Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (5 December) . . Page.. 2676 ..
MR CONNOLLY (continuing):
materials, but when they have gone back to their States the actions of one political pressure group or another have resulted in chopping and changing. So Penthouse can be contraband in Queensland and lawful in the rest of Australia, for example.
Since the late 1980s the ACT, along with the Northern Territory, has always stood out in relation to the issue of X videos. We have allowed the tightly controlled sale and distribution of X videos, whereas other States have refused to allow that material to circulate. In recent years this has often been the cause of some embarrassment for ACT Ministers, who would often be on the receiving end of tirades from Ministers of both political persuasions in other States who liked to hurl abuse at the ACT for being the home of porn, the porn capital of Australia and the like.
I was intrigued, as I am sure other members may have been, to see some of the figures that the X-rated lobby have recently distributed on the percentages of persons in a range of Commonwealth electorates who are actually on the mailing list for X-rated video materials and note that in some electorates in Queensland nearly 12 per cent of the electorate actually subscribe for this stuff. I also recently read that the publication Australian Penthouse, which I have no particular truck for, has its highest circulation through mail order in Queensland. That may say something about the way that when governments try to repress material it probably only increases demand.
Mr Speaker, when colleagues from other States would accuse the ACT of being the hotbed of pornography, I would offer them a challenge. I would say, particularly if we happened to be in the larger cities of Sydney or Melbourne, that I would guarantee that if they gave me an hour I could show them not just X material for sale but probably unclassified material for sale. Unclassified material is material that has been refused classification because it contains violent images, which for some years now have been excluded from the X classification. I also pointed out to them that in the ACT they would not find X material other than in the lawful sale points outside the residential areas of Canberra. I suggested to them that it would be very difficult for them to come across unclassified material. Not only do police keep a close watch on what is going on in those areas, but the industry itself, knowing that the police keep a close watch, is concerned to ensure that unclassified material does not circulate.
It was intriguing last year, Mr Speaker, that in Victoria the regulation banning X material was found to be invalid because of some loophole in, I think, tabling the relevant regulation. Overnight, vast warehouses of X-rated and unrated video material appeared. That lasted for only a couple of weeks until the Victorian Government sorted out its legislative loophole, but it was very clear that this material had been in Melbourne and had been on sale illicitly in Melbourne. It suddenly appeared in major retailing areas when there was a little gap in the law.
Evidence given only in the last month to the royal commission in New South Wales has clearly established that a number of detectives in the Kings Cross area were in receipt of regular payment by video distributors to turn a blind eye to the offering for sale of X-rated or unrated video material in Kings Cross, which would be a kilometre or so from