Australia Censorship News

 2006

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24th December  Banned Adult DVDs...
 
   
Australian R18+ certificateStolen in police raid

Presumably Blayney is in the repressive part of Australia sex shops are not allowed to sell hardcore (and that is the majority of the country)

From Blayney

Police seized a large quantity of DVDs and videos in a raid on an adult store in Ballarat yesterday.

The Ballarat Crime Investigation Unit executed a search warrant at Club X taking three hours to remove the items of interest.

Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Craig Dooley said the raid was carried out because the DVDs and videos failed to comply with the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Act 1995
.

 

17th December  Australian Political Games...
 

   
Australian R18+ certificateOnly suitable for immature players

From mygen

The OFLC, The Australian censor, has a ‘National Classification Code’ which sets out several principal guidelines. One of these guidelines reads as follows: adults should be able to read, hear and see what they want

However this does not apply to computer games as those suitable for adults only are automatically banned in Australia from both supply and possession.

In 2002 there was a big push to introduce and adults only rating, ‘R18+’ into Australia’s classification scheme. Attorney-General Daryl Williams fought against the proposed changes by grasping onto the “fact” that games have a greater influence on behavior due to their interactive nature. This “fact” is rather a widely accepted lie.

Opposition also came in the form of churches and community groups. The kind of people who probably have never picked up a controller, instead, at least in the church’s case, would prefer to influence the youth with stories of holy wars, torture, vengeance and gruesome violence.

Lack of flexibility in the Australian classification scheme not only affects the rapidly expanding gaming community, but also the industry as a whole. Earlier this year Atari was about to launch Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure worldwide. Everything was ready in Australia, the game had passed through the OFLC months before and acquired an MA15+ rating. Only days before the game was to be released, Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock pressured the OFLC into submission and the game was re-rated to ‘Rrefused Classification’. It would now be illegal for the game to be sold, rented, loaned or imported in Australia.

Ruddock did not seem to appreciate the implications of such a decision. Launching a video game costs a lot of money. Millions of dollars are put into marketing the product and distribution. To be told only two days before launch was an event which dealt a heavy blow against Atari, but left a wound on the Australian gaming market.

Atari said: It’s unfortunate that during this day and age a government will implement censorship policies which are tantamount to book burning practices from the past.

 

14th December   Offensive Airlines

  t-shirt: World's No 1 TerroristGeorge Bush, World's No 1 Terrorist t-shirt banned

From The Age

An Australian was barred from a Qantas London-Melbourne flight unless he removed a T-shirt depicting George Bush as the world's number one terrorist. Allen Jasson was also prevented from catching a connecting flight within Australia later the same day unless he removed the offending T-shirt.

Jasson says Qantas and Virgin Blue were engaging in censorship but the airlines say the T-shirt was a security issue and could affect the sensitivities of other passengers.

The woman at the security check-in just said to me, 'You are not wearing that', Jasson said.  He was first told he would need to turn the T-shirt inside-out before he would be allowed to board the Qantas flight.

I told her I had the right to express my opinion, he said: She called other security and other people got involved. Ultimately, they said it was a security issue . . . in light of the present situation.

After a prolonged argument about freedom of speech and expression, Jasson said a Qantas gate manager said he could not fly at all unless he wore another T-shirt.

I felt I had made my point and caved in, Jasson said. But after arriving in Australia, Jasson said he put his Bush T-shirt back on and was again banned from boarding a connecting flight – this time a Virgin Blue plane from Adelaide to Melbourne.

It was argued other passengers could be offended, Mr Jasson said:
I said it was most offensive that I would be prevented from expressing my political views.

 

8th December   Hate Censorship

  B'nai B'rith logoAustralia urged to create some

From The Age

The Federal Government is being urged to make laws that allow the removal of hate material and racial vilification from Australian-based websites.

The B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC), a Jewish human rights body, wants the change after failing to have limits placed on the website www.missionislam.com through appeals to politicians and use of existing legal channels.

The site, run by the Muslim Information Service in Sydney, is an extensive resource and link system aimed at influencing young Muslims, and points them to extreme views and well-known anti-Semitic material.

The ADC have been frustrated by ACMA's inability to deal with the issue, due to strict guidelines which extended only to dealing with violence and pornography, not hate or other offensive material.

Communications Minister Senator Helen Coonan said the Government could act only if the material breached the law.

 

1st December   Whinging Poms

  Toohey's NewTake issue with beer advert featuring fearful Pom

From The Times

A group of British expatriates living in Australia has launched a legal action to outlaw the use of the word, Pom, in advertising on the basis that Pom is a derogatory term, on a par with “nigger” and “wog”.

British People Against Racial Discrimination (BPARD) has launched the action with Australia’s Advertising Standards Bureau in an attempt to take off air a television beer advertisement that features an Englishman fearful of Australia’s cold beer.

The advertisement claims that the brewer Tooheys’ new Supercold brand is “cold enough to scare a Pom” and features footage of an overweight, pale, balding man in a Union Jack T-shirt cringing in fear at the offer of a cold beer.

BPARD spokesman, David Thomason believes that there is a fashionable wave of derogatory insults against the British and, on the eve of the second Ashes Test, cited the behaviour of Australian cricket fans toward the English: The songs the Aussie supporters sing talk about how we can’t get near your body because of your smell, your body odour, your bad breath, your buck teeth, your whingeing, have you got some soap.

Based on legal precedent, it is unlikely that Pom will be wiped from the Australian public lexicon. The Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission has considered twice whether the word is derogatory and ruled it safe on both occasions. In its latest ruling, issued in September, the commission sanctioned the continued use of the word, provided that it was not accompanied by other offensive comments that were racist or unlawful.

ABC, the government-owned national broadcaster, has also reviewed its attitude recently toward the use of the word Pom. Heather Forbes, the chairman of the corporation’s standing committee on spoken English, said yesterday that the committee had decided that the use of the word was acceptable:
I think it can be used as a term of endearment, you know, ‘Here come the Poms’.

 

29th November   Censorship by Salesmen

From News.com.au

ScholasticThe book publisher, Scholastic Australia, pulled the plug on the Army of the Pure after booksellers and librarians said they would not stock the adventure thriller for younger readers because the "baddie" was a Muslim terrorist.

A prominent literary agent has slammed the move as "gutless", while the book's author, award-winning novelist John Dale, said the decision was "disturbing because it's the book's content they are censoring".

