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Wednesday, 16 December 1992
Page: 5145


Senator WALTERS (12.12 p.m.) —I was very much in favour of having one classification across the board for television, film and video. I understood that there would have been a great deal of difficulty in doing that. We have now ended up with an M classification and an MA classification which cover both television and film. I understand very clearly what the Minister is saying. But we now have four different M classifications: we have an M for film and video, we have an MA for film and video, we have an M—which is totally different because it has been modified considerably—for television, and we have an MA which is totally different from the other MA because it has been modified for television. That would be very confusing for a mother, who may say to her children, `On Saturday night you can watch a film on television so long as it is all right'. A film then comes up, the name of which that mother has seen on a video under M. She may say, `No, you can't watch that'. She does not know how it has been modified for television. She just knows that when she saw that M video it was not suitable for her children to watch. So we have the dilemma of a mother saying to her children, `No, I have seen that film and you are not going to stay up and watch that sort of film'.

  However, in point of fact, because it has been modified so greatly—all or most of the violence has been taken out—it could be quite suitable for the children to see. How on earth do parents understand the new system? At least in the previous system they knew that AO did not equate with M and M videos that they had seen. But under the new system, parents might see an MA or an M on the video and say, `No, I'm sorry, you can't watch that, it is too violent. I'm not having that on at this hour in this home'. The parents could be totally wrong; they have no idea how the video has been modified because the same term is used. Therefore, I think the films have to be called M film, M television, MA film and MA television. Otherwise parents will not have any way to be able to judge what is going to come across the screen in the home at night.