Honourable Michael Ferguson, MP
Canberra, ACT, 2600
I am having quite a bit of trouble getting our Prime Minister and Attorney General to recognise the devastating effect hardcore pornography is having on women and children in the Aboriginal community.
X-Rated videos/DVDs are illegal to be sold, hired or displayed in any state in Australia. They are only available in the territories where they can then be ordered and sent to any of our states.
I am enclosing some material for you outlining why we think it is a bad policy to not have national standards governing X-Rated videos/DVDs. We think the same restrictions should be applied in the territories as already exist in all of our states.
The Govt is rightly spending millions of dollars helping our indigenous population with their housing difficulties, job opportunities, health care problems, etc yet it seems to care not about the rampant sexual abuse of their women and children.
We know that placing restrictions on X-Rated videos/DVDs is no panacea for all of their problems but we also know that it would help curb their horrendous sexual abuse, would cost the government nothing and would simply bring the territory's laws into line with all of our state's laws. Does this make sense to you?
Please let me know if I can provide you with further facts, figures and examples of how a reduction in the availability of hardcore porn leads to a reduction in sexual violence.
Also please let me know if you understand the sense of our argument. Can you assist us in our seemingly reasonable task to protect women and children from the devastating effects of the ready availability of hardcore pornography?
Jack Sonnemann, Dir
Australian Federation for the Family
Attorney General The Honourable Philip Ruddoch, MP
6 September 2006
Dear Mr Ruddoch,
Thank you for your letter of 23 August (04/10800,MC06/11355) regarding my inquiry to the Prime Minister as to why X-Rated videos are not legal to be sold, hired or displayed in any State in Australia yet are freely available in the Territories.
I asked if they were banned in each and every State in Australia, especially in the light of so much Aboriginal sexual violence recently highlighted in the Northern Territory, why were they not banned in the Territories as well?
You stated in your letter that you are "advised that the research on the link between watching sexually explicit material and crime is inconclusive." Who is advising you?
I have been invited to prepare parliamentary submissions before every state parliament in Australia on several occasions to show the link between pornography and sexual violence and am including in this letter just a few of the facts concerning some of the proven harmful effects of pornography in Australia and elsewhere.
Dr Don Thompson, consultant to the Australian Law Reform Commission, Fellow of the Australian Psychology Society, Victorian Barrister and Chairman of Forensic Psychology at Monash University in an address to the Victorian Criminal Justice Symposium on 16 March 1991 stated, "The conclusion I draw from the findings of the different lines of research is that pornography is causally related to sexually violent behaviour."
Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Macquarie University, R Power, is quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald as saying if human attitude and behaviour were not impacted by visual imagery we would not have advertising campaigns. Northern Territory Supreme Court Justice Sir William Kearney says, "People who think there is no connection between pornography and the violent and bizarre crimes that come before the courts ought to do the case studies." (NT News 1 June 1989)
Mr Justice Cosgrove, in sentencing a young rapist in Burnie Criminal Court says "he hoped the case would stand as an example to those people who claimed there was no connection between pornography and rape." (Sun Herald 22 Dec 91)
Detective Senior Constable Brad Hafner says in eight years work with the Juvenile Aid Bureau in Queensland every sexual offender he had charged had used pornography as a stimulant to crime. He states, "Pornography is the recurring factor and in every major sexual investigation, pornography has been an issue." (Cairns Post 1 Aug 1990)
Inspector Sprague, in charge of the Mr Cruel Task Force in Melbourne set up to investigate the abduction, sexual molestation and murder of schoolgirl Carmen Chan says, "We're staggered by the amount of porn in the community. I'm convinced… that there is a strong link between porn and the amount of sex crimes we get." Sunday Tasmanian 28 Feb 1993)
Victorian Crown Prosecutor Richard Read who deals regularly with cases involving pornography and sex crimes is quoted in the Sun Herald of 22 Dec 1991 as saying, "There definitely is a very clear link between the two."
"On Mornington Island, men had forced children as young as 7 to engage in acts depicted in pornographic videos. A 5 year-old boy recently suffered internal injuries after older boys tried to emulate a scene from another video." (Sydney Morning Herald 15 May 1990)
Aboriginal research consultant Judy Atkinson, in her book Looking at the Problem, cites several atrocities committed due to X-Rated videos. "A worker at a Northern Territory women's shelter described how women are being raped with a stick after porn videos. Rapes are being perpetrated on drunken women by young boys 10 - 15. Young girls from 8 years upward are being sexually misused by adult Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal men in exchange for beer. They are being shown hardcore porn videos and encouraged to perform similarly."
You state in your letter that "legally available pornography does not contain violence." Are you, or your advisers, aware of the volumes of peer-reviewed scientific journals that point out the dangers of so-called non-violent pornography?
