Motor Vehicles (Offensive Advertising) Amendment Bill

Second Reading

I speak on the Motor Vehicles (Offensive Advertising) Amendment Bill, which has been introduced by the member for Reynell. It proposes a statutory remedy of quite offensive slogans that currently—I am aware of at least two—have been identified in South Australia in recent times. My understanding is that both registered vehicles are from Victoria, so the proposal, which the opposition would raise as a remedy, for a deregistration model of management of this issue is one which was a little puzzling to the government, given the capacity for it to be ineffective in relation to vehicles that come from another state.

Members on the opposite side chorus, 'What are other states doing?' Let me just indicate—that a deregistration process, at first blush, is something worth having a look at. Indeed, the state of Queensland looked at that. They are facing exactly the same problem of dealing with offensive material on vehicles coming into their state that might be registered from Victoria, New South Wales, the Northern Territory or, indeed, from South Australia. What has been comprehensively and publicly identified is whether in fact there should be some national approach to dealing with the matter.

My understanding is that transport ministers, who have responsibility for registration and motor vehicles, have been looking at that matter. The question then arises about a number of constitutional and jurisdictional matters as to who would have the power to do that, to be effective across the state. We do not have barbed wire fences between us and other states. We do not have them between us and Victoria.

Nevertheless, the state of Victoria, the Labor government of Victoria, apparently had a look at this matter. They identified the weakness in the model that implies a proposal for deregistration. They were looking at a question of the Summary Offences Act and whether there should be an amendment to that legislation, which I understand has been under consideration in Victoria, which is run by a Labor government. They obviously are concerned about the issue. They have obviously identified weaknesses in the model that is being presented here and they, too, are looking at how we might deal with it. I would invite members, if they are following the concern about this matter, which I think everyone in this house should be, to have a look at the Summary Offences Act, which already deals with offensive conduct and behaviour. I do not think it will probably be adequate to cover what is here, and there may be—

 The member for Reynell interjects to tell us that they will not be. She may already have had advice on this. I am getting advice on it because I think it is worthy of our having a look at that, just as the Labor government in Victoria have done. So we are certainly having a look at it.

But let me say this: I do not know what planet the members of the opposition have been living on, but Wicked Campers and persons who have these offensive slogans, two of which have been identified by the member for Reynell in her contribution—offensive and disgusting as they are—have not just appeared on our landscape in the last 12 months. No, they have been operating over a sustained period of time. I do not know what action the former government took in relation to this matter, but clearly nothing came to the parliament.

Nothing came to the parliament, not a single thing. The member for Reynell, when she was a cabinet secretary or appointed as a parliamentary assistant minister to the premier, in my recollection, was active in relation to dealing with matters of domestic violence, matters of offensive conduct towards women—and I applaud her for doing that—but was absolutely silent on this issue while we had these examples of disgraceful statements being published on vehicles.

When members have a look at the Summary Offences Act, they will see that it can relate to the publication of material on ships and other vessels, so obviously we may need to look at trucks, heavy motor vehicles, campervans, etc. There is another thing we need to look at, because understand this: it would not be beyond the wit of the people who publish such slogans to recognise that if they cannot display them on the back of a campervan or they cannot display them on the back of a utility or panel van, as we used to call them in my early days, let me tell you that they will look for the local pizza bar, or they will look for the private enterprise who wants to advertise outside their cafe or wherever else they might find that they can do it.

What is very important, though, is that we look at this issue comprehensively and effectively. In the meantime, I am putting out a request to the Victorian representatives to see how they are also managing it. It seems on the face of it that they have comprehensively rejected this model because it is ineffective and we need to do something about this reprehensible conduct but not just on vehicles. It should not have to have four wheels or two wheels to qualify; it should be when it is displayed anywhere in the state.