Call to revamp classifications

The Australian Law Reform Commission has proposed streamlining classifications across film, television, computer games and online content.

The proposed changes include the introduction of a PG 8+ and T 13 + (Teen) rating in addition to the current children ratings of C (children) and G (general).

The proposed new framework envisages:
– a greater role for industry in classifying content—allowing government regulators to focus on the content that generates the most community concern, and ensure access to adult content is properly restricted;
– content will be classified using the same categories, guidelines and markings whether viewed on television, at the cinema, on DVD or online;
– changes to classification categories, with age references—PG 8+ and T 13+ (Teen)—to help parents choose content for their children; and
– the Commonwealth taking on full responsibility for administering and enforcing the new scheme.

Currently there are different classification codes across different media. In TV Tonight‘s recent Audience Inventory, readers voted that having TV classifications match Film classifications was an Important industry issue.

ALRC President Professor Rosalind Croucher said, “The ALRC has heard loud and clear that the current system is broken and no longer fits with how people are consuming media content. It is poorly equipped to deal with the challenges of media convergence, and the case for reform is strong. The ALRC is proposing reform that can be phased in to allow time for industry and the community to adapt to the new scheme. Responses to the Discussion Paper will help inform the development of final recommendations for reform.”

The commission believes the use of age references will provide a better guide for parents to in assessing content for children.

The ALRC is accepting submissions on its Discussion Paper until November 18.

Source: The Age


  1. I preferred it when they had ‘G’ (General), ‘PGR’ (Parental Guidance Recommended), ‘AO’ (Adults Only) and ‘MAO’ (whatever that was, used to think it was Mature Adults Only but I think it’s actually Modified Adults Only). It was much simpler, having too many classifications with added T’s etc. only complicates matters.

    For the record I was watching ‘AO’ since I was five and always being excited on the rare occasion that ‘MAO’ would come up usually on some late night movie, knowing that it was the highest rating you can get on television so always knew I would be in for a treat.

  2. @Andrew, AV was supposed to be MAV to be in line with SBS when first initiated. But was changed to AV at the insistence of Nine at the time owing to their scheduling system not being able to accomodate classifications with more than two letters at a time back then. Not sure if that is still the case.

    Who remembers AOM, Adults Only Modified? At least that told the viewer what they were about to watch was butchered, with AO meaning a program was mostly un-butchered. Now, there is no mention on any of the classifications used that programs are butchered. And this does include the cutting up of programs where huge chunks are deleted so as to fit more ads in, otherwise known within the industry as ‘timeslot edits’. All the networks, including the ABC are guilty of this.

  3. I thought that AV stood for something like “added violence” and was slightly above MA, as in; that’s as far as you can go on TV.

    The real problem with the system is not the ratings themselves, but those parents who either ignore the ratings completely (bonus points to the ones who then complain) and the ones that take the ratings as gospel. I had a friend who wasn’t allowed to watch a M until she was 15, and PG only with her parents. It annoys me that people need to be told to consider the ratings, but consider what your child can handle.

    End of “people be silly” rant.

    Although PG13 and normal PG… seems a bit overkill, but that could just be me.

  4. @steve sydney AV is MA on tele. Have no understanding why….i find it quite strange myself.

    I dont have a problem with the classification laws as they are but if they have to change it change them to the PG8+ and the PG13+ way better then introducing the T classification

  5. They should make the classification logos on DVD’s smaller as well because they take up a quarter of the the cover. No other countries classification boxes are that big.

  6. Charlie Kelly

    The biggest problem with ratings is not that they are wrong, it’s that some people don’t pay any attention and this is especially bad when it’s the hyper sensitive. Who will then complain and try and make the rest of society come down to their levels.

    As long as it isn’t about restricting content in media at the adult levels, then good.

    Such as the need for an R rating for video games.

    I’ve always considered their to be a major flaw with PG and M. Although just looking now, they have dropped the PG for under 15. M for 15 aspect to those ratings, so maybe the issue isn’t there.

    If ratings are better and this can lead more to, when people complain they can just be pointed to better ratings and told they have no right to complain, then good.

    The problem is, everyones standards are different and people need to find where with the current standards they fit.

    I remember when Watchmen was released in cinemas. Excellent film, but one not for kids. There were all sorts of stories of people who took their younger kids just looking at it as being a comic book film. Ignoring the rating. Who then were all marching their kids out during the rape scene and complaining.
    That is their fault, not the rating board. It was suitably MA.

    I remember on one website reading someone complaining how they took their 16 year old son to it and how appalled it was and that it should have been R ect. That person was just completely out of line to complain. The rating was completely fine, if you’re sensitive, don’t go.

    This is the sort of mine field you have to negotiate. In the end, if someone with the current system watches or takes someone to something they then believe they shouldn’t have, it’s almost always their fault for not checking.

  7. Good idea to have the same classifications across all forms of media.
    However, the last thing we need is more classifications. We don’t need a new T classification. Why not just have PG extended to PG 8+ and PG 13+? We should also specify M as M15+ and R as R18+ to make it clearer for all? I wonder if television’s AV will be replaced by R or MA15+?

  8. I’ll admit I’ve never cared about the classification system. I’ll leave others to care for it. Although it sounds sensible to have the same standard. Unless it causes even more horrible mutilation of TV shows then I’m against it. The only thing I wish they’d reform is their horrible and tasteless colour scheme eg. PG is yellow. If it must be there then just before the cinema trailers please. As I liked that 20th century colour scheme on videos that was tastefully done as well as the first 5 or so years of DVD. Where it blended in with the poster or DVD package or whatever was involved. It’s also stupid as they have green (G ) and red (MA15+ ) so it might be meaningless to some of the colourblind. But I’m not sure on the last sentence. I guess it did make me appreciate retrospectively how much better the original way was. Can’t we go back to that?

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