Nazi and other war criminals have been allowed to live comfortably in Australia due to "fickle and cynical" government morality, a Jewish community leader alleged, according to the The Sydney Morning Herald.
"There has been a gross distortion of decency, allowing fugitives to take the places of refugees," Jeremy Jones, director of international affairs for the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council, said at a book launch in Sydney on Sunday.
"Australian governments, though commission and omission, have been complicit in allowing torturers, murderers and architects of the most gross inhumanity to live in peace and without fear of consequences in Australia," Jones said.
Last week, Australia’s High Court upheld the decision not to extradite Charles Zentai to Hungary to face allegations of war crimes.
Charles Zentai, 90, and two fellow Hungarian soldiers allegedly tortured and killed a Jewish teenager in November 1944 for failing to wear the yellow Star of David. They then allegedly threw the victim's body into the Danube River in the Hungarian capital of Budapest.
In a 5-1 decision, the court ruled that Zentai could not be extradited because "war crimes" did not exist as a legal offense in Hungary in 1944.
Jones said the decision seemed to show "an awful lack of will, let alone morality," The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
"Australia held itself up as a place where a person could forget his or her past, and this was twisted and manipulated into a rationalization for allowing criminals to escape prosecution," he said.