It’s always “backwards day” for adults in Australia

Travelers to Australia are getting a little extra something now when they enter the country. Upon arrival, they’re greeted with a long line. Mistakenly thinking this is the beginning of all that globally-rumored Ausse hospitality, tourists eagerly queue up in the line for A-listers, exhausted after their long journey and thrilled to know they are about to taken care of, Australian style. It’s all going to be foot rubs, champagne, and shrimp on the red carpet barbie until their passports are stamped and they get to finally experience the friendliness and beauty of Australia.

Until they realize the line is Passport Control searching people they suspect of bringing porn into the country.

No, they didn’t take a wrong turn at Albuquerque and land in Pakistan. That snap of the glove before ruining a vacationing honeymooner’s wedding night is actually the sound of Australia implementing their new laws that prohibit the import of illegal porn into the country. The implementation’s changes were “sneaked through” so I’m guessing the people with the rubber gloves don’t know their MILFs from a LOLcat, and since “illegal” to them includes scenes with “extreme degradation” no one will be sneaking any fully clothed pictures of Courtney Love into the country anytime soon.

So in the plane on your way Down Under, if you fill out your little entry card and say “yes” to having porn on you — no, it doesn’t say what kind of porn, just any porn — return your seats to their uptight position and lube up: you get a very special greeting upon landing. Good thing looking at all that porn taught you how to grab your ankles.

Your first taste of Australia *the preview* depends on which media outlets you’re getting your information from. It is either a scary Orwellian journey to a country tourists will think twice about returning to ever again after being treated like baby rapers upon arrival — OR — their privacy holes are already so reamed from being American citizens they barely notice Australia taking its turn in the human rights gangbang (antiporn edition). For example:

* Customs porn searches baffle travellers (

* New porn rules aren’t bothering travellers (

Um… which one is it?

More importantly, if I ever go to Australia (and I was really hoping to someday), how the hell do I answer that question? Surely even if I don’t have my laptop, any of my books, photos on my camera of the last event I reported on, an iPod with rap videos or the movie “Clockwork Orange” on it… I’ll still have my Android phone in my purse. And we all know what that means.

How did this happen, Australian lawmakers? We know your drains go in the opposite direction Down There. Does your common sense, also? This law was a result of your anti-porn campaigns to stop the flow of illegal porn into your country, and you have to admit that it got a little crack-pipe scented when you made porn illegal that contains women with A-cups, claiming that images of naked girls who have small breasts are equivalent to kiddie porn, and that this is linked to pedophilia. You said you read studies that proved it. Itty Bitty Titty Crisis: averted. Well, I hope you all learn how to jack off with handcuffs on Down There for when you read studies from like-minded ideologists with equally dubious data claiming that gay people are also pedophiles who marry dingoes.

Photo by Christian J Petersen.

UPDATE: This is great — reader Ben Caradoc-Davies thoughtfully left a link in the comments where I can download the new “Incoming Passenger Card” so I can practice before landing:

incoming passenger card for Australia

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  1. As an Aussie I think this whole thing totally sucks. First they decide to censor the internet, now they’re cracking down on “porn”. Even if you declare that you are not carrying any porn, they can decide that they think you may have some, and therefore can search not only your luggage, but any electronic devices you may be carrying, such as your mobile phone, laptop, iPad, Kindle and what not. Many of us think that this new porn rule is simply an easy way for them to make it legal for them to search your electronic devices.

  2. those aussies and that pesky 1st amendment… don’t they know about their own constitution… oh wait. I just don’t get religious conservatism. forced doctrinal theology based on a philosophy of personal responsibility and betterment?? I thought autocracy had been whipped by my grandpa 75 years ago. I thought we were gonna have to deal with environmental reclamation, clean energy and non-predatory capitalism.
    as an aside, i lurrve the girls from that side of the planet, I’ve been checking I shot myself, etc, for years now… xx

  3. US and Canadian customs services have had much the same attitude in the past – if you have anything that you do not declare, that the inspecting agent doesn’t like, it is confiscated on the spot. No appeal, no anything. If you are very lucky, you can take them to court and have them reprimanded – and they just keep doing it and doing it and doing it. While there are a lot of Customs agents who do their job, it appears that there is a check-and-balance system needed very badly. According to Customs for both the US and Canada, it always falls on the traveller to check the rules ahead of time, but enforcement falls to the actual agent, who can pretty much make up the rules on the spot.

