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Thursday, 17 October 1985
Page: 1411

Senator WALTERS(3.08) —We are debating the Film Censorship Board's annual report on its activities for 1984. On the last page of that report one finds an explanation of the backlog in categorising various videos and films which is, I believe, to our satisfaction. The Board underlines the fact that in 1984 the guidelines were changed on so many occasions that it had great trouble in keeping up with things. However, it has now caught up, and I shall have various questions on the method of catching up to put to the Joint Select Committee on Video Material, whose investigations are still in progress. I find page 6 of the Board's report very interesting. When looking at the various classifications in regard to film and video tape features for sale and hire, one sees that X-rated videos constitute by far the greatest number that have been classified. Some 26.77 per cent are in that category. The next greatest number is 22 per cent, and then it falls away to 17 per cent, or nearly 18 per cent, for the other categories. I wonder why the X-rated videos are getting such large numbers through at the moment. Indeed, I hope that the figures will be different in the next annual report because the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory are the only States or Territories that allow these X-rated vidoes into their shops. It seems to me incredible that the figures are so high, but these figures overlap with those for some of the States, which previously were a bit slow in withdrawing the X-rated classification.

I think an even more interesting figure on that page is that which related to where those videos and films come from. The proportion coming from the United States of America is 67.77 per cent. The country from which we import the next largest proportion is the United Kingdom, for which the figure falls to 12 per cent. That underlines very clearly to me that by far the majority of videos come from the United States of America. Our Committee has been given evidence that the Mafia has a great involvement in the X-rated and some of the violent R-rated videos coming to Australia, and it concerns me considerably that the United States of America has such a large hold on our industry.

I am only in the process of completing my previous comments, so by necessity I will be very brief. It is not just the video area in which the United States of America has such an overwhelming hold on our market. Page 9 of the report shows that the United States of America has a tremendous hold on our television programs compared with any other country. It is of considerable concern to me that we seem to be going for that market.