Media Release:  Friday, August 28, 2009



Bans on X-rated pornography in Northern Territory indigenous communities should be extended to all Australian communities, the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) said today.



ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said that rather than lifting critically needed bans on pornography in NT communities in response to United Nation concerns that they are discriminatory, the bans needed to be applied across Australia so that they assist all communities badly affected by pornography.



“The Little Children Are Sacred report released by the NT Government in June 2007 identified pornography as one of the main drivers of an epidemic of sexual abuse which included the rape of babies and a case of a 17-year-old forcing younger children to watch pornography and then act it out,” Mr Wallace said.



“It once and for all put paid to suggestions that pornography isn’t harmful to children.



“Given the way pornography helped fuel documented cases of sexual abuse in NT indigenous communities it would be irresponsible in the extreme to put more children at risk by lifting the pornography bans there.



“However, there is certainly a case to be made that the bans are discriminatory when this situation wouldn’t be confined to indigenous communities. There would be many other communities in Australia - even some in our major cities - which are isolated by lack of opportunity and social disadvantage and would be as badly affected by pornography. Surely all children need protecting.”



Mr Wallace called on the Federal Government to work with all States and Territories to deal with the issue of  pornography.



“For a start the production and sale of X-rated pornography in the ACT – and the territory’s thriving mail order business to the States – should be banned.



Attorneys-General from all jurisdictions should then be jointly deciding on a national approach to protect Australians from this serious problem.



“The deeply concerning problems in the Northern Territory have clearly shown just how great a problem pornography is and how greater controls are needed. Let’s end the discrimination against all the other Australian communities whose children are being placed at risk,” Mr Wallace said.



“At least one small step forward would be to acknowledge the dangers of pornography to the whole community in the structure of the ISP filtering model to be adopted after the trials are completed. The ACL has long-advocated for a filtering system that requires people who want access to pornography to have to opt in through a filter system to receive it.”



Media Contact: Glynis Quinlan