Liberal Democrats oppose bill banning Nazi symbols in Victoria, say it's a "freedom of speech issue"
The bill passed through the state's upper house earlier today.
Victoria has become the first Australian state or territory to ban the public display of the Nazi symbol, after a bill passed through the state's upper house earlier today.
Victorian Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes has said that the symbol "glorifies one of the most hateful ideologies in history - its public display does nothing but cause further pain and division."
"It’s a proud moment to see these important laws pass with bipartisan support."
The bill does not ban the display of the swastika in religious and cultural contexts.
Liberal Democrats MP Tim Quilty today said in parliament that the party would be opposing the bill.
"Sometimes making a decision on what our position should be is difficult and we are torn, but this bill is not one of those occasions."
"The Liberal Democrats are the natural enemies of Nazis. We hate coercion and racism, and we believe in equality before the law. This is the basic philosophy behind libertarianism, and it should be what your mother taught you as well."
"The Nazis were evil."
"They were evil because they killed millions of people, evil for their race-based ideology, evil for believing that individuals have no value except to serve the state and could be sacrificed freely to achieve the state’s ends. They were evil for what they did and for how they thought, evil because they did not think twice about using the power of the state to remove the agency of individuals. They suspended democracy and removed alternative voices from Parliament. They enabled their worst excesses by using emergency powers. They divided people by race and religion."
On Twitter, Quilty - who represents the Northern Victoria region - also said the matter was a "freedom of speech issue."
"It pains me to defend the rights of wanna-be Nazis, but a right that doesn’t protect even the ugliest is no right at all."
Quilty's full comments are available here.
The Liberal Democrats currently only have 1 MP following the resignation of David Limbrick, who unsuccessfully ran for the senate in the May federal election.
Derryn Hinch's Justice Party, Animal Justice, The Greens, Reason, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, Sustainable Australia, Democratic Labour & Transport Matters - as well as 3 independents - are also represented on the Victorian Legislative Council's crossbench.
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