Australian Child Protection Laws – new guidelines.

New draft guidelines related to Child Protection Laws have been released by the Australia Council in the aftermath of the Bill Henson controversies. and require that anyone taking photographs of children needs to obtain parental permission first. Ok we’ve been pressing for changes to the law but some of the recommendations offered constitute *far* too restrictive a change!

The issue as far as the majority of us has been concerned is the potential for exploitation of kids by or for paedophiles, and whilst the new rules do now make it clear that the naked child must be supervised by the parent(s) and that they must understand the nature of the artwork that is to be produced there are no clues regarding how these (or the other) guidelines are to be enforced!

Basically the new rules have swung too far in one direction but not far enough in another!

Under the rules I (for example) wouldn’t be allowed to take pictures of my kids at a school concert or at a school swimming gala, or other sporting event, unless a parent of *every* child who attended gave explicit permission for photos to be taken! Can you really see this happening?

What’s worse is that a blanket ban such as this would make it impossible for professional photographers to take ‘crowd shots’ in case a child was amongst the gathering! How would the media cover news reports if they were unable to run news coverage without identifying, contacting and receiving permission to use the image of any child they might have captured as an incidental to the main story??

What we needed and haven’t yet been offered, get was a set of rules and guidelines that allowed parents and friends to take ‘innocent’ images, but pornography such as Henson’s images of naked little girls to be outlawed with a mechanism that ensures offenders can be, *and are* prosecuted!!

I appreciate how hard it would be to ensure that those images of ‘parents and friends’ were actually ‘innocent’ but let’s face it, if a paedophile wants to take photos of kids ‘in the street’ they will regardless what you do to try to stop them. Digital cameras with long lenses are no longer expensive and someone could sit in a car be in a street several hundred yards away from a school or playground and still be able to take clear ‘close up’ shots whilst remaining hidden themselves!

The new (draft) rules show commitment, for which they are to be commended, but their format and focus requires a major rethink to be carried out before they are adopted in legislation.

2 thoughts on “Australian Child Protection Laws – new guidelines.

  1. we told you about this when we were there, we can’t take photos of anything, in kais school, if they are filiming a play etc, then a teacher does it, and basically, the end result, which we then have to pay for, is crap, really poor quality and very amateurish which is a nitemare, you dont mind it being your amateurish handiwork, but i object to paying for someone elses – oh and every parent has to sign a consent form at the beginning of the year to say wether they allow their children to be photpgraphed etc so it ends up being spliced as well as not all parents agree – soooo annoying – cant tell you how many of us are in there with our camera phones…..

    1. Yeah – you seemed amazed that we could just wander through the kids school to the cafe then sit down and have coffee before wandering in to see a school play without being challenged by *anyone*! 🙂

      Obviously, things aren’t quite as bad here as in the UK – yet – but they are slowly moving in a more restrictive direction and I don’t like it.

      Somehow there has to be a balance found between protecting kids and gross interference in the rights of parents to take photos of their kids!

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