Review recommends Classification overhaul

The Australian Law Reform Commission has recommended all media in Australia should be classified and censored uniformly.

It described the Classification Act as “an analogue piece of legislation in a digital world”, with an increasing blurring between websites, blogs and video content.

ALRC commissioner Professor Terry Flew said, “Australia needs a new classification scheme that applies consistent rules to media content on all platforms — in cinemas, on television, on DVDs and on the internet.

“But the scheme also needs to be flexible, so it can adapt to new technologies and the challenges of media convergence.”

A regulator should also be set up to combine the functions of the classification branch of the Attorney-General’s Department, the director of the Classification Board, the federal communications department and the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

This new regulator would monitor and enforce compliance with classification laws, handle complaints and give administrative support to the Classification Board.

The latter would still rate content.

The recommendations are among 57 the ALRC has made in the first comprehensive review of censorship and classification in Australia in two decades, tabled in parliament on Thursday.

The report also recommended:
* One set of laws establishing obligations to classify or restrict access to content across media platforms.
* Clear scope of what must be classified: feature films and television programs, as well as computer games likely to be MA 15+ or higher, that are both made and distributed on a commercial basis, and likely to have a significant Australian audience.
* A shift in regulatory focus to restricting access to adult content, by imposing new obligations on content providers to take reasonable steps to restrict access to adult content and to promote cyber-safety.
* Co-regulation and industry classification, with more industry classification of content and industry development of classification codes, but subject to regulatory oversight.
* Classification Board benchmarking and community standards, with a clear role for the Classification Board in making independent classification decisions that reflect community standards.
* An Australian government scheme that replaces the current co-operative scheme with enforcement under Commonwealth law.
* A single regulator with primary responsibility for regulating the new scheme.

Source:, ninemsn


  1. I’m all for classification, but if things are properly classified there should be no reason to filter anything. If someone can glance at the label on a movie or game, or on an EPG or print guide and know who the intended audience is and what content the show contains, then they can make up their own mind, or should be able to make up their mind for their children.
    E, G, PG, M, MA, AV, R and X are confusing. Maybe everyone can figure out G, R and X, but I doubt anyone understands the middle ones. Maybe they need to go to numbers or symbols that show a definite level, rather than a secret code.

  2. Yes, those tacky coloured warning labels truly are a disgrace. I don’t buy all that many DVD’s personally, but if I was someone who collected a lot of them I would be utterly furious about it. I feel the same way about those stickers that Australian distributors plaster on CD’s (voluntarily I think). Ironically, there are few things that I find more offensive than the vandalisation of the cover art of CD’s and DVD’s.

  3. @ Qubec – the logos and colors for those logos aren’t going anywhere. they are meant to make people (mostly parents) aware of what ratings things are by making them bright and colorful for the customers to see properly. they’ve been around since 2005, do you really think they are gonna stop doing them now.. even more so since you want them to stop.. NO

    @ harrypotter1994 – the AV system is meant for the real strong content (mainly violence) and to me its the R rating for TV. shows that just have swearing and sex usually get a MA rating to anything that has strong violence needs to have that AV rating. MA rated films and shows can have violence in them but just more tame than a MA rating which is why they need to up the rating some how.

  4. While they’re at it, please get rid of the revolting colour system. The labels are horrible and ruins every DVD and video game that I own. They just slap this horrible logo on top of the cover that is printed on and covers up characters, text and just looks tacky and terrible

  5. There’s not likely to be much change for TV which is already self-regulated and to a standard which essentially mirrors the ACBs film classification measures.

    Digital-only distributed games (currently must go to ACB), and “TV” (no classification scheme) are what need a criteria-based self-regulation component.

    And then there’s R18+ for video games, which cleared committee today, so that will now, finally, happen.

  6. Conroy will love this, it fits right in with his ISP level Internet filtering plans. The government knows what’s best for us, all hail the nanny state.

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