IN just the past few days, a skate park in Sydney has been defaced with a giant swastika and a Nazi flag has been found on sale in the Victorian town of Bendigo.
It’s perhaps timely then that an episode of Nine’s A Current Affair this week was devoted to the scourge of neo-Nazis in our midst.
While the broader Australian public may be waking up to the existence of these far-right extremists on our shores, following widespread media coverage of a gathering of white supremacists in the Grampians earlier this year, the threat they pose is sadly not news to readers of The AJN.
Week in, week out, we report on the latest antisemitic daubing, online posting or real-world abuse that glorify the atrocities of the Third Reich, revel in its symbolism and lavish praise on its creator, lamenting only that he did not “finish the job”.
With this in mind, we welcome the federal government’s announcement on Tuesday that it is putting $2 million towards the establishment of a Holocaust centre in Tasmania, the latest in a series of Shoah education facilities it has pledged funds for in states and territories across the country.
As Josh Frydenberg said, “This is an example of what we can do to ensure that future generations say ‘never again’.”
We also welcome the recommendations of the Victorian Parliament’s legal and social issues committee into anti-vilification protections which were handed down on Wednesday. As well as addressing the issue of antisemitic bullying in the classroom, exposed in a series of damning articles in The AJN, the committee has called for the introduction of an explicit ban on public displays of the swastika.
It follows a spate of incidents in recent months – in Wagga Wagga, in Beulah and in Kyabram, to name but three – where the Nazi flag has been shamefully hoisted to the horror and dismay of those who see it.
We urge the NSW government to consider the Victorian recommendations as it has promised to do.
And finally, we welcome the federal government’s announcement this week that it plans to list the neo-Nazi Sonnenkrieg Division, as a terror group.
All these measures reflect the distaste our tolerant society has for the haters among us. Indeed, the only thing we will not tolerate are those who preach bigotry, racism and antisemitism.