Have Your Say On The Upcoming Classification Review

Have Your Say On The Upcoming Classification Review
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As you may already be aware the Australian Law Reform Commission is currently reviewing the state of Classification in Australia, and now the ALRC is looking for submissions to aid the process.

In releasing the Issues Paper, the ALRC is seeking wide community input into reform of the classification system, with the aim of advising on a regulatory framework that:

– is consistent across media industries, platforms, and devices
– meets community expectations and is readily understood by the public
– enables Australians to have ready access to a diverse range of forms of information and entertainment content across media platforms
– ensures that appropriate safeguards exist to restrict the availability of inappropriate content, particularly for children
– minimises the costs and regulatory burdens of compliance, and promotes competition and innovation
– is enforceable and promotes public trust in the regulatory system.

From speaking to multiple sources, the ALRC has consistently done a fair and balanced job of evaluating issues of classification in the past, so we’re confident your submissions will be used in a responsible manner.

You can head here to find out more, and here to make a submission.

It’s probably best to be aware that the Classification Review is not dealing with games specifically, although that is part of the remit. It is a long overdue look at the way classification is done in general in this country, to help prepare Australia for the increasing influx of content making its way into the country by various, evolving means.

We’re off to make our submission now.


  • havent we already had our say? 90% plus said we want it, or think its a good idea. What more do they want?

    • Yes we have had our say but again we must discuss this for the 100th time. WE MUST WASTE TIME!!!! F*** moving forward lets just waste time Its the Australian way!

  • Friday afternoon is a horrible time to dump something like this on people.

    Clearly a cunning plan to get rid of the lazier members of the public who will probably forget about this before the submission date comes along. That date is 15/7/11 for those who are interested, reminders closer to that date (preferably not on a Friday) would be very nice.

    I think this part is very promising though ” the aim of advising on a regulatory framework that: is consistent across media industries, platforms, and devices”. Our current system does not do that and clearly the introduction of an R18+ classification for games works toward that.

    Then again, age restrictions in general are just inane. See A Clockwork Orange. Rated R18+ in film form, available to all and sundry in as a novel.

    • I’d like it mandated that classification is a national issue and the states need to stay the hell out of it.
      In SA, a minister introduced a bill meaning that all R18 films have to be stored in a seperate location in retail outlets. If I want to buy a copy of fight club, I’ve got to go hang out with the dirty old men… just because an MP couldn’t have a conversation with his daughter.

      • That’s not actually a classification issue. It doesn’t change anything about classification. It just uses the existing classification categories to differentiate between different ‘grades’ of media.

        The only way to prevent SA or another state from doing something like that would be to entirely remove their power over domestic commerce. Sure, there are arguments to be made for greater federalism, but it’s nowhere near as simple as just “classification”.

        • Oh, I thought it had to do with state control over classified materials.

          I didn’t know that.

          So, what’s the answer?

          • +1 the communism/dictatorship distinction.

            Communism is an economic policy. It just so happens that most examples of what is termed Communism have also gone hand in hand with the social policy of Authoritatianism.

            But no, the answer is voters being more engaged. Being less distracted by who’s had an affair, or who can yell loudest about the debt, or who News Ltd says is a horrible person. Being more concerned with policy and outcomes. Learning more about how the political system works, so as not to blame, for example, Brendan O’Connor for the stupid shit pulled by a random state AG.

            Democracy works, but only so far as the people involved want it to.

    • “It’s probably best to be aware that the Classification Review is not dealing with games specifically, although that is part of the remit. It is a long overdue look at the way classification is done in general in this country”

      • The whole system? Cool – in that case I’d scrap the M rating, it’s redundant, if something is unsuiyable for under 15s then it should be MA15+ otherwise PG (which used to mean Parental Guidance for persons under 15) should be the norm.

        Look at all the films these days marketed at kids yet rated M, Avatar, Spiderman, Iron Man, Harry Potter etc.

        Back when I was a kid (in the 80s) all of these films would’ve carried a PG rating, somewhere in the 90s we turned into a nation of wowsers

        • Actually, there is a significant distinction between M and MA in terms of content and access. M is only an advisory rating, and does not carry any restrictions that I am aware of. It’s useful for parents, then, because they’re still free to make their choices about what’s suitable for kids, but it gives a better picture of the kind of content that’s in a film. I wouldn’t really consider some of the latter Harry Potter films to be suitable for a PG rating, for example, but they’re also not bad enough to warrant being restricted to 15+

  • I already gave my 250 word submission the first time! Every time a new guy gets in its more submissions more reviews more stalling. I mean if you think about it what’s to stop meetings getting pushed forward forever?

