'Humour' that demeans women and trivialises family violence is not funny
If Victoria really is the progressive state, how can we continue to allow campervans bearing offensive slogans on Victorian roads?
Now, as South Australia's parliament considers a private member's Bill that would prevent companies like Wicked Campers from covering their vehicles with 'funny' slogans that demean women, trivialise family violence and perpetuate offensive stereotypes, it's definitely time for the Victorian Government to do the same.
We know that gender inequality is one of the drivers of family violence, and allowing offensive slogans to be displayed publicly legitimises and normalises negative attitudes towards women.
These slogans are not harmless and they are not funny – they perpetuate misogyny, prejudice and discrimination. Messages like this should not be seen as a legitimate form of advertising.
This is not a new controversy. For the best part of a decade, news reports have outlined responses to the vans' slogans about violence against women, sexism, racism and paedophilia. While governments in Queensland, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory have explored legislation that would allow them to deregister vehicles decorated with 'inappropriate' words or pictures, other state governments have been slow to act.
And where state governments haven't acted, business owners and other groups have taken matters into their own hands. In 2016 the Bruny Island Cheese Co. banned Wicked Campers from its car park. In 2017 the Blue Mountains Council stopped Wicked vans from entering council-owned caravan parks. And last month the Wollombi Music Festival in New South Wales banned Wicked vans over misogynistic slogans.
The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission supports the Bill moved by South Australia's Shadow Minister for the Status of Women and calls for the Victorian Government to take action and ban offensive slogans on campervans.