There are no guns, no bad language, no sex, no drugs, no violence that is seen or on the page, Dale said, but because two characters are Arabic-speaking and the plot involves a mujaheddin extremist group, Scholastic's decision is based 100% (on) the Muslim issue.

Scholastic's general manager, publishing, Andrew Berkhut, said the company had canvassed a broad range of booksellers and library suppliers, who expressed concern that the book featured a Muslim terrorist. They all said they would not stock it, and the reality is if the gatekeepers won't support it, it can't be published.

Scholastic described the writing as "almost flawless" and the story about four children chased by Afghan terrorists after discovering a plot to blow up Sydney's Lucas Heights nuclear reactor a "gripping page-turner".

Dale's agent, Lyn Tranter, yesterday branded the move "a gutless" publishing decision. I am appalled that this is censorship by salesmen, she said.

 

27th November   Desensitised to Nutters

Rule of Rose gameBased on an article from PALGN

Rule of Rose is a psychological horror game which has been withdrawn from release in the UK.

Australian media have now also discussed why the title should be banned,

Australian Family Council nutter spokesman Bill Muehlenberg said: It depicts young women as fair game for kids to torture. It could push some children over the edge, while desensitising others to violence.

Rule of Rose hadn't yet been classified by the OFLC, but Red-Ant (the game's Australian distributor) has confirmed to PALGN today that it will not be available for this territory at this stage.

The issue was also discussed on the Channel 7 Sunrise program today, the panelists felt the game should be banned, or given an R rating.

 

15th November
updated to
3rd December
  70% of Australians are Offended by Lousy Censorship Laws

  Censorship.adultshop.comFrom Refused Classification

This year has seen a big increase in the incidence of hardcore titles being banned. 30 titles have been banned so far this year.

So it is easy to see why a company like Adultshop.com have had enough. They have just launched an anti-censorship website aimed at informing the public about the current situation. 

As mentioned in the last update, they are also challenging the X18+ awarded to Viva Erotica on the grounds that Australians are no longer offended by hardcore. This means that hardcore should be awarded R18+ certificates such that the DVDs can then be sold in retail shops (rather than only by mail order from more enlightened states)
 

20th November   Updated: Reviewing Reasonable Adults

  Censorship.adultshop.comFrom The Sydney Morning Herald

As sex films go, Viva Erotica is tame: 28 minutes of sex and no violence. But because the sex is real, it is classified X18+, a rating that means it is banned from sale in all states.

A challenge to its rating, by the listed retailer Adultshop.com, could bring a watershed in Australian censorship this week.

The Classification Review Board will determine whether reasonable adults are offended by films that have a lot of sex but no plot and little artistic merit - such as this one.

Whereas previous efforts to relax restrictions have tried to add a new category of "non-violent erotica", Adultshop.com aims to achieve the same end by changing how the existing law is applied.

The classification guidelines say the difference between R18+ and an X rating is: "simulation, yes, the real thing, no". But the legislated classification code - which the guidelines help apply - says an X is warranted when actual sex is depicted: in a way that is likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult. When rating films, classifiers have to consider: the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults.

Adultshop.com has research that it says demonstrates that most Australian adults are not offended by films showing real but straightforward sex.

It says the X rating is applied too liberally and that films such as Viva Erotica should join the small number of explicit but non-violent art house films that are rated R, such as the cult American hit now showing in cinemas, Shortbus.

It relies on a survey of 1499 adults conducted by ACNielsen in September. 30% said they were personally offended by films primarily involving various forms of actual sex, including close-ups, while only 22% thought most reasonable adults found them offensive. 76% said such films should be available, on a restricted basis, to adults.

The argument is backed by the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, which, with other interest groups, has been invited to make a submission on the classification challenge. Its president, Cameron Murphy, said the appeal raised a critical issue that would "seriously affect" the ability of adults to see what they wanted: It's critical that the Classification Review Board takes into account community attitudes. It's all very well for them to bring their own view of community attitudes to the table … but if there's evidence presented, they have to act on that. I think the material should be available.

3rd December   Updated: Lousy Censorship Rules Hurt Business

From The West

Censorship.adultshop.comAdultShop.com is set to shut its flagging phone-sex operations as it tries to build its movies and magazines business, which the company claims is being squeezed between Federal regulation and a proliferation of pirate pedlars.

Chairman Kim Heitman told shareholders at AdultShop.com's annual meeting in Perth yesterday that the phone-sex business had been declining for several years and the company could not stay in an unprofitable business forever.

Earlier, the Perth-based group's management and long-standing chief executive, Malcolm Day, came under fire from two peeved shareholders about the poor financial and sharemarket performance. Shares in the group, which posted a $384,000 loss in the 2005-06 financial year.

Heitman said AdultShop.com's businesses, which confined themselves to legal and properly classified adult material, had been hurt by harsh censorship regulation as well as pirate operators and importers selling movies in breach of copyright and movie classification laws.

He was hopeful that a legal challenge by AdultShop.com to the way the Office of Film and Literature Classification was implementing Australia's censorship laws and looming changes to the Copyright Act would help boost his group's distribution operations, which held the copyright to about 80% of legally classified porn in Australia.

8th December   Updated: Lousy Censorship Rules Maintained

  Censorship.adultshop.comAdultShop.com lose their appeal

From IBN News

The Classification Review Board has rejected an adult film shop's application to sell one of its videos outside of the ACT.

Adultshop.com was asking the board to change the rating of one of its films, Viva Erotica, from an X to an R, to allow it to sell the film interstate.

It argued that the film did not contain violent sex, although it did have real sex scenes, and as such should be allowed to sell everywhere, not just the ACT and Northern Territory.

But the classification board announced earlier today it was refusing the application.The full seven-member Classification Review Board has determined, in a unanimous decision, that the film, Viva Erotica is classified X 18+. Films classified X 18+ carry the consumer advice, “Explicit sex”, their statement read. X18+ is a special and legally restricted classification category for films that contain only sexually explicit material. X 18+ films contain real depictions of actual sexual intercourse and other sexual activity between consenting adults.

Classification Review Board convenor Maureen Shelley said the board believed the X 18+ rating was warranted: It does not have, nor has the applicant claimed it has, what would ordinarily be considered to be “artistic merit” or other elements that the Review Board would consider in determining if a film’s content should be classified in one category or another.

