Peter Jean April 14, 2012
Canberra may be Australia's pornography capital, but participants in a New Zealand-style ''Boobs on Bikes'' parade have been warned to keep their shirts on when they ride down Northbourne Avenue next month.
Organisers say there will be no nipples on display on what is likely to be a cold morning on May 11.
The Boobs on Bikes motorbike and convertible ride, which features bare-chested men and women has repeatedly sparked controversy in New Zealand, where it is held to promote the Erotica Lifestyles Expo.
Erotica's owners will host their first Australian expo in Canberra from May 11-13 at EPIC.
They also want to hold what is officially called a ''Freedom of Expression Ride'' down Northbourne Avenue.
Erotica spokesman David Crow said organisers had been warned by ACT Policing that exposed nipples would not be acceptable during the ride.
The event organisers unsuccessfully argued that if men were allowed to appear in public without shirts on, women should have the same right.
''We were told by the federal police that technically a guy with his shirt off could be deemed to be offensive behaviour,'' Mr Crow said.
''There will be no exposed nipples or anything like that, whereas here [in New Zealand] we can do that because we have a bill of rights which says you cannot discriminate on the basis of sex.''
In 2008, Erotica's organisers successfully fought off in court an attempt by the Auckland Council to ban a Boobs on Bikes parade.
Promotional material said the Canberra ride would help raise money to fight breast cancer and body painters would be provided for participants.
The Canberra Erotica expo will feature Australian pornography star Kiki Vidis, New Zealand male strippers Men of Steel and hypnotist Tony Banfield.
Mr Crow said the operators would allow exhibitors to display anything that was legal and likely to appeal to an adult audience.
''We've got a large stretch limo coming, through to cars, coffee machines, spa pools, adult products like adult toys, lingerie, shoes, basically anything,'' he said.
New Zealand expos have previously included stands advertising overseas cosmetic and dental surgery services.