Wicked law: clean up or lose rego
WICKED campers will have to change its ways with new laws banning inappropriate slogans introduced in Queensland Parliament last night, February 14.
Four years after Wicked Campers started making headlines with people fed up over the sexist, racist, rude and derogatory slogans on the back of its brightly painted vans, Parliament unanimously passed the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) (Offensive Advertising) Amendment Bill 2016 to rid Queensland roads of the offensive vehicles.
The law will allow the Transport Department to cancel the registration on a vehicle if its owners do not remove inappropriate messages within 14 days after being advised to do so by the Advertising Standards Bureau.
This is a giant step forward as the ASB had previously no power to force Wicked to remove its offensive slogans.
The Daily reported in 2013 the ASB had sought the help of then police minister Jack Dempsey after Wicked continued to ignore its rulings to remove offensive slogans.
This was after a dad complained about a Wicked Van parked at Kings Beach with the "F word" on the back.
Mr Dempsey's office said it was unable to act.
Frustrated by the lack of action, people started their own petitions and took to social media to try and pressure Wicked to change.
Sydney mum Paula Orbea managed to obtain more than 110,000 signatures on a petition asking Wicked to remove a slogan that offended her 11-year-old daughter in July 2014.
She was successful and even managed to elicit a rare apology from Wicked founder John Webb, who invited people who felt strongly offended by a slogan to "paint or tape over it".
And a group, Wicked Pickets, was formed to organise campaigns and rallies against the company's continual disregard for complaints.
Wicked Pickets member Christine King sat through the debate in Parliament last night and celebrated the victory.
"After sitting through three hours of speeches from both sides of Parliament condemning Wicked Campers, legislation has just been passed with unanimous support to deregister vans in breach of advertising guidelines," she wrote.
"Any opposition was based on not going far enough with respect to reviewing anti-vilification laws and giving the ASB powers to impose fines and tackle other non-vehicle related advertising breaches, and urged the government to continue to build on this first step."
Member for Maroochydore Fiona Simpson welcomed the change, but said more needed to be done.
"This bill isn't the total solution and needs to go further to address the problem but it is better than doing nothing but I think we all need to try harder to get it right as kids deserve safe public spaces where cruel and violent and sexist comments or images about girls and women aren't laughed off as 'just a joke'," she said.
"The bill in regard to Wicked Vans comes two years after the Labor Government took office and inherited a bi-partisan parliamentary report into the broader issue of advertising breaches in the public space which the LNP initiated during the previous Parliament.
"The report and inquiry clearly established there was a problem with a lack of penalties for breaches of the advertisers code of ethics as determined by the of Advertising Standards Bureau and canvassed possible solutions.
"The penalty, as proposed in this bill, will in effect now allow for vehicles in breach of the code, such as some of the cruel nasties of Wicked Vans infamy, to be deregistered.
"This bill doesn't overcome the problem of other billboards in the public space which are in breach of the code, nor does it prevent people registering their vehicles interstate, but it does provide one mechanism in regard to Queensland-registered vehicles."