community and what this means for our society for both men and women, with participation of women in right-wing extremism on the rise.
It's alarming that in 2023 we would need to speak on banning hate symbols—some that we would never have expected to so openly show up in sections of our communities almost 80 years after the Second World War ended. As I mentioned earlier, even prior to the current conflict, antisemitic incidents were on the rise. But the conflict has given way to incidents in both the Jewish and the Islamic communities. Between 8 October and 7 November there were 221 reported cases of antisemitic incidents and 133 reported Islamophobic incidents in the same period. These incidents include threats to mosques and synagogues, graffiti, threats to Muslim and Jewish schools, spitting at women, verbal abuse and hate mail, just to name a few. We must do more to stamp out this hate. I want to end by repeating the words of Rabbi Gordon:
Together, let us foster an environment where diversity is celebrated, and our differences are seen as strengths that enrich our society.
On a recent historic parliamentary visit to Israel with the Speaker of the House, I had the privilege of visiting Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center. The place was teeming with visitors—school children, youth and elders—from across the world, coming to comprehend the incomprehensible. Through those black-and-white images, we gazed at faces with only moments to live or of those who had endured a purgatory between life and death waiting for a salvation that never came. Arresting was the Book of Names, a book filled with tiny writing listing the names and places of origin of those who died. This book was nearly the length of the room, with reams of blank pages. Why? For the known unknowns whose stories continue to seep out from the pages of history through testimonials from survivors, allies and upstanders around the world.
The children's memorial is particularly poignant, dedicated to 2½-year-old Uziel. It sits in a bunker-like structure akin to a place that children would hide in. It is as solemn as a tomb, but, once inside, a glistening multiplicity of candles blink within mirrors in homage to the 1.5 million children who died, some as old as half an hour. One in three of those children remains unknown but not forgotten in those flickers of light. Standing outside like a vanguard is a stylised version of a class photo—columns of varying heights but lopped at the top, symbolising lives cut short and futures terminated. If you can't get to Yad Vashem, its digital collection is worth viewing. We also have the Melbourne Holocaust Museum, its equivalent in Sydney and a new centre in Brisbane that are well worth a visit.
How? How? How? Like a stone turning over in my hand, I kept asking this question on this tour. How did this happen? How could humans do this to their brothers and sisters? How was genocide committed under the nose of polite society as ash rained down in neighbourhoods, casually swept from doorsteps. Manipulation, misinformation, disinformation, fear, threats, excuses, the weakening of public institutions, media censorship, demagoguery, dehumanisation, experimentation, propaganda and scapegoating—these lessons from the past grab our shoulders, shaking us from our slumber and demanding that we pay attention.
Never did I think I would see the Nazi symbols and salutes on our streets in Melbourne, in inner-city suburbs and indeed on the steps of our Victorian state parliament. The rise of this movement has been alarming.
It is repulsive to Australians, antisemitic, divisive and racist—a desecration of our values under the pretence of free speech. Free speech has its limits, especially when it threatens public safety—physical or psychological. Australia has a degree of social cohesion that is the envy of the world, but it has not happened by accident. It has been cultivated over decades, because of waves of migration, a strong democracy, universal access to education, and opportunities for social mixing in our schools, workplaces and sporting teams. We can't and won't take the bonds between us for granted. This is why we in the Albanese government are taking action to further strengthen democracy and protect our community.
This bill creates new offences for publicly displaying prohibited Nazi and terrorist organisation symbols or trading in their use. The trading offence targets selling, renting or leasing these paraphernalia. Both offences are associated with a maximum of 12 months imprisonment. There are exemptions where a symbol is displayed for genuine religious worship or for academic, artistic or scientific purposes. Importantly, the sacred swastika used in the Buddhist, Hindu or Jain religious observances would be exempt.
Schedule 1 also amends the bill to criminalise performing the Nazi salute in a public place. This amendment is to address the significant harm toward the Australian community caused by the representation of a gesture which is fundamentally incompatible with Australia's multicultural, democratic and inclusive society. It is also a denouncement, in very clear terms, of antisemitism.
Schedule 2 of the bill would criminalise the use of a carriage service for violent extremist material. A carriage service would include a range of platforms including webpages, social media, email, chat forums and text messages. This measure would allow law enforcement to take action against people who are using the internet to recruit, spread propaganda or incite violence. The offence is associated with up to five years imprisonment. We are not going to make it easy to radicalise young people. Early intervention, with this provision, also provides greater opportunity for rehabilitation and diversion.
Schedule 3 of the bill criminalises instruction on how to perform an act of terrorism and criminalises praising the performance of a terrorist act, when there is a risk that the praise would be enabling. Again, we want to prevent the radicalisation of young people. The glorification of terrorism or terrorist acts can lead to copycat behaviour if it is not dealt with. In recognising that advocating for terrorism can incite like-minded behaviour, leading to widespread harm, we are increasing the maximum penalty for this offence also.
Schedule 4 removes sunsetting requirements around the listing of terrorist organisations. Of the 29 terrorist organisations currently listed, the majority have been relisted multiple times—some as many as eight. This change will streamline matters. Appeals can be made to the AFP minister if there is a case to delist an organisation. In addition, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security would have the ability to conduct independent reviews regarding the appropriateness of these listings.
There will always be divisive forces trying to pry us apart. Sexism, antisemitism, extremism, homophobia and racism are a toxic family that is not welcome at our table. To those involved in these activities: I urge you to return to the normal rhythms of your lives—to your sporting teams, faith groups, workmates and families. This flawed search for identity and belonging will take you to a spiritual dead end, with buyer's remorse writ large—a buyer's remorse that is associated with criminal penalties and a moral debt that will reverberate throughout your lives, sweeping up your loved ones also.
Make no mistake: the Albanese government will do whatever it takes to defend our social cohesion by tackling antisemitic and terrorist symbols head-on. Once associated with genocide, these are again emerging on our streets and in our suburbs. If people don't know why these are so offensive and destabilising then they need to do their homework. Wilful ignorance is not an excuse. Get educated using the plethora of online tools. That same digital platform that spreads hate could—should—be a tool for enlightenment. The banning of these symbols will disrupt the marketplace of this extremist ideology. I commend this bill to the House.
I'll use the time remaining. I'll be brief. I've listened to the speeches given by colleagues on both sides, and they have, with passion and conviction, spoken about the true horrors from the last century, with the Holocaust and the link to Nazism. I too have been to Israel and I too have been to the same places—
A division having been called in the House of Representatives—
Sitting suspended from 18:25 to 18:35