Visitors to Australia Should Declare All Porn, Official Says

Oct 19, 2010 2:15 PM PST
DEAKIN WEST, Australia — Australian officials have tweaked passenger arrival cards that spell out what types of porn are banned in the country and must be declared to customs officials.

But the new arrival cards with their porn taboo lists only make matters more confusing, Australian Sex Party leader Fiona Patten contends.

According to the government, banned material includes explicit sexual violence, degradation, cruelty, non-consensual sex, child pornography and bestiality.

Patten told XBIZ that the new arrival cards, filled out by arriving passengers from overseas, are an invasion of privacy and that there are two sets of rules over "banned" content.

"The question on the cards is a completely unnecessary invasion of privacy by the government," she said. "It does not achieve anything and is completely confusing. No tourist visiting Australia is going to know what is legal and what is not.

"For example the full version of Digital Playground's 'Pirates' is illegal to import. To further confuse the debate, the film is actually quite legal to possess — just not import."

Visitors, who have been queried about porn material by Australian customs officials for about a year, have been surprised to find out that customs is targeting all forms of electronic media devices, including laptops, thumb drives and mobile phones, as well as DVDs.

"I have heard reports of people declaring honeymoon films and photos for fear that they might be in trouble if they didn't and customs found them," Patten said.

Justice Minister Brendan O'Connor, in a statement on Monday, said "all travelers should be aware that certain types of pornography are illegal and must be declared to customs."

"Even though there have been import bans on illegal pornography for a long time, some travelers still don't realize that," he said.

As a precaution, O'Connor said, visitors should declare any pornography if they are not sure if it is legal or not.

Making a false statement to a customs officer in Australia carries a fine of up to $11,000, while bringing in banned material can amount to a fine of up to $275,000.

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