Media Release:  Monday, June 1, 2009

The failure of the NSW office of the Children’s Guardian to prevent the sexualised portrayal in advertising of two young girls in a magazine is the second instance revealed in a week of how government bodies are letting children down, the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) said today.

ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said that children are being left at the mercy of an increasingly sexualised culture, with even those safeguards which have been put in place shown to be ineffective or unpoliced.

“Just last week Classification Review Board director Donald McDonald confirmed to a Senate committee that laws to stop pornographic magazines being sold in milk bars, service stations and the like were being flouted on a regular basis. This is apparently because the laws aren’t being policed,” Mr Wallace said.

“Now we have the revelation that a NSW Government body tasked with safeguarding the rights of children failed to prevent girls as young as 10 from being used in a ‘sexy’ photo shoot for an advertisement.

“The revelations of the past week of the failures of two government bodies charged with administering laws protecting children show a failure to uphold their best interests.”

Mr Wallace said the Rudd Government’s efforts aimed at providing ISP-level filtering of pornography are an important step forward in terms of protecting children from the harms of a heavily sexualised culture.

However further action needs to be taken in other areas, such as providing far better enforcement of existing laws and also providing for a better regulatory system to oversee all media exposure and advertising that impacts on children and teenagers.

Media Contact: Glynis Quinlan