Wicked vans ‘incite hatred’ and are ‘utterly unacceptable’
BALLINA MP Tamara Smith has welcomed changes to the Road Transport Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 which will outlaw offensive and sexist slogans.
Companies, such as Wicked Campers, are well known for covering their vehicles in controversial and polarising messages which have been a source of consternation in the local community.
The bill was adopted by state parliament on October 21, with members of the Ballina community, including Mayor David Wright, writing to support this move.
In his correspondence with Ms Smith, Cr Wright labelled the messages on such "derogatory and degrading."
"We all accept that the public display of language that is offensive, derogatory and degrading, particularly to women, is inappropriate and any assistance you can provide in addressing these concerns would be appreciated," he wrote.
In her speech to parliament on the bill, Ms Smith disagreed the move to outlaw these slogans contravened civil liberties.
"I disagree with the member who in their contribution referred to civil liberties and freedom of speech," she said.
"I do not think there is any place in any public forum for behaviour that incites hatred and violence towards women, and nor do I think anyone in this House thinks that."
"That is exactly what the slogans we have seen on vans in my area are.
"They incite violence towards women and are utterly unacceptable.
"The Greens think the Minister has got it right on that particular issue and we support the bill."
Lennox Head resident Beth Hansen detailed to Ms Smith how she was left feeling 'sick and revolted' after seeing a van displaying offensive messages in Ballina.
"I was left feeling sick and revolted when I saw the message on a … van driving around Ballina near a popular children's playground. I've got grandchildren, I can imagine anyone with children who was following van and the questions that might be asked. It's absolutely not wanted on our streets."
Wicked Campers was contacted for comment.