Brisbane’s Lord Mayor is disgusted with the appearance of an offensive flag over a city synagogue, and has also raged against the laws surrounding the issue.
The appearance of a Nazi flag above a Brisbane synagogue has disgusted the city’s Lord Mayor, who wants tougher penalties around the use of hate symbols.
Police on Saturday morning were alerted to the flag being flown out the window of an accommodation block on Margaret Street that overlooks the heritage-listed Brisbane Synagogue.
Police arrived to remove the flag just before 11am, and have since charged a 45-year-old Brisbane man with public nuisance offences.
The swastika is the symbol of the Nazi party, the far-right antisemitic German political party responsible for the murder of six million Jews during World War II.
Saturday’s flag-flying is the latest use of Nazi imagery in Queensland in recent months – including graffiti at the Clapham rail yard at Moorooka in May – and comes as law enforcement bodies raise concerns over rising far-right extremism in Australia.
Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner shared a photo of the flag on Saturday – as well as his disgust over its appearance.
“This is sickening. For someone to fly this symbol of hatred and genocide right above the Brisbane Synagogue on Margaret St is pure evil. It’s time for this vile flag to be banned in Queensland,” he wrote.
“QLD needs to get serious about cracking down on these open displays of racial hatred.”
The Brisbane Jewish community also aired their concerns over the flag’s appearance, with Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies vice president Jason Steinberg labelling the incident “sickening”.
Meanwhile, Dr Dvir Abramovich, chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission, said the incident was like “plunging a knife in the heart of Holocaust survivors” and “spitting in the face of the brave Diggers” who fought to defeat Hitler and his genocidal regimen.
“Anyone who loves our country will not feel comfortable knowing that there are individuals in our midst who are brazenly and proudly exhibiting a symbol that represents the pure evil that led to the death squads, gas chambers and the extermination of six million Jews,” Dr Abramovich said.
Victoria in September became the first state to announce it was considering banning the use of Nazi imagery, while numerous other efforts are underway across the country to ban the symbol.
This includes laws drafted by NSW Labor opposition that threaten six months’ jail for using the image, while a Queensland parliamentary committee is currently conducting an inquiry into hate crimes, and whether using the Nazi symbol should be an offence.
“Under the current inadequate laws, this is likely to be classified as nothing more than a low-level “public nuisance”. Not good enough!” Mr Schrinner added after Saturday’s incident.