Queensland, AU -- The Wide Bay has been buzzing with opinion on the Burnett Shire Council's recent decision to abandon their attempts to establish Queensland's first clothing-optional beach.
Here, Paul McCarragher shares his opinions on a spirited and sometimes emotional debate.
"My wife and I have been nudists for about 15 years and have seen many attempts by well meaning people to get a nude beach in Queensland, but always with the same result: no nude beach.
We are part of the fabric of society but as a group we have been discriminated against in this state for too long and it must stop.
Discrimination is illegal in Australia, and the failure of local and state governments to provide legal nude beaches for us and many tourists to enjoy is quite frankly against the law.
The "facts" as put by the opponents of nude beaches are nearly always erroneous or based on religious teachings and leanings.
Legal nude beaches have been a part of life in several Australian states and territories for many years without any problems, as most are strictly policed by the Nudist Associations; life guards are employed and people enjoy this lifestyle safe in the knowledge that they are being looked after.
Legal nude beaches and even nude towns are enjoyed overseas with many millions of dollars going their way in tourist revenue.
There are probably more countries that allow nudism than do not, so the statement that "many overseas countries do not allow public nudity" should be countered by "many overseas countries do allow public nudity."
The only trouble that has occurred is when clothed people go out of their way to make it; the so-called ‘undesirables’ are usually clothed persons who for some reason think that the unclothed body is a licence to behave in an uncivilised and disgusting manner.
The majority of nudists are not Greek Gods or Goddesses but just average people with all the lumps and bumps of life, some have major scarring from surgeries or accidents, some are thin, fat, short, tall, black, white, yellow - if fact a cross section of society who are all treated the same as the next when nude.
We are, in fact, more harmonious together than most clothed beaches or gatherings.
The gist of what I am trying to say is that we Nudists are just like anybody else except that we accept the human body for what it is, a marvel of creation, not something to snigger at because of guilt, fear or both."
- Paul McCarragher (www.abc.net.au)