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Annual report 2012-13 Review Board

CLASSIFICATION REVIEW BOARD

ANNUAL REPORT 2012–13

Convenor's letter of transmittal

Letter of transmittal 

Introduction

The Review Board is an independent statutory body that reviews, on application, decisions of the Classification Board. The Review Board makes its decisions in accordance with the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 (the Classification Act), the National Classification Code and the classification guidelines.

This report includes an overview of the work of the Review Board in 2012–13.

The Review Board receives secretariat support from the Classification Branch of the Attorney-General's Department.

Convenor's overview

Victoria Rubensohn 

This is my fifth report as Convenor of the Review Board and it was a quiet year for the Review Board with only one application being made for review. Certain members of the Review Board convened for one day to make this decision.

The classification of Behind the Candelabra was reviewed during the reporting period. The distributor of the film applied for the review. On 20 June 2013, the Review Board overturned the MA 15+ classification decision of the Classification Board and classified the film M with consumer advice of 'drug use, coarse language and sex scenes'.

I also note with interest that the Standing Council on Law and Justice met in Darwin in April 2013 where the ministers responsible for classification from the Commonwealth, states and territories agreed to implement the first instalment of reforms arising from the Australian Law Reform Commission's review of the National Classification Scheme.

Although there was only one application to consider during the reporting period, I would like to thank the Review Board members for their professionalism during 2012–13 and I look forward to continuing our work together.

I would also like to offer my thanks to the Minister for Home Affairs and Justice, the Hon Jason Clare MP, for his support during 2012–13.

Finally, I would like to thank members of the Classification Branch of the Attorney-General's Department who have provided comprehensive secretariat support and valuable advice to the Review Board and its members over the past year.

Victoria Rubensohn
Convenor

Classification Review Board profiles

Victoria Rubensohn 

VICTORIA RUBENSOHN AM

Convenor
APPOINTED: 6 February 2009
REAPPOINTED: 6 February 2012
APPOINTMENT EXPIRES: 5 February 2015

Victoria Rubensohn AM holds a Master of Arts degree, a Master of Human Rights degree, a Bachelor of Laws degree, and has been a Member of the Order of Australia since 2004. She has worked in radio and television in Australia and the USA—and more generally in communications, especially in communications regulatory policy, for most of her professional life. Victoria has been a Member of the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal, a Member of the Immigration Review Tribunal and Chairman of the National Film and Sound Archive. She has chaired Australian Government committees in the communications and intellectual property areas. Victoria also chaired the Telephone Information Services Standards Council for fifteen years and was a Consumer Member of the Mobile Premium Services Code Review Committee in 2011–12. She is Consumer Director of Communications Compliance Ltd, a member of the Standing Advisory Committee on Consumer Affairs of the Australian Communications Consumer Network and is the Independent Reviewer of the Advertising Standards Bureau. Victoria runs an international communications consultancy, specialising in regulatory policy, is a Director of the Communications Law Centre and is the founding Director and Secretary of Media Access Australia.

Fiona Jolly 

FIONA JOLLY

Deputy Convenor
APPOINTED: 7 December 2011
APPOINTMENT EXPIRES: 6 December 2014

Fiona Jolly, 45, resides in Wamboin NSW and works in the ACT. She is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Advertising Standards Bureau and previously held numerous positions with a number of Australian Government agencies. Fiona has also held positions on numerous Boards including as Director of the Australian Business Volunteers (current), the Ministerial Advisory Council for Women (ACT), Majura Primary School Board and as National President of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) of Australia.

Fiona holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts (ANU) and a Master of Laws (Melb.) specialising in communications and international trade law. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Fiona is the parent of four children aged five to thirteen years and has been actively involved in her local community through her children's school and sporting commitments as well her volunteer work with the YWCA over a period of 15 years.

Helena Blundell 

HELENA BLUNDELL

APPOINTED: 17 September 2009
APPOINTMENT EXPIRES: 16 September 2013

Helena Blundell has a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws awarded by the University of Queensland. She has worked as a Senior Investigation Officer for the Commonwealth Ombudsman in both Sydney and Darwin. She spent a number of years as an adventure tour guide in the Northern Territory's Top End. Helena has worked for the North Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service as a policy lawyer and is currently employed with the NT Legal Aid Commission as a criminal barrister and solicitor. Helena has been a board member on the Board of the YWCA Darwin up until April 2011 and is on the Youth Justice Advisory Committee, which is a body set up pursuant to the Youth Justice Act in the Northern Territory.

