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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2317 ..


MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (10.52): Mr Speaker, I present the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) (Enforcement) Bill 1995, together with its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

This Bill, when enacted, will be part of the ACT's contribution to the new national censorship scheme. The Bill will replace the Publications Control Act 1989 and the Film Classification Act 1971. The purpose of the Bill is to provide for the enforcement of classification decisions made under the Commonwealth Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 and to prohibit the publication of certain publications, films and computer games.

Each Australian State and Territory has its own legislation about the censorship and classification of films and publications. So far as the classification criteria and procedure for films and videos are concerned, the Film Censorship Board classifies films on behalf of all States and Territories. There are significant differences in the treatment of publications, however, with three States operating their own classification schemes. There are also differences in requirements to display determined markings and consumer advice, provision for reclassification of films and publications and standing requirements to have classification decisions reviewed. The only two jurisdictions to have fully implemented the computer games classification scheme are the ACT and Queensland.

In 1990, the Commonwealth Attorney-General, with the concurrence of the State and Territory governments, asked the Australian Law Reform Commission to report on how the Commonwealth, State and Territory laws relating to censorship could be simplified and made more uniform and efficient while still giving effect to policy agreed between the various jurisdictions. The Australian Law Reform Commission delivered its report entitled "Censorship Procedure" in June 1991, recommending the rationalisation of present legislation into a national legislative scheme consisting of a Federal Act detailing procedures for classifying films and publications; a code, agreed to by the Commonwealth, States and Territories, containing the criteria for classification; and State and Territory laws adopting the classifications made under the Federal Act and restricting the dissemination of films and publications.

The Commonwealth Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995, which was passed earlier this year, was prepared following the recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Commission and this Act is the Commonwealth's contribution to revising the current censorship laws in cooperation with the States and Territories. The Commonwealth Act will replace the Classification of Publications Ordinance 1983 when commenced. The Commonwealth Act establishes the Classification Board and the Classification Review Board and sets out the procedures for classification of publications,

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