Offensive campervan slogans banned in Queensland

A slogan on a Wicked Campers vehicle in New Zealand reads: "I believe in karma. That means I can do things to people all day long and I assume they deserve it." Image copyright Fiona Goodall
Image caption Similar slogans have been used by Wicked Campers in New Zealand

An Australian state has banned sexist and offensive slogans on campervans and other vehicles following a high-profile campaign.

It follows complaints about "degrading slogans and imagery" on hire vehicles primarily aimed at young backpackers.

Queensland passed the laws on Tuesday night, meaning vehicles can be deregistered if owners do not remove slogans deemed to be offensive.

The complaints were chiefly directed at a company called Wicked Campers.

The government has criticised the company, which is based in Queensland, for using the adverse publicity to promote its business.

"Offensive advertising includes advertising that uses obscene language, that is degrading, that deals inappropriately with sex or violence or very importantly that discriminates against or vilifies any section of the community," said Minister for Main Roads Mark Bailey.

The opposition's anti-domestic violence spokeswoman, Ros Bates, said she was appalled by the slogans.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The messages have been criticised for degrading women

"[The slogans] include 'it's easier to apologise than ask for permission', and 'I can already imagine the gaffer tape on your mouth'... and for any member of our society these slogans are sickening and perverse," Ms Bates said.

"These vans promote rape, encourage sexism and incite violence and control."

The new powers can be enforced if slogans are not removed within 14 days of a complaint being upheld by the nation's Advertising Standards Bureau.

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The change comes after more than 125,000 people signed a petition calling for Wicked Campers to take down its slogans.

"I just feel like it's wallpapering our lives, this idea, this obsession with sex, and creating a sex-obsessed male and a victim female, a hyper-sexualised 'asking for it' female," Paula Orbea told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation after starting the petition in 2014.

Mr Bailey said he hoped other Australian states would pass similar laws to ban sexist and offensive adverts.

Ms Bates said she was concerned Wicked Campers would simply relocate interstate.

The BBC has contacted Wicked Campers for comment.

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