Melissa de Zwart 

MELISSA DE ZWART

APPOINTED: 17 September 2009
APPOINTMENT EXPIRES: 16 September 2013

Melissa de Zwart is an Associate Professor in Law at the University of Adelaide. She has a PhD in law (which examined the law of fair dealing) and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons). Melissa has practised as a lawyer in both private practice and government, having been Legal Manager at CSIRO. She has published numerous articles on legal and social issues affecting copyright, particularly in the digital and popular culture context, convergence technologies, social networking and virtual worlds. In 2008 she contributed to the ENISA (European Network and Information Security Agency) Virtual Group of Experts on Security Issues in Virtual Worlds and Gaming (EU).

As the mother of two small children, Melissa has served as the president of a community childcare centre and has a keen interest in children's entertainment as both a parent and consumer. In her recreational time, she enjoys books, manga, movies and computer games, and exchanging views on these with her students, extended family and friends both face-to-face and via social networking. Melissa lives in Adelaide.

Jane Smith 

JANE SMITH

APPOINTED: 7 December 2011
APPOINTMENT EXPIRES: 6 December 2014

Jane Smith, 55, lives in Ballarat, Victoria. She is currently the inaugural Director of the new Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka, a technology rich interactive museum. Her previous role was as Director of theshinyshinyworld Pty Ltd, an organisation providing strategic advice on a range of communications issues and creating artwork and projects that express concern for the environment and human interaction. Jane's previous positions include senior roles with the ABC from 1990 to 1997, Chief Executive Officer with the NSW Film and Television Office from 1997 to 2006 and Vice President of Seed Productions, a film production company in 2007. Jane was the inaugural Head of the Centre for Screenwriting at the Australian Film Television and Radio School 2009-10.

Jane is currently Chair of the Committee for Revision of Mobile Premium Services (MPS) Codes and a member of the Digital Media Thought Leadership Group for the Australian Centre for Broadband Innovation. She has also represented on a number of other Boards including Ausfilm, Screen Finance Group, the Australian Children's Television Foundation, and the Broadcasting Council. Jane holds a Bachelor of Arts (Flinders) majoring in psychology and history and a Post Graduate Diploma in Criminology (Melb). She is actively involved in the community through her extensive career in both the public and private sectors as well as her involvement in the arts and film community.

Peter Attard 

PETER ATTARD

APPOINTED: 7 December 2011
APPOINTMENT EXPIRES: 6 December 2014

Peter Attard, 45, lives on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. He is the Director of Sound 4 Your Space Pty Ltd, a company that designs and supplies in-store music solutions to businesses and industries throughout Australia. He is also director of Attelier Imports, importing and selling gourmet food, wine and beer from Malta. He has created and taught Media, Visual Literacy, Visual Arts and Photography curriculum in both Secondary and TAFE education, as well as serving as Co-ordinator of these studies at various colleges in Victoria. Peter has been a committee member of the Australian Teachers of Media (ATOM), judged ATOM student film awards and is a member of the Victorian Institute of Teaching.

Peter holds a Bachelor of Education (Visual Arts) from the University of Melbourne. He is the father of three teenage children, is a regular user of social media and is actively involved in his local community through his children's sporting commitments as well as through his work as director of his own companies.

Legislative base

The Review Board is established under the Classification Act. The Classification Act provides that the Review Board is to consist of a Convenor, a Deputy Convenor and at least three, but no more than eight, other members.

The Governor-General appoints members of the Review Board. Under the Classification Act, the minister must, before recommending an appointment, consult with state and territory ministers with responsibility for classification. The Classification Act also requires that regard is to be had to the desirability of ensuring that membership of the Review Board is broadly representative of the Australian community.

Decisions of the Review Board

In the reporting period, the Review Board received one application for the review of a classification of a film.

The Review Board determined a lower classification than the Classification Board for the film Behind the Candelabra.

The review was completed within the statutory timeframe.

The report for the Review Board's decision is published on the Australian Classification website at www.classification.gov.au.

Table 16: Decisions of the Review Board
Title
Media
Review applicant
Review Decision
Original classification
Review classification
Behind the Candelabra
Film
Roadshow Film Distributors
20 June 2013
MA 15+
M

Attendance at Review Board meetings

The Review Board convened for 1 day in 2012–13 to deal with one application.

Table 17: Attendance at Review Board meetings
Review Board member
Meetings
2012–13
Number of meeting days
2012–13
Victoria Rubensohn (VR), Convenor, NSW
0
0
Fiona Jolly (FJ), Deputy Convenor, ACT
0
0
Melissa de Zwart (MDZ), SA
1
1
Helena Blundell (HB), NT
0
0
Jane Smith (JS), NSW
1
1
Peter Attard (PA), VIC
1
1

 

Table 18: Composition of panels in 2012–13
Title
Number of meeting days
Panel members
Behind the Candelabra
1
MDZ, JS, PA

Complaints

The Review Board received no complaints about its decisions in the reporting period.

Judicial Decisions

Aspects of a Review Board decision can be reviewed, on application, by the Federal Court under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 (Cth). In the reporting period, no application for review of the Review Board's decisions was lodged with the Federal Court.