    I’m guessing that those that had no complaints about the change in policy and paperwork in Australia didn’t have any porn they were bringing in.

  4. It happened because we were conned by the labour party not telling us that a substantial number of their top people are rabid church goers.

    The porn question will hopefully add to the internet censorship issue and cause a massive alteration in voting intentions in the up-coming election.

    I hope to vote for the Sex Party if one of them stands in my state.

    I plan to stock up on inane porn so that next time I travel I can tick the box and amuse the gents in the goods to declare channel. It can add to the sight of my nipple piercings and stocking clad legs when they bring in the x-ray check.

  5. I might add, while I’m wating for people back home to wake up, so I can call them – Yeah, Australia has had some very screwed up BS censorship. We will likely have many more with people like Kevin “The Smiler” Rudd and Stephen “Against the filter? You’re a child pornographer” Conroy in power.

    But for shit’s sake, Get it RIGHT. By NOT doing your research, and Critiquing us for laws that don’t actually exist, situations that never occurred, and so on, you’re only harming the process of getting these problems fixed, and lowering awareness of the ACTUAL problems.

  6. Ever since John Howard became Prime Minister in 1996, the Christian agenda has been pushed quite hard. Some of this was obvious with the appointment of Archbishop Peter Hollingworth to be our Governer General, and the appointment of the head of the Salvation Army, to coordinate the Drugs Strategy.
    What was not obvious was the people apointed to the Censorship board, and as we can see the rather stupid decisions, such as A-cup porn stars.
    There has always been a group of killjoys known as “wowsers” in Australia, generally Christians, but usually just a vocal minority. Now they been getting into government, and inflicting their smallmind ideas on the country.
    It’s rather disturbing that the present PM Kevin Rudd, is the leader of the Parliament prayer group.

  7. Wait, so if the porn you have is LEGAL,they simply take a look at it and let you be on about your merry way? That’s awesome! Don’t you see how we break them? You get everyone you know flying to Australia to really stock up on porn (I’m talking whole hard drives of the stuff; but make sure the ladies aren’t A-cups). Hours and hours of porn; maybe some gay porn or granny videos, if those are legal there. Then make them sift through it all during your check. Make THEM be the ones embarrassed to be in the situation. I’m sure after a few days of being forced to look at bad, commercial porn for hours on end, customs officials will be petitioning to repeal the law.

  8. I should point out something – That you should be very Suspect of the source of this story – The Australian Sex party.


    Well, that turned out to be an absolute and total load of bollocks.

    It was just part a generic statement from the Classification board, stating that they would refuse classification to porn that’s trying to emulate underage sex.

    What happens if something is refused classification? Well, it’s not legal to sell, rent, or show in cinemas – just the same as any other media – but it’s perfectly legal to own.

    How did this come about? Apparently, an Australian Sex Party member was shown “Barely Legal”, Finally Legal” and “Purely 18”, and TOLD they were banned because of the small breasts (and not by the Classification board or anyone involved, by an unknown 3rd party) – and while all of these films were indeed refused classification(again, not banned) they were RC’ed in 2008, 2003, and 2001 respectively.

    What was the net result? The ASP, lacking all the information required, kicked up a stink for their own political gain, over an issue that didn’t exist, with the effect of making Australia look like a Backwards, Puritanical and authoritarian nation in the eyes of the world.

    Needless to say, I’m looking into this before I comment too strongly on this issue one way or the other – I’m an Australian Ex-flight attendant, and a few of my mates still work in Customs on various levels, as well as a few old co-workers who pass through customs on a daily basis, so I’ll make a few calls and ask around.

    Can’t comment myself – the last time I went through Australian customs was two years ago, when I emigrated to England – If you want some really messed up laws, now that’s where you should start looking.

  9. I’d been planning on cleaning up my hard drive ahead of my trip away on Friday because of potential issues entering Malaysia, but it’s sad that I really have to do it to return to my own country.

    Why are we going backwards?

