Cruelty isn't funny. This was the subject of my speech in Parliament today.
The slogans on Wicked Vans are just nasty and cruel, Fiona Simpson tells Parliament during debate on a bill to crackdown on highly offensive advertising on the side of vehicles.
Ms Simpson said children deserved to be protected from the offensive material and while the bill wasn't the total answer as it didn't deal with billboards, it would help.
“The sexualisation of public space and publishing of violent and cruel advertising slogans de-value women, and hurt children,” Ms Simpson said.
“Kids miss nothing in regard to what is published in the public square and what adults say is permissible to publish in the public square.
“Broadcasters have tough rules of enforcement requiring publishing warnings about sexualised and violent content. There are rules are not perfect – but there is recognition that this material is regulated in these forums and warnings help people to chose NOT to see things.
“Kids going past a public billboard or Wicked Van with offensive images or slogans don't get the benefit of a warning – which wouldn't solve the problem anyway “un-see”-ing the vicious and nasty things which are published.
“It's somewhat ironic that the Parliamentary Committee published a warning at the front about the material in their report about the offensive and vicious nature of some of the material they reviewed as, kids – and others for that matter – don't getting a warning when pro-sexual violence slogans or images appear in other public forums.
“We don't want children to potentially follow the behaviour advocated by these crass and vicious slogans, or be subject to it.
“We don't want them to tolerate the intolerable as “just a joke” or at worst, to believe that they themselves aren't valuable and therefore aren't worthy of respect in the behaviour which others practise towards them.
“That some commercial interests reject the rules of good corporate citizenship and fail to do the right thing under self-regulation proves that there have to be penalties rather than limp lettuce leaf warnings by the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) in response to significant breaches of the code.
“This bill isn't the total solution and needs to go further to address the problem but it is better than doing nothing but I think we all need to try harder to get it right as kids deserve safe public spaces where cruel and violent and sexist comments or images about girls and women aren't laughed off as “just a joke”.
“The bill in regard to Wicked Vans comes two years after the Labor Government took office and inherited a bi-partisan parliamentary report into the broader issue of advertising breaches in the public space which the LNP initiated during the previous Parliament.
“The report and inquiry clearly established there was a problem with a lack of penalties for breaches of the advertisers code of ethics as determined by the of Advertising Standards Bureau and canvassed possible solutions.
“The penalty as proposed in this bill will in effect now allow for vehicles in breach of the code, such as some of the cruel nasties of Wicked Vans infamy, to be deregistered.
“This bill doesn't overcome the problem of other billboards in the public space which are in breach of the code, nor does it prevent people registering their vehicles interstate, but it does provide one mechanism in regard to Queensland registered vehicles.”