21 October, 2022

Adjourned debate on motion of Hon. S.L. Game:

1. That a select committee of the Legislative Council be established to inquire into and report on the prohibition of Neo-Nazi symbols, with particular reference to:

(a) the symbols used to identify and promote Neo-Nazi and other ideologically motivated (extreme far right) groups, and options to prohibit their display;

(b) the activities of Neo-Nazi and other ideologically motivated extremist groups in South Australia;

(c) discrimination faced by Jewish South Australians and other groups within the community targeted by Neo-Nazi and other ideologically-motivated extremist groups;

(d) prohibitions on such symbols in other jurisdictions, including proposed prohibitions;

(e) the requirements of the Australian Constitution and other legal matters relevant to the prohibition of Neo-Nazi symbols; and

(f) any other relevant matters.

2. That the committee consist of four members and that the quorum of members necessary to be present at all meetings of the committee be fixed at three members.

3. That this council permits the select committee to authorise the disclosure or publication, as it sees fit, of any evidence or documents presented to the committee prior to such evidence being presented to the council.

(Continued from 7 September 2022.)

The Hon. J.S. LEE (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (17:04): I rise today on behalf of the Opposition to speak on the Private Member's Motion moved by the Hon. Sarah Game. This motion calls on the Legislative Council to establish a select committee to inquire into and report on the prohibition of Neo-Nazi symbols in South Australia.

I would like to indicate to the mover and other Honourable Members that the Opposition strongly supports the establishment of such a committee because we believe that any forms of discrimination based on ethnicity, cultural or religious backgrounds have no place in our society.

This motion calls on a select committee to inquire on the activities of Neo-Nazi and other ideologically motivated extremist groups in South Australia.

I believe Honourable Members were all shocked and appalled by reports in recent months of antisemitic and Neo-Nazi behaviour taking place in our own backyard in Adelaide, from a right-wing group posing with a fascist salute in front of the Adelaide Holocaust Museum and Steiner Education Centre, to flyers being dropped in letterboxes calling for 'all white Australians to join the European Australian movement'.

We also saw incidents where Jewish students at the University of Adelaide felt unsafe on their own campus after the student newspaper On Dit published an article which called for 'Death to Israel' and students from Jewish backgrounds felt threatened during a subsequent meeting of the Student Representative Council.

More recently, it was reported that a South Australian Jewish community leader was verbally attacked and harassed while visiting Melbourne to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, with the assailant performing the fascist Nazi salute and yelling, 'We should have killed all the Jews. We will kill the f'ing Jews.' Some of the language used was aggressive and offensive in the harassment incident, which I feel would be unparliamentary to repeat.

As many Members would know, Mr Norman Schueler OAM is the long-serving past president of the SA Jewish Community Council and former Chair of the South Australian Multicultural Commission.

He was left traumatised and distressed by the ugly confrontation. I personally reached out to Norman to express my support and concern.

Such abhorrent acts should be condemned, and those who commit them must be called to account.

In light of such dreadful incidents and a seeming rise in antisemitism in our state, we as legislators have the responsibility to look into what discrimination is being faced by Jewish South Australians and other groups within the community who are targeted by Neo-Nazi and other ideologically motivated extremist groups.

The South Australian community is calling for such symbols and activities to be banned, as has occurred in other states.

The select committee will give this Parliament the opportunity to look into options that prohibit the display of Neo-Nazi symbols and take learnings from other jurisdictions into such prohibitions.

This committee will hear evidence from experts and community leaders to help identify the breadth and scope of the problem.

It will consider suggestions on how to resolve the issue and stop hate being spread in our community.

It is envisaged that this committee will provide an opportunity for consultation with a broad community of constituents, including the local Jewish community, people from multicultural and multi-faith backgrounds and other diverse groups to consider their diverse views.

Not only have all these groups historically been targeted by Nazis and Neo-Nazis but all have their own beliefs and views on how these issues impact their community members.

Likewise, it is important that any prohibition does not unjustly or unintentionally impact on legitimate displays for historical or educational purposes, or impede the cultural or religious use of symbols such as the swastika, which is an ancient symbol of peace, love and good fortune for religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

Members of this select committee will have the opportunity to raise any concerns or suggestions within the terms of reference so that we can come up with recommendations to address these important issues and stand against all forms of hatred, discrimination and racism.

The Liberal Opposition strongly supports this motion, and it would be a privilege to represent the Liberal Opposition on this committee should the motion be successful today.