Two charged for plastering Caulfield streets with swastika stickers
12th May 2022

Two men have been charged after allegedly plastering Nazi swastika stickers on a number of fences, light poles, bus stops and a Jewish community centre in Caulfield, just a day after the Andrews government introduced legislation to ban the public display of the hate symbol.

A 29-year-old Elwood man and a 21-year-old Doreen man were arrested at 10.30am in Caulfield, a suburb with a sizeable Jewish population, on Thursday. They have been charged with offensive behaviour and bill posting.

Two men have been charged after allegedly plastering Nazi swastika stickers on buildings in Caulfield.Credit:

Victoria on Wednesday became the first jurisdiction in the country to move to criminalise the display of the Nazi symbol, but the law will not come into effect for another 12 months.

Anti-Defamation Commission chairman Dvir Abramovich said the latest incident was a “timely wake-up call” to keep a close eye on the resurgence of the neo-Nazi movement.

“This terrifying incident is a declaration of war against the Jewish community by Hitler worshippers who are ramping up their sickening campaign of terror, intimidation and fear,” Abramovich said.

“People walking the streets of Caulfield with their children should not be confronted by dangerous individuals spreading their poisonous ideology of murder and extermination. I have no doubt that this frontal assault by these hardcore bigots is in direct response to the ban announced [on Wednesday].”

The stickers were posted just a day after the government introduced legislation into parliament to ban the public display of the Nazi symbol. Credit:

The men will appear at the Moorabbin Magistrates Court on August 1.

“It is alleged the stickers were placed on property on Balaclava Road, Hawthorn Road and other fences, light poles and bus stops about 10.30am,” Victoria Police said in a statement.

Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes said on Wednesday the government was introducing the landmark legislation to send a clear message that Victoria did not stand for “harmful and damaging” incidents towards the Jewish community.

Once the bill comes into effect, those caught intentionally displaying the Nazi symbol in public – including in graffiti and stickers – face a maximum of 12 months in jail, a $22,000 penalty or both.

Deputy Liberal leader – and Caulfield MP – David Southwick renewed his calls for the government to implement the ban immediately instead of waiting a year after the bill passes parliament.

However, the government has said the 12-month timeframe is needed for a public education campaign to raise awareness of the origins of the religious and cultural swastika used by members of the Buddhist, Hindu and Jain faith communities.

One of the properties the men allegedly plastered the Nazi swastikas, some emblazoned with a message that stated “You censor the truth”, was the Beth Weizmann Community Centre while Israeli ambassador Amir Maimon was inside.

The men also made a lewd gesture towards the building’s CCTV cameras, according to Zeddy Lawrence, the executive director of Zionism Victoria, which owns the property.

“It’s well known that anti-Semitism is currently on the rise, and this latest incident clearly shows why the ban the government announced yesterday on the public display of [Nazi] swastikas … is so important in combating this scourge,” Lawrence said.

There has been a resurgence of neo-Nazi and other far-right groups in recent years, spurred on by disinformation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and other global events.

Daniel Aghion from the Jewish Community Council of Victoria said on Wednesday there had been a 37 per cent rise in anti-Semitism in a year across the country.

Australian Security Intelligence Organisation director-general Mike Burgess revealed last year that up to 50 per cent of its counter-terrorism surveillance was being directed to neo-Nazi and similar groups, up from 10 to 15 per cent in 2016.

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