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Reclaim public space by reforming our advertising regulation system AND Protect children from pornography by compulsory age-verification

Election 2019

Reclaim public space by reforming our advertising regulation system AND Protect children from pornography by compulsory age-verification

The everyday sexualisation and objectification of women in media, advertising and popular culture and the exposure of children to online pornography result in demonstrated harms to women and girls, men and boys, and to our community as a whole.

Despite growing awareness of and concern about these harms there has been little meaningful action at government level. It is time to put the wellbeing of the community over the vested interests of the advertising and porn industries. It is time to reclaim public space and to stop children’s too easy exposure to online pornography.

Our two key election asks


In 2011, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs in its report ’Reclaiming public space'  noted: 

Many parents are concerned that their children are exposed to sexualised images and messages that they are not mature enough to digest. Many women in particular are angered by the prevalence of sexual objectification in advertising images, and the messages that these send in the public space. The Committee finds it difficult to see how such images can ever be in the public interest.
It said the ad industry should be given one last chance to clean up its act:
If the self-regulatory system is found lacking, the Committee recommends that the Attorney-General’s Department impose a self-funded co-regulatory system on advertising with government input into advertising codes of practice.

That was eight years ago.

It is time for the Federal Government to act to reclaim public space so that we don’t have to be confronted by images or words that are inappropriate for children or that treat women as sexual objects. 
Objectified portrayals of women lead to a ‘diminished view of women’s competence, morality and humanity’ and have been identified as contributing to attitudes which lead to violence against women and girls.
The objectification and sexualisation of women and girls should be a central consideration in the regulation of advertising, marketing, and the media. 
  • The current advertising standards system has no powers of enforcement and issues no penalties for non-compliance. Repeat offenders such as Honey Birdette and Wicked Campers continue to ignore Ad Standards rulings and face no penalties.
  • Only a regulatory regime with real teeth - which can impose adequate financial penalties and prevent repeat offenders from continuing to advertise - can make corporates act ethically.
  • Lip service about protecting women and girls from sexualised violence is meaningless if we don’t address advertising that sexually objectifies women and trains men to see women as objects to be used and not equal persons to be respected.
Contact the candidates for your electorate and ask if they will support a new advertising regulatory regime to ensure all advertising in public spaces is free from images and messages that are unsuitable for children, especially images and messages which sexually objectify women.
It is well established that many children in Australia are accessing pornography online and that exposure harms them
Exposing children to porn harms their healthy sexual development and contributes to children acting out in inappropriate ways, including by sexually abusing other children. 
Soon a new UK law will require anyone who makes pornography available online to UK users to implement an age verification system to ensure that no person under 18 years of age is given access to pornography. If websites fail to comply, UK internet service providers will be required by law to block ALL access to the non-complying websites.
  • UK kids will no longer have ready access to pornography – Australian children need the same protection.
  • You can’t buy alcohol or tobacco or play the pokies without proving you are over 18. Yet there is no proof of age requirement for our kids to access hard-core porn sites,
  • Porn harms children – it trains boys to see girls and women as objects to be used not as equals to be respected. Age-verification (18+) for online pornography is a must.
Contact the candidates for your electorate and ask if they will support a mandatory age-verification system to stop children in Australia from easily accessing pornography online.

  • Click here for more information on contacting your candidates for the May 18 Federal election
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  • Juju Chu
    commented 2019-05-11 19:36:54 +1000
    I am so revolted, sick and tired of the self-entitled and de-humanizing behaviour (and attitudes) towards girls and women that persist and persist and persist and are promulgated by a, not insignificant, proportion of males on Earth. And for saying this I know there will be vile, violent and criminally inciting comments. And YES I am a FEMINIST, and I am so disgusted and ashamed that I feel the need to somehow ‘justify’ myself and say to these so called ‘men’ (who obviously ARE NOT real ‘MEN’) that despite being a victim of violence perpetrated BY MEN, I have ALWAYS had kind, caring, loyal and empathetic male friends and family who would NEVER treat girls or women as property, or creatures that only exist to service, so called ‘men’
  • Joy-Marie Butler
    commented 2019-05-01 17:11:16 +1000
    Please, please – let our government do something about these two entities that impose disgusting messages to all within their range of view. Please stop their blatant messages.
  • Living Well Psychology Clinic
    commented 2018-01-03 18:15:02 +1100

You can defend their right to childhood

Everyday our young people are exposed to more brands continuing to sexualise girls and objectify women. You can bring change to this sexploitation, stop companies from degrading women and prevent its devastating effects on young people.

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