Films classified X 18+ can only legally be sold or hired in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory from premises licensed to sell X 18+ DVDs and videotapes. People must be aged 18 years or older to be able to buy or hire X 18+ films from these premises.
 

10th December   Updated: Moving on to Federal Court

  Censorship.adultshop.comContending that the censors haven't followed the law

From IBN News

Adult retailer AdultShop.com has now vowed to appeal to the Federal Court after its attempt to legalise the sale or hire of pornographic videos in WA was scuppered by the Office of Film and Literature Classification.

AdultShop.com chief Malcolm Day said he was disappointed at the decision and would appeal to the Federal Court. He said he had provided considerable evidence to the OFLC about changing community standards:
Today the majority of Australian adults aren't offended by these types of films. But I suppose when you go to the Federal Court at least you have a judge who looks at the law and takes that into account instead of the situation you get with a board like the OFLC.

 

12th November
updated to
4th December
  Welcome to Greensborough Banned

  Welcome to GainsboroughFrom Refused Classification

Welcome to Greensborough, a 2005 Australian film by Tom McEvoy has just been banned by the Australian censor.

The film screened at the 2005 Melbourne Underground Film Festival where it picked up a couple of awards, Best Editing & Best Guerrilla Film

The rise and revenge of Youth! The Australian answer to Kids, Gummo and Ken Park. The first Australian film I know of to have been refused a classification from the OFLC (…a first film historians?). Why? Because this film is about young people, made by young people…that actually dared to have scenes of late teenagers having sex. Shock Horror…that doesn’t go on does it? This is no Larry Clark drooling over teenagers here; this is young people reflecting their world, where in that world sixteen year old girls fuck sixteen-year-old guys. Well not anymore, director Tom McEvoy had to reshoot his love scenes with actors over 18. So the Melbourne Underground Film Festival version will be ok with our masters and betters at the OFLC. The film features angst-ridden teenagers partying, getting wasted, being bored and generally wondering who sold the youth of the world down the river. Film ends in a gang bang cum rape scene.

4th December   Comment: Teen Film Banned

Welcome to GainsboroughFirst Ever Australian Film Banned in Australia

From the director, Tom McEvoy

I've just found out that my first Feature Film has been banned outright in Australia and frankly I'm really not impressed. It's a teen film that I wrote when I was 20yrs old and it's taken me 4 years to finally get it to a point where I thought it wouldn't be banned, after several nervous inquiries but politics has chosen to rule against me.

In desperation I hoped for for an "X" rating but it didn't even get one of those as some of the material was deemed beyond his categorisation to my shock. It's not a pornographic film, but looks into the effects of porn culture in teen society and I try to use pornography against itself to highlight how grotesque underage sexuality can be at times. Think of the Antichrist to an American teen film.

So far my film titled Welcome to Greensborough has been compared to Ken Park, another film that was banned and I'm really upset as I feel my film has a really important message to youth about sexuality. Most of the cast and crew were still teenagers when the film was made and from what I know, there's not a film like it made in Australia before.

 

19th November   Well Fuck Me! What Ludicrous Rules

X18+ logoBased on an article from The Fifth Estate

In censorship of adult-oriented material in Australia, there are a lot of grey areas.

As long time adult industry campaigner Robbie Swan explains, there has already been confusion over how to classify DVDs in the X-rated category. The proscription against violence, sexual violence, sexualised violence, coercion, sexually assaultive language results in films that are not allowed to have dramatic storylines or even modest production values.

Because someone says somewhere in there, someone's been trying to make a genuine drama in there … and says "fuck you", instead of "fuck me" … the film gets banned because it's called 'assaultive language', and you're not even allowed to have mildly assaultive language in there, he says.

You could even have the film banned if there's a knife on the table sometimes. You know, no-ones's using it or anything, but just the threat, the possibility that someone could pick up the knife at some stage and could plunge it into someone, that's deemed to be enough to be some form of violence that's not allowed in X-rating.

The Eros Association Association Chief Executive Officer Fiona Patten believes that the National Classification Code, as interpreted by the Classification Board, creates problems for even the most diligent of content providers: If you want to distribute a film in Australia, by law you must classify it, but if you want to distribute internet material … you can't classify it. You just have to know how to do that, which you know, the line between MA and R can be a very fine line and a very difficult one. I think it's rather curious that there is no mechanism to for you to ensure that you're not breaking the law until you break it.

If the Australian Communications and Media Authority finds that the material is X-rated, (or is R-rated on a site without an access system), there seems to be little that the content provider can do without potentially futile legal action.

The take down orders are processed with no attempt at opposition. Graham Rodrick of the ACMA said: We have not had one case where there is a dispute by a content host in taking down the content.

Swan says that to just appeal a regular Classification Board decision to the Review Board for a DVD costs $7,000 to $10,000 to appeal that decision: Now that is censorship by economic means. Because hardly anyone will pay that amount of money to get the film reviewed. And that's why the number of appeals every year is like, two. And even then it's only big companies.

It just seems like they're trying to make it impossible for someone to get off the ground unless they've got a lot of money", "Anneke", Adult content provider. With this in mind, Anneke has already decided to take her business for content hosts offshore.

Swan says the legislation pushed "the whole industry offshore".

I mean basically anyone who had an Australian adult website … in 1999 they simply left their Australian internet service providers and just re-registered their businesses with overseas internet service providers … it gave parents and people in Australia a false sense of security that now children wouldn't be able to get access to explicit adult material. This may explain why there are several investigations of overseas content resulting in referrals to international equivalents of ACMA, and far fewer take-down notices (according to ACMA statistics) actually served in Australia. Well that was just such a lie, because the federal government has no jurisdiction whatever with websites that are based with offshore servers.

 

3rd November   So Who Stoned the Glass House?

The Glass HouseBased on an article from YourGuide

The stars of the ABC's satirical chat show, The Glass House, have been left high and dry by the network, which they say has yet to give them a reason for cancelling the hit show.

The ABC confirmed yesterday that it had axed the high-rating weekly program in which the three hosts, all stand-up comedians, discuss the political events of the week.

It is the first show to go since the announcement of a new $280,000-a-year "chief censor" position at the ABC to monitor program content for political bias, although comedy programs were to be exempt from the examinations.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard has denied pressuring the ABC to axe a popular television comedy show because of its perceived anti-government bias.

The ABC head of arts and entertainment, Courtney Gibson, said it was a simple decision: It has everything to do with economics and nothing to do with editorial policy.

