Transport Operations (Road Use Management) (Offensive Advertising) Amendment Bill

Extract from Hansard – Tuesday 14 February 2017
Mr ELMES (Noosa—LNP) (5.12 pm): I rise to speak on the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) (Offensive Advertisement) Amendment Bill 2016 or it is probably better termed for what it is and that is the Wicked Campers bill. This company has certainly been thumbing their nose at any reasonable attempt by either the public or the government to bring them into line. This is not something that is new to this parliament. I recall in 2012 then Premier Anna Bligh calling on Queenslanders to boycott this company. In 2013 the whole matter was referred to the Health and Community Services Committee. They handed down report No. 36 on 31 January 2014.

There is no doubt that advertising on the side of vehicles is a valuable form of advertising. In my own case, the car I use around my electorate has me adorned all around it. On both sides there is a very large photo of my face. I know members will find this surprising, but someone did find it offensive and it was egged on one occasion. On another occasion there was a message under my windscreen wiper suggesting it was a good face for radio. We cannot deny that advertising on the sides of vehicles is effective.

The problem on this particular occasion is that this is a company that is registered in Queensland and operates out of Brisbane that is thumbing its nose at this parliament, thumbing its nose at the Advertising Standards Bureau and thumbing its nose at the community in general. I have the nasty feeling in the pit of my stomach that ever since we started talking about this in 2012 we have helped this company along by continually talking about them. I am sure the directors of Wicked Campers are sitting in their office as we speak drinking whiskey and smoking a cigar in time-old fashion counting their dollars as these particular campervans are rented out and display these lewd messages all over Queensland and northern New South Wales.

We could probably understand it if we were dealing with a multination company that was thumbing its nose at Queensland and saying, ‘What would they know?’ We could probably even understand it if it were a huge Australian company, but Wicked Campers is based in Queensland. I presume the owners and directors of this company have wives and daughters and that those wives and daughters would from time to time—I hope not very often because I hope not too many people are hiring their vans—are seeing these messages displayed on the side of the vans.

The legislation that we are debating today is a good step in the right direction. There is no doubt in my mind that at some point in the future we are going to have to come back and look at this particular company again in some other form. As others speaker have mentioned today, it will be very easy for Wicked Campers to simply send their vans off to New South Wales and have them registered there and not have to comply with some of the provisions detailed in this particular piece of legislation.

We have a great opportunity today to start the ball rolling. I would hope that when we all go home to our electorates that we make sure that each of our communities knows that this particular piece of legislation has been passed. I hope we all encourage each and every constituent whenever they see a Wicked Campers campervan to get on to the Advertising Standards Bureau and complain and complain strenuously. I hope their local member of parliament takes up this issue on their behalf.

As I said, there is no doubt in my mind that we will be back doing this again before very long. This is a good step in the right direction. It is a step that we should collectively take. I hope what we are doing today causes the owners and directors of Wicked Campers some discomfort. I look forward to being able to cause them some more discomfort in the future.