Why are offensive Wicked Campers still on our roads?
YET another disgusting Wicked Camper has been spotted on the Northern Rivers, yet despite numerous complaints they will remain on our roads unless there are nationwide changes.
In 2018, Ad Standards has received just under 15 complaints about the van hire company, due to their sexist, racist, rude or derogatory slogans.
A van spotted in East Ballina in March and South Mission Beach in Queensland earlier this month has received seven complaints to Ad Standards.
Another van with a slogan that reads "you can un-follow me but you can't un-swallow me" was seen driving through Byron Bay on Tuesday night.
What do these two vehicles have in common? They are registered in South Australia therefore not breaching road and advertising standards in Queensland.
Over a year ago the Queensland Government implemented new laws which allowed the Transport Department to cancel the registration on a vehicle that displayed an offensive tag.
The Transport Operations (Road Use Management) (Offensive Advertising) Amendment Act 2016 enabled Ad Standards to notify the QLD Department of Transport and Main Roads of instances where Ad Standards had not been able to obtain voluntary compliance with a decision of the Ad Standards Community Panel.
Since this legislation came into force, Ad Standards have referred five cases of non-compliance to the Queensland Government.
"In one case Wicked Campers submitted a statutory declaration stating that they had modified a van to remove an image that had breached the Code," Ad Standards spokeswoman said.
"This demonstrated the effectiveness of the Queensland legislation."
However, this legislation is only applicable in Queensland and the proprietor of Wicked Campers has found a loophole by registering his vehicles in South Australia.
So should we be looking at legislation on a Federal level to eradicate these vulgar slogans off all Australian roads?
In a statement NSW Roads Minister Melinda Pavey agreed the slogans were offensive but confirmed there were no Wicked Camper vans registered in NSW.
"Clearly, a consistent national approach would be the most effective way in dealing with this issue," Ms Pavey said.
A spokesman from the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack's office said there was currently no federal legislation covering paint schemes on road vehicles.
"Modification of vehicles after supply to the market, including paint or other forms of decoration, is governed directly by individual State and Territory Governments through their registration authorities," the spokesman said.
"Concerns must be raised with the registration authority where the vehicles are registered."
"Offensive material in general may also be a matter which can be raised with local police agencies."
However, any complementary action from other jurisdictions that strengthens the legislative backstop to the advertising self-regulation system to prevent the jurisdiction hopping would be strongly supported by Ad Standards.
How the Ad Standards complaint process works:
- Making a complaint
Must be submitted in writing. A single written complaint is sufficient to initiate a formal investigation.
Complaints can be submitted online via https://adstandards.com.au/lodge-complaint or received via post and facsimile.
All complaints are promptly assessed for their appropriateness before their submission to the Ad Standards Community Panel for determination.
The Ad Standards Community Panel is a made up of a broad range of age groups, backgrounds and is gender balanced, and as far as possible is representative of the diversity of Australian society.
Ad Standards replied to all enquiries informing them of the status.
Once accepted, the complainant is informed via email or post that their enquiry is being considered by the Community panel.
The advertiser is also then notified and given a copy of the complaint.
The advertiser is then required to provide a written response and copies of the relevant advertising or market communication to allow the complaint to be dealt with at the next meeting of the panel.
The Community Panel meets twice a month to consider any complaints.