Host Wil Anderson, said neither he nor co-hosts Corinne Grant and Dave Hughes had been officially informed by ABC management of the decision not to renew the program.

The trio's manager had passed on the news several weeks ago that the last episode of the program, which has run for more than five years and 200 episodes, would go to air on November 29.

Anderson said the team was shocked by the announcement after having its best year yet, both creatively and in terms of ratings: We won an AFI [Australian Film Institute] Award last year, and we just got nominated again, and we feel like the show has been really firing.

Accusations of bias levelled at the program by Senator Fierravanti-Wells and other Liberal Party members missed the point of satire.

 

31st October   So Called Liberal

Based on an article from News.com.au

SBS, the Australian multicultural broadcaster, was accused yesterday of being soft on terrorism and broadcasting pornography. NSW Liberal senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells criticised SBS officials, and also accused the broadcaster of "siding with" Australian terror suspect David Hicks.

Senator Fierravanti-Wells said the SBS documentary When Sex Goes Wrong had included such insightful little gems (as) individuals recounting their most disgusting experiences involving sex.

However, SBS managing director Shaun Brown rejected her claims. I don't accept your assertion that it's porn. We do not broadcast porn.

SBS broadcasts a range of programs with strong sexual content including Stripperella, an animated series whose main character, voiced by Pamela Anderson, is a stripper named Erotica Jones.

Senator Fierravanti-Wells also raised concerns about the broadcaster's coverage of terrorism, saying it had an "equivocal attitude to terrorism". She said a radio broadcast in which Hezbollah was referred to as a "so-called terrorist organisation" was unacceptable.

 

28th October   Reasonable Argument

X18+ logoBased on an article from News.com.au

An online sex shop is appealing against an X-rating handed to the film Viva Erotica by Australia's censorship board.

Adultshop.com today said it would appeal the Office of Film and Literature Classification's (OFLC) decision on the grounds the film is not offensive to a reasonable person.

Films must contain depictions of actual sex that would offend a "reasonable" adult before they can be classified as X-rated, banning their general distribution in most states and territories.

Viva Erotica is a compilation of sex scenes from "classic porn movies", mostly from the US, a spokeswoman for the retailer said.

Adultshop.com said today it had based its appeal on the findings of ACNielsen surveys it commissioned last month which found 70% of Australians were not offended by explicit erotic films and 76% believed the material should be available to adults who wish to view it.

Our appeal is based on the fact the OFLC has failed to ensure that its classification decisions reflect current community standards, Adultshop.com managing director Malcolm Day said in a statement: In fact, since its inception in 1988, the OFLC has repeatedly failed to reflect community standards when classifying all explicit erotic films."

Day said Viva Erotica should be classified R18+ because the film's content did not offend the reasonable adult.

 

16th October   Nasty Customs

Australian Customs badgeThere must be some sort of birth defect enabling people to rise through the ranks of Customs.  How else can one justify that 'offensive videos' are somehow on a par with guns & knives in terms of worthiness for prosecution.

Based on an article from News.com.au

Imports of drugs, weapons and "nasty" pornography into South Australia are on the increase, and Customs says internet shoppers are largely to blame. Confiscation of supposedly illegal imports jumped 23% last financial year.

There has been a dramatic increase through all postal areas of imported illegal goods which can be attributed to the worldwide web, Customs regional director Jennifer Reimitz said:
We have confiscated knives, firearms, drugs and nasty DVDs containing material of an offensive nature through the post. I can only imagine what people would want to import these things for.

Reimitz said the action taken against importers of illegal goods varied according to the individual case. If someone brought in a prohibited item through an airport but were aware it was illegal and had declared it, we would in most cases give a warning. But, if the item is a gun, knife or video of an offensive nature, we would look to prosecute.

 

15th October   Australian Censors Show No Bottle

From Refused Classification

Spin the Bottle DVD coverSpin the Bottle an interactive DVD Game has been banned. Although it was not a computer game, the interactive nature of the DVD saw it was classified as such. Had it been viewed as a film then it would have undoubtedly been passed.

The game describes itself as: A new slant on 'Spin The Bottle' without using an actual bottle! This party game has over 500 different actions with thousands of different results. Get ready to laugh as your friends find themselves in compromising situations and reveal their most intimate secrets. Put your next party into overdrive with Spin The Bottle, a DVD Game of shocking truths and outrageous dares sure to set your heart racing!

In the UK the DVD was released in November 2005 by Universal. There it was Exempt from Classification, meaning it was not even considered necessary to rate.

 

15th October   Relaxed Porn

From the Border Mail

Australians are less prudish than they are at times portrayed, according to new research.

A survey for adult products retailer AdultShop.com found most adult Australians have a relaxed attitude towards pornographic films.

70% of those interviewed did not find explicit erotic films offensive, and 76% thought the films should be made available on a restricted basis to people aged over 18.

AdultShop.com head of marketing Amanda Musgrave said the research confirmed the firm's conviction that most Australian adults do not find erotic films offensive: We believe the current method of classification of explicit erotic films in Australia is not reflective of general community standards

The research was based on a survey of 1499 adult Australians conducted by ACNielsen over one weekend.

 

4th October   Update: Jihad Against Ruddock

From News.com.au

Join the CaravanAttorney-General Philip Ruddock agreed yesterday to reconsider the book ban for students, after complaints the measure was putting academic freedom at risk.

Concerned that the university could face fines of up to $27,000 and its staff could be jailed for up to two years, Vice-Chancellor Glyn Davis wrote to Ruddock warning that the effect of the ban was to stop genuine scholars from accessing material in their area of expertise.

National Tertiary Education Union president Carolyn Alport said the fact the books - written by the man known as "The Godfather of jihad", Abdullah Azam - were available online made the ban ridiculous.

Two of the books, Defence of Muslim Lands and Join the Caravan were banned by the Classification Review Board in July following an application by the Australian Federal Police.

Education Minister Julie Bishop yesterday warned academics attempting to study terrorism to obey the law: They should exercise judgment with regard to their sources of information, and are expected to abide by the law and the need to protect Australia's national security.

This follows a decision last month by Flinders University sociologist Riaz Hassan to abandon research on suicide bombers after Ruddock warned him he could breach the terror laws.

