The Hon. GREG DONNELLY
[10.52 p.m.]: I will speak about a matter that as a result of pure coincidence has touched the Parliament over the past week and a half: pornography. I did the research for this speech towards the end of the winter recess and this is my first opportunity to make it. This is a serious issue that in the main our parliaments and legislatures are ignoring. It is true that some individuals belled the cat on this issue a while ago and have regularly spoken out about it, including Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile and a handful of other people in this country.
I well appreciate that many, both inside and outside this House, do not want to address this issue. For example, the adult industry, led by the Eros Association, has in the past taken great pleasure beating up on members of Parliament who have spoken out about pornography and calling into question its serious impact on individuals and our community. Such individuals have been characterised as God botherers or John Howard 1950s white picket fencers. They have been depicted as uptight and in dire need of a prescription for those little blue tablets. All this carry-on is nothing but diversionary activity; that is, it is designed to distract. The time has come for the pornography industry to give a full account of what it is doing and how much damage is it inflicting on individuals in our society.
Tonight I direct the attention of members to a book review entitled "The truth about the porn industry" by Julie Bindel that appeared in the Guardian Weekly
on 2 July 2010. I warn members that the material it discusses is both confronting and disturbing—indeed, one could describe its content as shocking, and that would not be an exaggeration. The book is entitled Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality
. The author is the well-known and well-regarded academic and activist Professor Gail Dines. She is Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies at Wheelock College in Boston. As the reviewer notes, Professor Dines has been at Wheelock College since 1986 and is seen by some as a lone voice in academia speaking out about this issue. However, that is changing as she takes her research and publications into the public domain for debate and discussion.
To be honest, the book review turned my stomach and prompted me to ask myself: Where is this material taking us? After thinking about the issue for a few days, I decided to buy the book. Yes, it was purchased from Amazon on a computer in my parliamentary office. I have read the book—it is only about 200 pages long—but doing so has made me feel pretty numb and I do not intend to refer to the content. If any member of Parliament would like to borrow it to get a detailed insight into the modern pornography industry, I am willing to lend it. However, I repeat my warning that it is distressing and disturbing.
Where to go from here is a question that society cannot continue to ignore. Gail Dines is playing her part and I congratulate her on that. The final chapter of the book is entitled "Fighting Back". It contains a number of interesting proposals that are worth discussing and exploring. Professor Dines helped to establish an activist group called Stop Porn Culture that has chapters throughout the United States of America, Canada, Scotland and England. A slide show that has been developed to raise public awareness about the significance of this daunting social problem can be obtained free of charge at email@example.com
. I encourage members to take some time to look at the site.