20. You can’t put a vagina on a female sculpture
At least not in Queensland. A nude female sculpture (with a vagina) at a beach side park in Bribie Island had Moreton Bay Regional Council mayor Allan Sutherland pink with embarrassment. The council removed the statue because it was not their job to ‘deliberately go out and offend people.’
19. Adult Shop loses R18+ appeal
Adult Shop lost a lengthy legal battle to have an X18+ rating overturned for the adult film Viva Erotica. Adult Shop argued since 2006 that the OFLC (now ACB) should have classified the film R18+ because community standards have changed and most reasonable adults are no longer offended by depictions of actual sex, but the Federal Court dismissed their appeal, stating the guidelines were still representative of current community standards.
18. Gay Jesus a crime (says the AFA)
The Australian Family Association said the creators of Corpus Christi, a play depicting Jesus as a gay man, have committed “a big enough crime” by neglecting to treat Christianity and Christian believers with more sensitivity.
17. Van that ad somebody!
Van Heusen underwear ads were not allowed to run on the rear end of Brisbane City Council buses after they were deemed too racy. The same ads were printed on public transport in other capital cities with no problems.
16. Eros aligns with Christian Lobby against R18+ games
Australian sex lobby group, Eros, announced they agreed with the Australian Christian Lobby’s stance that the Government should abandon plans to consult the public on whether to introduce an R18+ games classification. Eros said there was too much violence ‘out there’. What Eros forgot was that the R18+ games debate isn’t about whether more violence or sex should be allowed in games, it’s about whether adults should be allowed to choose what media they consume without censorship.
15. Labor backbencher Graham Perrett is the Member for Porn
It wasn’t so much that Salt Shakers were outraged Labor MP Graham Perrett had written an erotic novel that warranted inclusion in this list, it was the fact The Daily Telegraph included a giant image labeling Perrett the Honourable Member for Porn. As you might recall, Salt Shakers were opposed because they believe leaders of the nation should not be encouraging reading that contains ‘extremely graphic’ and ’sexual’ material.
14. Swallow this
A pamphlet that advised readers of some precautions to take if experimenting with drugs was declared a drug taking manual by some parents. NSW Health Minister Reba Meagher pulled the leaflet from circulation.
13. Salo stays banned
A submission to the Classification Board to have a Criterion Special Edition of Salo released on DVD was turned down. It remains banned in Australia despite being available in New Zealand.
12. McMenamin and Wikipedia nasties
McMenamin didn’t spend her entire year accusing those opposed to Internet Censorship of advocating child pornography. In September she chucked a massive stink over ‘sexualized’ images on Wikipedia. She said that while she supported sex education, displaying sexualised images in a freely available online encyclopaedia ‘crosses the line’. Unfortunately for Bernadette, Wikipedia doesn’t exist to cater to individual morals or ‘lines’, it’s for sharing knowledge.
11. More adult films banned
Even in 2008 adult movies were still refused classification. Australian Rosie Road Trips #2 and Manplay 37 were just two of the recent adult titles to be banned by Australian censors. Unfortunately, there was more.
10. Not wicked, obscene!
A Brisbane mother was up in arms about suggestive artwork painted on Wicked Camper Vans. QLD Premier Anna Bligh was also outraged and lodged a complaint with the ASB (after the QLD police and Attorney-General presumably told her to get nicked). Wicked complied with the board’s request to remove the artwork.
9. Teachers: What you do in your own time is our business
Sydney primary school teacher Lynne Tziolaswas was given the boot after some parents complained about an article in Cleo magazine where Tziolaswas is photographed naked and discusses the bedroom habits of her and her husband. ‘It’s definitely an overstepping of teaching ethics’ said one parent.
8. Would you like a free condom with that?
Angela Conway from the Australian Family Association said a promotion where free condoms were given out with the purchase of Vodka Cruisers was promoting a “booze-drenched culture” among young people and it and it encouraged people to “get caught up in having casual sex with little consideration of the consequences.” Alco Dwarf also copped it in 2008.
7. High rise paedophile fear
Parents of students at Wynnum’s Guardian Angels Primary School in Brisbane stopped a high rise development from being built near the school over fears that paedophiles would have a bird’s eye view of their children. In response, Brisbane City Council reduced the buildings height from eight storeys to five storeys. The same event played out a week later at building development near a school on Brisbane’s north side.
6. Little Miss Outraged
The Australian Childhood Foundation demanded retail fashion chain Jay Jays withdraw their line of Little Losers clothing, claiming they sent the wrong message to impressionable tweens and teens. Australian Women Online also called for Jay Jays to remove the clothes. Jay Jays decided to remove the shirts from their stores window displays and not to restock shirts that carry alcohol-related messages or sexual innuendos.
5. Film shorts banned at Melbourne Queer Film Festival
The Melbourne Queer Film Festival couldn’t screen their special presentation of The Erotic Films of Peter de Rome because the package of shorts (currently classified X18+ in Australia) was denied exemption from classification — even though they would have been shown to adults only.
The New South Wales Supreme Court ruled that a fictional cartoon character was a ‘person’ within the meaning of the relevant state and commonwealth laws. Has the judge ever watched an episode of The Simpsons.
3. Longer Lasting Censored
A.M.I had family groups fuming and parents foaming all because of a giant yellow billboard that said Want Longer Lasting Sex.
Likely a direct result of the Henson controversy, the Advertising Standards Bureau found the billboard not only sexualised children, but was confronting to a large section of the community. They ordered its removal. A.M.I responded with a new ad reading Want Longer Lasting Censored. It generated nearly equal outrage.
2. Five games banned
2008 set a new record for Australia, with five notable video games banned. The damage: F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, Silent Hill: Homecoming, Fallout 3, ShellShock 2: Blood Trails, and Dark Sector. Grand Theft Auto IV was edited for Australian audiences prior to being released.
1. Bill Henson and the case of the missing pornography
When does nudity automatically become sexual?
Complaints from Hetty Johnston over artist Bill Henson’s naked photographs of a teenage girl created possibly the biggest moral panic Australia has seen in decades.
Police raided art galleries, the media went on a witch hunt and politicians lined up to express their disgust, including Kevin Rudd.
The ACB promptly classified the photographs as PG, but it was too late. Henson’s image had been tarnished and for what.
Two high profile cases were not included in this list as they are still ongoing: Senator Conroy’s fight for Internet censorship and the case involving Chris Illingworth.