Acting Chief Inspector David Jeffries with the Juvenile Aid Bureau in Brisbane says, "Molesters often use readily available, soft porn material to entice little children and break down their resistance." (Courier Mail 11July 1988)
The Canadian Fraser Commission on Pornography and Prostitution studied the impact of violent and non-violent pornography. Their startling finding was that when it came to forcing women into unwanted sex acts 'commonly available, non-violent pornography had a substantially greater impact than violent pornography." (Pornography: Research Advance and Policy Considerations, pp 147-151, Lawrence Earlbaum Assoc, Hillsdale NJ, 1989)
Drs John Lyons and David Larson, MD, published A Systematic Analysis of the Social Science Research on the Effects of Violent and Non-Violent Pornography in 1992. They identified 81 research studies from as far back as 1971 which had been previously published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and included most, it not all, of the important studies in the field of visual pornography. Their professional analysis concludes, "Systematic research results suggest that exposure to pornography does have an important causal impact."
Drs Lyons and Larson also found that studies of non-violent pornography show harmful effects. "Non-violent pornography contributes to aggressive and callous attitudes and behaviour towards women." A Systematic Analysis…
The U S Department of Justice media release from the National Taskforce on Child Exploitation and Pornography (21 Feb 1987) stated, "Connections between pornography and violent sex-related crimes, including rape of women and molestation of children have been proved by scientific research and hard data. They are no longer supposition."
Australian Press Council News February 1993, in an article entitled "Pornography and the Press Council" Hon Dr Marlene Goldsmith, MLC (now deceased) criticises the Press Council for failing to uphold reasonable complaints from the public. She cites numerous studies where pornography is related to sex crimes in the US, Scandinavia, UK, Australia and New Zealand.
Dr Goldsmith found Alaska and Nevada with five time higher porn sales than North Dakota had six times the rape rates. "Overall, a fairly strong correlation was found between rape and circulation rates in 50 states in studies by Milne-Horne, Baron and Straus and the US Attorney General."
Dr Goldsmith quite rightly stated, "We spend millions on affirmative action, we profess (at least publicly) horror at racism, and yet misogynistic visual images are, to many, sacrosanct. Women are being raped, beaten, murdered, but their right to life and liberty is considered less than the right to purchase or profit from pornography."
Australian Family Physician magazine, June 1992, in an editorial entitled Serial Killers and Sexual Violence stated that the Strathfield massacre perpetrator 33 year-old Wade Frankum was a regular buyer of pornographic magazines. They also found in his flat catalogues of "sexually explicit X-rated videos - heterosexual and homosexual - legally available from Canberra."
Australian Family Physician magazine also quotes Crown Prosecutor Richard Read as saying, "With the present level of violent crime and violent sexual crime, the onus of proving that there is no significant link between pornography and imitative criminal behaviour, lies squarely with those who assert, contrary to human experience, that there is no such causal link." The medical editor of this highly respected journal, Professor John Murtaugh, says "Clearly, ideas - and images - have consequences."
Murtaugh continues, "We have a major problem: our society, it seems, cannot come to terms with the widespread concern about the proliferation of permissive sex and violence and the warnings from the experts about further murderous rampages. The burden of proof does lie with opponents of appropriate controls. Those who argue for caution and restraint… are on the right track."
Just as an aside, the latest figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) released on 29 March this year found "Australians are more likely than people in any other developed nation to find themselves a victim of a serious crime, including sex crimes."
Well-respected, peer-reviewed scientific journal The New Scientist, in a cover story entitled "The Power of Pornography" contains a paragraph about Australia. It documents rapes skyrocketing in South Australia when the Dunstan government liberalised the pornography laws and contrasts that to the stable rape accounts in Queensland during the Bijelke Petersen government with its restrictive porn laws. The New Scientist goes on to say that international research shows a 2% increase in pornography correlates to a 1% increase in rape.
Those who assert falsely that what people see has no affect on what they do are perpetrating the lie that pornography has no detrimental effect upon society, quite the contrary. Pornography's victims are the weakest members of our society - our women and children - and they deserve legal protection.
I have hundreds of similar examples and have documented the link between pornography and sexual violence before several parliamentary committees across Australia. It seems plain from the experts that hard-core porn is causing harm - especially in the Aboriginal communities - and it makes no sense to me as to why X-Rated videos are outlawed in each state of Australia yet are freely available in the Territories.
I will ask you again, can you please explain to me, especially in the light of the above facts and figures, why X-Rated videos are not banned in the Territories?
Thank you for your time and attention to this vitally important matter.
Jack Sonnemann, Dir
Australian Federation for the Family