Skip to main content
 
Check the Classification
Check the Classification
This has advertising approval, but is not yet classified
Learn more...
General.
General
Suitable for everyone.
Learn more...
Parental Guidance.
Parental Guidance
Not recommended for children under 15; may contain material which some children find confusing or upsetting.
Learn more...
Mature.
Mature
Not recommended for children under 15; may include moderate levels of violence, language or themes.
Learn more...
Mature Audiences.
Mature Audiences
Restricted - unsuitable for persons under 15; may contain strong content.
Learn more...
Restricted (R).
Restricted (R)
Restricted to adults.
Learn more...
Restricted (X).
Restricted (X)
Restricted to adults – contains sexually explicit content.
Learn more...
Recent Titles Image
Public
Public
Information for the general public.
Industry
Industry
Information for the media industry.
Compliance
Compliance
Classification compliance information.
How it all works
How it all works
How it all works.

Classification Board Annual Report 2010-11

Classification Board Annual Report 2010-11

Previous | Next

Director’s letter of transmittal

The Hon Brendan O'Connor MP 

The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP, Minister for Justice

Letter of transmittal 

Director’s overview

Donald McDonald Director Classification Board 

The 2010–11 reporting year has been one of renewal for the Classification Board with the appointment of a new Deputy Director, Lesley O’Brien, as well as five new Board members: Marit Breivik Andersen, Tennille Burdon, Lance Butler, Joe Guthrie and Serena Jakob. Greg Scott, formerly a Board member, was also appointed to the position of Senior Classifier. The appointments all commenced on 31 January 2011. I congratulate all on their appointments.

Members of the Board are appointed by the Governor-General, on recommendation of the Minister for Justice, after consultation with State and Territory Ministers with responsibility for classification. The Classification Act requires that, in making appointments to the Board, regard is to be had to the desirability of ensuring that the membership of the Board is broadly representative of the Australian community.

I would like to formally acknowledge the contribution of the temporary Board members and staff assessors during the period leading up to the appointments and to Greg Scott and Georgina Dridan for acting in the Deputy Director and Senior Classifier positions respectively during this time.

The reporting period also saw the resignation of Board member Sheridan Brill which took effect on 13 October 2010. I thank Sheridan for her contribution to the Board.

On 30 April 2011, my own term of appointment expired and I was reappointed until 30 September 2011.

During 2010–11, the Classification Board continued to fulfil its statutory duty and role in the National Classification Scheme working efficiently to classify films, computer games and publications. As has been the case in previous years, the Board has been required to make classification decisions that have been the subject of some public debate. In these instances, as is the case with all decisions, the Board seeks to capture and reflect the diversity of opinion found in our community.

In this respect, the Board’s fundamental role is to make classification decisions. The States and Territories are primarily responsible for enforcement. The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service regulates what can be imported into, and exported out of, Australia.

In this reporting year, the Board received 6,718 applications and made 6,635 decisions. Of these decisions, 5,886 were classification decisions including 5,579 commercial classification decisions, 160 classification decisions on internet content referred by the Australian Communications and Media Authority and 147 classification decisions for enforcement agencies.

The National Classification Scheme has not been comprehensively reviewed since its inception in 1996. The 2010–11 reporting year has, however, seen considerable scrutiny of the Scheme.

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) was asked by the Attorney-General on 24 March 2011 to conduct a broad review of the Australian classification system. Professor Terry Flew was appointed as Commissioner in charge of the review which will consider a range of issues confronting the National Classification Scheme in light of developments in technology, media convergence and the global availability of media content. The ALRC released an Issues Paper in May 2011. It is due to present its final Report on 30 January 2012.

Other review activity in 2010–11 included an inquiry into the Australian classification scheme by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee which tabled its report on 23 June 2011, and the House of Representatives Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs’ inquiry into the regulation of billboard and outdoor advertising. The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy is also undertaking a review of communications and media legislation in light of media convergence.

The Board welcomes this interest in, and review of, the National Classification Scheme. The Board has met with the ALRC and provided a submission to the ALRC review. On 23 June 2011, I was invited to sit on the ALRC’s National Classification Scheme Review Advisory Committee and I have accepted this role. The Board has also appeared before hearings of the Senate and House of Representatives inquiries. I look forward to the outcomes of all such review activity.

There have been a number of highlights throughout this reporting period.

On 7 June 2011, the Attorney-General’s Department hosted the second Classification Enforcement Contacts Forum at which Lesley O’Brien, Deputy Director, provided an overview of the Board’s operations and decisions particularly relevant to law enforcement agencies.

The Board continues to attend the annual Media Classifiers Association of Australia forums hosted by the Free-to-Air television classifiers. A range of issues of mutual interest are discussed such as advertising standards, consistency in a changing technological environment and regulating and classifying across different media.

I attended two meetings of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General during the reporting period. These were held on 4 March 2010 in Wellington, New Zealand, and on 10 December 2010 in Canberra.

During the reporting period, I also appeared before the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee at Senate Estimates hearings on 18 October 2010, 22 February 2011 and 25 May 2011.

There were three meetings of the Censorship Officers Standing Committee (COSC) in 2010–11. I attended the COSC meetings on 30 September 2010 and 10 February 2011. The COSC meetings of 10 February 2011 and 16 June 2011 were attended by Lesley O’Brien, the latter in her capacity as acting Director.

The Board also continues to engage regularly with stakeholders such as tertiary and secondary educational institutions, community organisations, professional bodies and industry, about classification and community standards.

A Turkish delegation of four officials representing the Turkish Government Department responsible for internet regulation visited the offices of the Classification Board on 10 May 2011 to discuss Australian classification with the Board and the Classification Branch.

During the reporting period, representatives of the Board attended several conferences including the Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand’s conference Deprave and Corrupt: Forbidden, Hidden and Censored Books which was held at Monash University on 14 July 2010 at which I spoke. Other conferences attended by the Board include the Australian Council on Children and the Media’s Scared, Sleepless and Hostile: Children, Violent/Frightening Media and Public Policy in Sydney on 1 March 2011, the National Information Law Conference in Canberra from 23 to 25 March 2011, and the Harvard-Australia symposium on Media Use and Children’s Wellbeing Consultation in Canberra on 27 April 2011, all of which were attended by Lesley O’Brien. The Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association’s conference in Sydney on 29 March 2011 was attended by Board member Georgina Dridan and the Gametech conference in Sydney on 21 June 2011 was attended by Senior Classifier Greg Scott.

In August 2010, the International Movie Convention on the Gold Coast in Queensland was attended by the then acting Deputy Director of the Classification Board, Greg Scott. The focus of the Board’s message to industry at the convention was summarised by a poster developed for the event, “Use Consumer Advice”.

The Board has continued this focus on promoting the use of consumer advice about films and computer games. In order to ensure that consumers are not missing important advice provided by the Board about films and computer games, the Board has continued its practice of issuing media releases about certain classification decisions. These are released in instances where the Board believes there is a public interest in promoting a particular decision. This is particularly useful for films that are aimed at children, or may incorrectly be perceived as being aimed at children. In 2010–11, media releases were issued for the PG classified film The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, the M classified film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 and the M classified film Red Riding Hood.

One classification that has continued to attract some public debate in the reporting period is the R 18+ classification of the controversial film Salo o le 120 Giornate di Sodoma (Salo). The film, in a number of different versions, has been variously classified R 18+ and RC (Refused Classification).

In the previous reporting period, the Classification Board classified the film R 18+ with consumer advice of ‘Scenes of torture and degradation, sexual violence and nudity’. Also in the previous reporting period, the Classification Review Board, on referral from the Minister for Justice, assigned the same classification and consumer advice for the film.

The Classification Review Board’s R 18+ classification of Salo was the subject of an application made to the Federal Court under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977. During the reporting period, there was a half-day hearing on 4 March 2011 and the presiding Judge, the Hon Justice Stone, reserved her decision.

Also of note in the reporting period was the Board’s decision to revoke the PG classification of the computer game Dead or Alive: Dimensions. On 8 February 2011, the Board classified the game PG with consumer advice of ‘Mild violence and sexualised gameplay’. In late May 2011, concerns were raised by the media about certain content in the game. The content in question was not identified in the classification application considered by the Board. The Classification Act requires that the course of action that the Board must take if a game contains contentious material that was not brought to its attention at the time of classification and which would have caused the Board to make a different decision, is to revoke the classification of the game. After consideration of a response from the applicant to a request from the Board that it show cause as to why this course of action should not be taken, the Board made the decision to revoke the PG classification of Dead or Alive: Dimensions on 10 June 2011. On the same date, a new application was received for the classification of the game which resulted in its subsequent M classification with consumer advice of ‘Violence and sexualised gameplay. Content may change online’.

Only two of the Classification Board’s decisions were the subject of appeal to the Classification Review Board in 2010–11. These were the RC (Refused Classification) decision for the computer game Mortal Kombat and the PG classification for the computer game We Dare. In both instances, the Classification Review Board made the same classification decision as the Board.

The Classification Board continues to monitor the classification compliance levels of adult publications and films. During this reporting year, I have used my Director’s powers to call in 159 adult films and 12 adult magazines. Failure to comply with a call in notice is a breach of classification laws and in all instances I asked the Attorney-General’s Department to refer the breaches to relevant State or Territory law enforcement agencies for appropriate attention and action.

The Board has continued its practice of auditing serial classifications issued to publications. Serial classification declarations are made under the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995. The Classification Act allows the Board to declare that the classification granted to a publication also applies to:

  1. all future issues; or
  2. a specified number of future issues; or
  3. all future issues published within a specified period.

During the period, 54 magazines were audited with two failing the audit. For those magazines that failed the audit, the serial classification was revoked.

The Board continues to observe the public discussions and monitor progress on the issue of an R 18+ classification for computer games. Ministers may make a final decision on the introduction of an R 18+ category for computer games in the 2011–12 reporting period.

In June 2011, new digital 2D and 3D projection facilities were installed in the Board’s Surry Hills premises. This means that public exhibition films can now be submitted for classification in digital format, thereby enabling the work of the Board to keep pace with technological developments in the film industry. The first digital 2D and 3D films were classified using these facilities in June 2011.

2010–11 also saw a major upgrade in desktop computing and associated audio visual equipment. The upgrade provides better audio visual support for Board members viewing material on DVD for classification, in particular BluRay DVD. It also overcomes major technical issues the Board had previously experienced when classifying material submitted from overseas with DVD region codes not accessible in Australia.

During the reporting period, the Department worked closely with film industry clients to streamline the processes of the Authorised Television Series Assessor (ATSA) scheme.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge that none of these achievements would have been possible without the commitment, cooperation and hard work of the staff from the Classification Branch of the Attorney-General’s Department and my fellow Board members. I would like to thank all of them for their dedication and professionalism throughout this financial year.

Donald McDonald AC
Director
Classification Board

Classification Board Group 

Back row L–R Serena Jakob, Georgina Dridan, Joe Guthrie, Lance Butler, Moya Glasson, Marit Breivik Andersen,
Zahid Gamieldien.
Front row L–R Amanda Apel, Lesley O’Brien, Donald McDonald, Greg Scott, Tennille Burdon.

