The writing for the iconic Wicked Campervans is on the wall.
Sadly, that writing is neither provocative nor amusing, as are most of the slogans you’ll find scrolled on their garishly painted vans.
The nanny state led campaign against the so-called ‘offensive vehicles’ — spearheaded by the easily offended — has now gone federal. Meaning the company, still widely in demand by younger international travellers, may have to tone down their confrontational slogans.
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Wicked Campervans crackdown
The AAP reports that Deputy Prime Minister and Transport Minister Michael McCormack said on Friday that, ‘These vehicles are offensive and belong in a junkyard not on Australian roads,’ He vowed to work with state counterparts to crack down on Wicked Campervans.
‘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.’
Meanwhile, Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer wrote to state and territory leaders and transport ministers, calling for a national approach to force the company to comply with community standards.
Ms O’Dwyer further said that use of the vehicles contradicted Australian values and was unacceptable.
‘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.
‘That’s why I’ve written to the states and territories to urge them to support a national approach to rid Australia of these offensive vehicles.’
Motor vehicle registries in Queensland and Tasmania have the power to deregister any vehicle that doesn’t comply with Ad Standards rulings. But so far, Wicked has been able to avoid fines and penalties, and continue their business, by changing vehicle registration to another jurisdiction once a complaint has been made.
A national scheme such as the one Ms O’Dwyer has called for would prevent this.
Tourists urged to avoid these offensive vehicles
Ms O’Dwyer and Mr McCormack urged international visitors not to rent Wicked’s ‘offensive’ vehicles.
That at least, offers a free market approach. If there is no demand for the Wicked vans, then the company would surely amend their paintwork.
But what O’Dwyer and McCormack fail to comprehend is that there is demand. And that many Australians enjoy the provocative slogans as well, even when they need to be explained to children.
The alternative is just another plain white van rolling down the highways.
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