The censor found Defence of the Muslim Lands, which carries an endorsement by Osama bin Laden, incited "terrorism acts and martrydom operations".  A third book, The Lofty Mountain, was also removed from library shelves pending a classification review.

At the time, Ruddock urged state authorities to keep offensive material of this nature off the streets. He did not offer a legal opinion about whether downloading the books was lawful, but warned that anyone who sought to sell or hire the books would be committing an offence: I am happy to look at those who would argue that for research purposes there might need to be limited access to particular publications.

Professor Davis yesterday welcomed reports that students might be able to gain access to the texts on a "limited basis".

 

27th September   Proud to be a Pommie Bastard

Better than being PC whoozies like the Aussies

From The Telegraph

Cricket Australia logoAustralian cricket fans will be asked to perform an apparently impossible act of mental gymnastics in the forthcoming Ashes series.

Cricket Australia, the sport's governing body Down Under, has ruled that visiting English fans can be called "Poms" or "Pommies" without fear of breaching the country's strict racism laws.

However, even in the heat of their desire to win back the famous urn, Australian barrackers must avoid linking the Pom-word with anything hurtful. . . racist, offensive or humiliating.

The last time an Englishman inside an Australian cricket ground was called a "Pom" without the addition of a hurtful, racist, offensive or humiliating epithet is lost in the mists of time.

Asked whether a fan who used the word "Pom" in concert with anything hurtful etc would be evicted from the ground, a Cricket Australia spokesman, described the scenario as "hypothetical".

The board's stance is based on a ruling by the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commissioner in a 1997 case, Bryant v Queensland Newspapers. It said that calling someone a Pom by itself was not racial harassment, unless said in such a way, or in combination with other acts or comments, that make it so. Phrases such as "filthy Poms" are definitely out, although the position of "whinging" is unclear.

 

24th September   Rated Irrelevant

From Refused Classification
See also www.ratingsconference2007.com

International Ratings ConferenceThe (Australian) Classification Board is hosting the International Rating Conference to be held next year in Sydney.

The primary focus for the conference will be to explore the impact of an increasingly global marketplace for film, games and other consumable entertainment media. This will include identification of current and forecast trends in the global marketplace and attempts to define the ongoing business environment. In this context, the place for local systems regulations in a global environment, the nature of community standards in a diverse and increasingly borderless world and classification of new and emerging content formats will also be considered at the conference. You’ll also hear outcomes of the latest research into the area, including impacts of exposure to entertainment content.

If you work in the area of films, computer games and other emerging interactive media formats and have an interest in classification issues then you must attend this landmark event. The conference will be relevant for classification officials, content regulators, film industry representatives, computer game developers and producers, mobile phone content developers and providers, broadcasters, members of community interest groups, academics, social and market researchers, professional bodies and students.

 

21st September   Self Censor Or Else!

From The West

Self censor or elseNon-Muslims should practise self censorship to avoid triggering violent reactions, a prominent Perth Muslim says.

In the wake of violent attacks over a speech by Pope Benedict XVI that linked the Prophet Mohammed's teachings to violence, Perth academic Samina Yasmeen said religious and community leaders should stop speaking about Islamic icons to avoid causing offence.

Associate Professor Yasmeen, director of the University of WA's centre for Muslim states and societies, accused the Pope of deliberately provoking the aggression by inviting criticism of Mohammed. She said the Pope and other religious leaders had the same responsibility as Islamic clerics to avoid encouraging violence by followers.

Previous emotive reactions, such as the violence following the publication of cartoons depicting Mohammed and Salman Rushdie's 1988 novel The Satanic Verses, should have warned people not to criticise Islam. Professor Yasmeen denied that the first reaction of many Muslims to perceived insults was violence, despite calls by some clerics to kill those who insult Islam and the murder of an Italian nun in Somalia.

I am not supportive of people killing and blowing things up, ...BUT... people need to start looking at self censorship, she said.

 

10th September   Pirates Banned

From Refused Classification

Pirates DVD coverGallery Entertainment had the big-budget hardcore movie, Pirates, passed on March 20th 2006. A second disc titled Pirates Bonus Features was passed on March 31st. Both were listed as being the 'Original Version' and were given X18+ (Explicit Sex) ratings.

On September 5th 2006 Pirates Collectors Edition (3 disk set) was banned.

The applicant was the ACT Office of Fair Trading, the body that monitors compliance with the X18+ regulations in that Territory. The version that was banned sounds like an imported disc that was illegally made available for sale in the ACT. This would seem to indicate that the so-called 'Original Version' passed as X18+ may have been pre-cut before submission.

Since the tightening of the guidelines in 2000 it has been very difficult to include any scenes of violence in the X18+ rating.

A word of warning, despite the film being passed in an 'Original Version', this does not mean that it was not pre-cut before submission. It needs to be confirmed if Pirates is indeed uncut in Australia.

 

5th September   Bully Breezes an Advisory 15

So it turns out that the the moral high grounders are the bullies and the game is declared innocent of all accusations.

Press release from the Australian Censor, the OFLC
From Refused Classification

Bully Playstation game Bully computer game classified M

The Classification Board has classified the computer game Bully M with the consumer advice, ‘Moderate themes, violence, sexual references’

Bully, has gained notoriety during its development as interest groups and the media speculated on its content.

M is an advisory classification. Computer games classified M are not recommended for persons under 15 years of age. There are no legal restrictions for the M classification.

Bully is a third person action/adventure story-based game. It follows Jimmy Hopkins, a teenager who is sent to ‘Bullworth Academy’, where he navigates his way through the high school social hierarchy. His aims include completing the school year, protecting weaker students from ‘bullies’ and exposing corrupt teachers.

The Classification Board found that the themes, violence and sexual references are moderate in playing and viewing impact in the context of a comedic game about the trials of life in a troubled educational institution. According to the player’s behaviour during gameplay, Jimmy either accumulates punishment points until he is apprehended by authority figures, or increases in the school’s social standing. Punishments include lawn mowing, snow shovelling, receiving demerit points and attending extra classes.

During the game the player is not encouraged to attack innocent bystanders or undertake acts of “bullying”, and is not rewarded for doing so. The “missions” the player undertakes are generally about thwarting acts of bullying, exploitation or discrimination.

Violence towards innocent bystanders such as school girls and smaller school children causes authority figures such as prefects, teachers and police officers to chase and apprehend the player-controlled character, Jimmy.