Classification Board profiles

Donald McDonald Director Classification Board 

Donald McDonald AC

Director
Appointed: 1 May 2007
Reappointed: 1 May 2011
Appointment expires: 30 September 2011

Donald McDonald joined the Classification Board as its Director on 1 May 2007. His previous positions include Chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation from 1996 to 2006, chief executive of The Australian Opera (now Opera Australia) from 1987 to 1996 and General Manager of the Sydney Theatre Company from 1980 to 1986.

He is Chairman of The Australiana Fund and Chairman of The Really Useful Company Asia Pacific Pty Ltd.

He has served on numerous boards, including as Director of the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG). He was Chairman of the Constitutional Centenary Foundation, a Fellow of the Senate of the University of Sydney, a member of the Australian Tourist Commission and a director of the University of NSW Foundation.

Donald McDonald was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1991, and made a Companion of the Order in 2006. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of NSW (1961) and was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters from that University in 2004. He was a Visiting Fellow of the University of Edinburgh in 1993.

He is married to Janet McDonald AO. They have two adult children and two grandchildren.

Deputy Director Lesley O'Brien 

Lesley O’Brien

Deputy Director
Appointed: 31 January 2011
Appointment expires: 30 January 2014

Before taking up the position of Deputy Director of the Classification Board, Ms Lesley O’Brien, 44, worked for eight years as a Senior Executive at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, most recently as General Manager of ABC Publishing (Books, Magazines and Audio). She previously held various roles in lifestyle magazine publishing including editor of Australian Good Taste and as a writer and chief sub-editor on titles such as Elle and Cleo, and between 1985 and 1989 was General Reporter and State Political Reporter for ABC Radio News.

Commissioned to write a biography of Mary MacKillop, Lesley’s book Mary MacKillop Unveiled was first published in 1994 and re-published in 2008.

Lesley has a Bachelor of Economics from the University of New England in Armidale, NSW. With over 25 years’ experience as a journalist and publishing manager in the media industry, she has been closely involved with the community, writing and reporting on news and events and commissioning magazine, book and audio content that resonates with people’s daily lives.

Lesley is married, lives in Sydney, New South Wales, and has a teenage daughter and young step-son. She is a keen participant at the local tennis club, and has been an avid supporter of her family’s extra-curricular activities including representative debating, sport, charity work and surf-lifesaving.

Greg Scott - Board Member 

Greg Scott

Board member
Appointed: 3 April 2006
Reappointed: 3 April 2009

Senior Classifier
Appointed: 31 January 2011
Appointment expires: 2 April 2013

Greg Scott, 32, was raised in Possum Brush, on the mid-north coast of New South Wales.

Greg joined the Royal Australian Navy on completion of his secondary education. He served nine years as a Combat Systems Operator and now remains a Leading Seaman Reservist.

During his time in the Royal Australian Navy, Greg had the opportunity to serve both locally and internationally, travelling throughout South East Asia and the Middle East. He served onboard HMAS Perth, a now decommissioned guided missile destroyer and more recently HMAS Melbourne, a guided missile frigate. During this time onboard HMAS Melbourne he was involved in two operational deployments to the Persian Gulf, where he acted as an Electronic Warfare Director, specialising in above water warfare and anti-ship missile defence.

Prior to his naval service, Greg was an indoor cricket umpire in junior competitions which allowed him to become closely involved with children and their families. His interests include cricket, rugby league, fish-keeping, reading and drawing. He currently resides in Sydney with his wife and two young children.

Marit Breivik Andersen - Board member 

Marit Breivik Andersen

Board member
Appointed: 31 January 2011
Appointment expires: 30 January 2014

Ms Marit Breivik Andersen, 42, is married with three young children and lives in Lane Cove, New South Wales. She has a Graduate Certificate in Multicultural Journalism from the University of Wollongong.

Originally from Norway, Marit migrated to Australia in 1990. Since 2007, Marit worked from time to time as a temporary member of the Classification Board. Prior to this she worked as a journalist, Executive Producer, translator and subtitler with SBS radio and television.

Marit maintains a close ongoing relationship with the Norwegian speaking community in Australia. She continues to have close ties with her local community through her children’s school activities and their sporting and musical interests.

Marit has particularly strong involvement in the administration of basketball, including managing several teams and serving as a tribunal member with a local association. She also volunteers at the local primary school assisting with school reading programs.

Her interests include cycling, media, art, music and basketball.

Amanda Apel - Board member 

Amanda Apel

Board member
Appointed: 3 April 2009
Appointment expires: 2 April 2012

Amanda Apel, 48, was raised in Sydney and has since lived and worked in a number of Australian states and territories as well as abroad. Her working life has encompassed the fields of advertising, photography, business and sports administration, tourism and primary industry. Amanda’s diverse professional experience, study and extensive travel have allowed her insight into a variety of cultures and social issues.

Prior to taking up her appointment to the Classification Board in 2009, Amanda held the position of Executive Officer for Swimming Northern Territory in Darwin, a position that relied on close ties to youth sports and the community at large.

Amanda now lives on the northern beaches of Sydney with her partner and three sons. Away from the office, her time is dedicated to the activities of her school-aged children, enjoying the locale with friends, family and the local community and maintaining her interest in art photography, writing and films.

Tennille Burdon - Board member

Board member
Appointed: 31 January 2011
Appointment expires: 30 January 2014

Tennille Burdon is 32 and comes from Tasmania. Tennille holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) and is completing a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology. She has worked as a professional psychologist in various settings since 2002 including as a School Psychologist with the Department of Education in Tasmania. This employment has brought her into contact with a particularly broad range of families in different regions and from a very wide range of socio-economic backgrounds.

Raised in New Norfolk in southern Tasmania, Tennille has also taught ballet and contemporary dance since 1999, instructing both children and adults. She is interested in live theatre, dance and is also a lover of art.

Lance Butler - Board member 

Lance Butler

Board member
Appointed: 31 January 2011
Appointment expires: 30 January 2014

Lance Butler, 39, comes from Springvale in Victoria. With diplomas in Business Management and Human Resources, Lance has worked as a team leader and trainer for Woolworths Logistics in the Melbourne National Distribution Centre for the past ten years. Prior to this, he worked in a variety of roles in the warehousing industry and as a stable foreman for a racehorse trainer.

Lance grew up in Melbourne’s inner city suburb of Collingwood and has been closely involved with a not-for-profit community organisation, the Collingwood Children’s Farm, for over 25 years. The farm encourages city children to participate in an outdoor lifestyle by learning about plants, animals and the cycles of nature. His involvement began as a child visiting the farm and extended to employment as a staff member and more recently contributing to its development as an elected member of the management committee with particular involvement in its fundraising efforts.

Lance has travelled extensively internationally and enjoys learning about different cultures. He has a passion for hiking, exploring our national parks and enjoying the outdoors. He also has a keen interest in environmental issues and a sustainable future.

Georgina Dridan - Board member 

Georgina Dridan

Board member
Appointed: 3 April 2006
Reappointed: 3 April 2009
Appointment expires: 2 April 2013

Georgina Dridan, 40, comes from Victoria where she trained for several years in television production and broadcasting and worked extensively as a local producer and researcher with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC TV) in Melbourne and internationally, with CanWest Media and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in the eastern Canadian provinces of Ontario, Nova Scotia and Quebec. Upon her return to Australia, Georgina continued her work with the ABC as Deputy Programmer and Acquisitions Manager with the ABC’s digital networks.

Georgina has travelled extensively throughout Europe and North America and prior to her Board appointment, worked in advisory positions for State Government regional employment, training and cultural programs. She presently resides in regional New South Wales and enjoys a continued interest in production and distribution of film and television content, as a participant in film and television markets and festivals and via her local involvement in regional community arts festivals and recreational programs.

Zahid Gamieldien - Board member 

Zahid Gamieldien

Board member
Appointed: 18 May 2009
Appointment expires: 17 May 2012

Zahid Gamieldien, 26, was born in Cape Town, South Africa and migrated to Australia with his parents at the age of three. He grew up in south-western Sydney and currently resides with his spouse in the inner-city.

Zahid holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Writing and Cultural Studies) and a Bachelor of Law from the University of Technology, Sydney. During his time at university, he contributed to the university newspaper and was published in the UTS Writers’ Anthology.

His previous employment in a migration law firm deepened his understanding of the legal issues and personal hardships of migrants and their families. He has also worked as a writer, with his stories and reviews appearing in various professional, academic and community publications. Prior to his appointment to the Classification Board, he practised as a solicitor for a subscription television company.

Zahid’s diverse education and employment background contributes broad cultural experience and community awareness to the Board. He has a strong interest in literature, football and films.

Moya Glasson - Board member 

Moya Glasson

Board member
Appointed: 6 April 2009
Appointment expires: 5 April 2012

Moya Glasson, 56, holds a Bachelor of Education degree and relocated from Western Australia to take up her position with the Board.

Moya taught in a number of metropolitan-area, regional and remote public schools across Western Australia. After teaching for more than three years on the Cocos Islands, Moya received a scholarship from the Department of Education and Training in Western Australia to complete a semester of language and cultural studies at the Gajah Mada University, Yogyakarta, as part of a Graduate Diploma in Asian Studies. Moya has taught migrant and refugee students in Intensive English Centres in Perth as well as in schools, colleges and universities in Indonesia, Vietnam and South Korea.

Moya has worked in programs to improve educational outcomes for Aboriginal and migrant students as well as the inter-department initiatives to support refugees and ethnic communities.

Moya, whose main interests are travel and languages, comes from a large extended family and has connections to a range of educational institutions, sporting clubs and other interest groups across Western Australia in areas as diverse as dance, Aus-Kick and volunteer radio.

Joe Guthrie - Board member 

Joe Guthrie

Board member
Appointed: 31 January 2011
Appointment expires: 30 January 2014

Joe Guthrie is 28 and, prior to his appointment, lived in Spring Hill, Queensland. Joe was born in Sheffield, England, and has lived in both Papua New Guinea and Cairns before relocating to Brisbane to attend University.

Joe holds a Bachelor of Law from the University of Queensland and a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice. He is admitted as a legal practitioner of the Supreme Court of Queensland and the High Court of Australia.

Before being appointed to the Classification Board, Joe was a Senior Legal Services Officer at Centrelink and represented various Commonwealth Government Departments at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. He has also worked at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship where he undertook roles in character assessment and community liaison.

Joe has been involved in community broadcasting as a volunteer, hosting a weekly youth program on community radio, and has also been closely involved in community theatre. Joe has sat on a number of social and charitable committees.

Joe’s interests include travel, music and acting and he has featured in several national and international television commercials.

Serena Jakob - Board member 

Serena Jakob

Board member
Appointed: 31 January 2011
Appointment expires: 30 January 2014

Serena Jakob is 39 and, prior to joining the Classification Board, lived in Adelaide in South Australia. She grew up in small community on the Eyre Peninsula and has a background in education and anthropology. Serena has worked in metropolitan, rural and remote communities throughout Australia.

