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Thursday 31st July 2014
The Australian Christian Lobby has congratulated the Queensland government for leading the way in Australia in responding to community concerns regarding sexualised outdoor advertising.
ACL’s Queensland Director Wendy Francis welcomed the government’s commitment to introduce fines to penalise advertisers that do not comply with the industry’s code of ethics.
The commitment was made in the Queensland Government response to the Health and Community Services Committee Report No. 36 Inquiry into sexually explicit outdoor advertising.
Ms Francis said classification issues generally fall to the federal government but it has failed to act on the recommendations from numerous inquiries and reports.
“The state government has responded to the community concerns around sexualised outdoor advertising and found a way it can help bring outdoor advertising in line with community standards by introducing fines for offenders,” Ms Francis said.
“This is part of its overall commitment to make Queensland the safest place in Australia to raise a child,” Ms Francis said.
“The sexualisation of our everyday environment is contributing to a culture where there is an increase in sexual assaults, eating disorders in young children, and depression”, she said.
Ms Francis said today’s announcement would mean companies like Wicked Campers, which has consistently ignored the self-regulated Advertising Standards Board’s rulings, would face fines.
Whilst Ms Francis said today’s announcement was a step in the right direction but she said more still needed to be done.
“The Advertising Standards Board is a self-regulated body. Currently, they alone hand down rulings against its advertisers and there is no recourse once their decision is made, making it difficult to keep advertisers accountable to the community,” she said.
“At the very least we need a government avenue for people to go to if their complaint to the ASB is unsuccessful”, she said.
The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) today congratulated ACT Greens Party Convener, Meredith Hunter, on moves to introduce a voluntary code of conduct for retailers to help combat the sexualisation of children as well as a proposal to educate students on the dangers of sexualised images on young minds, but said more needs to be done to seriously tackle the wider sexualisation of culture.
The ACL’s ACT Director Nick Jensen said he supported moves for the ACT to become a leader in the fight against the sexualisation of children and welcomed Ms Hunter’s motion calling on the ACT Government to take action on the issue.
“While Ms Hunter’s motion is welcome, it would be great to see her concern extend to Federal Green policies, where there is a push for X-rated material to be sold throughout Australia, support for girls to sell their bodies for sex in prostitution legislation, and opposition to ISP filtering measures to stop child pornography on the internet.
“In reality it is really national action that is needed, particularly in terms of a review of our broken classification system which is allowing children to be bombarded with overtly sexual messages by everything from billboards to films to music videos,” Mr Jensen said.
Mr Jensen, who also works as a chaplain in a Canberra school, said: “Our schools are seeing an increase in a large range of problems linked to children being exposed to sexual images and concepts at a young age. There needs to be a recognition that marketing aimed at selling products to children through sexual advertisements, particularly in teenage magazines, clothing shops and music videos, is not healthy for a child’s development.
“There is a need for more education in critiquing unhealthy media messages regarding body image, relationships, and a healthy sexuality, but also there is a need for the community to take responsibility to allow kids to be kids and not be pressured on all sides from highly sexualised images and messages.”
Mr Jensen went on to say that further steps need to be taken if the issue of the sexualisation of children is to be taken seriously. “Canberra is the centre of the sex industry in Australia and we are at a stage where approximately 50% of girls and 70% of boys under the age of 12 have viewed pornographic material,” he said. “We know from reports such as the ‘Little Children are Sacred’ inquiry in the Northern Territory that X-rated material can have a serious negative impact on communities.”
Media Contact: Glynis Quinlan on 0408 875 979