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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 5 Hansard (15 May) . . Page.. 1284 ..

Magazines - Offensive Material

MS TUCKER: While I am on my feet I would like to ask a question of Mr Osborne. Mr Osborne, according - - -

Mr Kaine: Have you recognised her for a question, Mr Speaker? She is making an awful assumption.

MR SPEAKER: Nobody else is standing.

MS TUCKER: I ask this question of Mr Osborne because I believe that, under standing order 116, he is a member in charge of a public matter connected with the business of the Assembly.

MR SPEAKER: I will be the judge of that, but go on.

MS TUCKER: Thank you. My question, Mr Osborne, is to do with publicity recently about your proposal to put blinders on magazines which have offensive material open to public display. Could you please clarify exactly what it is that you are proposing?

MR OSBORNE: Thank you, Ms Tucker, for your question. I am very lucky today, Mr Speaker, to have in front of me some material which enables me to answer that question. Ms Tucker, I too shall attempt to be as open and as straightforward with my answer as you were with your answer to Ms Horodny's question. It is very simple. What I hope to achieve with my legislation is, firstly, to make a shopowner place any type of publication that depicts on the cover nudity, sex, violence, cruelty or other revolting material in a special display rack, what we have called a blinder rack.

The main reason behind my wanting to do this, Ms Tucker, is very simple. I am trying to protect the rights of people who find this type of material offensive. It is one thing to allow businesses to sell this type of material, but it is not acceptable to force people who find this type of material offensive to have to deal with it. There has been a fair bit of publicity about my proposal over the last couple of weeks, and I would like to stress that it is not about censorship. As I have said, it is about protecting the rights of people who find it offensive not to have to deal with it. It is also about - - -

Mr Moore: Controlled availability.

MR OSBORNE: Mr Moore interjects that it is about controlled availability. I am loath to agree with him there. Secondly and more importantly, Ms Tucker, to me it is about protecting young people from having to view this type of material. It is an unfortunate fact that Australia is one of the few Western countries that allow the public display of material like this, especially pornography. In fact, in the United States a person can spend their whole life and not see any pornography at all if they choose not to. The sad thing in Canberra is that even our young people can see this type of material by walking into a supermarket, a petrol station or a newsagent. Basically, what I am trying to do here, Ms Tucker, is to protect the rights of people who choose not to have to view this type of material.

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