Serena has specialised in program development and ethnographic research for education projects based throughout remote indigenous communities. From 2000, she has worked for the Department of Education and Children’s Services as part of Wiltja, a program that offers Aboriginal adolescents from the remote communities within the Pitjantjatjara Lands the opportunity to access mainstream secondary education in an urban setting.

Serena has been a volunteer and committee member with the Southern Districts Junior Soccer Association since 2002, where she was involved in organising soccer carnivals and coaching clinics for primary aged children. She is a volunteer with the Adelaide Film Festival and has participated in numerous community arts events particularly indigenous art and cultural festivals. Serena has also worked with the UK-based interactive digital artists, Blast Theory.

Serena enjoys learning about other cultures and has travelled extensively throughout Australia, North and Central America, Indonesia and Eastern Europe.

Her interests include electronic music, time-lapse photography, tennis, art, culture and travel.

Members who left the Classification Board in 2010–11

Sheridan Brill  

Sheridan Brill

Board member
Appointed: 3 April 2009
Resigned: 13 October 2010

Sheridan Brill, 33, from Canberra, spent three years after high school working in various Public Service positions before deciding to become a teacher.

Sheridan attended a number of schools nationally and internationally during her father’s engineering career in the Royal Australian Air Force. After completing her Bachelor of Education degree at the University of Canberra, she spent six years teaching Kindergarten to Year 6 in the ACT public education system. During her teaching career, Sheridan was passionate about ensuring students from all backgrounds had access to quality education, with a specific focus on the development of literacy skills.

Sheridan’s interests lie in interior design, digital photography and maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle.

Temporary Board members

Under the Classification Act, the Minister has delegated a power to the Director to appoint a person to be a temporary member of the Classification Board. A register of people suitable for temporary appointments is maintained and drawn on from time to time to provide short term assistance in handling the workload of the Classification Board. Terms of appointment may be as short as one day and may extend to three months.

Graeme Bradley

Graeme Bradley, 63, began his career in the Commonwealth Bank followed by two years’ national service in the Royal Australian Army as a communications specialist. He then joined Telstra and worked in the field of telecommunications and IT for 35 years. This included secondments to Saudi Arabia, USA and Malaysia. Graeme spent five years working on the Sydney 2000 Olympics and Paralympics Games whilst being a member of the NSW Paralympics Committee for four years. Graeme lives in Sydney with his wife and son.

Graeme worked 106 days as a temporary Board member during 2010–11.

Emma Bromley

Emma Bromley, 37, is married with two young children. A former high school teacher, she has held numerous positions within the Australian Public Service including film policy and telecommunications funding. She also held a number of positions within the then Office of Film and Literature Classification. Emma currently fundraises for her local community childcare centre. Her interests include photography, craft and writing.

Emma worked 44 days as a temporary Board member during 2010–11.

Chantal Chalier

Chantal Chalier, 55, was born and educated in France. She holds a Master of Arts and Doctorate from the University of Lyon. Chantal worked in education in the USA and Zimbabwe before coming to Australia. After her son’s birth, Chantal acquired Australian citizenship. Chantal was a tutor at Macquarie University, and a Lecturer at the Australian National University for four years. Chantal worked with SBS Television for 12 years as a subtitler and then as an assessor and programmer of films and documentaries. For the last 18 years Chantal has also been involved in adult education with the Centre for Continuing Education at the University of Sydney, co-ordinating the French program and devising French civilisation and cultural courses.

Chantal was a member of the Classification Board from 3 April 2006 to 2 April 2009.

Chantal worked 75 days as a temporary Board member during 2010–11.

Dianne Doratis

Dianne, 62, joined the Board as a temporary member in September 2007. A first generation Greek-Australian, Dianne worked as a Clinical Psychologist in government and private practice, specialising in children and families. Dianne has retired from work as a Psychologist but continues to work as a Guardian in various court jurisdictions. Married with three adult daughters, Dianne returned to Sydney after 18 years living near Newcastle to take up her appointment to the Classification Board. Her interests include music, singing, film, theatre, reading and food.

Dianne worked 117 days as a temporary Board member during 2010–11.

Tracey Eades

Tracey Eades, 46, is from Sydney and the Central Coast, New South Wales. She is a mother of three school age children and is actively involved in her local community through her children’s numerous activities, particularly at the local school where she is an Executive Member of the P&C. She is a registered psychologist and has worked with the Department of Corrective Services, the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service and as a gambling counsellor. Her interests are swimming, reading and watching kids’ sports.

Tracey worked 87 days as a temporary Board member during 2010–11.

Geoff Geraghty

Geoff Geraghty, 58, has had an extensive and wide ranging career with the Australian Military. He has been active within the community through various school associations and local community initiatives. He recently served as a community member with the NSW Bar Association. He is currently involved with the Young Endeavour Youth Sail Training scheme and the Australian Navy Cadets. Geoff is married with three adult children and one grandchild.

Geoff worked 26 days as a temporary Board member during 2010–11.

Cate Nagy

Cate, 37, holds a Bachelor of Asian Studies (Thai)/ Bachelor of Laws degree and was a Senior Associate with a law firm where she practised as an intellectual property lawyer for eleven years before taking a leave of absence to spend more time with her two young children. She is actively involved in her children’s school and preschool communities and volunteers at her local school providing remedial learning assistance.

Cate lives in Sydney but grew up in Wollongong, New South Wales. Cate has also lived and studied in Germany and Thailand, and has experience of people from a wide range of cultural, religious and socio-economic backgrounds.

Cate worked 58 days as a temporary Board member during 2010–11.

Shane Wells

Shane Wells, 47, holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts degree in Media and Cultural Policy. He runs his own communications consultancy and prior to that has had extensive experience in a broad range of communications roles including with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

While he now lives in Sydney, Shane has also lived in Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales in both urban and rural environments and has a strong understanding and appreciation of the diverse nature of the Australian community. Shane is the father of two young children, and is also the coach of an under-8’s cricket team.

Shane worked 63 days as a temporary Board member during 2010–11.

Leanne Wilson-O’Connor

Leanne Wilson O’Connor, 37, has worked for the past eleven years as the Aboriginal Education Officer at Stewart House, a charitable institution providing respite care for children in need. Leanne has travelled extensively around Australia and has spent time living and working in remote Aboriginal communities. She has been a member of the Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and is a member of her local Aboriginal Land Council.

Leanne has two adult daughters and has previously been a nanny to two young boys. She has an active interest in the creative arts and is a trained makeup artist.

Leanne worked 112 days as a temporary Board member during 2010–11.

Sue Zelinka

Sue Zelinka, 61, began her career in ABC Television where she researched, directed and produced documentary films on a range of topics in both the arts and social sciences. After running her own research company, she joined the Human Rights Commission and then spent a decade as a member of the Refugee Review Tribunal.

Sue maintains an active involvement in the International Association of Refugee Law Judges and is a Visiting Fellow of the Law School at the University of New South Wales. She lives in Sydney with her husband and Freddie the dog.

Sue worked 48 days as a temporary Board member during 2010–11.

Statistics

There are statutory time limits for the making of classification decisions – 20 days for standard applications and five days for priority applications.

Key achievements

There are statutory time limits for the making of classification decisions – 20 days for standard applications and five days for priority applications. Key achievements

  • The Classification Board and the Director received 6,718 applications in 2010–11, resulting in 6,635 decisions1. Of these decisions, 5,886 were classification decisions including 5,579 commercial classification decisions, 160 classification decisions on internet content referred by the ACMA and 147 classification decisions for enforcement agencies.
  • No decisions exceeded the statutory time limit of 20 days for standard applications and five days for a priority application.

Timeliness of decisions

In 2010–11, all classification decisions on commercial applications were made within the statutory time limits. A breakdown of these figures follows:

Table 01 Timeliness of decisions on commercial applications by application type
Application type No. of decisions made within statutory time limits No. of standard applications over 20 business days No. of priority processing fee applications over 5 business days
Film (public exhibition) 472 0 0
Film (not for public exhibition) 3,361 0 0
Film (not for public exhibition) – ACA 206 0 0
Film (not for public exhibition) – ATSA 390 0 0
Computer games 891 0 0
Publications (including serial declarations) 259 0 0
Assessment of likely classification – film 32 0 0
Assessment of likely classification – computer games 0 0 0
Internet content 160 0 0
Total 5,771 0 0
% of total 100 0 0

 

Table 02 Overdue applications by reason for delay
Reason Number
Workflow delay 0
Administrative error 0
Total 0

 

Classification Board workload

In 2010–11, the Classification Board received 6,718 applications and made 6,635 decisions.

Table 03 Applications received by format/source
Commercial applications Applications received
Film (public exhibition) 478
Film (not for public exhibition) 3,296
Film (not for public exhibition) – ACA 206
Film (not for public exhibition) – ATSA 395
Computer games 923
Publications (excluding serial publications) 217
Serial publication declarations 60
Assessment of likely classification – film 31
Assessment of likely classification – computer games 0
Other applications
Internet content 222
Enforcement (including Australian Customs and Border Protection Service) 364
Film festival exemptions 504
Fee waiver applications 22
Total 6,718

 

Table 04 Decisions by format/source
Decisions on Commercial applications Decisions
Film (public exhibition) 472
Film (not for public exhibition) 3,361
Film (not for public exhibition) – ACA 206
Film (not for public exhibition) – ATSA 390
Computer games 891
Publications 204
Serial publication declarations 55
Assessment of likely classification – film 32
Assessment of likely classification – computer games 0
Other decisions
Internet content 160
Enforcement (including Australian Customs and Border Protection Service) 343
Film festival exemptions 506
Fee waiver applications 12
Revocation of classification 3
Total 6,635

 

Comparison with last year’s workload

Compared with the 2009–10 reporting period, the number of:

  • applications received decreased from 7,302 to 6,718 (a decrease of 8 percent)
  • consequently, the number of resulting decisions decreased from 7,178 to 6,635 (a decrease of 7.6 percent)
  • classification decisions made decreased in most application categories except for films for public exhibition which increased from 422 to 472 (an increase of 11 percent) and enforcement applications which increased from 195 to 343 (an increase of 39.6 percent)
  • the significant decrease in standard classification decisions made for films not for public exhibition from 3,967 to 3,361 (a decrease of 15 percent) was to some extent offset by an increase in decisions made on ACA and ATSA applications which increased by 60 and 47 percent respectively. Overall, decisions made for films not for public exhibition decreased by 9 percent.

Cost

The current fee structure for classification services was introduced on 1 December 2005. The fees are set out in the Commonwealth Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Regulations 2005.

To ensure the financial model continues to comply with the Australian Government’s cost recovery policy, regular reviews of classification fees are conducted. A review continued during the reporting period and is expected to be completed in 2011–12.

Quality decision-making

The Classification Board employs a number of practices and procedures to ensure quality of decision-making:

  • regular internal meetings are held to ensure issues on current standards are communicated and a forum is provided to debate and discuss classification standards and maintain a consistent approach to decision-making
  • interchange between the Classification Board and the Classification Branch ensures the Classification Board’s standards are reflected in training programs provided by the Branch for industry assessors, and
  • standardised internal procedures for managing applications.

