National Classification Scheme
The National Classification Scheme is a cooperative arrangement between the Australian Government (the Commonwealth) and state and territory governments. It was created by the Intergovernmental Agreement on Censorship.
Ministers from the Commonwealth, states and territories oversee the Scheme. The National Classification Code and guidelines for the classification of films, computer games and publications must be agreed to by all ministers. These provide the principles and criteria for making classification decisions.
The role of the Commonwealth
The Commonwealth classification Minister is the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts.
The role of the states and territories
State and territory governments make laws about how films, computer games, and publications can be distributed, shown and advertised. The laws can differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
State and territory police enforce these laws.
State and territory classification Ministers are usually Attorneys-General or Ministers for Justice.
The national scheme is implemented through the Commonwealth Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995.
The Act is supplemented by a number of regulations, determinations and legislative instruments which include:
- National Classification Code
- Classification guidelines for Films 2012
- Classification guidelines for Computer Games 2012
- Classification guidelines for Publications 2005
- Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) (Markings and Consumer Advice) Determination 2014
- Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Regulations 2005
- Classification (Advertising of Unclassified Films and Computer Games) Determination 2009
- Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) (Modifications of Films) Instrument 2015
- Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) (Modifications of Computer Games) Instrument 2015
- Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) (Conditional Cultural Exemption Rules) Instrument 2015
- Classification (Authorised Television Series Assessor Scheme) Determination 2008
Online content is regulated in Australia by the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.
State and territory legislation
Each state and territory has classification enforcement legislation to complement the Commonwealth Classification Act. The legislation sets out how films, publications and computer games can be sold, hired, exhibited and advertised in each state or territory. Some states and territories have reserved classification powers.
Australian Capital Territory
New South Wales
Approval of classification tools
The Commonwealth classification Minister can approve classification tools for classifying films, computer games and/or publications. In deciding whether to approve a classification tool, the Minister must consider the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) (Approval of Classification Tools) Guidelines 2014.
Approved classification tools
The International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) Global Rating Tool has been approved for classifying online and/or mobile games.
The Netflix Classification Tool has been approved for classifying films available on Netflix Australia.
Revoke a classification tool decision
The Classification (Approved Classification Tools) (Application for Revocation of Classification) Determination 2015 sets out rules for applying to the Classification Board to revoke a classification rating made by an approved classification tool.
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