 

31st August Government Pipe Dreams about Controlling 'Pipeline for Perversion'

From X Biz

Helen Coonan

  Viewing human
rights perversion
on your phone

Responding to recent government demands to protect children from accessing adult content via the growing medium of mobile TV, industry representatives said that mission would prove to be difficult, if not impossible.

After a nationwide outcry over an incident that saw a Sydney grade school student showing classmates nude photos that he had downloaded onto his Internet-capable mobile phone, Sen. Helen Coonan called the medium a “pipeline for perversion.”

Coonan said the solution was to extend the nation’s Internet and TV content restrictions to include mobile devices.

Representatives from the mobile sector attending the Australian Interactive Media Industry Summit agreed that protecting children is vital, but said Coonan’s solutions would not work.

Scott Taylor, general manager of Hutchinson, a company that offers adult content on its network, said that content restrictions won’t work because mobile devices will soon have access to virtually any website in the world. As an alternative solution, Taylor suggested that the industry needed to educate parents on how to control access.

According to Jason Nealon of Optus, a mobile content portal, a parental control layer needs to be part of the mobile device to best protect children.

 

24th August   OFLC Rule No 1: No Puftas

From SSO Net
A fascinating detailed article has been posted on  Refused Classification

Damon & Hunter film posterAustralian censors will allow Queer Screen to show a US documentary featuring real gay sex only if the explicit scenes are edited out.

The OFLC last week banned Queer Screen from showing controversial movie Damon And Hunter: Doing It Together in their annual gay and lesbian documentary film festival, queerDOC.

The film features a real-life couple talking about their love life and shows them having sex, including explicit shots of sexual intercourse, oral sex and masturbation.

Queer Screen had hoped a re-edited version of the film, which featured less explicit sex, would get an exemption for a one-off screening.

However, this week the OFLC insisted all explicit content had to be removed for it to be shown.

The documentary is already available to buy on DVD in Australia with an X rating – a classification which means it cannot be legally screened in a public place.

A new cut of the film, to be edited by the documentary’s New York-based director Tony Comstock this week, will be shown to the OFLC for approval.

Queer Screen’s festival manager, Lex Lindsay, said while the re-edit would be radically different to the original he hoped audiences would still be able to “get a taste of it”.

Last month Damon And Hunter was screened at the Melbourne Underground Film Festival (MUFF) where it was named best documentary.

MUFF director Richard Wolstencroft refused to comment on whether he’d been in contact with the OFLC about the screening. But he did say he was “shocked” by the decision to ban the original from being shown and, unlike Goldfish, thought it was discrimination. The film is a sensitive, honest and sensual exploration of male homosexuality. This censorship is further evidence of the subversive war being carried out by certain members of our government against gays and lesbians in our community.

Wolstencraft encouraged Sydney’s queer community to protest by playing the film at a secret venue in “a much needed act of civil disobedience”.

 

29th July   Digitally Challenged

From The Sydney Morning Herald

Eros Association magazineThe adult entertainment industry is pushing the Federal Government to allow pornography on new digital television channels. An industry body, Eros Association, said yesterday it had requested a meeting with the Communications Minister, Helen Coonan, to discuss the potential for a porn channel.

But the Government is expected to take a hard line, fearing a public backlash in the lead-up to an election year. Companies interested in bidding for up to 30 digital channels have already been warned that porn and gambling-related channels are off the cards.

Senator Coonan unveiled her plan for the media industry this month, including the allocation of two new digital licences, with up to 15 channels each.

One media executive said yesterday that subscription-based channels for gambling or porn "made the most convincing business cases", but would probably be banned.

The Eros chief executive, Fiona Patten, said a porn channel would help drive the take-up of digital TV. She said the Government should consider allowing X-rated as well as R-rated content otherwise the Government is effectively saying violence is OK but sex is not. People can watch Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but not Debbie Does Dallas.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has made recommendations to Senator Coonan on how the new digital channels should be allocated and marketed.

A spokeswoman for the minister said she would considering that advice before going back to her colleagues for final approval of the plan.

 

19th July   Addicted to Unbelievable Nonsense

Maybe George Pell should also point out the immense harm caused by a total denial of sex. His church should be more aware of this than most!

From Total Catholic

Religious NulterSydney’s Archbishop George Pell has said that more should be done to stem the flow of sexually explicit content on the Internet.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph in Australia the archbishop also called on doctors and scientists to do more to treat sexual addiction, which he claimed was just a real addiction as drugs and alcohol.

Sexual addiction is real, he said. We have long recognized drug addicts, alcoholics, compulsive gamblers, but only recently has public attention begun to focus on compulsive and disordered sexuality. It is still among the least understood of all the addictions, although now a major social problem and public health issue.

The Internet has now become the fastest growing source and forum for sexual addicts, because it is available at any time of day or night, is isolated and secret, rich in fantasy and endless variety. Sexual addicts are only a minority, but the spread of pornography on the Internet is feeding these addictions. Some Australian cities, including Sydney, are among the highest users in the world of pornographic material.

Forty percent of the adult male population in the U.K. (9,000,000) logged onto sex websites last year, four times as many as in 2000. 1.4 million women downloaded Internet porn in that time, but this represents an increase of 30%. It is not surprising that 40% of couples with marital difficulties say Internet pornography is at least partly to blame."

 

9th July   Family Threats

Based on an article from ABC

Eros Association magazineDeath threats have been made against the people setting up an adult book shop in Shepparton, in north-eastern Victoria. The Eros Foundation plans to open the Club X store in 12 months. It comes after the community took the business to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to stop it being built in the city.

Eros spokeswoman Fiona Patten says the person making the threats has identified themselves as a member of the Family First political party: Some of them were saying things like, 'you need a Colombian neck tie', which I understand is a burning tyre around your neck filled with petrol. So I had to say there were pretty threatening letters. It has now gone on to write to other members of our association, he has gone on to write to our president and members of Parliament.

Family First says the person making the threats is not one of its members.

Update: Get your Threats Straight!

It was pointed out to me that the petrol filled burning tyre is in fact referred to as a 'necklace'. A Columbian necktie is in fact slitting the throat and pulling the tongue through the slit.

 

2nd July   Black Marks for Mean Minded Politicians

Well if mean minded politicians try and ban material that is generally accepted by the community then there will surely be a black market. With equal certainty, nutters will try and report such a black market with as many negative nuances as they can trump up.