Publications

The Classification Board made 259 decisions on commercial applications for classification of publications. This includes 204 single issue publication classifications and 55 serial declarations.

Table 05 Commercial (single issue) publications decisions by classification
Classification Classification decisions
Unrestricted 61
Category 1 restricted 129
Category 2 restricted 14
RC 0
Total 204

 

Table 06 Commercial (single issue) publications applications refused classification by reason
Reason2 Number
Publications RC 1(a) 0
Publications RC 1(b) 0
Publications RC 1(c) 0
Publications RC 1(a) & 1(b) 0
Total 0

As indicated in Figure 01, 63 percent of single issue publications classified were Category 1 restricted. Seven percent were Category 2 restricted and 30 percent were Unrestricted. No publications were classified RC (Refused Classification).

Figure 01 Publication classification decisions

Figure 01 Publication classification decisions Cat 1 Restricted 63% Cat 2 Restricted 7% Unrestricted 30% RC 0%  

Serial classification declarations for publications

The Classification Act provides that the Classification Board may declare that the classification granted for an original issue applies to future issues of a publication for a specified period or number of issues. The Classification Board must have regard to the Classification (Serial Publications) Principles 2005 in deciding whether to grant a serial classification declaration.

Table 07 Serial classification declarations granted by classification
Classification Declarations granted
Unrestricted 5
Category 1 restricted 49
Category 2 restricted 1
RC 0
Total 55

The Classification Board audits publications granted a serial classification declaration. In 2010–11, two publications failed the audit and their serial classification was revoked.

As indicated in Figure 02, 89 percent of serial classification declarations were for Category 1 restricted publications. Two percent were Category 2 restricted publications and nine percent were Unrestricted publications. No publications were classified RC.

Figure 02 Serial publication classification declarations

Figure 02 - Serial publication classification declarations Category 1 Restricted 89% Category 2 restricted 2% Unrestricted 9% RC 0% 

Film – public exhibition

The Classification Board made 472 decisions on applications for the classification of public exhibition films.

Table 08 Commercial films (public exhibition) decisions by classification
Classification Classification decisions
G 63
PG 94
M 196
MA 15+ 109
R 18+ 10
X 18+ 0
RC 0
Total 472

As indicated in Figure 03, 75 percent of public exhibition film classifications during the year were in the categories of G, PG and M, with the highest number of decisions in the M category.

Figure 03 Film – public exhibition classification decisions

Figure 01 Film - public exhibition xlassification decisions G13% PG 20% M42% MA 15+ 23% R18+ 2% RC 0% 

Film – not for public exhibition

The Classification Board made 3,957 decisions on applications for classification of commercial films not for public exhibition in the reporting period. These figures include applications made under the Additional Content Assessor and Authorised Television Series Assessor Schemes.

Table 09 Commercial film (not for public exhibition) decisions by classification
Classification Classification decisions
G 671
PG 819
M 1,036
MA 15+ 762
R 18+ 117
X 18+ 526
RC 26
Total 3,957

 

Table 10 Commercial film (not for public exhibition) applications refused classification by reason
Reason3 Number
Films RC 1(a) 21
Films RC 1(b) 1
Films RC 1(c) 0
Films RC 1(a) & 1(b) 4
Total 26

As indicated in Figure 04, approximately 64 percent of film (not for public exhibition) classifications during the year were in the advisory categories of G, PG and M, with the highest number of decisions in the M category.

The Classification Board classified 26 commercial films not for public exhibition RC. This represents 0.66 percent of the total number of the films not for public exhibition submitted for classification

Figure 04 Film – not for public exhibition (including ACA and ATSA)

Figire 04 - Film not for public exhibition including ACA and ATSA - G17% PG 21% M 26% MA 15+ 19% R18+ 3% RC 1% 

Under the Additional Content Assessor (ACA) scheme, applications that comprise previously classified or exempt film/s plus additional content (eg, additional scenes, Director’s commentary, out-takes, etc) can be accompanied by a recommendation from a trained and authorised assessor on the appropriate classification and consumer advice for the additional content.

Under the Authorised Television Series Assessor (ATSA) scheme, applications that comprise certain television series and series related material can be also be accompanied by a report from an authorised assessor including a recommended classification and consumer advice. Applications submitted under the scheme generally attract a lower fee.

Under both schemes, the Classification Board is still responsible for the classification of the film, but its decision may be informed by the assessor’s report and classification recommendation.

Computer games

The Classification Board made 891 decisions on applications for computer games.

Table 11 Commercial computer games decisions by classification
Classification Classification decisions
G 433
PG 270
M 111
MA 15+ 75
RC 2
Total 891

Ninety one percent of computer game classifications during the year were in the advisory categories of G, PG and M, with the highest number of decisions in the G category.

The Classification Board classified two computer games RC during the reporting period.

One computer game classification was revoked under section 21A of the Classification Act during the reporting period.

Figure 05 Computer game classification decisions

Figure 05 - Computer game classification decisions - G 49% PG 30% M 12% MA 15+ 8% RC 0.2% 

Table 12 Commercial computer games applications refused classification by reason
Reason4 Number
Games RC 1(a) 0
Games RC 1(b) 0
Games RC 1(c) 0
Games RC 1(d) 2
Films RC 1(a) & 1(b) 0
Total 2

Other applications

Exemptions to show unclassified films

There is general information about exemptions in the overview of the National Classification Scheme.

During 2010–11 the Director finalised 506 applications for exemption to publicly exhibit unclassified films at film festivals and special film events. The Director refused an exemption for one film within one of these applications. Five hundred and ten applications were finalised in the previous reporting period.

Advertisements

The Classification Board did not receive any applications for approval of advertisements under section 29 of the Classification Act.

Advertising assessments

On 1 July 2009 a new scheme for advertising unclassified films and computer games commenced. The scheme removes the previous prohibition on advertising unclassified films and computer games and allows advertising subject to conditions set out in the Classification (Advertising of Unclassified Films and Computer Games Scheme) Determination 2009.

One of the conditions is a ‘commensurate audience rule’ to ensure that unclassified films and computer games are only advertised to an appropriate audience. For this purpose, the likely classification of an unclassified film or computer game must be assessed before it is advertised with already classified material, and it may only be advertised with material that has been classified the same or higher than its assessed likely classification. The assessment of likely classification can be made by the Board on application, or by an appropriately trained and authorised industry assessor.

During the reporting period the Board made 32 assessments of the likely classification of films and no assessments of the likely classification of computer games.

Certificates of exemption for films or computer games

Certain categories of films and computer games are exempt from classification under the Classification Act. The Board may grant a certificate stating that a film or computer game is exempt from classification under section 28B of the Classification Act. The Classification (Markings for Certified Exempt Films and Computer Games) Determination 2005 establishes the exempt markings. Only computer games and films certified as exempt from classification by the Classification Board can display these exempt markings.

Exempt from classification 

The Classification Board received no applications to certify films or computer games as exempt from classification during the reporting period.

Fee waivers

The Classification Act allows the Director to waive all or part of fees payable under the Classification Act in specific circumstances, such as where it is in the public interest to do so for public health or educational reasons. There are also fee waiver provisions for non-profit organisations and for special interest material with a limited distribution in some circumstances (eg, a short film from a new or emerging film maker) and where, in the Director’s opinion, it is in the public interest to waive all or part of the fee. The Director granted 12 fee waivers during the reporting period. There were no refused applications for fee waivers.

Table 13 Fee waiver applications granted
Film (public exhibition) Fee waivers granted
Full fee waiver 10
50% fee waiver 0
75% fee waiver 0
Fee waiver refused 0
Film (not for public exhibition)
Full fee waiver 2
50% fee waiver 0
75% fee waiver 0
Fee waiver refused 0
Computer game
Full fee waiver 0
50% fee waiver 0
75% fee waiver 0
Fee waiver refused 0
Publication
Full fee waiver 0
50% fee waiver 0
75% fee waiver 0
Fee waiver refused 0
Total 12

Classification services for the public good

In addition to making classification decisions about material for commercial release, the Classification Board also:

  • classifies films, publications and computer games for enforcement agencies, such as State and Territory police5, and
  • classifies material on application for Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.

Enforcement agencies

The Classification Board classifies films, publications and computer games submitted by enforcement agencies, such as State and Territory police. These classification decisions are often used in legal proceedings undertaken by the agency involved.

Table 14 Enforcement applications decisions by agency
Enforcement agency Publications Films – other Section 87 certificates6 Total
Australian Federal Police 8 0 8 16
ACT Office of Fair Trading 0 0 4 4
NSW Police 0 16 36 52
NT Police 8 1 10 19
Qld Police & Qld Office of Fair Trading 9 23 40 72
Victoria Police 4 15 20 39
SA Police 0 48 61 109
Tasmania Police 0 12 14 26
WA Police 0 2 2 4
Australian Defence Forces Investigative Services (ADFIS) 0 0 0 0
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service 0 1 1 2
Total 29 118 196 343

There were no enforcement applications for public exhibition films or computer games in 2010–11.

Internet content

Under Schedule 7 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, the Classification Board classifies internet content on application from the ACMA and other applicants. Internet content is classified as either a film, a computer game or a publication. Internet content is, however, shown separately in tables 15 and 16 below for reporting purposes only.

Table 15 Internet content decisions by classification
Classification Classification decisions
G 7
PG 19
M 26
MA 15+ 20
R 18+ 28
X 18+ 1
RC 59
Unrestricted 0
Total 160

 

Table 16 Internet content refused classification by reason
Reason7 Number
Film RC 1(a) 16
Film RC 1(b) 2
Film RC 1(c) 7
Film RC 1(d) 1
Film RC 1(a) & 1(b) 29
Film RC 1(a) & 1(c) 4
S 9A (2) (c) 0
Total 59

Decisions

Publications

Only ‘submittable publications’ must be classified before they can legally be advertised or distributed in Australia.

Section 5 of the Classification Act defines a submittable publication to mean:

an unclassified publication that, having regard to section 9A or to the Code and the classification guidelines to the extent that they relate to publications, contains depictions or descriptions that:

  1. are likely to cause the publication to be classified RC; or
  2. are likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult to the extent that the publication should not be sold or displayed as an unrestricted publication; or
  3. are unsuitable for a minor to see or read.

It is the responsibility of distributors to ensure that they meet classification requirements for publications. The enforcement legislation in some states and territories provides that it is an offence to sell or deliver a submittable publication that has not been classified.

The Classification Act provides the Director of the Classification Board with the power to call in a publication for classification if the Director has reasonable grounds to believe that it is a submittable publication and that the publication is being published in an Australian jurisdiction.

Classifications

There are four classifications for publications – Unrestricted, Category 1 restricted, Category 2 restricted and RC (Refused Classification).

The Guidelines for the Classification of Publications are used by the Classification Board when classifying publications. They explain the different classification categories and the scope and limits of material suitable for each category.

