Australian Politician: Ban Hardcore Adult Nationwide

Tod Hunter
CANBERRA, Australia — Former National Party leader John Anderson has suggested that the current ban on hardcore adult material in Australia's Northern Territory should be extended nationwide.

The Australian government has banned pornography and alcohol in remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory as part of a strategy to combat violence against children. It also is considering overruling the Northern Territory's liberal censorship laws, which allow the sale of hardcore adult material.

Anderson, who served as Deputy Prime Minister from 1999-2005 and currently is serving in the Australian House of Representatives, has claimed that by banning porn sales in Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territories, the government had effectively conceded there was a link between watching adult material and dysfunctional behavior.

“What you have here is a giant hypocrisy that no one has wanted to tackle,” Anderson said. “The minute it's questioned, the members who have questioned it are immediately targeted by the X-rated video industry lobby groups. I think what comes out of this is we are now conceding that there's a problem with this stuff, and frankly I think that all governments ought to have a long hard look at it again."

Fiona Patten, CEO of the Eros Foundation, the Australian adult industry's lobby group, said the legal pornography industry was unlikely to be part of the problem in the Northern Territory.

Patten said only 144 orders were received from the Territory by the largest mail and Internet order company last year. These 144 orders compare to 4686 for New South Wales, 4057 for Queensland, 2336 for South Australia, 949 for Tasmania, 3292 for Victoria and 5950 for Western Australia.

The controversial proposal was in response to an officially commissioned report released in late June that said child abuse was rampant in indigenous communities in the Northern Territory, with alcohol abuse, unemployment, poverty and other factors causing a breakdown in civil society.

"This is a national emergency," Prime Minister John Howard told Parliament when he announced the ban. "We're dealing with a group of young Australians for whom the concept of childhood innocence has never been present."