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Thursday, 1 June 1989
Page: 3246


Senator HARRADINE(4.20) —I rise because I understand an arrangement has been made to report progress after the vote on this amendment is taken. I have a number of questions that need to be raised at some time, including the distribution of X-rated material by post and postal courier service. It is important to note that, if this amendment proposed by Senator Walters is agreed to, there would be no need for my second amendment which relates to the distribution of material by post or postal courier service. Let us get that clear.

The amendment moved by Senator Jenkins has, as its effect, the entrenchment of hard core pornography in the community and, therefore, I am opposed to the amendment. I was slightly heartened to hear Senator Jenkins say that she may well vote differently now in respect of the second recommendation in the report of the Joint Select Committee on Video Material. She now considers that some material at the outer end of X-rated clearly should not be classified. Frankly, I knew that all along. I have been with this now for four or five years and I have seen as many of these videos as most people have.


Senator Bolkus —More by the sound of it.


Senator HARRADINE —Yes, more.


Senator McLean —Most Australians haven't seen any.


Senator HARRADINE —I apologise. I am being corrected all around and I stand corrected. I have seen more than most people. The majority of the Committee said:

We, the majority of the Committee, strongly oppose that proposition . . .

That is the proposition that a new non-violent erotica, or NVE, category be proposed and that that contain material as defined in the current classification of X. I continue:

It would entrench X-rated video (pornography described officially as `hard core pornography' . . .) in the community under guise of the misleading title of NVE.

There is no need for me to go into what that material contains because that has been discussed in, I suppose, laundered terms in this chamber. Clearly, the material is of such a nature that, when an honourable senator tried to have incorporated in Hansard a description of some of the material, it was ruled that it could not be incorporated. Presumably it was unparliamentary.

Even if it cannot be presented here, it can be presented in newsagencies throughout the country. This type of material has been advertised as an insert in a newspaper that is circulated throughout the country. I have a copy of a document contained in a news- paper, which was bought in Tasmania by a senior lady constituent of mine. She is a racing fan and she bought the newspaper for the racing section. The insert fell out. She was disgusted, horrified and concerned that this sort of material could be advertised in a newspaper. It is disconcerting. I will not go into it. Clearly, it advertises material that, firstly, shows high risk AIDS behaviour and, secondly, promotes the view of women as being highly promiscuous and available. This problem has been described in the report of the Joint Select Committee on Video Material.

Thanks to every member of the Government, thanks to the Australian Democrats thus far, this material can be distributed throughout the country through the post. One of my subsequent amendments will ensure that this material cannot be distributed through the post or courier services. So that is non-discriminatory, which counteracts the argument adopted last time by people voting against the amendment. It is non-discriminatory in that it will affect postal services and other courier services. Contrary to what Senator Evans said on the last occasion about how we would get the postal services to look at every article that looks like a video, this is enforceable. I have never heard so much nonsense in all my life. Do not law enforcement agencies ever set traps? Is it legitimate for law enforcement agencies to set traps? Is it legitimate for law enforcement agencies to have somebody ask for this type of video and then to charge with an offence the very large firms with international connections in the United States that handle this material?

This is the import of the further amendments that I have. The further amendments that Senator Jenkins has will go some way in respect of the advertising material. I agree that there should be amendments which would go to ensuring that the very violent videos are not placed side by side with videos of PG or G classifications and that there is no advertising or display of the material in areas to which persons under the age of 18 years have access. That is a fairly reasonable proposal and it would be effective. It would go some of the way towards overcoming the problems that parents and others have in respect of this material. This material can get into the hands, and inevitably does get into the hands, of children.

This is a very important debate. All clauses of the Bill ought to be considered. I acknowledge what Senator Walters has said, that is, that if the amendment moved by Senator Jenkins is carried, it will effectively gut the Bill. To my way of thinking, that is very disconcerting. It may well be that, at a particular stage, the other matters before the Committee at present should be considered on their merits to see whether half a cake is better than none at all. That is something which needs to be considered by all Opposition and Government members.

Question put:

That the amendment (Senator Jenkins's) be agreed to.