Unrestricted

Unrestricted 

Unrestricted mature 

The Unrestricted classification covers a wide range of material. Unrestricted publications may contain classifiable elements such as sex and nudity with some detail but the impact should not be so strong as to require legal restriction to adults.

A special consideration of the Classification Board in classifying publications is the suitability of covers for public display. There are specific criteria for the assessment of covers, which specify that the impact of any descriptions or depictions and references on covers should be low. This accords with one of the principles of the Code, namely that everyone should be protected from exposure to unsolicited material that they may find offensive. Publications with covers that are not suitable for public display cannot be classified Unrestricted.

Generally, there are no restrictions on the sale or display of Unrestricted publications. However, the Classification Board can apply consumer advice not recommending the publication for readers under 15.

During the reporting period, a total of 259 classification decisions were made in relation to commercial applications for the classification of publications. This figure includes 55 serial publication declarations.

Out of the total of 259 classification decisions for publications, 61 single issue publications and five serial publications were classified Unrestricted.

Publications classified Unrestricted by the Board during the reporting period include a binder containing 23 portrait and landscape photographs by the artist Bill Henson. The images were for inclusion in an exhibition of the artist’s works at the Tolarno Galleries in Melbourne and in the catalogue for the exhibition. The Board considered the contents of the binder to be bona fide artwork and classified the publication Unrestricted.

Category 1 Restricted

Category 1 Restricted 

Restricted Category 1 

During the reporting period, of the total of 259 publications classified (including 55 serial publication declarations), 129 single issue publication and 49 serial publications were classified Category 1 restricted.

Category 1 restricted publications may include realistic depictions of nudity, realistic depictions of sexual excitement and detailed descriptions of sexual activity between consenting adults. Actual sexual activity may not be shown.

Category 1 restricted publications can only be sold to persons 18 years of age and over and must be displayed in a sealed wrapper. The Classification Board can impose a further condition that the sealed wrapper is made of opaque material. Category 1 restricted publications cannot be sold in Queensland.

Category 2 Restricted

Category 2 - Restricted 

Restricted Category 2 

During the reporting period, of the total of 259 publications classified (including 55 serial publication declarations), 14 single issue publications and one serial publication were classified Category 2 restricted.

Category 2 restricted publications may include realistic depictions of actual sexual activity involving consenting adults. They may also include descriptions and depictions of stronger fetishes than those which can be accommodated at the Category 1 restricted classification.

Category 2 restricted publications can only be sold to persons 18 years of age and over and can only be displayed in restricted premises. Category 2 restricted publications cannot be sold in Queensland.

RC (Refused Classification)

Publications classified RC cannot be sold or displayed in Australia. During the reporting period, of the total of 259 publications classified (including 55 serial declarations), no publications were classified RC.

Serial classifications for publications

On application, the Classification Board can issue a serial classification declaration. This means that a classification (and conditions, if applicable) given to one issue of a periodical will apply to a specified number of future issues of the same periodical. Publishers must ensure that the future issues do not have content at a higher level than the serial declaration allows.

During the reporting period, 55 periodicals were granted a serial classification declaration. All of these were for a 12-month duration.

The Classification Board audits publications covered by serial classification declarations. During the reporting period, 54 audits were undertaken.

After failing an audit, two publications had their serial classifications revoked during 2010–11.

Once a serial classification is revoked, the audited issue and all future issues become unclassified. The publisher must then submit each issue for classification, or apply for another serial classification declaration, before they can sell the publication.

If the Classification Board revokes the serial classification of a title, law enforcement agencies are notified as it is generally an offence to sell an unclassified submittable publication in the Australian States and Territories.

Films and computer games

The Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games (the Guidelines) explain the different classification categories and the scope and limits of material suitable for each category. Three essential principles underlie the use of the Guidelines; the importance of context, assessing impact and the six classifiable elements (themes, violence, sex, language, drug use and nudity).

The Guidelines also provide a single set of symbols for both films and computer games to help consumers decide what they and those in their care will watch and play.

General 

Films

Out of the total of 4,429 commercial films classified in 2010–11, 734 films were classified G (General).

The G classification is for a general audience. While many films at the G classification are targeted towards children, it does not necessarily mean that children will enjoy all films classified G. Some material that is classified G may be of no interest to children such as some documentaries or particular music DVDs. Popular G films during the reporting period included Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, Gnomeo & Juliet and Rio.

The film Justin Bieber: Never Say Never documents Justin Bieber’s rise to fame from street performer to internet phenomenon to superstar. The film did not contain any classifiable elements that exceeded a very mild impact and was therefore classified G.

The animated children’s film Gnomeo & Juliet was found by the Board not to contain any classifiable elements that exceeded a very mild impact and as such the film was classified G.

Rio, also an animated children’s film, was also classified G by the Board. The classifiable elements were found by the Board to be themes and violence that have a very low sense of threat and/or menace and are justified by context. Examples of very mild impact themes in the film are kidnapping and bullying. This mostly takes the form of a sulphur crested cockatoo known as Nigel, siding with bird-smugglers and using interrogation and harassment tactics as a means to bully other animals into disclosing information about two main characters. The animated nature of the film served to mitigate the impact of the themes. The Board did not assign consumer advice.

Although not mandatory at G, the Classification Board may include consumer advice in order to assist consumers and parents to make more informed entertainment choices for themselves and those in their care. For example, the film Inside Life was classified G in the reporting period with consumer advice of ‘Predatory animal behaviour’ because of scenes which the Board felt required such consumer advice.

Series of television programs classified G in the reporting period included The Smurfs, Poh’s Kitchen, Pokemon and Gomer Pyle.

Computer games

The G classification is the largest classification for computer games. Out of a total of 891 computer games classified during 2010–11, 433 computer games were classified G.

Computer games classified G are suitable for a general audience. The classifiable elements should be very mild with little threat or menace to characters. Examples of computer games classified G during the reporting period were Kinect Me, FIFA 12, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit and Mario vs Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem.

By combining photo imagery with animation, the computer game Kinect Me enables players to create a personalised avatar that is a relatively realistic representation of their actual appearance. Once the avatar is created, players have the option of making a voice recording and posing for a series of still shots which can be shared online. The Classification Board found that the game contained no classifiable elements and therefore the game was classified G with consumer advice of ‘Caution: user-generated content may change game play’.

Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, an arcade racing game, was also classified G in the reporting period with consumer advice of ‘Caution: gaming experience may change online’. In the game a player can assume the role of a police officer or a racer. The aim of the game is to complete all levels of the racing game as both a cop and a racer. The consumer advice was applied due to the online component of the game.

FIFA 12 was also classified G in the reporting period. The game involves a simulation soccer game in which the player competes in matches against the computer or other players. No consumer advice was assigned.

Mario vs Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem is a puzzle game in which the player must navigate their way through the stages of the game, avoiding hazards and solving puzzles, with the ultimate aim of catching Donkey Kong and rescuing the kidnapped Pauline. The game was classified G with consumer advice of ‘Caution: content may change online’. The consumer advice was applied due to the online component of the game.

Parental Guidance 

Films

Out of the total of 4,429 commercial films classified in 2010–11, 913 films were classified PG (Parental Guidance).

Parental guidance for persons under 15 is recommended for films in this classification, as some children may find the material confusing or upsetting and require the guidance of parents or guardians. Some films classified PG in the reporting period include Rango, Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Tree of Life.

Rango is an animated film in the style of a spaghetti western which tells the story of the newly appointed sheriff Rango as he investigates the town’s critical water shortage. The Board found that the film contains themes and violence which are inextricably linked, had a low sense of threat or menace and are justified by context. The film contains sexual references that are mitigated by comedic tone and delivery and can be accommodated at a lower classification. Rango was classified PG with the consumer advice ‘Mild violence, some scenes may scare young children’.

The film Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules was found by the Board to contain themes that have a low threat and/or menace and are justified by context. These themes are in the form of crude humour aimed at children. The Board notes that the film contains coarse language that can be accommodated within a lower classification. The film was classified PG with the consumer advice ‘Mild crude humour’.

The film The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was classified PG. The action includes magical sparring between wizards and swordfights ending in the primary villain’s soul being trapped inside a doll. In the Board’s view the violence and the threat of violence is defused by the fantasy context and the use of humour throughout which results in a mild impact that is best represented by the consumer advice of ‘Fantasy violence and threatening scenes’.

Tree of Life tells the story of Jack, seen as an adult and then in extended flashbacks from the moment of his birth and growing up in the 1950s with a controlling father, a subservient mother and two younger brothers. The film contains thematic elements relating to death, grief, misadventure and dysfunctional family relationships as it tells the story of Jack’s childhood. In the Board’s view the film contains themes that have a low sense of threat and/or menace and are justified by context. The film was classified PG with consumer advice of ‘Mild themes’.

Some examples of 3D format films classified PG in the reporting period include Kung Fu Panda 2, Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole and Tangled.

The animated film Kung Fu Panda 2 (3D) was classified PG with consumer advice of ‘Mild animated violence’. The Board believes the comedic tone and rollicking adventure style of the animated violence mitigates the impact and allows the film to be accommodated at the PG classification.

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole is an animated feature telling the story of Soren, a young owl who must search for the mythical heroes of childhood legends to save all of owl kind from the evil owls, the ‘Pure Ones’. The film contains infrequent mild violence that is justified by content. The film was classified PG with consumer advice of ‘Mild violence and scary scenes’

The Walt Disney 3D animated film Tangled was classified PG with consumer advice of ‘Mild animated violence’. The film contains infrequent mild animated violence that is justified by context. It includes a number of prolonged action scenes between villains and palace guards, with realistic sound effects, that are very mild to mild in impact.

Series of television programs that were classified PG in the reporting period included Top Gear, Man vs Wild, Love Thy Neighbour and The Flying Doctors.

Computer games

Computer games classified PG should have a mild impact. PG computer games are not recommended for playing by persons under 15 years without guidance from a parent or guardian as they may contain content that is confusing or upsetting.

The Board classified 891 computer games in 2010–11, and 270 computer games were classified PG.

Titles classified PG during the reporting period included We Dare, Top Gun and Lego Pirates of the Caribbean.

We Dare is a party game for the Nintendo Wii that can be played in single player or multiplayer modes. Players begin by customising their appearance and personality and then select a number of mini-games to play, based on their personality types. At the end of each mini-game, each player receives a score based on how closely their game play matched their chosen personality type. The graphics are highly stylised and cartoon like and the background scenery changes with each mini-game. The Board classified the game PG with consumer advice of ‘Mild sexual references’. The consumer advice refers to the mild sexual references in the game that the Board found to be discretely implied and justified by context. There is also a sexual tone to the game as suggested by some of the gameplay, song lyrics and text bubbles that appear at the beginning of each mini-game.

There were a number of media reports suggesting that the PG rating for We Dare may be inappropriate.

The Minister for Justice referred the Board’s classification decision for We Dare to the Classification Review Board which, on review, also classified the game PG with consumer advice of ‘Mild sexual references’. For more information see Decisions of the Review Board.

