Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (5 December) . . Page.. 2678 ..
MR CONNOLLY (continuing):
That is not regarded as a game; that has been classified by the Commonwealth censor as a film product with choices of endings. It seems a very fine distinction to draw. I am not making a criticism of the Commonwealth censor in saying that. I am just saying that it is increasingly difficult for us to deal with these issues.
The Opposition supports the Bill before the chamber and also says to Mr Humphries that we are prepared to take a very responsible course in working with him on this issue of E classification, because in the longer term the debate about X films or videos or publications is going to be an old-fashioned debate as we enter the realm of cyberspace. We really need to have more educated and responsible attitudes rather than relying purely on censorship. The old days when people thought that by censoring you could remove undesirable material from circulation are now clearly gone. While it is important to continue regimes such as the one before us, we also need to encourage more responsible attitudes. The E classification is one way of encouraging that. Without committing to the details of Mr Humphries's proposal - indeed, he has not given the details; he has given just the concept - it is something that certainly the Opposition is prepared to work with him on.
MS TUCKER (4.36): The Greens will be supporting this legislation, which is a step towards reforming classification schemes towards a more uniform approach. I would also like to take the opportunity to make some comments about the video classification scheme, which Mr Humphries and Mr Connolly have referred to in their speeches. The Greens support both Mr Humphries and Mr Connolly in their efforts to raise the issue of reclassification of videos containing non-violent erotica, which currently fall under the X classification. It is a dreadful hypocrisy that there is often more violence in videos under the MA or R classification than in those under the X classification, yet classifying videos as X reinforces the public perception that the violence in MA or R videos is somehow okay.
Mr Speaker, some very good arguments have been put forward for replacing the X classification with a non-violent erotica classification. An Australian Institute of Criminology report in 1987 sampled PG, M, R and X videos and found that X-rated videos contained less violence than any other category of film or video, while M-rated videos contained the most violence and R-rated videos the most sexual violence. I have fliers for two films which quite evocatively illustrate this point. If members are interested, I am happy to show them. One is for an R-rated film, LA Gang Violence. The flier says, "This film contains shocking and graphic scenes of death and violence". The other is for a non-violent erotica video which is currently banned everywhere except in the two Territories and is rated X. Reclassification of non-violent erotica offers the opportunity to separate out not only violence but also other material such as non-violent aggression.
Mr Speaker, there is growing evidence and concern about the negative impact of violent films, videos and computer games, particularly on children. Our classification scheme should reflect community standards, which do not support proliferation of violent images, at the same time acknowledging that sex between consenting adults should not be classified along with material that contains violence in a physical or non-physical or demeaning behaviour.