The Opposition initiated the inquiry today, citing a need to look at the effectiveness of the Broadcasting Code of Practice.
Senator Cory Bernardi, the Opposition’s parliamentary secretary for families and communications, wants the inquiry to focus on the frequency and use of swearing, program classifications and how they reflect the content shown, and the effectiveness of the public complaints process.
It follows the popularity of programmes like Kitchen Nightmares, with chef Gordon Ramsay gleefully dropping the “F” word (and occasionally more) throughout the show. Swear words have also recently been dropped on the Today show and So You Think You Can Dance transgressing classifications.
Bernardi said it could take five to six months for Australian Communications and Media Authority to provide complainants with an official response.
“This complaints process needs to be streamlined and made more responsive to the Australian community,” Senator Bernardi said in a statement.
“No one should be deterred by processes from making a complaint if they find something offensive.”
The inquiry’s findings will be handed down by the Senate’s environment, communications and arts committee in June.