Top Gun is a flight simulation game based on the film of the same name. Players pilot military jet fighters through specific combat missions. The Board classified the game PG and assigned consumer advice of ‘Mild violence; gaming experience may change online’.

Lego Pirates of the Caribbean is an action/adventure puzzle game featuring scenes and characters from the Pirates of the Caribbean films in Lego style. The aim of the game is to collect infinity stones for the infinity gauntlet and defeat the boss in the final battle. The Board classified the game PG with consumer advice of ‘Mild violence’.

Mature 

Films

The M (Mature) classification is the largest classification category for films.

Out of the total of 4,429 commercial films classified in 2010–11, 1,232 films were classified M.

Films classified M are not recommended for persons under 15 years of age. Accordingly, they require a mature perspective. There are no legal restrictions on access and ultimately, it is the responsibility of parents or guardians to make decisions about appropriate entertainment material for their children and to provide adequate supervision.

Sixty five percent of commercial film classifications during the year were in the advisory categories of G, PG and M, with the highest number of decisions in the M category.

Films classified M by the Classification Board during the reporting period included The Social Network, The King’s Speech, Red Riding Hood and the second-last instalment of the popular series Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.

The Social Network is a drama which tells the story of Mark Zuckerberg, creator of the multibillion dollar phenomenon Facebook. The development of Facebook resulted in considerable personal complications and legal battles for Zuckerberg. The Board found that the classifiable element that resulted in the M classification was language that is moderate in viewing impact. The Board notes that the film also contains sexual references and drug use that can be accommodated within a lower classification. This film was classified M with consumer advice of ‘Coarse language’.

The King’s Speech tells the story of Prince Albert, younger son of England’s King George V and later crowned King George VI, who’d had a debilitating stutter since childhood. Intensive treatment by unorthodox Australian speech therapist, Lionel Logue, is successful and, as a result, they become lifelong friends. The Board notes that the film contains mild sexual references that can be accommodated within a lower classification. It also contains coarse language with a moderate impact. This film was classified M with consumer advice of ‘Coarse language’.

Another film classified M by the Classification Board in the reporting period was Red Riding Hood. The film is loosely based on the folk tale ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, and tells the story of a medieval village terrorised by a villager who takes the form of human by day and werewolf by night. The film contains themes that have a moderate sense of threat and menace and are justified by context. The film also contains violence that is justified by context and is inextricably linked to the thematic material. In the Board’s view, the combination of the supernatural thematic elements and violence creates a sense of threat and menace that is moderate in viewing impact. The film also contains sexual references that can be accommodated within a lower classification. This film was classified M with consumer advice of ‘Supernatural themes and violence’.

The film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I is the second-last film in the Harry Potter franchise. The film is set in a dark fantasy context and contains scenes which convey a sense of threat or menace and include post action visuals which depict some blood and wound detail. In the opinion of the Board, the impact of themes and violence is mitigated by the episodic structure of the narrative, with threatening or menacing scenes occurring intermittently throughout the film. Nonetheless, the Board is of the opinion that the film cannot be recommended for persons under 15 years of age and should therefore be classified M with consumer advice of ‘Fantasy themes and violence’.

Examples of 3D format films classified M in the reporting period were The Green Hornet, Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

The Green Hornet is an action comedy film that tells the story of would-be superheroes Britt Reid and his late father’s mechanic Kato, who team up to fight crime by posing as villains. This film was classified M with consumer advice for ‘Action violence and coarse language’.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon contains moderate violence that is justified by context. The depictions of violence in the film include extended battle scenes featuring frequent explosions, automatic weapon fire and aggressive and destructive combat between giant robots. Depictions of blood and injury detail are occasionally viewed, as well as mechanical damage to the robots. In the view of the Board, the frequency and frenetic nature of the violence creates an impact which is moderate and therefore warrants an M classification with consumer advice for ‘Action violence and coarse language’.

The supernatural adventure film Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides follows Jack Sparrow as he accompanies former flame Angelica and her father, the treacherous pirate Blackbeard, on a quest to find the fountain of youth. The film contains themes that have a moderate sense of threat or menace and are justified by context, and moderate violence that is justified by context. In the context of a pirate adventure plot-line, the film contains supernatural elements in conjunction with violence which includes limited blood and wound detail. This film was classified M with consumer advice of ‘Supernatural themes and violence’.

Series of television programs that were classified M in the reporting period included The Good Wife, Blue Heelers, Packed to the Rafters and Law and Order.

Computer games

Computer games classified M are not recommended for persons under 15 years of age. The impact of classifiable elements should be no higher than moderate and playing is recommended for mature audiences. Out of the total of 891 computer games classified during 2010–11, 111 computer games were classified M.

Ninety one percent of computer game classifications during the year were in the advisory categories of G, PG and M, with the highest number of decisions in the G category.

Computer games classified M during the reporting period included DC Universe Online, Dead or Alive: Dimensions, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm and The Sims 3.

DC Universe Online is a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) which allows players to create their own superhero or supervillain and explore the DC universe alongside other online players. The aim of the game is to choose to fight to save the universe or enslave the universe. This game is classified M with consumer advice of ‘Violence, online content variable’.

Dead or Alive: Dimensions is an arcade style martial arts fighting game for the Nintendo 3DS console. The game allows the player to choose from 25 different playable characters and engage in unarmed one-on-one fights in a variety of arenas. On 8 February 2011, the Board classified Dead or Alive: Dimensions PG with consumer advice of ‘Mild violence and sexualised gameplay’. In late May 2011, concerns were raised by the media about certain content in the game. The content in question was not identified in the classification application considered by the Board. The Classification Act requires that the course of action that the Board must take if a game contains contentious material that was not brought to its attention at the time of classification and which would have caused the Board to make a different decision, is to revoke the classification of the game. After consideration of a response from the applicant to a request from the Board that it show cause as to why this course of action should not be taken, the Board made the decision to revoke the PG classification of Dead or Alive: Dimensions on 10 June 2011. On the same date, a new application was received for the classification of the game which resulted in its subsequent M classification with consumer advice of ‘Violence and sexualised gameplay. Content may change online’.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm is the third expansion to World of Warcraft, an MMORPG set in the imaginary land of Azeroth. Azeroth is a high-fantasy setting with a long history of epic conflicts, deadly monsters, arch villains and enduring heroes. The Classification Board found that the additional material in this expansion to the World of Warcraft game does not contain any classifiable elements that alter the classification of M ‘Fantasy violence, online content variable’.

The Sims 3 is a life simulation game in which players create a character, known as a Sim, and guide them throughout life while interacting with all the numerous simulations in the game. This game is classified M with consumer advice of ‘Sexual references’.

MA 15+ 

Films

Films classified MA 15+ (Mature Accompanied) are not suitable for persons under 15 years of age. It is a legally restricted category, which means that people under 15 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian to attend or hire a MA 15+ film. MA 15+ films contain themes, violence, sex, language, drug use or nudity that have a strong impact.

Out of the total of 4,429 commercial films classified in 2010–11, 871 films were classified MA 15+. Films that were classified MA 15+ during the reporting period included The Killer Inside Me, The Hangover Part 2, Black Swan, Sleeping Beauty and Snowtown.

The Classification Board classified The Killer Inside Me MA 15+ with consumer advice of ‘Strong violence, sexualised violence and sex scenes’. This film tells the story of a West Texan deputy sheriff, Lou Ford, whose unassuming nature belies sociopathic and sadistic tendencies. The film contains violence and sexualised violence together with sex scenes that are strong in impact and justified by context. In some instances these elements are inextricably linked. In the opinion of the Board, the impact of these scenes is strong, given the abrupt and intense nature of the violence, the prolonged nature of the attacks and the cold and calculating brutality with which they are delivered by Lou. However, throughout these scenes, the camera’s focus is primarily on Lou and his delivery of the blows, with the impact of the kicks and punches occurring primarily off-camera. Although there are shots depicting the victims’ severe injuries, these are relatively briefly depicted in the context of the film.

The Hangover Part 2 is the second film in the franchise and sees Phil, Doug, Allen and Stu in Thailand for Stu’s marriage to Lauren. Prior to the wedding and after drinks on the beach one night, Phil, Allen and Stu wake in a Bangkok hotel unaware of how they got there and of what they had done the previous evening. While the classifiable elements for this film are sex, nudity, coarse language and drug use that are strong in viewing impact, the comedic nature and the treatment of themes serves to mitigate the impact.

The Board notes that the film also contains violence and themes that can be accommodated at a lower classification. This film was classified MA 15+ with consumer advice of ‘Strong sexual references, nudity, coarse language and drug use’.

In the film Black Swan, Nina is a young ballerina desperate to fulfil her ambition to dance the leading role in Swan Lake. She has been set on this path by a controlling and overbearing mother but as success becomes more available to her, Nina’s mental state becomes more precarious. The film contains sex scenes, themes and violence that are strong in viewing impact. The Board notes that the film contains coarse language, sexual references and drug use that can be accommodated within a lower classification. This film was classified MA 15+ with consumer advice of ‘Strong sex scene, themes and violence’.

The film Sleeping Beauty was also classified MA 15+ during the reporting period. The Board assigned the consumer ‘Strong sexual themes, nudity and coarse language’. The film contains strong themes that are justified by context as well as strong sexual references that are at times inextricably linked within a narrative which focuses on a sexually assertive young girl who takes a job as a lingerie waitress and soon finds herself being paid to be sedated and offered to wealthy clients for their sexual gratification as she sleeps.

Based on true events, the film Snowtown is about the serial killings of a number of people targeted by a group of self-appointed vigilantes and executioners, headed by the manipulative murderer, John Bunting. The film contains strong themes that are justified by context. Themes such as paedophilia, incest and vigilantism in a socially disadvantaged community are the backdrop to this story about how John, a charismatic and manipulative man, inveigles his way into the family and community, preying on their fears and acting out numerous gruesome murders. The Board notes that the film also contains nudity, sexual references and drug use that can be accommodated within a lower classification. This film is classified MA 15+ with consumer advice of ‘Strong themes and violence, sexual violence and coarse language’.

Series of television programs classified MA 15+ during the reporting period included Angry Boys, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Secret Diary of a Call Girl and Dexter.

Computer games

Computer games classified MA 15+ are not suitable for persons under 15 years of age. It is a legally restricted category which prevents the purchase or hire by persons under 15 years of age unless they are accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. Out of the total of 891 computer games classified during 2010–11, 75 computer games were classified MA 15+.

Computer Games classified MA 15+ during the reporting period included Call of Duty: Black Ops, Fallout: New Vegas, Halo: Reach, The Witcher 2 – Assassins of Kings and Gears of War 3.

Call of Duty: Black Ops is a multiplatform first person shooter game about special operations in various fields of conflict, such as Vietnam and Cuba. The player engages in combat with the enemy using a variety of weapons. It can be played in single, multiplayer and co-operative modes. This computer game was classified MA 15+ with consumer advice of ‘Strong violence and coarse language’.

