Australian Customs Porn Declaration

Travellers to Australia asked to decalre legal porm

20th May

Australian Embarrassment...

Travellers now have to declare any porn to Australian customs

The Australian Sex Party is demanding an enquiry into why a new question has appeared on Incoming Passenger Cards at the Customs point of entry into Australia. The new question asks if they are carrying any pornography .

Sex Party President, Fiona Patten, said that this development now gave Government officials an unfettered right to examine someone's laptop or mobile phone as they re-entered the country. A senior Customs official, Richard Janeczko, has been quoted as saying that materials stored on electronic media devices such as laptops, thumb drives and iPhones are on their target list.

Travellers must now also declare perfectly legal materials such as Category 1 and 2 Restricted magazines, X18+ films and quite probably a large section of R18+ films which have explicit sex in them. Ms Patten said the change marked the beginning of a new era of official investigation into people's private lives – being investigated or searched on the basis that you might have legal material in your possession.

She said that by answering YES to the new Question One on the declarations, people would then be asked whether they are declaring a weapon, illicit drugs or pornography. When they answered pornography their materials would then be examined by one and possibly a number of Customs Officers. If people were at all embarrassed by the question, often surrounded by family and friends, they could be taken into a private room and even have their person searched.

Is it fair that Customs officers rummage through someone's luggage and pull out a legal men's magazine or a lesbian journal in front of their children or their mother-in-law , she said?

Customs' official reasoning behind the changes states that No consultation was undertaken under section 17 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 before this instrument was made as it is of a minor or machinery nature and does not substantially alter existing arrangements.

How can the Minister call this monstrous invasion of people's privacy and the criminalisation of hundreds of thousands of people who will answer NO to this question out of embarrassment, a 'minor' or 'machinery' change , she said? If the question was designed to stop child pornography being smuggled into the country then the question should have asked about 'child pornography' and not about a product that one in four Australians use on a regular basis. (La Trobe University, Sex In Australia, 2006).

Ms Patten said the changes were part of a continuation of the demonisation of sex by the Christian leaders of both major parties.


3rd June

Update: Classified as Oppressive...

Australian Sex Party produce stickers against the customs porn declaration

Following the recent decision by Australian Customs to ask travellers to declare any pornography they may have on their laptops and mobiles, the Australian Sex Party has produced a series of luggage stickers designed to protest the stupidity of the decision.

Sex Party President Fiona Patten said that the stickers were made to point out not only the stupidity of the new question but the legislative sleight of hand that had underwritten it. The effect of these stickers will be to take the fight against this draconian and invasive question on the incoming passenger forms, to the front line of Customs , she said. I am sending a suite of stickers to the Customs Minister today and asking him to personally examine the use of the word 'pornography' in this issue. This word has no legal definition and Customs should not be using legally undefinable terms.

Ms Patten said that the federal government had made a fundamental error in interpreting and defining the nature of material being evaluated by Customs as well as material caught up in the internet filter. Up until the last couple of years, the term Refused Classification (RC) was used as a benchmark to determine and define material that could not be sold in Australia. Under the Classification Act (1995) the RC rating was created for the regulation of commercial media and entertainment content and had nothing to do with what an individual could access or own. It is still perfectly legal for individuals to possess, view and purchase RC rated material.

However both Customs and Senator Conroy have tried to extend the definition of this rating to include personal possession - which it was never intended to cover.

The Australian Customs Service and Senator Conroy are trying to align their initiatives with the Classification Act but are now saying that if something is unsuitable to be sold, its also unsuitable to be possessed or viewed as well. As a result, Australia has two competing definitions of Refused Classification. This is why you can be jailed for trying to bring material through Customs which is legal to possess, as soon as you walk out of the airport. It's also the reason that under Senator Conroy's filtering proposals sites containing material that is legal to view and possess will be blacklisted and blocked. ISPs can be fined large amounts for hosting material that is legal to possess.


27th October

Updated: Customs Blue Channel...

Nice n Naughty
Australian customs clarify required pornography declaration

Confused travellers unsure about what sort of porn they're allowed to bring into Australia have prompted a re-working of incoming passenger cards.

Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said he had asked to change the wording on the declaration cards travellers must fill out when they fly into Australia.