  10. This stupid and retarded law makes me glad I never leave the country. It’s the stupidest thing our government’s ever done.
    How backwards is it that you can access and buy pretty much any kind of porn you want in the country, but don’t you dare bring something as tame as photos of your beloved in a bikini. Maybe you should post your porn here before you arrive!
    Or simply visit the nations Capital, Canberra, the place where all things normally banned across the rest of the country, such as truly hard core porn and fireworks can be freely purchased by anyone over 18. If I told you that Canberra is where all the politicians and foreign diplomats live and congregate would you be surprised that you can do almost anything there without raising eyebrows.
    If that’s not enough to make me embarrassed to admit Im Australian, a member of parliament has just been booted for visiting a ‘sex club’ – And here I was proud that abortions are both legal and easily obtainable.
    Where asking where the blody hell are you? we want you to come visit us but don’t bring porn across our borders #Fail

  11. okay okay, the real punchline is in the ABC article and I should have included it in the post:

    “Under the rules, if travellers declare pornography and it is not illegal they will keep it. ”

    oh yeah. so you don’t THINK what you have could be called porn, but if they SAY it’s porn then they take it from you. (and jack off to it on their breaks?) apply that to having pics of your wife in a topless swimsuit, saying you don;t have porn, and then the creeps see it and say you lied so they get to keep your wife’s pic (and it ends up… on the internet?)

    a perfect example of people being so irrational about controlling porn that they create a system ripe for even worse abuses.

    I’ll be the girl they put back on the plane in a straitjacket after screaming “GIVE ME BACK MY PORN!!!!” in Passport Control until they drag me out.

  12. I actually heard about the search of porn in Australian airports from Chelsea Lately and wondered if you would cover it. I find it a bit ridiculous especially since searching through people’s luggage for porn is a bit of waste of time. What are they going to do if they come across an adult film actress? Are they going to arrest the actress because she or he has been featured in porn?

  13. Yes, the problem of not declaring is that Australian customs views searches as mandatory. If they find items that have not been declared they crack a shitty and can fine you.

  14. I’m aussie and I love porn, I mean I really, really love porn.

    Technically you can’t have a cheeky photo of your significant other from a tropical holiday. What the point in that! I’m a big guy who sweats a lot, but i take tropical holidays so i can see my wife in a tiny bikini, or less. Now my government has decided that if I decide to take a photo of it I have to tell a man in a suit when i return home. My porn and my sexuality are my business and I do not want it regulated by government.

    Censorship gone wrong, somedays i wonder whether or not I should just change countries. The weather here is nice, but the government is atrocious.

  15. Thanks for throwing some derision at our Aussie politicians, it’s less than they deserve.

    Although our government is nominally liberal it’s been well infiltrated by the religious right and voters are only just starting to discover outcomes like this.

    The differences between the two news reports can be explained quite simply: the alarmist one was put together by Rupert Murdoch’s attack dogs and the more balanced one by our public radio network.

  16. The science-fiction reader in me can’t help but wonder what would happen if they could scan our brains for porn. Imagine it:

    “Think about tables, think about tables, think about tables, hey that customs official is pretty cute-fuck! TABLES TABLES NO PORN aaaaaa not again!”.

    @David: Yup, I agree on the topic of customs officials. Coming from a tiny European country, I am so thankful for the EU – saves lots of time and when traveling around.

  17. Gabriel G.: My fear would be that they may search you anyway (if not for porn, then for some other reason). And that if they DID find some I had not declared, they’d deny me entry into the country; which, after a 20+ hour plane flight, would be enough to destroy my psyche.

    Jincey Lumpkin, Esq.: I disagree with you, and I could see sometime in the next five to ten years getting a chance to say, “I told you so.” And on that day, I will cry. Customs officials petty tyrants of their own petty little kingdoms, and can do whatever they please, however they please. You have no real rights at customs control. Hell, one time I came back from Japan with a few sex toys I bought for friends, and declared them on my form. Oh my god, you would have thought I said I had drugged-up Thai children in my suitcase! They went over every square centimeter of my checked luggage, carry on luggage, jacket pockets… everything! They were even checking UNDER THE LINING of my suitcases, all because I said I’d bought a couple of vibrators and Tenga cups. Welcome back to the “Land of the Free”, indeed.

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