Fallout: New Vegas is a first and third person action/adventure role playing game. Set in the post-apocalyptic Mojave wasteland and the city of New Vegas, the player is a courier who has lost his memory after being ambushed and implicitly shot in the head while crossing the desert. The aim is for the player to earn experience points by completing quests such as hacking into computers, locating specific objects or assassinating targets to help him discover who ambushed and shot him, and what the item was they stole. Fallout: New Vegas is the next instalment after Fallout 3 in the Fallout franchise. It is the Board’s view that this game contains depictions of bloody violence that are at the upper limits of what can be accommodated at MA 15+. This computer game was classified MA 15+ with consumer advice of ‘Strong violence, drug references and themes’.

Halo: Reach is a first person shooting game that chronicles the events leading up to the first Halo game (Halo: Combat Evolved). The game has a campaign mode and several multiplayer modes. The game contains violence that is strong in impact and justified by context. The Board notes that, whilst many of the depictions of the violence have a moderate impact, the cumulative nature of such depictions and the frenetic gameplay lead to a strong playing impact. The game was classified MA 15+ with consumer advice of ‘Strong violence: gaming experience may change online’.

The Witcher 2 – Assassins of Kings is the second game in the Witcher series and is based on the books of the Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. The fantasy role playing game is set in medieval times in which players control Geralt of Rivera, a professional monster hunter (or Witcher) with special skills and supernatural abilities. The classifiable elements in the game are violence, sex, nudity and coarse language that are strong in impact and justified by context. The Board notes that this game is a modified version of the game previously classified RC (see page 50). In the view of the Board, the game had been sufficiently modified to the extent that it could be accommodated within the MA 15+ classification. This computer game was classified MA 15+ with consumer advice of ‘Strong violence, sex scenes, nudity and coarse language’.

Gears of War 3 is a third person shooter in which players assume the role of Marcus Fenix, a soldier on a mission to save his father and battle an alien threat. The game contains violence that is strong in impact and justified by context. The violence in the game occurs in a futuristic, fantasy environment in which the earth is under attack from alien creatures and robots. The Board notes the violence is mitigated by the highly stylised graphics and visual effects and with the majority of violent depictions involving non-human, unrealistic alien creatures. The inclusion of strategic elements in the game further serves to mitigate impact so that, in the Board’s opinion, it does not exceed strong and can therefore be accommodated within the MA 15+ classification with consumer advice for ‘Strong violence, blood and gore and coarse language; gaming experience may change online’.

Restricted 18+ 

The R 18+ (Restricted) classification applies to films only. The classification category is wide in scope giving effect to the Code principle that adults should, with limited exceptions, be able to read, hear and see what they want. The R 18+ classification is legally restricted to adults. Children under 18 are not permitted to view R 18+ films in cinemas, or to rent or buy them on video or DVD.

The impact of material classified R 18+ should not exceed high. Some material classified R 18+ may be offensive to some sections of the adult community.

Out of the total of 4,429 commercial films classified in 2010–11, 127 films were classified R 18+ (Restricted).

Films classified R 18+ during the reporting period included I Spit on Your Grave, Saw 3D, The Human Centipede (First Sequence), The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) and A Serbian Film.

I Spit on Your Grave is a film about a twenty something girl who takes herself to a remote country cabin to enjoy the peace and quiet and commence writing a book. A group of young local men, including the town sheriff, stalk and sexually abuse her. She eventually manages to escape and, after a period of recovery in a ramshackle house, commences her revenge. The classifiable element is violence that is high in viewing impact. The film contains graphic physical violence and sexual violence that are high in viewing impact. Throughout the film there are a number of prolonged scenes depicting sexual violence. In addition there is a constant threat of physical violence between the males and the female character as she turns from being the hunted to the hunter. This film was classified R 18+ with consumer advice of ‘Graphic violence and high impact sexual violence’.

Saw 3D was also classified R 18+ in the reporting period. In this 3D psychological horror film, a policeman hunts for the killer who is continuing Jigsaw’s legacy of torture while a self-help guru, who trades on being a Jigsaw survivor, incurs the killer’s wrath. The film contains violence that is high in viewing impact. The film contains persistent violence which is explicitly depicted, lingers on wound detail and includes copious amounts of blood and gore. Setting up elaborate torture scenarios, the film repeatedly dwells on the victims’ panic and pain – the latter often being self-inflicted under duress. This lends the film a pervasive sense of threat and menace, which further heightens the impact of violence. This film was classified R 18+ with consumer advice of ‘High impact violence, blood and gore’.

The Human Centipede (First Sequence) tells the story of two American tourists who, after their car breaks down, find themselves at the home of Dr Heiter. In his bid to create the world’s first Siamese triplet, Dr Heiter surgically connects the girls with a Japanese male, thereby creating a ‘human centipede’. Overall, the impact of the themes is high and warrants an R 18+ classification for horror themes. This film was classified R 18+ with consumer advice of ‘High impact horror themes’.

In The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), Martin, a psychologically damaged man develops an unhealthy obsession with the film The Human Centipede and becomes determined to create his own version, an ambitious 12 person human centipede. In the opinion of the Board, the film is high in impact and may be offensive to sections of the adult community. The film is therefore appropriately located within the R 18+ classification with consumer advice of ‘High impact themes, violence and sexual violence’.

For information on the classification of A Serbian Film, please see the decision.

X 18+ 

The X 18+ classification applies to films only. It is a special and legally restricted category which contains only sexually explicit material. That is material which contains real depictions of actual sexual intercourse and other sexual activity between consenting adults. X 18+ films are restricted to adults 18 years and over and are available for sale or hire only in the Australian Capital Territory and parts of the Northern Territory.

Films classified X 18+ can contain real depictions of actual sexual activity between consenting adults in which there is no violence, sexual violence, sexualised violence, coercion, sexually assaultive language or fetishes or depictions which purposefully demean anyone involved in that activity for the enjoyment of viewers, in a way that is likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult. Films will be classified RC if they contain depictions of practices such as bestiality or have gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions of sexual activity accompanied by fetishes or practices which are offensive and abhorrent. They will also be classified RC if they contain gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions of incest fantasies or other fantasies that are offensive and abhorrent. Films containing descriptions or depictions of child sexual abuse or any other exploitative or offensive descriptions or depictions involving a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 years, will also be classified RC. The majority of films that are classified RC are sexually explicit films containing these prohibited elements.

Out of the total of 4,429 commercial films classified in 2010–11, (3,957 of which related to applications for films not for public exhibition), 526 films were classified X 18+.

Films classified X 18+ during the reporting period included Kayden Kross Love and Marriage and Long Distance Lovers.

RC (Refused Classification)

Films

Out of the total of 4,429 commercial films classified in 2010–11, 26 films were classified RC (Refused Classification).

Films that have been classified RC cannot be legally sold, hired or exhibited in Australia.

During the reporting period A Serbian Film (also known as Srpski Film) was classified RC. This drama/psychological horror film follows the character Milos, who takes a role in a pornographic film and, not knowing the script, finds himself thrust into a series of nightmarish scenarios which come to threaten his family, his sanity and his life. In the Board’s view this film warrants an RC classification in accordance with item 1(a) of the films table of the National Classification Code (see page 75). In the opinion of the Board, the film contains depictions of sexualised violence and sexual violence which have a very high degree of impact, including an explicit depiction of sexual violence. These depictions are on occasion inextricably linked to themes of paedophilia and child sexual abuse, which further heightens impact.

A modified version of the film was submitted to the Board for classification. The Board notes that, while the modifications lessened the impact of some scenes to a level which is at the upper limit of the R 18+ classification, the film contains depictions of explicit sexual violence as well as prolonged depictions of violence with a very high degree of impact. Again the film was classified RC in accordance with item 1(a) of the films table of the Code.

A further modified version of A Serbian Film was subsequently submitted to the Board for classification. In the Board’s opinion, while the impact of depictions of violence and sexual violence in the film are at the upper limit of the R 18+ category, this modified film no longer contains classifiable elements that exceed a high impact level. The film was therefore classified R 18+ with consumer advice of ‘High impact sexual violence, sex scenes and violence’.

Computer games

The highest classification for computer games is MA 15+. Accordingly, computer games with a playing impact that exceeds the MA 15+ classification will be classified RC.

In 2010–11, out of the total of 891 computer games classified, two computer games were classified RC.

The computer games that were classified RC during the reporting period were Mortal Kombat and The Witcher 2 – Assassins of Kings.

Mortal Kombat is a fighting game which sees Thunder God Rayden and his band of Earth warriors battling against Shao Kahn, the Emperor of Outworld, and his minions in order to prevent Armageddon. The game includes 25 characters and can be played in various modes. The game includes over 60 fatalities which contain explicit depictions of dismemberment, decapitation, disembowelment and other brutal forms of slaughter. The Board found that, despite the exaggerated conceptual nature of the fatalities and their context within a fighting game set in a fantasy realm, the impact was heightened by the use of graphics which were realistically rendered and very detailed. In the opinion of the Board, the game contains violence that exceeds strong in impact and is unsuitable for a minor to see or play. The game was therefore classified RC pursuant to item 1(d) of the computer games table of the National Classification Code.

On application from the game’s distributor, the RC classification for Mortal Kombat was reviewed by the Classification Review Board which also classified the game RC. For more information see Decisions of the Review Board.

The Witcher 2 – Assassins of Kings is the second game in the Witcher series and is based on the books of the Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. The game is a fantasy role playing game set in medieval times in which players control a professional monster hunter (or Witcher) with special skills and supernatural abilities. In the view of the Board, the game contained sexual activity related to incentives and rewards and therefore classified the game RC in accordance with item 1(d) of the computer games table of the Code. A modified version of the game was subsequently submitted for classification. In the view of the Board, the game was sufficiently modified to the extent that it could be accommodated within the MA 15+ classification.

Other decisions

Internet content

During the reporting period, the Classification Board classified 160 internet content items, on application from the ACMA.

The following items are just a few examples of internet content that was classified by the Classification Board during the reporting period.

One item consists of content from the Encyclopedia Dramatica website comprising 13 pages of text and images relating to Asperger’s syndrome. The item contains strong themes that are justified by context. This content was classified MA 15+ pursuant to Schedule 7 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.

A second item from the Encyclopedia Dramatica website consists of content relating to the city of Brisbane, that contains ten pages of text with a number of images as well as an embedded video clip. The content is mocking in nature and makes several jokes that would be considered offensive to a reasonable adult. The classifiable element is themes that are high in viewing impact. This content was classified R 18+ pursuant to Schedule 7 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.

There was one item from another mock/satirical website. The item consists of content from a website that contains nine pages of text and images with explicit descriptions and commentary concerning rape. In the Board’s opinion, the detailed descriptions and commentary concerning sexual violence was gratuitous, exploitative and offensive. This content was classified RC pursuant to Schedule 7 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 and in accordance with item 1(a) of the films table of the National Classification Code.

The homepage for Exit International was also submitted for classification. It contains text and associated images and two video files. Exit International is “a leading End of Life Choices information & advocacy non-profit organisation, founded by Dr Philip Nitschke PhD, MD” and “publisher of the best-selling, fully online Peaceful Pill eHandbook”. The classifiable element is themes that are high in viewing impact. This content was classified R 18+ pursuant to Schedule 7 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.

