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Tuesday, 30 March 1999
Page: 4741

Mrs DRAPER (10:35 PM) —Yesterday in this place I spoke about the success that Hollywood and some sections of the film and entertainment industry have had in seducing and manipulating so-called academics and people with supposed intelligence of some sort with the idea that it is quite okay for adults to have sexual relations with children. Unfortunately, in my members' statement I was not able to finish my last sentence, which should have read, `How clever of Hollywood. The theme of violence has been done to death so now they are saying, "Let's now put out the boundaries so that we can have sex with children and adults portrayed as entertainment for mass audiences to sell tickets and make money."'

What is even more astonishing is the silence from our so-called feminists—those who are supposed to be concerned about the way women are portrayed, a woman's position in society and so on. How about the images of young girls and teenagers? Their silence is not only deafening but also pathetic and sickening. Here we have the Hollywood film industry commentators and the spin doctors all suggesting that paedophiles are or should be characters worth evoking sympathy from mainstream audiences. How successful they have been. What fools we are as a society to believe them, to get sucked into the vortex of their money making schemes.

The movie Lolita has been described variously as a love story, a tragic love story and even a tale of morality. Oh, please! Can I at this point remind everyone that Australian law states that adults cannot have sex with a child in a paedophilic or incestuous relationship, whether discreetly portrayed or otherwise.

It has been stated that the character of Lolita is as much the seducer as the one seduced—the initiator, the promiscuous nymphette. This last contention, which we have heard quite a bit lately, is particularly sickening. Whether it is the way the film interprets the character or the way that the critics have interpreted the film, it is irresponsible and illegal to portray a child or young teenager having sex with an adult, let alone contemplate the victim as being emotionally mature enough or knowing enough to take on a middle aged mature adult in an equal relationship. Have the feminists in our midst stopped to think of what this kind of portrayal does for women's rights? The loud and clear message to sexual predators is that they can have their way with underage children—boys or girls; they do not have to take responsibility for their own actions and when they are finished they can blame their victims.

It took a long time for our society to wake up to the damage being wrought by the excessive diet of violence in film, music and the entertainment industry generally, that is, video and computer games. Belatedly, some attention has been paid to this issue, although not nearly enough, as we all know. Meanwhile, Hollywood and others in the entertainment industry have served up a diet of constant and increasing violence. They are now looking for some new way to shock and outrage the public all in the name of money, entertainment and big dollars for exploiting our kids—the real life victims. What do they care about art or artistic merit when they are being sexually abused?

In attempts to continue pushing the boundaries of tolerance, sections of the so-called entertainment industry have decided to launch an assault on one of the few remaining taboos in our society. Thankfully, most of us still regard the idea of sex between adults and children as abhorrent. But make no mistake: there are now some sections of the entertainment industry who have set themselves the task for money at any cost. Whatever their motives, there must be a realisation that some barriers are there for a reason. There are some things to which society cannot and must not give its sanction.

Some people have sought to portray this as a freedom of speech issue or a censorship issue. These matters have been openly discussed in the parliament, in the media and in the public. What has not been sufficiently discussed is the impact that the visual media has upon our lives and the responsibility that goes with this. If the film had portrayed the point of view of the teenage girl—the victim who was sexually abused—the reaction to it, I suggest, may have been considerably different. Why then are our media so mute when the character portrayed is a paedophile? Why have they been so easily duped by the fiction that a 14-year-old can happily seduce and manipulate her own stepfather? (Time expired)