Dear Minister for Communications
Anne Miles, founder of Suits&Sneakers goes head to head against Mr Paul Fletcher, Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and The Arts and challenges him to ‘Step Up’ and take stereotypes in marketing, media and advertising seriously.
Anne is a survivor of domestic violence and refers to studies in the UK that prove a direct link between domestic violence and mental health problems and the depiction of negative stereotypes in media. Anne calls a stop to it through better self-regulation systems in Australia and calls for a Royal Commission. Miles has communicated with the Minister’s Office with unsatisfactory responses and has challenged the Minister in a powerful personal video that reveals the top 12 reasons why the advertising, marketing and media industry self-regulation system is failing the Australian public. Anne even touted the self-regulation system as corrupt and blocking the application of the Discrimination Act, Age, Disability, Sex, Racial and Human Rights Acts being properly enforced through a weak code of ethics, no sanctions for breaches, and no process of escalation to the legal system.
Anne’s latest challenge to the Minister was sparked by the release of an advertisement by Officeworks which features a group of women celebrating their new school year shopping over baking cakes in the kitchen with a second ad featuring Dad’s in the back yard with the boys playing cricket. Miles also claims the advertising industry workers are biased or have self-interest at stake and unable to self regulate themselves. Anne also claims there are ingrained data sources driving many brand and media decisions that are no longer current which further perpetuates bias.
Anne has prepared a submission paper for the Minister to respond to and has yet to have a suitable response that addresses the actual content of the paper. Anne refers to the UK system as the world leading example of a sound process to remove Stereotypes from media, marketing and advertising with a robust system directly supporting a new law called the Equity Act 2010. In the UK a brand or media outlet that depicts negative stereotypes will be charged by the full force of the law. By contrast Australia has no penalties and Anne claims the system allows offenders to benefit from increased media exposure rather than be punished.