Exemptions to show unclassified films

During 2010–11, the Director finalised 506 applications for exemption to publicly exhibit unclassified films at film festivals and special film events. The Director refused an exemption for one film within one of these applications. Five hundred and ten applications were finalised in the previous reporting period.

Fee waivers

The Director granted 12 fee waivers during the reporting period. There were no refused applications for fee waivers.

Advertising assessments

The Board made 32 assessments of the likely classification of films and no assessments of the likely classification of computer games for the purpose of advertising those products with classified material.

Advertising approvals

No decisions were made to approve or not approve advertisements under section 29 of the Classification Act.

Exemption certificates

No decisions were made to certify films or games exempt from classification under section 28B of the Classification Act.

Revocation decisions

One decision was made to revoke the classification of a computer game under section 21A of the Classification Act.

Two decisions were made to revoke the serial classification declaration of a publication under subsection 13(5) of the Classification Act.

Call ins – publications

The Director exercised his powers under section 23 of the Classification Act and called in 12 publications for classification during the reporting period. One response was received in relation to the Director’s call in notices.

Call ins – films

The Director exercised his powers under section 23A of the Classification Act and called in 159 films for classification during the reporting period. No responses were received in relation to the Director’s call in notices.

Correspondence

Complaints

The Classification Board seeks to reflect current community standards in its decision-making and feedback from the community is informative and helpful.

The Classification Board received 674 complaints in 2010–11. The Board had received 1,090 complaints in 2009–10.

In 2010–11, there were ten complaints about publications, 80 complaints about public exhibition films, 85 complaints about films not for public exhibition, ten complaints about films where complainants did not specify whether it was a cinema or DVD film, and 387 complaints about computer games classification decisions. Some titles received several complaints and other titles only single complaints. Some complaints referred to several titles. Seven complaints were received about advertisements for films. There were 71 complaints that there is not an R 18+ classification for computer games, and 24 general complaints about other classification matters. Of these 24 general complaints, five concerned film festivals.

The films which attracted the most complaints were Snowtown, Salo o le 120 Giornate di Sodoma (Salo), A Serbian Film, Piranha, Grown Ups, The Killer Inside Me, and Black Swan.

The computer games which attracted the most complaints were Mortal Kombat, We Dare, Halo: Reach, Duke Nukem and Left 4 Dead 2.

Many of those who complained about the decisions for computer games (primarily Mortal Kombat) also requested the introduction of an R 18+ classification for computer games.

Publications

The Classification Board classified 259 publications (including 55 serial declarations) in the reporting period. Ten complaints were received about publications during 2010–11. This compares with 16 complaints about publications being received in 2009–10.

Of the ten complaints received in 2010–11, two related to Nuts magazine. Eight single complaints were received about other publications.

Films – Public exhibition

The Classification Board received 80 complaints concerning the classifications of public exhibition films. This compares with 194 complaints in 2009–10. The complaints were about a small number of titles which comprised the 472 classification decisions relating to public exhibition films in 2010–11.

The film Snowtown was the subject of 15 complaints about the MA 15+ ‘Strong themes and violence, sexual violence and coarse language’ classification being too low. Seven of these complaints were received in relation to the film when it was screened in the cinema, one for the film on DVD, and seven did not specify.

The film Piranha was the subject of ten complaints about the MA 15+ ‘Strong violence and nudity, blood and gore’ classification being too low.

There were six complaints about the classification for Grown Ups when it was being screened at cinemas. The complainants thought that the PG ‘Mild sexual references and coarse language’ classification was too low. There were further complaints about this film when it was released on DVD (see Films not for public exhibition section below).

There were five complaints about the film Black Swan which was classified MA 15+ ‘Strong sex scene, themes and violence’ by the Board. All complaints about this film were that it was classified too low.

Four complaints were received about Saw 3D which was classified R 18+ ‘High impact violence, blood and gore’. This was the seventh film in the Saw series. Previous films in this series were classified MA 15+ and R 18+. The complainants were of the view that Saw 3D was classified too high.

Four complaints were received about Toy Story 3 which was classified G ‘Some scary scenes’. The complaints were that the film should have received a higher rating.

The animated film Rango received three complaints. The film was classified PG by the Classification Board with the consumer advice of ‘Mild violence, some scenes may scare young children’. One person complained about violence in the film, and two people complained that the classification for the film was too low.

There were three complaints about the classification for The Killer Inside Me when it was screened at cinemas. The complainants thought that the MA 15+ ‘Strong violence, sexualised violence and sex scenes’ classification was too low. There were further complaints about this film when it was released on DVD (see Films not for public exhibition section below).

The Human Centipede was also the subject of three complaints that the classification of R 18+ ‘High impact themes, violence and sexual violence’ was too low. Two of these complaints were in relation to the public exhibition film. One was in relation to the DVD.

Films not for public exhibition

There were 85 complaints about DVD releases of films. Again, the complaints related to a small number of the titles which comprised the 3,957 classification decisions for films not for public exhibition in 2010–11. This compares with the 91 complaints about films not for public exhibition that were received in 2009–10.

Fifteen complaints were received about the R 18+ classification of the film Salo. All 15 complaints were that the film was classified too low and should be RC (Refused Classification).

Twelve complaints were received about A Serbian Film (also known as Srpski Film) which was initially classified RC. A modified version was submitted to the Board and this also received an RC classification. A further modified version of the film was submitted and was classified R 18+ ‘High impact sexual violence, sex scenes and violence’. Three of the complaints were about the banning of the film. The majority of the complainants, however, were of the view that the film should not be released.

A total of four complaints were received about the DVD release of the PG classified film Grown Ups. The complainants were all of the view that the film’s classification was too low.

The Board received four complaints about the film Stoic which was classified MA 15+ with consumer advice of ‘Strong themes and violence’. All four complainants were of the view that the film’s classification was too low.

The DVD release of The Killer Inside Me was the subject of three complaints to the Classification Board that the MA 15 + ‘Strong violence, sexualised violence and sex scenes’ classification was too low.

Computer games

The Classification Board received 387 complaints in relation to the classification of computer games. The Board made 891 classification decisions for computer games in 2010–11. Some titles received a large number of complaints while other titles received single complaints but overall, the complaints were about a small number of titles. This compares with the 194 complaints received about computer games classifications in 2009–10.

There were 305 complaints about the classification of the computer game Mortal Kombat. The Board classified the game RC (Refused Classification) due to high impact violence which could not be accommodated at MA 15+. On appeal from the game’s distributor, the Classification Review Board reviewed the decision and also classified the game RC. For more information on the RC decision for Mortal Kombats view the decision page. The 305 complainants overwhelmingly opposed the RC classification for the game and many also expressed their support for the introduction of an R 18+ classification category for computer games. Of the 305 complaints about Mortal Kombat, 128 were received on, or after, the date of the Review Board’s decision.

Thirty complaints were received about the classification of the computer game We Dare which the Board classified PG with consumer advice of ‘Mild sexual references’. Complainants considered the PG classification to be too low. On appeal from the Minister for Justice, the Classification Review Board reviewed the decision and also classified the game PG with consumer advice of ‘Mild sexual references’. See more information on the classification of We Dare.

The computer game Halo: Reach was the subject of 28 complaints. These complaints were not about the classification of the game but complainants were concerned that the game had been modified for the Australian market and that it was twice as expensive in Australia as in the USA which is not a matter for the Board.

The Classification Board received five complaints about games in the Duke Nukem series. The complaints were that the games’ classifications were too low.

The classification of the game Left 4 Dead 2 was the subject of six complaints. The complaints were about the RC classification for the game being too high and also that the game had subsequently been modified to fit into the MA 15+ classification.

The computer game Dead or Alive: Dimensions was the subject of five complaints. The complaints were that the PG classification for the game was too low. The PG classification of this game was subsequently revoked. See more information on the classification of Dead or Alive: Dimensions.

Advertising for films

Seven complaints were received about advertising for films in the reporting period. Two of these complaints related to advertising for the film The Kids Are All Right. Single complaints related to advertising of the films Megamind, No Strings Attached, Rare Exports – A Christmas Tale, Monster in the Closet, and Devil.

Film festivals

During 2010–11, the Director finalised 506 applications for exemption to publicly exhibit unclassified films at film festivals and special film events. The Director refused an exemption for one film, LA Zombie, within one of these applications. Five complaints were received in relation to film festivals in the reporting period. Three complaints were about the LA Zombie not being able to be screened in a film festival. Two complainants were concerned that they were not adequately warned of the content of particular films screened in festivals.

General

The Classification Board received 19 other general complaints that did not refer to specific classification decisions but covered a broad range of classification issues. These included complaints about the application of consumer advice, how the Board applies the Guidelines for the Classification of Publications in relation to the depiction of female genitalia in publications, and complaints that blasphemy, smoking and animal cruelty are not specifically noted as classifiable elements in classification guidelines.

In addition, there were 71 general complaints to the Board on the issue of there not being an R 18+ classification for computer games.

Table 17 Complaints
Complaints Total
Publications 10
Film (public exhibition) 80
Film (not for public exhibition) 85
Film (not specified if public exhibition or not) 10
Computer games 387
Advertising for films 7
General – film festivals 5
General – other 19
General – issue of R 18+ for computer games 71
Total 674

Enquiries and other assistance

The Attorney-General’s Department responds to a range of other enquiries, often on behalf of the Classification Board.

This includes requests for general classification information, requests for reasons for classification decisions and enquiries about the classification of specific products. Other requests concern how to get material classified, how to obtain exemptions and requests for information on the determined markings for films and computer games. A number of requests concern the importation of publications, films and computer games and clarification about the enforcement of classification decisions.


Footnotes

1 Not all applications result in a decision (for example ‘title change’ applications). Not all decisions are classification decisions. Classification decisions include all decisions except assessments of likely classification, decisions to revoke classifications and decisions about advertising approval, exemptions granted to show unclassified films and fee waiver applications. 1019-

2 The reason for refusing a publication classification refers to the relevant item of the National Classification Code.

3 The reason for refusing a film classification refers to the relevant item of the National Classification Code.

4 The reason for refusing a computer game classification refers to the relevant item of the National Classification Code.

5 The Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Regulations 2005 provide each State and Territory with 100 free ‘eligible documents’ each calendar year if the request for the eligible document relates to the enforcement of the State or Territory law for the purposes of the classification scheme. ‘Eligible documents’ include an application for classification and a section 87 certificate. Amendments to the Regulations which commenced on 1 July 2010 allow enforcement agencies to count both the application for classification and the section 87 certificate as a single eligible document. This change effectively doubles the number of free eligible documents that can be requested.

6 A section 87 certificate is an evidentiary certificate that describes the action taken, or not taken, by the Classification Board in relation to a publication or film. This evidentiary certificate is issued under section 87 of the Classification Act.

7 The reason for refusing classification refers to the relevant item of the National Classification Code.

Previous | Next