Based on an article from The Sydney Morning Herald

Da Vinci LoadIllegal and supposedly extreme pornographic films are being traded under the noses of police through an Australian network of sex shops, other stores and truck stops.

A Sunday Age investigation has revealed state governments are turning a blind eye to the trade, which is controlled by criminal operations and worth up to $300 million a year.

Thousands of films are being supplied via post office box addresses in the Northern Territory, where sales of X-rated films is legal. The catalogues, which offer pirated copies of X-rated films or unclassified films for Australia, brag about the content of movies. Customers send money to NT post office boxes to claim their films, which are redirected to Sydney or Brisbane, where orders are filled.

Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said he was concerned the state governments appeared to ignore criminal activity of a serious nature:
When the law specifically provides that material ought to be presented for classification, and it's not, then it is beyond doubt that people distributing that material are committing offences.

 

25th June
updated to
4th July
  Doggedly Repressed

Reservoir Dogs gameFrom Refused Classification

The game version of Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs has just been banned by the Classification Board. This is the second game after Getting Up to be banned in 2006

The game is rated 18 for sale in the UK and is scheduled for an Autumn release. I notice that UK Amazon won't ship games to Australia. Good job we have a bit of people power with eBay otherwise the world's shops would be dominated by control freaks.

4th July   Update: Dogged by Censors

Reservoir Dogs gameFrom PALGN

The Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) has decided to explain its actions through a statement released today.

The Classification Board made this decision on the basis that Reservoir Dogs contains frequent depictions of violence that have a high impact. Players (participants in a bank heist) can literally blow the heads off hostages and police as well as execute hostages at point blank range with a gunshot to the head.

That's not all that's upset them mind, with the game's depiction of torture also coming in for flak from the classification body: A series of so-called signature torture moves, such as repeated pistol whipping the side of the head with blood spray evident, burning the eyes of a hostage with a cigar until they scream and die, and cutting the fingers off a hostage with blood bursts as the victim screams in pain. Even the presentation came in for some flak, with the OFLC pointing out: In lieu of taking a hostage, the player can opt for a more violent scenario where a slow motion shootout occurs, accentuating the violence.

The offical statement from Eidos in response to the classification refusal reads:
We feel that it is unfortunate that fans of the film will not get the opportunity to play the game in Australia when it is released in the US and Europe later this year. We will fully comply with the Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification's decision. The game remains faithful to the cult classic film, directed by Quentin Tarantino, and as such, is an ultra-violent third person action game and the OFLC's rating system does not have a suitable age classification for this.

 

23rd June
updated to
8th July
  Australian Nutters and Politicians Suffer Brain Rot

Based on an article from News.com.au

Australian Big BrotherLate night antics on Channel 10's Big Brother program has again drawn the ire of nutter MPs.

Nutters in the Federal Government want to make it easier to force the show off air if it breaches broadcasting guidelines. The call came as Ten admitted that as many as 76,000 children could be watching Big Brother: Adults Only each week.

The show this week included high levels of nudity, simulated sex and discussions about masturbation, erections and sexual technique.

Not so Liberal MP Trish Draper yesterday said the Government needed to be able to take the adult show off the air within 48 hours if it broke censorship rules. Draper and National Party MP Paul Neville complained about the gratuitous nature of the program to Coalition colleagues at a joint party room meeting yesterday.

They said they were concerned it would take more than a month to have the adults-only version of Big Brother axed under existing rules if it breached MA+ guidelines.

Draper, who heads a parliamentary classifications committee, said she had asked Communications Minister Helen Coonan to examine the issue. We feel that ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) should be able to compel Channel 10 to sit down and go through the process immediately there are complaints, she said. Under existing rules, complaints must first be made to the TV network and are only taken to the ACMA if they are not resolved in 30 days.

A Ten spokeswoman said changes had been made this year to the adults-only version of Big Brother - formerly called Big Brother Uncut - to ensure it met MA+ requirements. But she admitted that about 8% of viewers, based on last year's figures, were under 18.

Changes to the show followed a storm of criticism last year after an episode in which a male housemate was filmed rubbing his genitals on a female housemate while giving her a massage. The spokeswoman said two censors examined each adults-only episode before it was aired.

Family First senator Steve Fielding said the late-night version of the program was rotting children's brains. Show me any mum or dad who would say this is good for their kids to watch, he said. Family First believes this is smut, the language is vulgar and it can distort our children's views about relationships..
[And those with rotted brains have clearly gone onto to become politicians and Family First campaigners]

24th June   Update: Children Only for Australian TV

Based on an article from News.com.au

Australian Big BrotherFollowing intense criticism from legislators, Australia’s Network Ten has pulled the plug on Big Brother—Adults Only, its late-night edition of the reality show.

TEN said the Big Brother franchise overall has been out-performing last year’s edition, and the axing of Adults Only does not affect the original show. In a statement, TEN noted, We are confident the show has complied with the Television Industry Code of Practice, and we have met all our undertakings. However, questions continue to be raised as to whether the show should be on air. We did not see that situation changing, regardless of how we treated the program, and that uncertainty was putting unfair pressure on our team. We have therefore decided the responsible and practical thing to do was conclude the show a few weeks early.

The series averaged about 1 million viewers each week.

4th July   Update: In Your Face

From The Guardian

Australian Big BrotherThe Australian prime minister John Howard has called for Big Brother to be axed after two male housemates allegedly sexually assaulted a female contestant.

Howard condemned the Australian version of the reality TV series after footage of the incident was shown on the show's live internet streaming, though not on television.

One of the men reportedly held the young woman down while the other rubbed his crotch in her face. The alleged victim, 22-year-old Camilla Halliwell, was then forced to relive the experience before millions of viewers when she was questioned about the incident.

The behaviour of the two men has outraged campaigners against sexual violence and politicians, who have demanded the independent production company, Southern Star Endemol, and Australia's Channel Ten network dump the programme.

Howard said it was a question of taste: Here's a great opportunity for Channel Ten to do a bit of self-regulation and get this stupid programme off the air.

His views were shared by the opposition communications spokesman, Stephen Conroy, who said the incident was so serious that all the prize money should be donated to groups that help sex assault victims.

The two male housemates, Michael "Ashley" Cox and Michael "John" Bric, were ordered to leave the Big Brother house at the weekend. Police questioned them and Halliwell but have not pressed charges.

