Dead end for offensive Wicked Campervans

Release Date: 
8 March 2019
Media release

The Hon Michael McCormack MP - Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development

The Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP - Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations, Minister for Women

The Liberal and Nationals Government is driving ahead with a multi-pronged strategy aimed at removing Wicked Campervans from Australian roads and their disgusting and offensive slogans.

Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer has written to State and Territory leaders and Transport Ministers seeking their urgent support to advance a co-ordinated national approach to force Wicked Campers to comply with community standards.

This approach aims to ensure the company can no longer expose cross-jurisdictional loopholes to escape accountability and continue displaying outdated, mysogynistic, vulgar and degrading signage which has masqueraded as vehicle advertising for too long.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Regional devleopment Michael McCormack will also continue prosecuting regulatory reforms to clamp-down on these offensive vehicles via the Transport and Infrastructure Council (TIC) forum of State, Territory and Federal Ministers.

At a Council meeting last year, the Austroads Registration and Licencing Taskforce was given the green light to progress national adoption of the Queensland Government’s successful approach.

In the meantime, both Senior Ministers are also calling on international travellers to send Wicked Campers a message by choosing to rent vehicles that don’t carry offensive signage.

By making informed and respectful purchasing decisions, it will send a clear commercial message to Wicked Campers through a proactive response that doesn’t require regulatory intervention.

For several years, Wicked Campers has failed to comply with Ad Standards’ Community Panel determinations to remove their offensive and degrading images from hire vehicles.

Because the company advertises on what’s effectively deemed their own material, there’s no third party media provider with which Ad Standards can work to achieve compliance.

The Queensland and Tasmanian governments have made efforts to deal with this issue by legislating to give power to motor vehicle registries to deregister any vehicle that doesn’t comply with Ad Standards determinations.

But Wicked Campers has been able to avoid compliance (and enforcement of large fines and penalties) by changing vehicle registration to another jurisdiction, once a complaint has been made.

Enforcing a national approach will ensure the company can’t ‘forum shop’ across jurisdictions, to expose this loophole and retain their offensive slogans on our roads.

Taskforce members comprising representatives from each State and Territory jurisdiction are expected to return to the next Taskforce meeting with their recommendations.

Mr McCormack said he would be urging State and Territory Transport Ministers to continue prosecuting reforms that would help drive these vulgar vans off-road for good.

He said visitors to Australia could also chose to rent and drive other vehicles immediately, that don’t carry signs which disrepsect and offended locals with lewd language or repugnant images such those which demean women or glorify drug-taking.

“These vehicles are offensive and belong in a junkyard not on Australian roads.

“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.”

Ms O’Dwyer said Australia was a modern and progressive country but the use of these vehicles contradicted those 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,” she said.

“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.”