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Flustered Faces All Round

Confusion has been set among passengers travelling into Australia, as to what sort of pornography they are permitted to bring into the country.

Following a request by Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor, the customs and the Customs and Border Protection command are changing the wording on the declaration cards visitors must fill out when they fly into Australia.

‘The previous card stated that travellers need to disclose any ‘pornography’ they were carrying,’ Mr O’Connor said.

‘That has now been amended to read “illegal pornography”.’

Banned material includes child pornography and anything depicting explicit sexual violence, bestiality, cruelty, degradation and non-consensual sex, said a statement from the minister.

The ASP, Australian Sex Party, claimed credit for the changes and a spokesman, Robbie Swan, said he wrote to Mr O’Connor’s office around six months ago after receiving complaints from numerous members.

One couple who were visiting on their honeymoon thought they had to declare naked pictures of themselves after reading the visitor declaration card, Mr Swann added.

‘They were on the beach, they were nude, they’d taken a photo of themselves on their iPhone having an embrace, 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”,’ Mr Swan said.

‘They were made to display a nude photo of themselves in a line with all these other people; they were so embarrassed.’

In 2009, an express reference to pornography had been added to the card following a rise in detections of child abuse material and other material that had not been classified or had been refused classification.

Mr O’Connor said: ‘Even though there have been import bans on illegal pornography for a long time, some travellers still don’t realise that.

‘Highlighting it on the incoming passenger cards is aimed at raising public awareness and reducing attempted illegal imports.’

Bringing child pornography into Australia can result in a fine of up to $275,000 and a maximum of 10 years in jail.

A fine of up to £8,000 applies if travellers are caught making a false of misleading statement to a Customs officer.