    • As Mark said in the article, this isn’t just about games classification. It includes it, yes, but it’s a much broader look at what gets classified, and how.

  • The line about consistency “across media industries, platforms, and devices” is promising. I can’t see them removing an R classification from films (as much as certain unnamed lobby groups would probably approve of that idea), so logic dictates videogames require an R rating.

    Although logic seems to have taken a back seat in this argument to date. Not to sound jaded, at all.

    • Like most cases with government/workplace/anything with some alleged structure or hierarchy logic…..goes down the gurgler. Pushing it out is just a way to justify their jobs thats all

  • I’m interested in the enforceable aspect?? With the Internet how is it possible to really ban anything exept maybe child porn which is universally hated and reported.

    • That’s actually part of what the review is looking at. It’s not looking just at how we divide stuff between existing classification categories, but also what gets classified (what *needs* to get classified), and how that gets done.

      There’s been a suggestion that, in some cases, there should be a move toward self-classification, or similar relaxing of restrictions that would allow, for example, things like app-store rating systems to be used more easily and/or effectively.

      • Exactly the system should be a self governed rating. When the distributor thinks it could go as either M or MA, they either take the higher rating or then they submit it to the board saying we want an M but we aren’t 100% sure it qualifies

        Then when there’s public complaint as to why something has been rated in category A instead of B a review is instigated the company provides it’s reasons for it’s rating(most of which are normally listed beside the rating

        The board reviews this and checks whether the content rightly sits in that classification bubble. The company is fined If it is found to have made an obvious breach.

        Though then you need much clearer lines of what is medium level violence and high level violence since the system is rather interpretive

        The main issues would be PG when it should be M and MA when it should be R

  • *MORE* submissions? What, they can’t use the 90,000 submissions they received from the discussion paper at all?

    Honestly, it feels like we’re going around in circles.

    • Probably worth noting this is a much broader look at classification in general and the challenges of classifying in a world where content is increasingly being distributed digitally.

  • Yes let’s all make a rational submission, and watch as our opponents in this debate stick their fingers in their ears, their heads in the sand and hold up a sign saying bring back the 1950’s.

    I will probaly make a submission over the weekend, but I feel as if it’s going to make no difference.

    To paraphrase you Mark, We’re playing poker, but nobody seems to know what the rules are.

    To be honest I would love them to ban R rated movies, it would be hilarious to watch all the people who where complacent about an R rating for Video Games suddenly start going berserk. Especially when the reason presented to them is this is to protect Children from R rated games and now Movies.

    Won’t somebody think of the Adults?

  • we need R18+ so we can play game like mortal kombat we are not a police state in our world if this is a free coutry why is the gaming ppl not free

  • Add something in there about giving us new labels that don’t horribly obscure 80% of a box’s cover with its ugliness.

  • Another fine example of the public speaking its mind and the govt/lawmakers keep having to red tape everything.

    Seriously, we the people clearly and favourably displayed the mass majority want the same movie classification ratings.

    Where is the issue? Pollies sort out the red tape and deliver a unified system similar to all other western developed countries.

    Just get it done, like yesterday. I’m so sick of the time and money wastage.

    I’d like to see our entire government privatised, no company in the world could ever be successful if they operated with the blaoted timelines and costs our federal and state governments do.

    • “I’d like to see our entire government privatised, no company in the world could ever be successful if they operated with the blaoted timelines and costs our federal and state governments do.”

      Interesting idea. Would only work on the basis that there are other privatised ‘companies’ (parties?) all competing for peoples ‘business’ (votes?) on a short timeframe tho…

      Perhaps they just need to reduce the terms of government. 1 year terms? 1 month? 1 day? would definitely speed up governments following through with their policies in fear of them being outed the next day 😛

    • Because corporate responsibility worked out so well with the global somethingorother crisis.

      I think it had something to do with the economy.

  • This stupid government better finally review the classification system and change it, censorship is just wrong

  • Ugh….. what’s the point? We can send it umpteen millions of submissions, and they’ll still ask for more public consultation.

  • They keep putting it off and off and off, do something about it now Australian Government. Gaming is not just for kids surely you should know that by now!

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