A sweeping law could see Australians jailed for three years for posting what’s deemed ‘offensive’ on Facebook in an attempt to protect minority groups.

Queensland’s Labor government has introduced a bill that would dramatically increase the maximum prison sentence for racist, anti-gay, anti-trans or seriously bigoted statements. Making such statements already carry a maximum six-month jail term, but that would be increased to three years under the new bill.

According to the Daily Mail, Inflammatory Facebook posts would be a criminal offence with the legislation covering ‘any form of communication to the public, including by speaking, writing, printing, displaying notices, broadcasting, telecasting, screening or playing of tapes or other recorded material, or by electronic means’. Posting a Nazi symbol on social media, or carrying it around publicly, will also prompt jail time.


Neo-Nazis who displayed swastikas face hefty prison sentences under the proposed Criminal Code (Serious Vilification and Hate Crimes) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2023.

It covers ‘any conduct that is observable by the public, including actions, gestures and the wearing or display of clothing, signs, flags, emblems or insignia’.

Displaying a swastika is already illegal in Victoria and NSW, with Western Australia soon following and South Australia also considering the issue.

In NSW, it attracts a year long jail term or a $100,000 fine. The laws in Victoria and NSW have an exception when it comes to people displaying swastikas for religious reasons – as it is a common symbol in Hindu, Buddhist and Jain faiths.

While the proposed law has a similar exemption in Queensland, there are fears overzealous police could arrest and charge someone regardless.

Queensland Council for Civil Liberties president Michael Cope said the proposed laws targeting Nazi swastikas could see Hindus criminally charged for displaying their religious symbol.

Swastikas are a symbol of the sun in Hinduism and are commonly displayed during the Diwali festival of lights.

‘There’s a serious prospect that people of different faiths who use the swastika and similar symbols, as an ordinary part of their religious belief, I think are going to be subject to prosecution under this legislation,’ Mr Cope told a parliamentary hearing on Monday.

‘Given the prevalence of the swastika in so many different cultural and religious contexts, inevitably, someone is going to get charged.’

In a submission to the parliamentary Legal Affairs and Safety Committee which is examining the legislation, the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties said Hindus and comedians both faced being criminally charged.

‘We all know the swastika has been around for millennia including being a prominent symbol in the Roman world,’ it said. ‘But today it is of course used extensively in Hinduism. The law tries to address this concern by the defence of genuine religious purpose.

‘However, clearly it is most likely the need to defend charges under this law will fall on religious and cultural groups who make use of the symbol on a regular basis, not to mention artists and satirists.’ Labor MP James Martin argued the bill did allow a ‘genuine religious purpose’ defence.

But Mr Cope said the legislation gave police, rather than just the Director of Public Prosecutions, the power to have someone charged, which meant the nuance could be lost on a cop.



  • End Time Headlines

    End Time Headlines is a Ministry that provides News and Headlines from a "Prophetic Perspective" as well as weekly podcasts to inform and equip believers of the Signs and Seasons that we are living in today.