The Advertising Standards Bureau has discarded a suggestion to make outdoor advertising G rated at public hearings in Canberra this week into the Australian film and literature classification scheme.

The Australian Christian Lobby and other groups have campaigned for advertising to be G rated in an attempt to prevent children from being exposed to sexualised and inappropriate outdoor advertising, which by its nature is always public and almost impossible to avoid.

Ms Fiona Jolly, chief executive of the Advertising Standards Bureau, which is an industry self-regulator, told the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee Inquiry however that, “I don't think that the G rating is the cure-all that some have suggested that it is”.

She is also reported to have said that, “In our view, it is not possible to regulate so no one in the community is not offended and we argue it is also not appropriate or necessary to do so”.

Whilst ACL can recognise that the elimination of offence is quite difficult, a G rating for outdoor advertising is a positive and simple policy that would remove from public places advertising that is clearly unsuitable for children. The idea has strong support from a wide range of child and family advocates.

A number of inappropriate advertisements that are on public display but could and should be removed if a G rating were implemented are presented in ACL’s submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs Inquiry into the regulation of billboard and outdoor advertising – see here.

ACL’s submission to the Senate committee can be found by clicking here. The opening statement made by ACL’s Chief of Staff Lyle Shelton at an earlier public hearing is also available here.

The Senate committee is due to report its findings by June 30.