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Thursday, 4 May 1989
Page: 1827


Senator WALTERS(5.30) —What a pity it is that Senator Collins and Senator Zakharov do not do their homework. What a shame they are not aware that the Film Censorship Board has just put out additional guidelines picking up my recommendation of the use of the word `relished'. No doubt Senator Collins will pretend that he knew this all the time; Senator Zakharov, no doubt, will also pretend that they were aware of this. Yet they have both asked, `What is this word ``relished''?'. Senator Collins went even further and said that Mr Dickie said that the more words that were put in the more confused it became. A fortnight ago the Film Censorship Board, in its latest document, picked up my recommendation and used the word `relished'.

The Joint Select Committee on Video Material had before it evidence that `relished' meant enjoying committing violence. Let me explain to those two honourable senators opposite, who were on that Committee and were present when that evidence was given, that `relished' means depicting people enjoying committing violence. If my Bill is passed it will rule out all depictions of people enjoying committing violence. It will rule out torture. There are so many extremely violent videos that depict people enjoying committing violence. The two honourable senators opposite who show their ignorance in this place by asking, `What on earth does ``relished'' mean?' are ignoring the evidence that was given to our Committee. They are ignoring the fact that the Film Censorship Board has, since my Bill was drafted, picked up the word `relished'. Indeed as a result of what the Attorneys-General have said the Board has downgraded violence in the R classification by adding the word `relished'. If that fact does not deflate Senator Collins, nothing in this world ever will. It underlines his complete ignorance of the fact that the Film Censorship Board has underlined the--


Senator Collins —You really know how to get people on side!


Senator WALTERS —There is no way I would want Senator Collins on side. Senator Zakharov talked about how difficult it is to tell how old someone is. Yes, it is difficult. We discussed that in the Committee and Senator Zakharov did not at any stage come up with any recommendations that the age ought to be altered. Indeed, age was part of the recommendations of the Senate Committee. Nobody on that Committee suggested that it should be altered.

I turn to Senator Jenkins's amendment because at least, unlike honourable senators opposite, she was trying to debate this Bill properly. I can only presume, Mr Chairman, that we are going to have an election. Honourable senators opposite do not want to vote on this Bill. I predict we are going to have an election pretty soon because--


Senator Robert Ray —Mr Chairman, I assume that Senator Walters is about to leave this topic so I will not raise a point of order. I thought she was going to speak at length on the election, but I have just had a last minute indication that she is going back to the subject matter.


The CHAIRMAN —There is no point of order.


Senator WALTERS —Government members do not want to vote on this Bill. They voted on the second reading of my Bill but do not want to knock out the Bill yet because they know there will be a political backlash against them. They want to knock this Bill out after the election, not before, so they are going to talk this debate out. Otherwise, we would not have had this deliberate stupid nonsense about age from Senator Aulich.

Let us return to Senator Jenkins, who at least is being honest about this. Senator Jenkins's amendment does absolutely nothing except bring back X-rated videos. All it does is say that X-rated videos ought to be allowed in. She acknowledged that it makes large alterations to my Bill, and she is quite right because it allows for X-rated videos. Senator Jenkins said that she does not see why the depiction of sexual acts between consenting adults should be made illegal viewing in the home when the viewing of videos depicting murder, which is illegal, is allowed in the home. The way Senator Jenkins talks anybody would think these videos are just love stories. Senator Jenkins is wrong to put that impression across. It is incorrect. It is deceiving. They are not love stories. Such videos do not depict a love scene between adults. That is the worst sort of nonsense that one can imagine.

I ask Senator Jenkins whether she is serious in saying that films which the Film Censorship Board believes are too bad to be shown in the cinemas around this country, except to those over 18, are all right for home entertainment. Does Senator Jenkins really believe that she can pretend to the community that they are merely love stories-sex between consenting adults? I can assure her they are far from that. They are not just blue movies. They are degrading to women. Even Robbie Swan, the man who is really pushing X-rated videos and who is the X-rated video lobbyist, says that between 20 and 30 per cent of them are degrading to women. He is the man whom this Government is supporting-the spokesman for the multi-million dollar adult video lobby. That is who Senator Bob Collins is supporting.

But Robbie Swan himself says that between 20 per cent and 30 per cent of these X-rated videos are degrading to women. Well, it is not just 20 per cent to 30 per cent-it is 100 per cent. They are degrading to women. Of course, Senator Collins, who is a man, would not understand that and I do not expect him to understand it. But let me explain to Senator Collins that, while he is a man and does not understand that attitude, all the women out there in Australia do, because all the women's organisations-every single one of them-have written to us and expressed their concern. They have told us that they want us to ban and that they want my Bill to be supported.

I can repeat the names of the women's organisations: the Women's Electoral Lobby (ACT) Inc., the National Status of Women Committee, the Country Women's Association of New South Wales, the Catholic Women's League, the Mothers Union in Australia, the Australian Church Women, the War Widows Guild, the Society of Women Writers Australia and the Australian Federation of Business and Professional Women Inc. Every single one of those organisations, except one-and that was only the Women in Science Enquiry Network Incorporated, the ones--


Senator Collins —Did you ask them what was in the X-rated videos? Did they know?


Senator WALTERS —For the benefit of Bob Collins and Senator Zakharov, let me read from Hansard in the minute that I have left. When Senator Hill was quoting the Mothers Union in Australia, Senator Zakharov interjected:

They lack an understanding of the issue.

That is what she is saying again today: they lack an understanding of the issue. In reply, Senator Hill said:

Senator Zakharov ought to listen to this.

Senator Hill then quoted the Mothers Union:

Along with many other people in the community we have been campaigning for the ban on X-rated Videos in the A.C.T. and the N.T. and the consequent end of the mail order trade which now flows into the States, where a ban already exists.

Our reasons are that X-rated Videos contain depictions of behaviour which, if imitated, may lead to the spread of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, including A.I.D.S. It is our contention that it is illogical for the Government to be spending millions of dollars on the education of the public about the dangers of certain sexual practices while at the same time condoning the sale and hire of videos which are sending the message that these very practices are normal, acceptable and presumably risk free.

. . .

We also believe that it is illogical for the Government to support such projects as `Fair Go for Women' and `Affirmative Action' which seek to improve the status of women in the community while allowing the free availability of material which depicts women as mere objects for male sexual gratification.

She did not at any stage mention violence. They understand very well what those videos are about, and it is of no use Senator Zakharov and Bob Collins trying to hide their heads and pretend that they do not.


The CHAIRMAN —Order! Senator Collins must be addressed by his correct title.


Senator Collins —I have listened to that five consecutive times, and I have had enough of it.


The CHAIRMAN —Order!


Senator Collins —It was not five times in a row but if it is good enough to address every one else as senator, Senator Walters can address me the same way.


Senator WALTERS —He cannot take it. Let us be very clear that all these women's organisations are well aware of what X-rated videos are all about. Every single one of those organisations has appealed to the Government to support my Bill, and it is of no use Senator Jenkins moving an amendment that will gut my Bill completely, as Senator Harradine says. The Government supported the second reading, but I do not for a moment doubt that its little act in not voting against the Bill then was to support Senator Jenkins's amendment, which guts my Bill completely and will allow X-rated videos in.

The last time we were debating this matter, Senator Jenkins, when the amendments were put up, told me that it was a mistake that the amendments were under the heading `Australian Democrats'. I am not sure whether that mistake has been made again because her amendments are under the heading `Australian Democrats'. Could the honourable senator please let me know whether they are the amendments of the Australian Democrats or just her own.


The CHAIRMAN —Order! The honourable senator's time has expired.