Offensive Advertising on Vehicles

Question

Wicked Campers have received considerable attention for objectifying women with offensive and violent slogans and artwork on their rental vans.

Queensland recently introduced legislation to enforce decisions by the Advertising Standards Board (ASB) with the result that non-compliant vehicles with Queensland registration will be deregistered.

Will your party commit to deregistering commercial vehicles that are in contravention of advertising standards?

Answer

Party

Answer

ACT Greens 

Yes. The Greens are strongly opposed to material that is degrading to women and is offensive/violent. We agree that an equivalent to the QLD law should also be in place in the ACT.

ACT Labor

Labor is strongly against any material that objectifies or incites violence against women. The Labor Government made addressing family violence a key 2016 Budget priority, allocating $21.4 million to programs that help prevent violence, and support women and children experiencing violence. We believe the slogans you are referring to are totally out of step with community standards and we commit to taking action should it arise as an issue in the ACT.

Canberra Liberals

The Canberra Liberals have worked assiduously to combat violence against women, especially domestic violence. We consider the kinds of slogans used by this company are demeaning and offensive to women, and likely to contribute to this problem. 

Fortunately the problem highlighted in relation to Wicked Campers has not really arisen in Canberra, and there are, as far as we can tell, no current registrations of vehicles like the Wicked Campers. We would be prepared to review the legislation in consultation with the community to ensure that there is not a loophole that would allow slogans on vehicles that do not meet public standards.

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats are opposed to government restrictions on speech. This is a principled position. Free speech is the bedrock of a free, liberal society. This includes the right to engage in speech that others find offensive, or even blasphemous.

David Leyonhjelm, Liberal Democrat Senator for New South Wales, has championed free speech in the Federal Parliament. His principled stand against s18C of the Racial Discrimination Act has aided the free speech movement in Australia considerably.

The Liberal Democrats acknowledge that there is a significant distinction between content that is merely offensive and content that incites violence.

As a result, should a Liberal Democrat MLA vote on a bill to prohibit so-called “offensive” advertisement—such as in the case of Wicked campervans—they would certainly vote against any such restriction. We consider that any slogan that could reasonably be understood to incite violence would likely breach other legislation. Our position would turn on the exact scenario to hand.

Your community should not consider our position to be an endorsement of the content of Wicked campervans. In fact, many reasonable people are likely to find them to be in poor taste. We feel that the best means for people to register their distaste is through petitioning the responsible company, or else choosing to take their business elsewhere. We don’t believe that government should wield its power—such as through deregistering motor vehicles that are otherwise perfectly roadworthy—to protect people from material that is merely “offensive” in the eyes of some. The Liberal Democrats also consider this is a case where freedom of speech can bring social benefits, as members of the community are able to use the information signalled by hirers of such vehicles when they make their own decisions about how they like to associate with others in the community.

Because the Liberal Democrats will champion free speech, you can expect all Liberal Democrat MLAs to fight for the rights of your community where others might consider their speech “offensive”. The Liberal Democrats are strongly opposed to the ban on silent protests outside abortion clinics. We are also strongly opposed to the notion that Australians are incapable of having a public debate—whether through a plebiscite or other discussion—about something as significant as the freedom to marry issue.

We consider the ACT Liberal Democrats’ stance as a principled one that will best represent the interests of the Christian community of issues of speech.

Sustainable Australia

Yes