Bizarre plan to highlight domestic violence with a fleet of jet skis on Sydney Harbour backfires as it flouts a decades-old law
- Jetski flotilla to mark national White Ribbon Day sparked widespread outrage
- Around 50 jetskis will make ribbon formation on Sydney Harbour on Friday
- NSW Opposition branded display as tone deaf as jetskis are banned on harbour
- Not the first time White Ribbon Australia caused controversy with recent stunts
A plan by domestic violence charity White Ribbon to use a flotilla of jetskis on Sydney Harbour to publicise the cause has been slammed because the personal watercraft are banned on those waters – and have been for decades.
A flotilla involving 50 jetskis was planned to make a ribbon formation on Sydney Harbour under the Harbour Bridge this Friday as part of a fresh campaign urging people to say No to Violence against women and children.
The eye-catching display involving a number of NSW government agencies will coincide with national White Ribbon Day.
But the plans have sparked confusion and anger among boat users and the NSW opposition, because the use of jet skis and other personal water craft has been banned on Sydney Harbour since 1999.
NSW Maritime sparked online outrage last week for promoting the agency’s involvement in this Friday’s jetski flotilla on national White Ribbon Day
Organisers obtained exemption to hold the event which will raise funds for the White Ribbon Foundation.
One woman on average is murdered by her current or former partner in Australia each week.
Labor shadow spokeswoman Jodie Harrison agrees with Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence minister Natalie Ward the horrifying statistic can’t be ignored but described the stunt as ill conceived.
‘This is a very convoluted way of starting, what should be an ongoing and constructive conversation,’ Ms Harrison said.
‘The theme of White Ribbon Day 2022 is, ‘Let’s Be the Change’, perhaps the government should redirect the money they are spending on water sports to an initiative which will create meaningful change for those impacted by domestic violence in NSW.’
The White Ribbon jetski event under the Harbour Bridge has caused widespread outrage as use of the watercraft have been banned on Sydney Harbour (pictured) since 1999
Ms Harrison also accused Dominic Perrottet of failing on his Premier’s Priority to reduce the number of domestic violence reoffenders by 25 per cent by next year.
She wasn’t the only one who has opposed the stunt.
‘Pwc (personal watercraft) is forbidden for us but you are using it? Such a hypocrisy… allow us to use pwc at harbour so we can ride for them instead of you and your marketing campaign,’ one person wrote on the NSW Maritime Facebook page.
Its website states boaters cannot drive a personal watercraft anywhere on Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour), stretching from the Heads at the entrance to the Pacific Ocean to Parramatta in the western suburbs.
Daily Mail Australia contacted the White Ribbon Foundation for comment.
NSW Maritime, Surf Life Saving NSW, Marine Rescue NSW and the Port Authority of NSW will all take part in the flotilla which will take place simultaneously with Maritime Safety Queensland’s ride on the Brisbane River.
NSW Opposition spokeswoman Jodie Harrison (pictured) described the jetski flotilla as a tone deaf stunt
‘On one of Australia’s most iconic waterways, the jetski display puts the work of violence prevention front and centre, igniting conversations that, in our hope, will inspire people to take action to effect change at the local level,’ White Ribbon Australia national director Allan Ball said.
The latest controversy comes after a White Ribbon Australia representative came under fire for suggesting the domestic violence charity sell ‘wife beater’ singlets to raise money.
They suggested selling the merchandise for $1,000 and include a QR code on the item that would direct users to a domestic violence awareness website
The ‘tone deaf’ proposal angered many, with commenters venting their disgust over the idea on social media.
It was second time within days the charity prompted backlash over another of its appeals.
The charity launched a social media campaign that included a photo of a man wearing a white ribbon and was accused of asking people to donate so they could educate men about preventing violence.
If you need support, call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732), Lifeline 13 11 14.
Jetski flotillas in Sydney and Brisbane this Friday will raise the event which will raise funds for the White Ribbon Foundation.