Page 724 - Week 02 - Thursday, 12 February 2009

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Executive business—precedence

Ordered that executive business be called on.

Order of business

Ordered that order of the day No 3, executive business, relating to the federal government’s economic stimulus package, be postponed until a later hour this day.

Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) (Enforcement) Amendment Bill 2008 (No 2)

Debate resumed from 11 December 2008, on motion by Mr Corbell:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (10.47): Mr Speaker, the Liberal opposition will be supporting the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) (Enforcement) Amendment Bill 2008 (No 2). This bill seeks to put in place complementary amendments made or being made to the commonwealth’s Classification (Publications, Film and Computer Games) Act 1995. It is part of a National Classification Scheme for publications, films and computer games.

The main benefit of these amendments is to remove the need for classified film material that has been compiled on a single storage device to be reclassified. For example, a DVD carrying a compilation of previously classified feature films, subtitles, takeouts, menus, interviews, featurettes and additional scenes will not need to be reclassified simply because they have been compiled onto one device.

Also of benefit is the relaxation of rules relating to the advertising of material prior to classification in accordance with the advertising scheme settled by the commonwealth in consultation with states and territories. These are strict liability offences in which certain defences are available relating to breaches of advertising schemes. These are strict liability offences that relate only to people who should be aware of the circumstances of the legislation and who are au fait with the operation of the legislation. Therefore, it does not give us any cause for pause.

A third benefit relates to the broadening of ministerial or director approval arrangements. The effect of this is that, on application, the minister or director may approve an organisation for any and all of its activities that relate to film or computer games, rather than for each individual activity. Sensibly, this only applies to organisations carrying on education, cultural or artistic activities not being commercial businesses.

Mr Speaker, the Canberra Liberals believe these amendments make sense. They improve the efficiency, not only for bureaucrats, but also for the private sector. They provide certainty for the private sector, remove or ease some of the red tape for the private sector and allow for advancements in technology. This is a welcome, if somewhat rare, erasing of restrictions on and control over the business sector.

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