This week, the Australian government’s Fair Trading Commission (FTC) ruled that soap nuts were not art, after it found that they were not allowed to be displayed on public display spaces.
The ruling came after the Australian National University’s Centre for Art and Design said the nuts could be mistaken for decorative items, such as a Christmas tree.
“I am disappointed that this decision has not been seen as a fair and balanced assessment of the current context, but I respect the decision of the FTC,” a spokeswoman for Australian Greens leader James Shaw said in a statement.
In a statement to the ABC, Shaw said: “I am glad to see the FTS has finally recognised the importance of protecting artworks from misuse.”
Artwork and artistic expression should be treated with the same respect and understanding as other types of artistic content.
“The FTS ruled that while the nuts were “not necessarily” a representation of art, the nuts would be “appropriately protected by the law”.
The Australian Museum said it had not received a formal complaint about the nuts, and would continue to work with the FTF to address concerns.
The nuts are now on display at the Australian Museum.
A spokeswoman for the Australian Food Standards and Marketing Authority said it was unable to comment on the FTT ruling, as it had “not been finalised”.
While the FCT’s decision does not affect the importation and display of nuts in Australia, we will continue to investigate and review the FNTMA’s position regarding nuts and other nuts products in the future,” the statement read.