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Government should adopt opposition policy

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The Federal. Opposition today invited the State and Federal . Attorneys-General to adopt the Coalition policy favouring the tightening of controls regulating violence in videos when they meet at the end of this week.

The Shadow Attorney-General, Mr, Peter Reith, said that excessive depictions of sex and violence particularly in videos and the lack of adequate State and Federal controls has aroused considerable public concern. The Attorneys-General have a good opportunity of taking the first step of implementing a sensible and enforceable uniform set of guidelines, as outlined in the Coalition policy released recently.

"The Attorneys-General should, as a matter of urgency, agree to revamp the existing classification system so that the public is given greater guidance as to content of videos, particularly in relation to depictions of sex, violence or both. They should also adopt stricter controls to prohibit access by children to

inappropriate material at the point of sale and, more importantly, these controls should be backed up by penalties which will dissuade potential transgressors. This is too serious an issue to be put in the 1 too hard basket'".

"Another major issue that should be high on the Federal Attorney-General's agenda is a ban on the sale and distribution from the ACT of X-rated videos.- This would allow the ACT to be rid of its present reputation as the porn capital of Australia.

It is absolute hypocrisy for the Government to lecture the States on censorship controls and yet allow the distribution of X-rated material into other States thereby subverting any State controls on such material.

The people of Australia want a sensible and effective censorship policy that reflects community standards. The Coalition policy will effectively uphold and enforce those standards.

The meeting should also consider the need for the Film Censorship Board to have the power to recall, and where appropriate to reclassify, videos. This additional power would enable the Board to respond to changing community attitudes on censorship."

Mr. Reith said that the Coalition would welcome the Government 'pinching' its policy.


Contact Peter Reith: (062) 72 6540 16 March 1988 „ COMMONW EALTH





The Federal Coalition is very concerned about the increasing levels of violence in our community and the access of children to inappropriate video material. We believe that a co-ordinated national approach involving a co-operative effort between State and Federal Governments is necessary to tackle the issue.

The Federal Government should take a much firmer line in regard to violence and sex portrayed in films and particularly videos.

The Opposition initiated the Joint Select Committee on Video . Materials and we await its report which is long overdue. The report hopefully will contain a series of recommendations for a co-ordinated and comprehensive response to the problems

identified by the Committee. In the meantime the Government has failed in its responsibilities to take interim measures and to respond to the Senate Committee's call for a moratorium on X-rated videos. Prior to the tabling of the Committee’s report and the Government's response to its recommendations the Opposition believes that the Government should implement the following seven-point strategy. .

1. X-rated videos in the A.C.T. should be immediately banned.. .

2. The current classification system gives inadequate . guidance to members of the public and should be revamped. The Opposition puts forward the suggestion of the addition of 'V for violence, .

'S', for sex, and 'SV' for sexual violence as proposed ratings to be in addition to the existing system. A decision on a revamped classification system should be made straight away.

3. The Opposition notes research material obtained by the Attorney-General's Department and the -Australian Institute of Criminology to the effect that there is inadequate understanding in the community about rating levels. An information

campaign should be put in place to lift the .

- awareness of classifications.

4. The Opposition also-notes the research that M-rated videos contain the largest number of . aggression scenes per movie and that the M-rating was the most popular with the public. There is

too much violence. Some of the existing M-rated material should be moved into R-rated and some of the R-rated material should be banned altogether.

Similarly there should be a movement into higher classifications for some of the violence in the lower classification grades. /2

5. . There should be stricter controls to limit the access of children to inappropriate' material. . . .

6 . There should be tougher penalties to ensure the . ■ ; effective operation of the classification system. '

7. There should be a prohibition on the importation ' . of material that would otherwise, be refused classification by the Film Censorship -Board and an effective enforcement policy should be ' . .implemented. '

In addition the Coalition is concerned about violence on television. The Australian Broadcasting Tribunal should be asked to report on steps that can be taken., to reduce the amount of T.V. violence, particularly during children's viewing hours. The Opposition will also review the policy . which exempts the ABC from external scrutiny on this issue. I

The strong stand that we have taken is not in any way a final I position. It is however a strong position that we believe J the Government should adopt without further delay. The | Government has a lamentable record on censorship since it | opened the floodgates in 1984. It aimed for a uniform . |

approach and instead created Canberra as the porn capital -of Australia dictating standards to the States.which have ' banned X-rated videos. .It has also encouraged Queensland . and Tasmania to retain and set up their own additional,

censorship regimes. - The Federal Government.has totally failed in its attempts to obtain uniformity and.stands . condemned for its failure to adequately respond to the ■ community's genuine concerns on this vital issue. - .

Contact: Peter Reith, Shadow Attorney-General

Telephone: (06) 72 6540 ' (059) 79 3188

February 24 1988