Legislative Council Wednesday 5 April 2017
Ms FORREST (Murchison ) - Mr Deputy President, I also support the legislation. It would be good to see a lot of these vehicles off the road, or at least have their slogans removed. It is quite okay for them to still be on the road if they remain registered. To remain registered, they will have to remove the slogans. It is pretty simple. It might take a few weeks, a couple of months perhaps, to get to that point, but it is appropriate.
We have all seen many of these slogans and there has been plenty of publicity on the national scene. It has also been raised in other jurisdictions - clearly these slogans are offensive. They are derogatory, and they incite violence, particularly against women. Not each one, they are different, but each one has a different approach. They incite disrespect and they basically condone and incite illegal activity. If they were in the state, not only could they potentially have complaints made against them, but they could then go through the deregistered process if they were registered in Tasmania at that stage. If they were a vehicle registered in another state, could the operator be charged under our Anti-Discrimination Act?
Currently as the bill is worded, 'offensive' is there and other words such as 'humiliate'. The member for Windermere talked about one slogan you could potentially read two ways. Let me read you one which cannot be read two ways - 'In every princess there is a little slut who wants to try it just once.' I do not think there are many ways you could interpret that other than how it is intended. For a mother to have to explain to her little girl in her car, who thinks she is a princess - mostly all little girls think they are princesses - what that actually means, there is no way around that. If anyone in this Chamber is not offended by that slogan, then I am not quite sure what would offend them, or what they would think is inappropriate. This slogan is on the back of a vehicle - you could pull up at the traffic lights behind that van, with a child, even a young boy in the car. How do you explain that to a young boy? Those of us who have children understand the car is an ideal place for kids to ask the hardest questions. They have done it to me. When you are driving along, you cannot really eyeball them and keep driving and they ask those really tricky questions. Here you are, driving along right behind a car that has something like that on the back of it. A 7-, 8-, 9- or 10-year-old will be able to read that slogan. Most of them will be able to read it, not all children obviously. The challenge then is for a parent to try to explain. Is there a capacity here, particularly in the short term, for action to be taken under the Anti-Discrimination Act if the vehicle is registered on the mainland and we cannot deregister them here? It is easy to get a vehicle across to Tasmania these days. The TT-Line makes it very easy. A lot of hire vehicles come across.
Mr Farrell - It is hard to get them to King Island, though.
Ms FORREST - It is. You cannot go with your vehicle in future; it would be covered in salt. This is how most of these vehicles get across. We see all the campervans and motorhomes, and a lot of them come from the mainland. They are not signed inappropriately. The normal Winnebagos do not have any signage on them. Sometimes they have the names of the people travelling in them or their own hashtag, which is fine.
It is very easy for a vehicles to come in, so we cannot do anything about those at this stage. As the Acting Leader said, there are actions we could possibly take in the future but they will all take time. I would like to think there could be some other way for us to deal with this to protect the vulnerable members of our community and our children from being confronted with these.
As the member for Hobart said, it is not considered art, which you can go into a closed gallery to view, but you have no choice to view it if you are on the road. All of us have a right to use the roads and not have this offensive and inappropriate language inflicted on us.
I support the legislation. It highlights why the word 'offensive' is important in our current legislation. We are talking about something that deeply offends and potentially impacts on the way young girls, women, gay men and gay women see themselves. A lot of these target same sex-attracted people and other minority groups.
Not only women and girls, but a whole range of people are targeted by these slogans. These slogans are provocative; they are there to grab your attention; they are meant to shock. That is the reason Wicked Campers use them. As the member for Apsley said, I am sure that these slogans are put on after the vehicles are registered. A lot of them are old vehicles that have been bought and registered and then had the slogans put on. They drive them onto the TT-Line and over to this state they come.
I support the legislation, but we need to be careful we do not undermine other processes. We will come to that. I would like the Acting Leading to provide some feedback on the questions I have asked.