Cigarette plain packaging, has it worked on illicit drugs?


Today Big Prohibition is celebrating its High Court victory over ‘Big Tobacco’ on the issue of plain packaging of cigarettes.  Tobacco companies had challenged the legislation to have all cigarettes sold in drab green packs without logos or company identification on the basis of denial of intellectual and other property rights.

In retrospect, this may have been a mistake as property rights are not a widely respected concept in Australia.  Rural landholders have largely borne the brunt of the assault on private property until now with a myriad of laws restricting their rights to carry out activities, from building right through to weed control.  A quick check with them would have let Phillip Morris know, it was flogging a dead horse on the issue. Continue reading

Libs (Finally) Oppose Internet Filter

About time

The federal coalition has announced it will scrap controversial plans for an internet filter if it wins the August 21 election.

I’m glad they finally made their position clear. Abbott had previously indicated a lack of faith in the technical implementation, but – worryingly – not much opposition to the concept (ie, you got the impression that if he thought it would “work” at blocking content, he might support it.) Hockey’s opposition has been more consistent, and more in line with libertarians:

“I have personal responsibility as a parent,” he said in March.

“If I want to stop my children from viewing material that I feel is inappropriate then that is my responsibility to do something about it – not that of the government.”

UPDATE: The Australian Christian Lobby has come out strongly against the Coalition’s rejection of the Internet filter.

There is Hope

The SMH had a story about a “virtual rape” computer game, and ended off with poll: “Do you support mandatory internet filters to block material such as the online game RapeLay?”

Even with a leading question like that, 65% of respondents (at time of writing) answered with a clear “No”. I know these polls are hardly scientific (and people who vote in online polls are arguably more tech-savvy, and therefore opposed to the filter,) but this does leave me with some level of hope that we can block this thing. The support for this filter just isn’t there, and it could be disastrous for Rudd if he tries to push through. I hope Abbott doesn’t screw this one up – this is a golden opportunity (and an easy goal for the Greens if he doesn’t oppose it completely and absolutely)

Time to start sending a clear message to the Liberals now! It worked for the ETS – it can work here!

Australia Bans Small Breasted Women From Porn

The government continues to protect us (and our children):

Australian Classification Board (ACB) is now banning depictions of small-breasted women in adult publications and films. They banned mainstream pornography from showing women with A-cup breasts, apparently on the grounds that they encourage paedophilia, and in spite of the fact this is a normal breast size for many adult women. Presumably small breasted women taking photographs of themselves will now be guilty of creating simulated child pornography, to say nothing of the message this sends to women with modestly sized chests or those who favour them. Australia has also banned pornographic depictions of female ejaculation, a normal orgasmic sexual response in many women, with censors branding it as ‘abhorrent.’

This has all been good publicity for The Sex Party, who broke the story.

[Via Instapundit]

Art Or Child P*rn?

Bill Henson is getting a public flogging for the depiction of semi-naked girls in his Sydney exhibition. Rumours abound that he may even face criminal charges. Is this fair?

Larissa Debriski writing in The Age challenges us to ‘find an image of a naked 13-year-old beautiful, moving or thought-provoking’. Here’s another delightful aritcle from the lovely Larissa on why she loves the word ‘cunt‘. Memo to Larissa – if you’re an adult male and you find photos of semi-naked 13 year-olds ‘beautiful’ or ‘thought-provoking’, then you need help.

Michelle Grattan, in the SMH, thinks it’s all a big publicity stunt by Kevin Rudd to win back some votes. Andrew Bolt responds to Michelle here.

Miranda Devine, on the other hand believes that artists, perverts, academics, libertarians, the media, advertising industries and the porn industry have ‘successfully eroded the special protection once afforded childhood.’ In no libertarian handbook that i’m aware of does it condone exploiting minors, Miranda.

So who is right? Are Bill Henson’s photos of 13 year-old girls, naked from the waist up, art or kiddie porn?

Whilst art may be in the eye of the beholder, child porn is child porn, even if people like Larissa find it ‘beautiful‘.

The main argument being touted by the ‘ban it’ brigade are that these photos might end up in the hands of kiddie-fiddlers. This is ridiculous. Henson rightly replied that such a person could head down to Bondi Beach and see a lot more child flesh on display if they so wished. Alternatively they could spend a Saturday night at the Manly Hotel and watch not only semi-naked teenage girls but drunk ones too.

The central issue is whether a parent has the right to consent on the behalf of a minor to show nudity. Personally i cannot understand why any parent would give such consent. Is there anything they wouldn’t do for a quick buck? But if both parents and daughter consent, should that be the end of the matter? I personally don’t believe it should. Thirteen year olds cannot and do not think like adults. That’s why they are not granted the vote. They are unaware of the consequences of their nude bodies being Googled around the world.

Until they reach adulthood (say, age 16), their naked bodies should remain in the home.

nb – the photo above is much tamer than the ones causing such heated debate. the word ‘p*rn’ is asterisked to avoid the spam filter melt down. (censorship is the only thing not liberally applied round here.

Update I: Art certainly is in the eye of the beholder 😉

Other opinions from Kim at LP, and Helen Dale looks at some of the legal ramifications for Henson.