Inquiry into television language

A parliamentary committee will investigate the frequency and usage of swear words broadcast on television.

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.

Source: AAP


  1. Aren’t there more important things to investigate and not waste taxpayers’ money on?

    Since when do we cater to a few extremists who want to turn us into the US where networks are too afraid to do anything anymore for fear of indecency fines.

    Soon the only place to hear swearing will be cable which I’m sure will make Foxtel shareholders delirious.

    Say NO to censorship.

  2. Doesn’t Bernardi have anything better to do than whinge about a little bit of language here and there? I have a solution for him. If he is offended by something on TV, he knows how to use the remote control to turn it off.

  3. What a waste of money! Does anyone actually think we’ll be getting anything of value from this?

    As long as it’s in the later hours and it’s properly rated, there should be no problem!

  4. The Human Dree

    As long as its not during family time hours I cant see the problem, it wouldnt be right sittin round with the kids and every third word is the F word.

  5. I don’t really have a problem with swearing on TV, however FTA networks should take better care in ensuring that more explicit language is properly censored during live telecasts that are rated G or PG. There have been FAR too many F bombs dropped during PG-rated shows lately.

    I believe a “Viewing experience may change” descriptor should be added to all live shows in which there is a possibility that the content cannot be 100% regulated by censors.

  6. Yea I think the distinction has to be made between real life and TV. I’m not a fan of incessant swearing in real life, but I’m not so bothered when seeing it on TV.

    I just hope that people aren’t complaining at witnessing swearing in a Gordon Ramsay type show that is shown after 8:30pm and often preceded with an ‘MA – Frequent Coarse Language’ rating.

  7. Look at the comments page for the Herald Sun story on this farce and you’ll soon realise that the only people concerned about swearing on TV (in adult viewing time, no less) are the Christian Right and the Liberal Party. Which actually may be one and the same thing 🙂

    Launching an enquiry into this is a shameful waste of time, resources and money. And to think, just last week while watching Ramsay I was thinking to myself how Australian TV had finally grown up and become more European-style open.

  8. Is anyone really that offended by swearing? If so, have you ever stopped to ask yourself why?
    It may not have a place in everyday interactions, but it does have a place in television and film.

    And at its adoption rate, I predict that swearing won’t be an issue at all in a decade. It has become totally obsolete as a representation of a person’s lack of culture.

  9. 9’s turning into the new SBS with Ramsay and Underbelly. Isn’t a bad thing though, ratings of both those shows have proven viewers want something a little edgier rather than safe predictable things we’re always given

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