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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (5 December) . . Page.. 2679 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (4.39), in reply: Mr Speaker, I thank members for their support for this legislation. It is important legislation, in that it puts in place a whole new scheme for enforcement of classification decisions at the Commonwealth level in the States and Territories. This scheme, I think, will be easier to administer across the country and will move towards, but not entirely achieve, a degree of uniformity between the jurisdictions in classification enforcement decisions which is unfortunately lacking to a large extent at the moment, particularly as far as publications are concerned.

Mr Speaker, it is also important from the point of view of the ACT, in that this scheme also provides, for the first time, for the ACT to share in the revenue from classification processes carried out at Commonwealth level. Up until now, for some reason, I suppose deriving from the structure of the self-government Act, it has not been possible for the ACT to derive any of the benefit from people paying fees to the Commonwealth censor for classification of films, even though those who pay classification fees for X-rated films are paying them in respect of a product which is available only in the ACT and the Northern Territory. It would seem to me illogical that we should be excluded from sharing in that revenue. The new system provides for some sharing of revenue, and the ACT will benefit from that.

I also thank members for their comments about a new classification system. I was encouraged by the response at the last meeting of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General; but this is a process which is very controversial and it may take a number of attempts to succeed in effecting a change, if it is possible to make any change at all. I am aware that at a meeting of that standing committee at the beginning of this year Mr Connolly attempted simply to change the classification name from X to NVE. I am advised that he went down 1-8 on that particular issue. As he indicated, there is a fair degree of conservatism on this issue.

Mr Speaker, my party has looked at this question for some time. For some years in this place we have been faced with the issue of what to do about X-rated videos. It seems to me extremely clear that there is no prospect of the opponents of X videos giving up and simply accepting their existence in the community more broadly, as they stand at the moment anyway, and, by the same token, no indication from those who wish to sell those videos that they are prepared to give up selling them. It therefore seems appropriate that we attempt some different resolution of the problem of what to do about those videos and also, as Ms Tucker and Mr Connolly have indicated, attempt to do something about other videos which I believe ought to be of much concern to members of the public and the community, particularly people with young families, and that is videos with excessive amounts of violence in them. My proposal is to change the name of the X category and also to modify the material in that category and in the present R category. Mr Speaker, there are many hurdles to overcome in that proposal, but I hope that the support in this place is some indication of what might be possible in other jurisdictions. I certainly will be doing my best to lobby colleagues in other States, and I hope members might take the opportunity, when this issue proceeds further, to do the same with their own colleagues in other parliaments, to see whether we can make this change effective across the country.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

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