Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 8 Hansard (23 August) . . Page.. 3401..
already in Australia. The R18+ classification will provide more protection for children and young people than the existing scheme. At the same time it will allow adults to view material appropriate for adults, with the appropriate information to allow them to make informed decisions.
I commend the bill to the Assembly.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill agreed to in principle.
Bill, by leave, taken as a whole.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (3.19), by leave: I move amendments Nos 1 and 2 circulated in my name together [see schedule 4 at page 3547].
These amendments, as I foreshadowed in the in-principle debate, are amendments to beef up the penalties in this legislation for the inappropriate display, distribution, leaving, selling or leaving in a public place R18+ material. Currently in the legislation provisions are at 50 penalty units. This amendment seeks to double those in terms of penalty units. This will bring this material into line with the penalties that are currently in legislation for X-rated material.
The amendments are moved because the Canberra Liberals are concerned about the implications and the impact of this material falling into the hands of minors. We want to send the strongest possible message that we believe that we should be doing everything that we can to avoid that happening. This would be a strong message to sellers and distributors that they have a very strong responsibility to ensure that minors do not obtain material through their offices that will be classified R18+.
These increased penalties would show the community that we take the issue seriously: that we consider that the material that will be contained in R18+ games is not there for children to play with, and that children should not have access to it. And it would send a strong message to the community that we in this place are doing everything that we can to protect the young people in our community.
The messages that we have received about this are very mixed, but the really strong message is that parents are saying to us that, with the redefinition and reclassification, it will be easier for them to make assessments about what is suitable and what is unsuitable for their children and it will be easier for them, parents, to set rules for their children about what games can be acquired and what games can be played. This is one of the elements of the law where we have seen that there is a strong message from parents that they would welcome the certainty that this would provide.
In this Assembly we should be reinforcing the role of parents and reinforcing our commitment to helping parents in this way by making it a very serious offence—a very serious offence indeed—to put these materials in the way of young people. By