Kelly O’Dwyer calls for removal of ‘offensive’ Wicked Campers slogans

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Federal Minister for Women Kelly O'Dwyer has called for a national approach to address the "offensive" slogans on Wicked Campers. Source: Getty

Federal Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer has called for urgent action against Australian business Wicked Campers, which is famous for its brightly coloured vans adorned with boundary-pushing slogans.

O’Dwyer slammed the company for the controversial messages that are spread across the camper vans, asking for support to advance a co-ordinated national approach to force Wicked Campers to comply with community advertising standards. 

The eye-catching vans are often used by tourists across the Australia and include slogans such as “in every princess there is a little slut that wants to try it just once” and “the best thing about oral sex — 5 minutes of silence”.

Although complaints have been filed against the company in the past, its been able to avoid compliance set out by the Ad Standards’ Community Panel through a series of loopholes.

First, as the company owns the vehicles that show the advertisements, and there is no third party media involved that has to comply by the Ad Standards rules, the vans are able to roam free without breaking any advertising laws.

In an effort to eliminate this loophole, both the Queensland and Tasmanian governments have legislated to give power to motor vehicle registries to deregister any vehicle that doesn’t comply with Ad Standards determinations.

However, Wicked Campers has been able to get away with this by changing vehicle registration to another state or territory once a complaint has been made.

Now in hopes of stopping the company in its tracks, O’Dwyer has called for other states and territories to come together to enforce a national approach on the issue so Wicked Campers has to comply with the standards set out across the country.

In a statement issued on Friday the minister claimed the phrases plastered all over the vans contradict Australian values.

“We have no tolerance for sexist, misogynistic and offensive slogans on campervans, or those displayed anywhere else for that matter, no matter how hard some try to justify their existence,” she said.

Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Regional Development Michael McCormack has echoed her views, claiming the department will continue prosecuting regulatory reforms to clamp down on the “offensive” vehicles.

At a council meeting last year, the Austroads Registration and Licensing Taskforce was given the green light to progress a national adoption of the Queensland’s policy to allow motor vehicle registries to deregister non-compliant vehicles. Representative members from each state and territory are expected to return to the next taskforce meeting with their recommendations.

In the meantime, McCormack has also called for tourists to opt for alternative rentals that don’t carry signs that “disrespect” locals including “repugnant” images that demean women or glorify drug-taking.

“Those vehicles are offensive and belong in a junkyard not on Australian roads,” he said in a statement.

“By choosing to avoid these vehicles, you’re also choosing to ensure parents or grandparents won’t have to explain the vile meaning of these disgusting signs or images to their children or grandchildren while driving on our roads.”

Starts at 60 has contacted Wicked Campers for comment.

What are your thoughts on the Wicked Campers? Do you find the slogans offensive? Do you think they should be removed from the vans?

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