Teenagers would need written permission from their parents to get any part of their body pierced under a push by the Victorian Nationals to tighten the law.
Northern Victorian Nationals MP and former Fremantle Dockers coach Damian Drum said parents have approached his party, distressed that their children received body piercings without their consent.
Mr Drum said he wanted to fix an anomaly in Victorian law that makes it an offence to tattoo anyone under 18, but does not control body piercing of children.
“It’s mainly about a health issue, it’s not necessarily a body image thing for the future, we’re not trying to be too much of a big brother,” Mr Drum said.
Requiring parental consent would keep a tighter rein on the piercing industry and deter children who knew they would never get permission, he said.
Making parents aware of a piercing would help maintain it safely, to prevent infection, Mr Drum said.
“It brings it all out into the open. Mum and dad know that the kid’s just had his belly-button pierced … and they’ll just tend to it a bit better and make sure it’s cleaned.”
Liberals leader Ted Baillieu supports the plan.
“I think it’s not an unreasonable ask to have parents’ permission,” Mr Baillieu said.
“Eighteen is the age for many licence situations and there are clearly some risks attached to piercing. It ought to be done in a friendly and safe environment, and I think parents’ permission is reasonable.”
Victorian Health Minister Daniel Andrews said the government would examine the legislation, but did not agree with parts of it.
“We understand the concerns about body piercing and we are keen to address the issue of an appropriate regulatory framework,” a spokesman for Mr Andrews said.
“There are substantial flaws in the Nationals’ current proposal and we will work through those issues over the next few months.”