Australia is to ban the sale and display of swastikas and other Nazi symbols following a rise in far-right activity.

It includes the insignia of the Schutzstaffel (SS) – the paramilitary wing of the Nazi party.

Federal attorney general Mark Dreyfus said such images were “repugnant” and had “no place in Australia”.

It will be illegal to use them as flags or armbands and to print them on clothes, with offenders risking up to 12 months in prison.

A ban on the Nazi salute will not be added to federal law, however.

Mr Dreyfus said state and territory governments can enforce such a ban in a more effective way.

“State governments have got more responsibility for what you might call street offences, and our law goes to public display and includes online … the salute we’ve left for the states,” he commented.

Australia’s spy agency has been warning that far-right groups are becoming more visible and organised.

In March, a group of neo-Nazis clashed with transgender rights protesters in Melbourne and were seen raising their arms
in a Nazi salute near the state parliament building.

Last year, a football fan who gave the salute at the Australia Cup final was banned for life from any games sanctioned by Football Australia.

“We’ve seen, very sadly, a rise in people displaying these vile symbols, which are symbols that have no place in Australia – they should be repugnant,” Mr Dreyfus told Channel Seven television.

“Regrettably, we have seen violence associated with some of the public events that these people have put on.”

Mr Dreyfus acknowledged that all Australian states and territories had either passed laws or announced plans to ban Nazi symbols, saying the proposed federal laws would mesh with local ones.

The law will be brought before parliament next week, he said.

“We’ve (the federal government) got responsibility for import and export.

“We want to see an end to trading in this kind of memorabilia or any items which bear those Nazi symbols.

“There’s no place in Australia for the spreading of hatred and violence.”