Last week’s police raid on Melbourne’s Polyester Books
is a sad sign of the times. The attempt to chase the cheeky Brunswick
St shop through the courts again is puzzling – as is the media’s
apparent refusal to look behind the politics of the ongoing official
harassment. We are reliably informed the place is certainly not the
only shop selling p*rn in Melbourne or Victoria. Or indeed, in any
other state in Australia.

Clearly though, the proprietor’s
activities are a thorn in someone’s side. X-rated material is illegal
to purchase over the counter anywhere in Australia other than the ACT and the NT, but can be
bought via mail order from the territories in all Australian states.

But this
is a law honoured in the breach. Most police have better things to
worry about than people buying blue movies. Indeed, the law is ignored
so widely now that any kind of crackdown would take up significant
police resources. Unless, of course, somebody wants to target someone

It’s intriguing that one small business is
targeted when regulators and enforcement agencies turn a blind eye to
other, bigger businesses, flouting the law. A disclosure: Polyester
Books is an old hangout of mine. The couches aren’t as comfy, but you
get a broader range of product than Borders or Starbucks care to offer.

The regulator, the Office of Film & Literature
Classification, is itself surrounded by shops that openly sell X-rated
material over the counter. And, more to the point, the office turns a
blind eye to the proliferation of explicit “s*x” unclassified material
that would probably be banned for excessive violence if it were

Based in Haymarket, Sydney’s Chinatown area, the
office is surrounded by video shops selling hundreds of torture and
rape videos in languages other than English that have not been
classified and, under the current system, will not be classified.

Isn’t this more serious than a small business owner in Melbourne trying to make a living from hippies and anarchists?