There has been good news this month, following a decade-long campaign against Wicked Campers vans for their offensive, explicit, sexist, degrading and abusive slogans – often even joking about rape, torture and murder.
Repeated calls by the Australian Christian Lobby as well as a number of women’s and children’s rights groups, have finally been heard by national transport ministers.
On your behalf, ACL spokeswoman, Wendy Francis, was relentless in highlighting the inaction of state and federal government to protect our roads from offensive slogans.
The ACL could not have done it on its own. We are grateful for the actions taken by many of our supporters across Australia who joined us in voicing their concerns.
In the past week, both Liberal and Labor Governments put up a united front against Wicked Campers which resulted in State and federal transport ministers agreeing on a national strategy to crack down on vehicles with offensive slogans.
Queensland, Tasmania and the ACT had, over the past two years already moved legislation to enable them to deregister Wicked Campers vehicles over their offensive slogans.
However, Wicked Campers could simply register the vehicles in another state.
While this news is reason to celebrate, the announcement is really just a band-aid solution that has not dealt with the fundamental failures with our current self-regulated advertising system.
All outdoor advertising, no matter the location, should be appropriate for viewing by children and should be free from sexualised images and messages.
Outdoor advertising is, by its location, an advertising medium of general consumption. It is continually on display and cannot be avoided.
The real problem with the current advertising regime is that it is self-regulated and has no ability to enforce rulings.
This approach is inconsistent and completely inadequate to ensure community standards are upheld in regard to sex, sexuality, and nudity.
Fines for breaching the ethics code and for failing to comply with an Advertising Standards Board determination should be introduced.
The Advertising Standards Board is currently toothless. There are no penalties for advertisers who have been determined to breach the Advertisers Code of Ethics, or for those who fail to remove the offending advertisement.
While this week there was a win, the ACL will continue to work to protect our children from age-inappropriate material in public spaces. Outdoor advertising should be G Rated.
Watch: Martyn talks about Wicked Campers