Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 10 Hansard (3 September) . . Page.. 2924 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
in places like China. I think we need to consider the question of being consistent over a period of time. I know it might suit the agendas of some people to condemn only France and not China, but the fact is that we all have concerns about these tests. At the moment it is countries like China which represent a much more serious threat to the discontinuation of nuclear testing in this world, not countries like France.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 29 August 1996, on motion by Mr Humphries:
That this Bill be agreed to in principle.
MR MOORE (11.17): Mr Speaker, I rise to support this Bill and what it attempts to achieve. I think it is appropriate that power exist so that when there is a national festival exemptions can be granted to publish films, publications, computer games and advertisements that would otherwise not be about. My understanding is that this power does exist in other States and Territories, and this would bring us into line with them. For that reason, Mr Speaker, I think it is a quite sensible piece of legislation.
MS FOLLETT (11.17): Mr Speaker, the Opposition will also be supporting this Bill. In many ways I think it is something of a housekeeping Bill which takes matters a little further than did the new Classification Act when it was first passed. The Bill that is before us today amends some of the administrative aspects of that Act and also makes some technical amendments in relation to X-rated videos. If I were of a critical nature I might say that all these matters could have been dealt with when the Classification Bill was first brought to the Assembly; but, Mr Speaker, things being what they are, that is not what happened and I have examined the Bill on its merits.
I think it does make some sensible arrangements for the granting of exemptions and approvals in relation to particular films, publications and computer games. The exemptions, Mr Speaker, are matters that I think we can all envisage being required. For example, we might need exemptions for educational or scientific purposes, or for the holding of a film festival. It is to be commended that the Bill gives the director of the Classification Board the power to grant these exemptions and approvals. There is a check upon the director's actions in the Bill, in that when the director does exercise those powers she or he must have regard to any direction that has been issued by the Minister.
Mr Speaker, I do believe it is appropriate to give the director the prime responsibility for these matters, and there are a number of reasons for that. The director does have expertise in making an assessment of films, computer games, publications and so on, and that expertise is able to be exercised in a completely impartial manner. We are all only too aware that very often there is political pressure brought to bear on matters of censorship, and I believe it is appropriate that that political pressure ought not be the deciding factor; rather, an impartial and expert person ought to have the decision-making power.