Thursday, May 25, 2006

Australian Family Counciler Takes on Bare Beaches in Queensland

Naked truth

Spencer Gear – Brisbane Courier-Mail

May 19, 2006

What nudists don't seem to accept is that the majority of Queenslanders don't share their views, writes Spencer Gear

SURELY there are enough beaches in Australia for nudists to do their thing – 25,760km to be exact.

One nudist told ABC radio: "The facts as put by the opponents of nude beaches are nearly always erroneous or based on religious teachings and leanings." Really? Here are facts with zero religious flavour.

"Nudists just want to do their own thing." (C-M, May 16).

So do pedophiles. Nudists are a special interest group and should be treated as such.

If they want to do it the nudist way, let them buy land to meet their needs, develop infrastructure that meets local government conditions, and enforce their own code of ethics. Please leave Australia's public beaches free for all clothed Australians.

Nudist beaches may not be good for a tourist reputation. Does any Queensland council want this type of headline as in Budleigh Salterton, Devon, UK: "Sex in open air scandal"? Its nudist beach made it to a pornographic website where it was promoted as "a hot spot where people go to have sex in the open".

Such beaches create problems we do not need. In Oslo, Norway, nudists at an open beach at Huk increasingly are being harassed by photographers, flashers and vulgar requests.

Local councils have a duty of care for all their people. Are councils prepared for class action suits from people whose lives have been damaged by what happens at nudist beaches?

The councillors of Burnett Shire Council unanimously accepted the view to proceed no further with the proposal for a nudist beach in the shire on November 30 last year. Deputy Mayor Cr Maurice Chapman said that the percentage of submissions against a clothing-optional beach seemed to influence councillors to reject the proposal. He considers the continuing push by some local media outlets for such beaches is "shallow, spineless, and by a minority". In 2004, a male pedophile abducted three boys, aged 8-10, at an Adelaide park and took them for a naked swim at Maslin Beach, Australia's first nudist beach. He pleaded guilty to abducting the boys and was jailed for three years for causing them to expose their bodies for his prurient interest.

Governments are trying to reduce health hazards, not sponsor them. Queensland has the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world. Every seven minutes a Queenslander is diagnosed with skin cancer. This was the theme for an advertising campaign. We don't need more exposure for skin cancer. And our police don't need the extra work of pursuing crimes associated with nudist groups.

Nudists have negative effects on local residents. A Burnett Shire woman who does not want to be named visits Coonarr Beach, which was listed as an "unofficial" nudist beach on the Free Beaches of Australia website (but not now). A nude man walked out of the water towards her. He was seen loitering in the nude around the public toilets. Police were called but did not arrive for 1½ hours. Nudists in Queensland seem not to be ashamed to break the law.

Premier Peter Beattie does not support legal nudist beaches.

In a letter sent by the Premier's chief of staff to a person concerned about our illegal nudist beaches, it was stated that the Premier was aware that there are some members of the community who want the practice legalised. But he does not believe that the majority of Queenslanders support clothing-optional beaches.

The letter stated that "the Premier is not satisfied that the benefits for those Queenslanders who want clothing-optional beaches are sufficient to justify the potential negatives of such a proposal".

Congratulations, Mr Beattie.

Evidence shows there are problems associated with some nudist beaches. We don't need them in Queensland. The smart idea in the Smart State is never to legalise nudist beaches.

Spencer Gear is a marriage and family counsellor based in Bundaberg.



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