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Wednesday, 8 December 1976

Mr Jull (BOWMAN, QUEENSLAND) asked the Attorney-General, upon notice:

(1)   Are all books, magazines and motion picture films imported into Australia in commercial quantities now free of censorship by Commonwealth authorities.

(2)   If not, what guidelines are used by Commonwealth officers to determine whether a publication should be banned.

(3)   How many publications, whether in print or on film, were rejected by the Commonwealth in the year 1 975-76.

(4)   What were the titles of these publications, and what was their country of origin.

(S)   Does the Commonwealth have any arrangements with the Queensland Literature Review or Film Review Boards, established by that State Government, to cover the import of such material through Queensland ports.

Mr Ellicott - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   No.

(2)   The guidelines used call for the rejection of material which unduly emphasises sex, horror or violence, or which is considered pornographic. The working definition of pornography is verbal or pictorial publications devoted overwhelmingly to the explicit depiction of sexual activities in gross detail, with neither acceptable supporting purpose or theme, nor redeeming features of literary or artistic merit.

(3)   I am informed that 2S02 publications and 37 films were rejected after examination by censorship officers and the Film Censorship Board during the period 1 July 197S to 30 June 1976. 1 understand that the figure for publications does not include material which is seized by the Collectors of Customs in each State upon entry and deemed to be hard core pornography. This type of material need only be referred to my Department if the seizure is contested by the importer.

(4)   It will be seen from the answer to part 3 of the question that a list of prohibited publications would be very lengthy indeed. The details are available as part of the Department's records and, if the honourable member wishes to see them, I shall be happy to arrange for them to be made available for his inspection. Countries of origin are predominantly the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Denmark.

(5)   No. Commonwealth censorship controls relate to all material imported into Australia irrespective of the port of entry. I understand that all State Governments have legislation governing the exhibition, advertising, display and sale of material within their borders.

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