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Thursday, 2 April 1987
Page: 2048


Mr MILES(10.25) —Tonight I pay tribute to the work of Mr Jack Sonnemann and to highlight the level of social concern by several well-known Australian companies, and the lack of concern by some other companies. It is interesting that the honourable member for Cowan (Ms Jakobsen) was talking about the right to a healthy environment. I want to speak about the right to a healthy environment, but on a slightly different topic and one on which we hear very little from the Government.

Mr Jack Sonnemann is the Executive Director of the Australian Federation for Decency. He is doing what this Parliament should have done long ago. He is fighting the violent and pornographic video industry. At the same time he is pointing the direction towards a healthier, more fulfilling and rewarding lifestyle for Australians. This man and his wife team have not sat around and bemoaned the fact that violent pornography and homosexuality is undermining the fabric of people's lives. Rather, he has begun to harness the energies of thinking and caring Australians to confront head-on the dehumanising and money-grabbing industry based around the hideousness of violence and the degradation of sexual desires.

His team of workers has grown to over 15,000 people. Only last week, while talking to public meetings in Tasmania, another 1,000 people joined his organisation. These people, linked together in a federation, have begun quietly, systematically and purposely to rid Australia of the perverted and violent videos and pornographic literature, in an attempt to make Australia a more dynamic community.

I will refer to some of the instances where there has been success by this group of people. This is a reply to one of the members of the federation from Qantas Airways Ltd. It states:

I would like to thank you for taking the time to write to Mr Yates concerning Qantas advertising in Penthouse magazine. He has asked me to reply to you on his behalf. When we sit down to plan any advertising campaign in Qantas, we aim to achieve a cost effective media schedule in relation to our target audience.

Penthouse reading audience showed a high percentage of readers in the professional managers category, our prime target group. However, your letter was one of many which prompted me to cancel this advertisement from future appearances in Penthouse or similar magazines, in other words denying the Penthouse magazine group the funds from advertising.

That is a good, positive way to go about handling this type of situation. It is interesting that the Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism (Mr John Brown) has also advertised in such magazines. He says:

Playboy is just one of the magazines which has been selected as it is cost effective and will achieve a large male readership.

There was certainly no acknowledgment by the Minister that he would withdraw advertising in that magazine. In that sense he shows a lack of social conscience.

I now want to refer to Arnotts as another company which had a letter written to it about the sponsorship of Mistral's Daughter. In its reply it states:

In many circumstances we cannot control the specific placement of advertising within programs. But on this occasion we did not review the program content critically prior to sponsorship. As a direct result of your correspondence, I have issued very firm guidelines to our advertising agency to ensure that the company does not sponsor any program which does not portray traditional family values and therefore may offend some members of our community.

There are several companies-K-Mart (Australia) Ltd is another one-that have decided that they will not sell any more videos on sexual trivia and so on. I think Jack Sonnemann and his group are doing a tremendous job in getting rid of these videos and the pornographic material which is evident in our community.


Mr McGauran —They have our support.


Mr MILES —They certainly have our support and they have very wide support in the Australian community. As members of this Parliament we should recognise this problem and do much more about it.