We’ve clearly made some people quite disgruntled.
What have we done?
We’ve successfully launched a super-sized billboard in a prominent area in Melbourne, to promote our message of anti-hate.
We did this through crowd funding, and in a single night we raised over $1200 in less than 2 hours. By the end of the 5th day, we hit our goal. The process was completely transparent, and went off without a hitch.
On July 15th, our billboard was erected in Flemington, VIC. We deliberately held off releasing the location until we could ensure it was up, for many reasons. For one, to stop the company involved being harrassed by the groups who push messages of hatred and social inequality, but also to ensure it would be erected without hindrance.
The fact we have been successful has come as a major source of irritation to particular groups.
Perhaps it’s the ‘unity’ element of it, perhaps it’s the fact that we were able to flawlessly raise the money so quickly, or perhaps it’s due to the fact that they truly hate the message.
See, it hasn’t even been 24 hours, and already we have a folder of screenshots of discussions from people who want to deface a message of anti-hate.
We have seen this in several far-right groups throughout facebook. There is discussion about destroying the board using paint, spray painting over it, tearing it down, and I’m sure there are other discussions of more extreme measures of defacing the site elsewhere. We’re receiving screenshots from concerned donors and other citizens worried that the board is in danger.
Now, I can’t unequivocally deny that this won’t happen, but what I can assure you is that there is CCTV surrounding the board. Many businesses exist in the area, pointing cameras from all angles. The only way to get to the billboard would be to bring an industrial sized ladder and scale the building (in direct sight of CCTV). This would be completely visible to motorists on Boundary road and would likely attract police – very quickly.
Any attempts to scale the building itself from behind would set off security systems that are privately monitored through businesses in the area.
In knowing this, the groups who wish to see our board destroyed have turned to another ‘way’ in which they believe it can be removed – lobbying the local council. To make out how stupid this idea is, Ralph Cerminara is lobbying Moonee Valley council. The billboard is located in the City of Melbourne council.
“33.01-5 Advertising signs Advertising sign requirements are at Clause 52.05. This zone is in Category 2.”
Section 52.05 of the relevant planning scheme states: “Section 3 – Prohibited Signs – Nil”
What this means is that provided the actual ad space has a permit (which is most certainly does, as granted probably decades ago to the company who owns the ad space), it can advertise anything it chooses. Nothing it chooses to display is the council’s jusrisdiction.
So, who’s is it? Well, there is a self-regulating body called the ‘Advertising Standards Bureau’ that operates within Australia. Basically, advertisers strive to meet a set of common guidelines for advertising, and although not legally bound to, should remove anything deemed inappropriate or against advertising guidelines. Very few instances exist where an advertiser has not removed an ad due to a breach in these guidelines.
But that’s where the bigots failed. We already reviewed the ASB’s guidelines. Our billboard in no way breaches any guideline. The guidelines largely address issues of sexualisation of advertising, false claims of origin and product capabilities, steong language should be ‘avoided’ where posible, and “Advertising or Marketing Communications shall not portray people or depict material in a way which discriminates against or vilifies a person or section of the community on account of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, sexual preference, religion, disability, or mental illness.”
So, do they have a leg to stand on? No.
Of course, some bigot will likely petition the ASB and claim that our billboard is ‘unpatriotic’, but upon quick perusal, no sane person will find this to be true.
So, fear not, it’s not going anywhere!