Page 3669 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 23 November 2022

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Justice and Community Safety—Standing Committee


MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee—Minister for Skills, Minister for Transport and City Services and Special Minister of State) (10.49), by leave: I move:

That, not withstanding the provisions of the resolution of the Assembly of 2 December 2020, as amended, that established general purpose standing committees, the Road Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 be referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety to decide whether or not to undertake an inquiry.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2022

Mr Rattenbury, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Attorney-General, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Gaming and Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction) (10.50): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR RATTENBURY: I am pleased to present the Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 to the Assembly today. This bill will make changes to various acts to improve the operation of the criminal justice system in the ACT. Two new criminal offences will be introduced in the ACT by this bill.

The first new offence prohibits the public display of Nazi symbols and empowers police to remove such symbols to prevent the continuation of offending. This offence prohibits a person from publicly displaying a Nazi symbol and carries a maximum penalty of 120 penalty units, imprisonment for 12 months or both. “Nazi symbol” is defined for the purposes of the offence as a Hakenkreuz.

A Hakenkreuz is a symbol of a cross with the arms bent at right angles in a clockwise direction. The bill acknowledges that this symbol is to be distinguished from a swastika, which is an important symbol of purity, love, peace and good fortune for Buddhist, Hindu and Jain communities.

The bill provides exceptions to the offence where the public display was reasonable and done in good faith for a range of purposes, including a religious purpose such as a person of Hindu faith displaying a swastika in the window of their shop for good luck. The offence will apply not only to the public display of a Nazi symbol in a physical location but also to online displays in order to capture the display of a Hakenkreuz to members of the public via social media and other online platforms.

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