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Thursday, 17 June 2010
Page: 3709

Senator McGAURAN (6:28 PM) —I want to quickly get up and support my colleague Senator Barnett in his condemnation of this movie. As he said, it was released under a Labor government in 1993, was rebanned under a coalition government in 1997 and now has been released again under a Labor government. People may say, ‘How can that be?’ Ironically, in 2008 this movie was put up for consideration to the Classification Board and was rejected, but in 2010 it was released. The reason for that is that new appointments under this Attorney-General were made between the last time it was rejected again on application and 2010. Over half the Classification Board and the Classification Review Board were replaced by Labor appointees. There is a direct path to this minister in regard to his appointments to the Classification Board and the release of this movie for failing to stop this movie and to act by appealing to the Federal Court—an utter failure. In fact, the government are ticking off on this movie.

What is wrong with this movie? Time does not permit me to discuss it all. I quite understand that in the censorship debate there is a grey area. Just about everyone is going to have a different opinion, some far more conservative than others. Many would call Senator Barnett and me very conservative on issues. You would be surprised: we are not, and we understand that the censorship line has shifted a great deal in the last 20 years since Salo was first made. But certain things have not shifted in the censorship debate. There is a line in the sand, and that line in the sand is the National Classification Code, which both sides of parliament have made law. That is the line in the sand. Go to that code and you will see what is required in regard to classifying movies in this country. In that code there is another clear point, black and white, not open for interpretation, and nor would it be as a community standard: that paedophilia is not for our movie screens and that people under 18 are not to be depicted or implied to be involved in sexual violence, exploitation or degradation. This movie is all about that.

In fact, it is not even people under 18 in this movie. If you have the misfortune to see it or just read the Classification Board’s own report on the movie, you will clearly see that the people involved are under 16. That is against the law, it is against the community standard and the Classification Board and review board have breached it. They have trashed it, and the minister has allowed them to do this. That is why Senator Barnett and the coalition are appealing this to the Federal Court. Senator Barnett says we do not know what our chances are, but I wish we had the weight of the government and their expertise behind us and that we had a minister and a government that had the strength to draw a line in the sand in regard to paedophilia.

Should this movie be released on DVD, society will have been subjected by this government to a redefinition of paedophilia and its acceptance on our screens. This movie’s scenes are so disgusting and so degrading to minors under 16—boys and girls—that they can barely be described. In fact, I would not dare describe them. If anyone listening to the broadcast wants to know exactly what we are talking about—an open and shut case of a movie that ought to be banned, not open to the grey area in the censorship debate—go to the internet and pull off the Classification Review Board’s report on this, particularly that of those brave characters who put in a minority report, and you will see how bad and disgraceful this movie is. That the Classification Board could release on the grounds that it was all in context means that they deserve to be dismissed. Only the government has the real strength to stop this movie, and it ought to. I seek leave to continue my remarks later.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.