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Tuesday, 9 October 1984
Page: 1458


The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —The following message has been received from the House of Representatives:

Message No. 359 MR PRESIDENT, The House of Representatives transmits to the Senate the following Resolution which was agreed to by the House of Representatives this day, and requests that the Senate concur and take action accordingly:

(1) That a joint select committee be appointed to inquire into and report upon the operation of Regulation 4A of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations and the ACT Classification of Publications Ordinance 1983 in relation to videotapes and videodiscs and in particular-

(a) the effectiveness of such legislation by comparison with previous legislation purporting to govern the importation, production, reproduction, sale and hire of violent, pornographic or otherwise obscene material;

(b) whether the present classification system, as applied by the Film Censorship Board, is adequate as a basis for import and point of sale controls;

(c) whether video retailers are observing the conditions of sale or hire attached to 'X' classified material, particularly in relation to children under 18 years;

(d) whether Regulation 4A of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations is adequate in identifying categories of prohibited material, and operating effectively in preventing the importation of videotapes/discs falling within the prohibited categories;

(e) whether children under the age of 18 years are gaining access to videotapes /discs containing violent, pornographic or otherwise obscene material;

(f) whether the ACT Classification of Publications Ordinance 1983 should be amended to make it an offence for persons purchasing or hiring videotapes/discs classified above 'R' to allow, suffer or negligently permit children to view such material;

(g) whether cinemas should be permitted to screen for public exhibition material classified above 'R', subject to prohibition from entry of persons under the age of 18 years;

(h) whether films which would merit a classification above 'R' are being produced in Australia and if so whether Australian men and women are adequately protected by existing law from pressure to act in such films, and

(i) the likely effects upon people, especially children, of exposure to violent , pornographic or otherwise obscene material.

(2) That the committee consist of 9 members, 3 Members of the House of Representatives to be nominated by either the Prime Minister, the Leader of the House or the Government Whip, 1 Member of the House of Representatives to be nominated by either the Leader of the Opposition, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition or the Opposition Whip, 1 Member of the House of Representatives to be nominated by either the Leader of the National Party, the Deputy Leader of the National Party or the National Party Whip, 2 Senators to be nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, 1 Senator to be nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and 1 Senator to be nominated by any minority group or groups or independent Senator or independent Senators.

(3) That every nomination of a member of the committee be forthwith notified in writing to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

(4) That the committee elect a Government Member as its chairman.

(5) That the committee elect a deputy chairman who shall perform the duties of the chairman of the committee at any time when the chairman is not present at a meeting of the committee, and at any time when the chairman and the deputy chairman are not present at a meeting of the committee, the members present shall elect another member to perform the duties of the chairman at that meeting .

(6) That 3 members of the committee constitute a quorum of the committee.

(7) That the committee have power to send for persons, papers and records, and to move from place to place.

(8) That the committee report by 30 April 1985.

(9) That the foregoing provisions of this resolution, so far as they are inconsistent with the standing orders, have effect notwithstanding anything contained in the standing orders.

H. A. JENKINS Speaker House of Representatives,

Canberra, 9 October 1984 a.m.

Motion (by Senator Gareth Evans) agreed to:

That consideration of the message be made an order of the day for the next day of sitting.