The Morrison Government has invoked archaic and rarely used powers to ban the sale of a 2019 calendar it deems to be “too sexy” for Australian consumers.
The calendar features 12 of Australia’s high-profile economists and commentators (main picture) plus their predictions for the nation’s economy in 2019.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s newly hired chief of staff Peta Costal (pictured) is believed to be behind the ban.
A senior government source told The Bug: “Peta’s a member of Scott’s church and is pretty hard line when it comes to community standards and family values.
“Although she had not seen the calendar, and still hasn’t as far as I know, she convinced the PM to authorise the ban on its sale and distribution.
“She came to her decision after being told all 12 of the middle-aged or more male economic commentators appear regularly on our TV screens.
“Peta’s reckoning was that because only very attractive, desirable, and sensual women secure regular appearances on TV, the same must apply to men. So she asked the PM to apply the ban sight unseen, so to speak.”
Research by The Bug showed the federal government’s banning powers for printed materials, established in law in the 1920s, had last been used in the early 1960s to block the import, printing, or sale of DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
Since then the powers were only applied once by mistake for a limited time in the early 1970s to prevent the import, printing, or distribution of instructional manuals for electronic appliances or devices that mentioned male and female sockets.
Although that ban was in place for just a few months under the government of Sir William McMahon and was lifted when brought to the then PM’s attention, it had the effect of delaying for at least eight months the advent of colour television in Australia in March 1975.
The Bug can reveal that the banning of the 2019 calendar is part of efforts by the Morrison Government to claw back ground on issues of family values and behavioural standards.
A government insider confirmed the motivation by referencing recent public scandals involving MPs.
“We started the year with Barnaby Joyce taking the government to new depths when it comes to sex scandals,” the insider said.
“We ended the year with Andrew Broad, an assistant minister and another Nat by the way, quitting the ministry and the parliament for playing around with a sugar baby in Hong Kong.
“You’ll recall that the Barnaby Joyce scandal led to Barnaby quitting as deputy PM and as National Party leader. It also prompted the then PM Malcolm Turnbull’s ‘root-n-boot’ policy. If you root a staffer you get booted.
“In the wake of the Andrew Broad scandal the current PM, Scott Morrison, was keen to take a similar heavy-handed approach and make a unilateral policy on personal behaviour for MPs in his government.
“In particular he wanted to implement a policy that discouraged MPs from screwing sugar babies while on an overseas trip.
“Being a marketing expert, ScoMo wanted a snappy name for the proposed policy.
“We tried really hard. We threw around ‘Broad’s broad ban’ and ‘Broad ban’ and even just ‘broad ban’.
“Then we went geographical with ‘Hong Kong bonk ban’, ‘Honkers bonker’s ban’, and even ‘Mallee root ban’.
“But in the end we rejected them all, especially after the focus groups thought anything with ‘broad’ and ‘ban’ in it was confusing and tended to negate our attacks on Labor over the NBN.
“Our failure to settle on a name summing up the proposed policy prompted the PM to drop it. And by that I mean he directed us to drop the whole idea of a new policy and not just the hunt for a snappy name.
“We thought we’d lost a chance to showcase our strong stand on family values, but then Peta was told about the economists’ calendar and grabbed it with both hands, in a completely appropriate and non-sexual way of course,” the insider said.