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Check the Classification
Check the Classification
This has advertising approval, but is not yet classified
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General.
General
Suitable for everyone.
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Parental Guidance.
Parental Guidance
Not recommended for children under 15; may contain material which some children find confusing or upsetting.
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Mature.
Mature
Not recommended for children under 15; may include moderate levels of violence, language or themes.
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Mature Audiences.
Mature Audiences
Restricted - unsuitable for persons under 15; may contain strong content.
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Restricted (R).
Restricted (R)
Restricted to adults.
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Restricted (X).
Restricted (X)
Restricted to adults – contains sexually explicit content.
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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

Classification Board

Classification Board responsibilities

Classification decisions

Classification Board Member responsibilities

How are Classification Board members appointed?

Current board members

Classification Board responsibilities

The Classification Board is established under the Classification Act 1995, and classifies films, computer games and publications for exhibition, sale or hire in Australia.

Every film and computer game has to be classified before it can be legally made available to the public. Some publications also need to be classified. There are limited exceptions to this rule.

The Classification Board decides what consumer advice accompanies each classification. Consumer advice details which classifiable elements (that is themes, violence, sex, language, drug use and nudity) have led to the classification decision. This advice helps consumers make informed choices about what they read, view or play.

The Classification Board also classifies material submitted from the police, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and the Australian Communications and Media Authority. This material includes internet sites imported publications, films and computer games.

The board does not classify programs for broadcast on TV, live performances and audio CDs.

The Classification Board produces an Annual Report on its activities each financial year. The Annual Report contains a range of detailed information about the Classification Board, the Review Board, their decisions, classification, legislation and classification statistics. The statistical information in the Annual Report provides a breakdown of the work of the Classification Board and Review Board by classification and application type.

Classification decisions

The classification of a film, publication or computer game is about informing your choices. It is the law that films, computer games and certain publications be classified before being made available to the public. The Classification Board assesses the content to see where it fits within the classification categoriessuch as G, PG and so on.

There are three essential principles that inform the board’s classification decisions:

  • the importance of the context
  • assessing the impact
  • the six classifiable elements of drug use, language, nudity, themes, sex and violence

The Classification Board also makes decisions on appropriate consumer advice. In most instances, consumer advice appears with the classification symbol on products, packaging and in advertisements.

Consumer advice usually indicates the elements in films and computer games which caused the classification. For example, the content may scare, upset or have a strong impact.

For the G (General Viewing) classification, the board has the option of whether to provide consumer information or not. Consumer advice at G classification usually relates to impacts on children, especially very young children.

In addition to Classification Board members viewing material, under the Classification Act, the Director can allow a trained person to recommend a classification for additional content on DVDs, for certain television series and for some computer games (not computer games classified MA15+, R18+ or higher). These people are called Authorised Assessors and they usually work for the companies who distribute films and computer games. The assessors write a report about the content and give it to the Classification Board. The board uses the report to help them make the classification decision. The classification decision is made by the board, not industry assessors.

Further information about the basis for decision making established within the National Classification Scheme is provided on the National Classification Scheme page.

You can also find more information about the Act, the Code and Classification Guidelines for films, Classification Guidelines for Computer Games and Classification Guidelines for Publications.

Classification Board Member responsibilities

Members of the Classification Board are responsible for the classification of films, computer games and certain publications. They are a full-time board who are located in Sydney, Australia, and they classify material on a daily basis.

Films, computer games and certain publications that are submitted for classification must be viewed by members of the Classification Board (Classification Board members are allocated certain product to classify each day), who then assign each item a classification of G, PG, M, MA 15+,R 18+, X 18+ or RC; and, where appropriate, consumer advice. Certain publications also need to be classified as either Unrestricted, Category 1 - Restricted, Category 2 - Restricted or RC Refused Classification.

The board operates on a majority-based decision-making procedure. It is important that members can communicate their views clearly and appreciate and contemplate the views of others. Members are mindful of their statutory requirements to make decisions that are good in law.

Members are exposed to a wide range of material, including material that is sometimes confronting and offensive. Board members must possess maturity and balance. They must have the ability to apply reason, common sense and sensitivity in the performance of their duties.

The Director of the Classification Board is responsible for the management and oversight of the Classification Board and its decision-making processes. The Director reports to the Australian Parliament on the activities of the Classification Board.

You can find out more about the current board members here.

How are Classification Board members appointed?

Members of the Classification Board are appointed by the Governor-General. Generally, board members are appointed for three years in the first instance and members may be eligible for re-appointment. The maximum statutory term for a Classification Board member is seven years. The Classification Act provides that when appointing members, due regard is to be given to the desirability of membership of the Classification Board being broadly representative of the Australian community.

Classification Board appointments are advertised nationally. No formal qualifications are specified, but applicants are required to meet specified selection criteria reflecting the qualities required to effectively carry out the work of the Classification Board. The selection process includes an interview for short-listed applicants and an experiential day in which applicants undertake classification exercises.

The Minister for Justice is required to consult on appointments with state and territory ministers before making a recommendation. The Minister for Justice recommends on board appointments to the Governor-General.

Guidelines for the Selection of Members to the Classification Board [DOC 49KB]

Guidelines for the Selection of Members to the Classification Board [PDF 40KB]