FYSHWICK, Australia—Sex Party President Fiona Patten is not done taking the fight to the Australian government, not by a long shot. A few weeks ago, the Sex Party informed the world of the new Australian Customs policy to ask returning travelers and tourists to declare any pornography they may have on their laptops and mobiles. Now, it has produced a series of luggage stickers designed to protest the stupidity of the decision.
The stickers, which are available in the Gallery section on the party’s website, are more than just a humorous marketing plow; they are also intended to bring attention to the legislative sleight of hand that has underwritten not only the new Customs policy, but also the government’s plan to censor the internet at the ISP level.
“The effect of these stickers will be to take the fight against this draconian and invasive question on the incoming passenger forms, to the front line of Customs,” she said. “I am sending a suite of stickers to the Customs Minister today and asking him to personally examine the use of the word ‘pornography’ in this issue. This word has no legal definition and Customs should not be using legally [indefinable] terms.”
According to Patten, the federal government made a fundamental error when it redefined the nature of material being evaluated by Customs, as well as material censored by the internet filter. In 1995, the Classification Act created the Refused Classification (RC) rating in order to regulate commercial media and entertainment content. It had nothing to do with what an individual could access or own, and it remains legal for individuals to possess, view and purchase RC-rated material in the country.
The term was thus used solely as a benchmark to determine and define materials that could not be sold in Australia … up until the last couple of years, that is. Tuesday, Patten issued an announcement claiming that both Customs and Senator Stephen Conroy, who has promoted the ISP filter, are trying to extend the definition of the ‘RC’ rating to include personal possession—which it was never intended to cover.
“The Australian Customs Service and Senator Conroy are trying to align their initiatives with the Classification Act but are now saying that if something is unsuitable to be sold, it’s also unsuitable to be possessed or viewed,” said Patten. “As a result, Australia has two competing definitions of Refused Classification. This is why you can be jailed for trying to bring material through Customs which is legal to possess as soon as you walk out of the airport. It’s also the reason that under Senator Conroy’s filtering proposals, sites containing material that is legal to view and possess will be blacklisted and blocked. ISPs can be fined large amounts for hosting material that is legal to possess.”
Adding insult to injury, while the Refused Classification rating does not apply to child pornography—which, as contraband, does not come under the Classification Act—Customs claims that the question on Incoming Passenger Cards that refers to “pornography” is an attempt to discover “child porn.”
For more information about the Australian government’s continuing efforts to expand its own laws beyond the pale, visit The Sex Party website.