Wicked Campers "undo decades of advocacy and women's empowerment"

Wicked Campers slammed in South Australian Parliament

The following is taken from the Second Reading of the Motor Vehicles (Offensive Advertising) Amendment Bill in South Australia. The Hon Zoe Bettison, member for Ramsay, spoke in support of proposed legislation to deregister Wicked Campers if they do not abide Ad Standards rulings:

I rise this morning to support the Motor Vehicles (Offensive Advertising) Amendment Bill brought to this house by the member for Reynell. It is unfortunate that we have to talk about this because it seems quite simple that this is unacceptable. We want to propose reforms to the vehicle registration laws banning the registration of vehicles displaying obscene, sexist and racist messages.

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We have modernised our society. We have called out violence against women, and I, personally, have worked diligently to ensure that our state is an inclusive and welcoming community that treats people with respect. That is why I am so disappointed and appalled by the harmful messages on the Wicked campervans that are freely driving around our state. Our community deserves better. Our community is better than this.

Despite South Australia being the first Australian state to grant women the vote and to stand for parliament, and the first to legally prohibit racial discrimination and sexual discrimination, currently there is nothing that prohibits these vans with offensive slogans from being on the roads of our state. Not only are they not acceptable but they should be removed immediately. Some might argue that we simply cannot see the funny side of these slogans. They are right; there is nothing funny about these slogans. Normalising violence against women and treating it as a punchline undermines all our efforts to reduce violence. They cause immediate offence and hurt across our community by perpetuating sexist attitudes that we are working tirelessly to change.

To quote our most recent former prime minister: not all disrespect ends in violence, but all violence starts with disrespect. This was an incredibly strong statement that he made because we have to call it out; whether it be in the workplace, the sporting field or down the street, that disrespecting women must end. We live in a country where one woman is killed every week by a current or former partner. We have come a long way, but there is still much work to be done. These messages undo decades of advocacy and women's empowerment and this is the kind of thing that we must make sure we stand up against in the future.

Wicked Campers promote their rental vans to backpackers and tourists who are likely to be visiting South Australia's most popular tourist destinations. While we as a state are promoting our festivals, our natural beauty, our food and wine, encouraging people to linger longer and enjoy what we love about South Australia, our visitors see these outlandish, highly visible vans at these great destinations. We are giving mixed messages to people. We are a global city. Tourism is one of our key economic drivers.

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We invite tourists to come and enjoy what we love about South Australia, but in their face, in the car park, are these vans with offensive slogans. How does that match who we are? How does that match who we want to be? Think about our young boys and girls: we need to continue these messages from a very early age. We need to call out disrespect and we need to call out violence, yet we have these very visible slogans on the back of a van. How do you explain to your child that that is okay to be in public?

These are deliberately offensive slogans: 'Drink till she's pretty,' or, 'I've often wanted to drown my troubles, but I can't get my wife to go swimming.' These are vulgar statements. It is not just women that these are offensive to; they are offensive on many levels: sexism, racism, paedophilia. They go to the heart of the attitudes around domestic violence and violence against women. They also glamorise and trivialise drug use. In some cases, they even promote rape and murder. This is not what we want people to see when they visit South Australia. It is not what South Australians want to see in our state. A standard that we walk past is a standard that we accept.

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I urge this house to support the motion and remind the house what we are supporting here: the cancellation of a vehicle's registration if it displays advertising material found to breach the code, preventing the refund of part or whole of the registration fee paid, preventing the transfer of a vehicle's registration when cancelled, preventing the renewal of registration unless the offending advertisement is removed, and purporting to prevent judicial review of the decision to cancel a vehicle's registration. This is what the bill does. But what it really does is send the strongest message that obscenity, racism and sexism is unacceptable in South Australia.

The bill has been adjourned. Read more here. Check our website for regular updates.

TAKE ACTION

Petition: Drive Wicked Campers off the road

South Australian supporters, please contact your Liberal MPs and ask them to support this bill. If you are not sure who your local member is click here and choose your district.

See also:

"Nothing says romance like choking on a ...."- Collective Shout

Bill to ban sexist Wicked Camper vans- The Mercury

Queensland Opposition calls on all states to ban Wicked Camper vans- ABC


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