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Classification of publications, films and computer games to be streamlined.



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28 February 2001

CLASSIFICATION OF PUBLICATIONS, FILMS AND COMPUTER GAMES TO BE STREAMLINED

The Senate has today passed amendments of the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 . The Classification Act is the legislative centrepiece of the national classification scheme for publications, films and computer games.

The amendments, which have been agreed upon by the States and Territories and supported by the Opposition, will come into effect following the passage of complementary amendments to State and Territory classification enforcement laws.

The amendments contain many improvements of a procedural and technical kind to streamline the classification procedure.

Under the new arrangements, the range of films that are exempt from classification will be expanded to include certain current affairs, hobbyist, sporting, family, live performance, musical presentation and religious films. The exemptions will only apply to material that is suitable for children at the ‘G’ or ‘PG’ level. Additionally, the Classification Board will have power to determine whether or not a film is exempt from classification where there is doubt about its legal status.

The Classification Board will be able to issue a serial classification for certain submittable publications and to require, in some cases, that publications only be sold in a sealed or opaque wrapper.

The new arrangements also clarify who may apply to the Classification Review

CLASSIFICATION OF PUBLICATIONS, FILMS AND COMPUTER GAMES TO BE STREAMLINED

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Board for the review of a classification decision. This will allow organisations or persons with a particular pre-existing interest in the contentious aspects of the subject matter or theme of the material concerned to seek a review as ‘a person aggrieved’.

These changes reflect 5 years experience of operation of the national classification scheme. They will provide benefits to the industry and the community alike.

This Bill was originally designed also to rename the X category for sexually explicit films. At the same time, the Government announced that the content of the category was to be further restricted. Those restrictions were implemented administratively by agreement with the States and Territories and came into effect last September. In this context, the Government decided not to proceed with the proposed non-violent erotica classification because of concerns that it did not accurately reflect the content of the material.

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CLASSIFICATION OF PUBLICATIONS, FILMS AND COMPUTER GAMES TO BE STREAMLINED

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