The previous card stated that travellers needed to disclose any 'pornography' they were carrying,' O'Connor said: That has now been amended to read 'illegal pornography .''

But with no further advice on hand about what constitutes 'illegal pornography' , travellers may be forced to run their selection by a Customs officer.

My advice to travellers is that if you're in doubt – find out, O'Connor said: Customs officers operate with discretion and the penalties for failing to declare a prohibited import are steep. Prohibited pornography includes child pornography and material depicting bestiality, explicit sexual violence, degradation, cruelty and non-consensual sex, a statement from the Minister said.

The Australian Sex Party claimed credit for the changes today. The party's spokesman Robbie Swan said he wrote to O'Connor's office about six months ago after receiving complaints from a number of members, including a couple on their honeymoon, who thought they had to declare naked pictures of themselves after reading the incoming passenger card. Others had called the party to complain that the ambiguous wording meant they were forced to declare material that was legal in Australia, he said.

A fine of up to $11,000 applies if travellers are caught making a false or misleading statement to a Customs officer.

Update: Honeymoon Snaps

27th October 2010.Based on article from , thanks to David

The Australian press is reporting that the poor treatment of a couple returning from honeymoon was the spur to a re-wording of Australia's porn declaration requirements at customs:

Afraid of breaking the law, an Australian couple returning home from an overseas honeymoon felt obliged to show customs officials naked photos of themselves.

[The couple were] on the beach, they were nude, they'd taken a photo of themselves on their iPhone having an embrace, said Robbie Swan, spokesman for the Australian Sex Party. It wasn't full on or anything, but when they'd gone through customs they'd asked what 'pornography' meant and the customs officer had said: 'Well, anything explicit.'

They were made to display a nude photo of themselves in a line with all these other people, Swan said. They were so embarrassed.

The Sex Party, a libertarian political organization and lobby group, says it has received complaints from angry citizens over the law, which was introduced late last year. The government has told travelers to show their photographs to customs officers if they are in doubt about the content.

The previous [arrival] card stated that travelers needed to disclose any 'pornography' they were carrying, Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said in a statement. That has now been amended to read 'illegal pornography.'

The government says illegal pornography in Australia includes child pornography and material depicting bestiality, explicit sexual violence, degradation, cruelty and nonconsensual sex.


7th April

Offsite: Ticking All the Right Boxes...

Australian Sex Party tick the customs porn declaration box

Fiona Patten of the Australian Sex Party tells us what happens when you declare pornography on an Australian landing card.

My customs declaration card asked if I was carrying any goods that may be prohibited or subject to restrictions, such as medicines, steroids, firearms, weapons of any kind, illegal pornography or illicit drugs ?

The DVDs I had were vanilla US porn. But because Australia's classification laws around the X rating are so strict just about every film that is classified X18+ in Australia requires a few edits to make it legal. Without those edits it would become part of the Refused Classification classification and illegal porn under Customs regulations.

I showed the first customs official my Incoming Passenger Card with 'yes ticked for question one and tried to show him my films but was quickly sent to another official. He checked my card and again I tried to show him my discs but was told to put them away for now. All of my bags were then X-rayed - why I'm not sure. Again I was asked about my answer to question one and again I tried to show the official my films but was asked to put them away and directed to a counter behind a screen.

Finally an officer wanted to see my porn. Well actually I don't think he did but it was his job. I placed the DVD boxes on the counter and the officer had a quick look at the back cover informing me that this was not what they were looking for. They were only interested in illegal pornography.

...Read the full See  article from


30th June

Offsite: Secretive Obscenity...

Nice n Naughty
So what porn is hot, and what is not at Australian Customs?

Australian classification laws are in the process of being overhauled, an overhaul which may see their powers increased. But few people know exactly what is currently banned in Australia.

Discussion of what might or might not be excluded by an internet filter hits a road block when it comes to Refused Classification or RC - a term that is at best vague. We are told that the promised filter will be set to catch RC content. However, few people (including some of the legislators) actually know what RC means.

Refused Classification is also the basis for the term illegal pornography , a description now appearing on Australian airport landing cards. All travellers must declare potentially-RC items when arriving in Australia. However, because neither the Classification Board nor Customs publish their guidelines, no-one knows what might be potentially-RC - until they are told that they have broken the rules. The penalties for breaching these invisible regulations include fines, deportation and imprisonment.

