Film video and computer games
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Film,Video and Computer Games Classification Regulation National Classification Scheme Cth/State/Territory cooperative scheme commenced 1 January 1996. Intergovernmental Agreement on Censorship Cth statute with complimentary state legislation Classification Board determines classifications

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Film,Video and Computer Games

Classification Regulation


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National Classification Scheme

  • Cth/State/Territory cooperative scheme commenced 1 January 1996.

  • Intergovernmental Agreement on Censorship

  • Cth statute with complimentary state legislation

  • Classification Board determines classifications

  • State legislation enforces decisions

LAWS 3054 - 2 sem 2007


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Key Entities

  • OFLC – integrated into A-Gs 1 July 2007

  • Classification Board

  • National Classification Code and Guidelines

    • Must have consent of States and Terrs to amend

  • Classification Review Board

  • Standing Committee of Attorneys-General

LAWS 3054 - 2 sem 2007


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Cth role

  • Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995

  • Support and lay down procedures for the Classification Board and Classification Review Board

  • Classifications Operations Branch (Syd) and Classifications Policy Branch (Canb)

LAWS 3054 - 2 sem 2007


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State and Terr. role

  • Enforcement of classification decisions

  • State acts regulate how films, computer games and publications are sold, hired, exhibited, advertised and demonstrated

  • Some States and Territories have reserved censorship powers and varying classification requirements, which are outlined in their legislation.

LAWS 3054 - 2 sem 2007


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Classification Board

  • classifies films, computer games, publications. For films and computer games classified PG, M, MA 15+, R 18+ and X 18+, the Board also decides what consumer advice is to be provided.

  • also classifies internet content referred by(ACMA, and deals with material referred by the Australian Customs Service and enforcement agencies such as the police.

LAWS 3054 - 2 sem 2007


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Classification Review Board

  • The Classification Review Board is an independent body that reviews classification decisions and makes a fresh decision. Those who may apply for a review of a classification decision are:

    • the Attorney-General

    • the applicant for classification or approval for an advertisement

    • the publishers of the classified material, or

    • a person aggrieved.

LAWS 3054 - 2 sem 2007


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Classification Decisions

  • In making classification decisions, the Classification Board and Classification Review Board consider:

    • section 11 of the Commonwealth Act

    • principles set out in the National Classification Codes, and

    • the impact of the classifiable elements set out in the Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games or the Guidelines for the Classification of Publications.

LAWS 3054 - 2 sem 2007


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Classification Categories

  • Films and computer games have the same classification categories.

  • Some films and computer games may be exempt under section 5B of the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995, eg education. However, a film or computer game cannot be exempt if the material is likely to be classified M, MA 15+, R 18+ or X 18+.

LAWS 3054 - 2 sem 2007


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Classification Categories (cont)

  • six classification categories for films (G, PG, M, MA 15+, R 18+, X 18+) and four classification categories for computer games (G, PG, M and MA 15+).

  • Films and computer games can also be classified RC (refused classification). RC films and computer games cannot be legally sold or distributed in Australia.

LAWS 3054 - 2 sem 2007


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Advisory Classifications

  • G, PG and M classification categories are ‘advisory’ classifications. This means there are no legal restrictions on who may see or hire a film or computer game. Age restrictions apply to MA 15+, R 18+ and X 18+ classifications.

LAWS 3054 - 2 sem 2007


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Classification elements

  • Each classification category indicates the impact of the six classifiable elements — themes, violence, sex, language, drug use and nudity, and the scope and type of material that may be found.

LAWS 3054 - 2 sem 2007


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Classification Markings

R 18+ classified films are legally restricted to persons 18 years and over because of the high impact content.  Some material in this classification may be offensive to some sections of the adult community.

The X 18+ classification only applies to films and is a special classification which contains sexually explicit material between consenting adults. It is also restricted to persons aged 18 years and over. X 18+ films can only be sold or hired legally in the ACT and the Northern Territory.

LAWS 3054 - 2 sem 2007


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Consumer Advice

  • Some examples of consumer advice are:

    • Mild sexual references

    • Frequent coarse language

    • Strong violence

    • High impact sex scenes

LAWS 3054 - 2 sem 2007


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Publications Classification Categories

  • Unrestricted

  • Category 1 – Restricted

  • Category 2 – Restricted

  • RC (Refused Classification).

  • Only publications which are ‘submittable’, (likely to be refused classification (RC) or given a restricted classification), are required to be submitted. 

  • Under State and Territory enforcement legislation all publications that are classified must be appropriately labelled with a label/marking that indicates the classification category of the publication.

LAWS 3054 - 2 sem 2007


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