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Wednesday, 10 October 1956

Mr OSBORNE (EVANS, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Customs and Excise) - The honorable member raises in his question issues which are far too wide to be dealt with adequately at question time. In the first place, I do not think it is true that films of a sadistic nature are being shown in Australia, because, after all, any film shown here has been passed by the Commonwealth Film Censorship Board as being fit at least to be shown to adults. In the second place, like so many things in our federal system, the authority to deal with films is divided between the Commonwealth and State Governments. The Commonwealth Government is responsible for censoring imported films, and in the course of so doing, for the convenience of State authorities, people interested in films, and parents, it classifies them in three groups: " Suitable for general exhibition ", " suitable for adults ", or " suitable for adults only ". The authority to determine whether children shall be allowed into cinemas showing films classified as not suitable for children rests entirely with the State governments. I cannot emphasize too strongly that this Government has no authority at all to prevent any child from entering into a cinema showing a classified film.

Mr J R FRASER - Except in its own territories.

Mr OSBORNE - 1 accept the honorable member's qualification. The only other comment I can usefully make at this stage is in answer to the honorable member's suggestion that an additional classification should be introduced, namely, " suitable for children ". 1. will certainly have that suggestion examined. 1 believe that an objection to this course has been raised before. If children themselves are aware that a film has been classified as being suitable for children they develop a disinclination to go and see it. That is only one aspect of the problem, but f shall have the suggestions carefully examined.

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