The Classification Board briefs Customs on their Guidelines and periodically gives scaled-down presentations to adult publishers in order to clarify the broad, grey, contradictory area that the Code defines. But other than that, no-one knows what they are in detail... until they get caught flouting them.

One adult publisher has sought to document the official Guidelines, based on briefings by the Board and noting over time the reasons given for submitted content being Refused Classification. According to a former Classification Board member, this document accurately reflects the official but unpublished Guidelines.

According to the document, material including any of the following is refused classification:

  • No depiction of violence, sexual violence, sexualised violence or coercion is allowed in the category. It does not allow sexually assaultive language. Nor does it allow consensual depictions which purposefully demean anyone involved in that activity for the enjoyment of viewers.
  • Fetishes such as body piercing [and tattooing], application of substances such as candle wax, golden showers , bondage, spanking or fisting are not permitted. As the category is restricted to activity between consenting adults, it does not permit any depictions of non-adult persons, including those aged 16 or 17, nor of adult persons who look like they are under 18 years.
  • Violence: rough or injurious physical force, action, or treatment. This includes actual violence (shooting, punching, pushing, throwing a person, etc), implied violence (gunshot sound effect, news article, mugshots), aftermath of violence (person with injury, dead body), threat of violence ( I'll kill you ), and violent behavior (woman holding gun while engaged in sex with man). Note down ANY and ALL violence, even if it looks contrived or unrealistic (plastic swords, etc). Depictions of dead people are also not permitted.

    The implied violence comment is so strict that it renders virtually all crossover drama/porn films (those that ape cop shows, fantasy films and drama, but with added full sex scenes).

    Adult videos have for instance been Refused Classification for showing a gun on a table or for showing a headline in a newspaper describing a murder. One video was refused classification because it was about people looking for a friend that had been kidnapped - even though the kidnapping was never shown. Another was rated RC because a character simply had a black eye. Another was rejected because of a scene showing a doctor putting on a pair of rubber gloves.
  • Sexual Violence: Spanking, choking, pinching, stepping on the face, hair pulling (either as a violent act or consensual fetish act), rough or man handling, face slapping, and general rough play are all prohibited;
  • General rough play is a description that could be attributed to virtually every film that features sex. Only one spank (as in a slap on the bum) is allowed at any one time. And that can't be very hard. All BDSM is banned.
  • Sexually assaultive language - a tone of voice or language that is demeaning and disparaging. Eg. Calling someone a whore or slut, or telling them to do something demeaning in a disparaging way. This does not include dirty talk .
  • Golden Showers: Urinating on one self or another person is objectionable. Female ejaculation or squirting is considered to be golden showers. The latter is controversial with medical discussion suggesting female ejaculation is a minority but normal sexual response.

...Read the full article


28th April

Update: Declaring Bollox Priorities...

Nice n Naughty
Australian Sex Party calls on customs to stop wasting time and money on porn
The Australian Sex Party has accused state and federal governments of directing Customs and police forces to crack down on sexually explicit material, wasting valuable resources that should be used to track firearms and other weapons coming into the community.

Customs officers now routinely intercept every shipment of X18+ films and Category 1 and 2 restricted magazines that come into Australia. One in every 10 people are either searched or questioned regarding the question that is asked on the Incoming Passenger Cards about pornography . Federal censorship authorities write over 20 letters each month to state police forces asking them to raid and prosecute businesses for selling federally classified X18+ films and in Queensland, Restricted Publications.

Sex Party Public Officer, Robbie Swan, said that the waste of enforcement resources on victimless crimes like non-violent erotica was in direct proportion to the lack of resources in tackling gun crimes. Every week state police forces will send an average of six police officers into an adult shop to raid and pack up an average of 4,000 X18+ films and document them for a court case , he said. Before the case gets to court an average of 100 police hours would be spent on processing the material and the paperwork to prosecute. Customs officers spend more time looking for porn than they do looking for firearms. We have attended Customs briefings where they bring out magnifying glasses to examine pornography with up to six Customs agents in the room.

Swan called on the federal Attorney General, Nicola Roxon, to implement the recommendations of the recent Australian Law Reform Commission's enquiry into censorship laws in Australia. If accepted, these reforms would free up large amounts of Customs and police hours, to focus on more important problems.


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