Clearly uncomfortable, Halliwell told fellow housemates how she had told one of the men that it wasn't "the right thing to do". "There was no malice intended ... and when I said very specifically to John, 'Don't. No,' he didn't do it," she said.

Broadcasting regulators in Australia have yet to make a decision on the programme's future.

6th July
Update: Big Brother Community Standards

From New Zealand Herald

Australian Big BrotherThe sexual romp on Big Brother that outraged Australian sensitivities is likely to lead to new legal clamps on "reality" television shows.

It has also spurred the Government's determination to bring the internet to heel, with new laws being written to enforce censorship on new web and mobile phone services.

Communications Minister Senator Helen Coonan announced the moves yesterday after receiving a report on the "turkey slap" that saw two male housemates evicted from Channel Ten's Big Brother House.

It was not broadcast by Channel Ten, but the scene was streamed live on the internet and picked up by other websites - most of which later withdrew the segment at Coonan's request.

Australia's TV watchdog yesterday reported to Coonan that free-to-air standards did not apply to the incident because it had not been broadcast.

It also said existing online content regulations did not apply because the incident had been streamed live rather than stored for multiple viewings.

Coonan ordered the television watchdog to review the existing free-to-air television code of practice to determine if it provided "appropriate community standards" in regard to "reality" shows.

7th July
Update: Backlash Against Ludicrous Government Proposals

From Australian IT

Australian Big BrotherAustralian IT internet companies could be forced offshore if the federal Government introduces tough new rules for live broadcasts over the web, industry and user groups have warned.

The government's push to make footage shown on the internet subject to the same suitable-for-older-children rules as TV broadcasts comes amid an uproar over sex antics shown on the website for the Ten Network's hit reality TV show Big Brother.

But the internet industry and users fear the introduction of more laws could make it too difficult for web companies to continue operating in Australia. They say Australia already imposes the toughest rules in the world for internet operators, who might find it more appealing to transfer their businesses overseas where government has no control over what they show.

That's certainly one of the possibilities, Internet Industry Association chief executive Peter Coroneos said: We certainly share the government's and community's concerns about inappropriate content on the internet. But what we think is in the end we are going to have to rely more on technological empowerment of end users to make up for areas of regulatory failure simply because of the nature of the medium. The internet is not capable of being regulated in the same way as TV.

As well as new rules for internet broadcasts, the government has ordered a review of the TV code of practice to see if reality TV shows like Big Brother should be subject to tougher restrictions.

But Sydney University academic Catherine Lumby said such an idea was ridiculous. She said the Big Brother TV show this year had not breached any broadcasting rules or classification guidelines, suggesting the current regime worked.

8th July   Update: In Your Face Video

Australian Big BrotherThe Big Brother "in your face" incident has been posted on YouTube.

 

14th June
updated to
June 14th
  3rd Rate Censorship for 3rd Generation Phones

Based on an article from Australian IT

Dept of comms, IT & artsHardcore video porn delivered to 3G mobile phones will be outlawed by regulations to be unveiled by Communications Minister Helen Coonan today.

Under pressure for greater intervention from her own backbench, Senator Coonan will also outline future plans for limiting children's access to internet porn.

She will outline new rules for phone companies aimed at limiting the way mobile phones can be used to access pornographic internet services.

The new measures would strengthen censorship illegal and so called offensive content over 3G phones, which are capable of displaying full-motion video services from the internet.

A spokeswoman for Senator Coonan said the regulatory package would include mandatory requirements for phone companies to verify the age of customers using "adult chat rooms" that can be accessed via 3G phones.

They new rules would include child protection mechanisms that companies must enforce inside adult chat rooms.

Senator Coonan has been under pressure to curb internet pornography. Led by Tasmanian Senator Guy Barnett, 62 backbenchers wrote to Prime Minister John Howard demanding that internet service providers (ISPs) be forced to filter all services coming into Australia. Senator Coonan is expected to argue that "mandatory filtering" is not a practical solution, but will also put forward plans to limit porn.

15th June   Update: 3rd Rate Repression

Based on an article from From ABC

Dept of comms, IT & artsFederal Communications Minister Helen Coonan says she is preparing to extend bans on Internet pornography to mobile phones and other portable electronic devices.

The Government placed a ban on Internet pornography in 2000 and the current penalty for service providers that breach the law is $55,000 a day.

Senator Coonan says the Government wants to protect the community from inappropriate and harmful material. She says the changes will impose criminal charges for those who break the rules and will be similar to the safeguards in place for traditional media: It will include the prohibition of content rated, X18-plus and above as well as consumer advice and age restrictions on access to content suited only to adults. These prohibitions will be backed up by strong sanctions.

The Government's backbench committee on communications, led by Nationals MP Paul Neville, has expressed concern that proposed changes to media laws could threaten diversity and local content, particularly in regional areas.

Senator Coonan says she is still preparing up to nine pieces of legislation to support the reforms and is optimistic they can be implemented by the end of the year. But she says removing large parts parts of the legislation to address concerns will not be an option.

 

11th June   My Brother's Wife's Censor

More on Refused Classification where this is a list of films banned in Australia

My Brother's WifeThe Classification Board banned My Brother's Wife on May 31st. This is Siren's fourth hentai feature to be Refused Classification this year. Spotlight was banned earlier in the month, Hooligan in March, and Darling in January.

This DVD is available from Critical Mass Video with the following info

Producers Shyuuta Biwajima and Chikara Niki (HOT FOR TEACHER / NAUGHTY NURSES / DEBTS OF DESIRE) return with a tale of envy and lust as Takashi tries to win his brother's sexy wife for his own!

All his life, Takashi has been compared to his older brother, Satoshi. Satoshi is smarter. More athletic. More handsome. More successful. But despite the constant reminders that he's "not as good as his brother", Takashi was never jealous because Satoshi took him in after their parents died. But that was before Satoshi stole Miwa, the love of Takashi’s life, and married her.

Miwa. Both incredibly beautiful and kind, she captured Takashi's heart long before she ever agreed to marry his brother. And now that she’s Satoshi's wife, Takashi sees her every day. Sees her with him. Hears her having sex with him through the bedroom wall. And each day Takashi's jealousy towards his brother grows a little more.

But it seems the tables may turn when Takashi's voluptuous college professor discovers that Takashi scores in one way over his brother: his sexual prowess. Now with the right clothing, the right hairstyle, and lots and lots of hands-on sexual tutoring, she's going to turn Takashi into a ladies' man that even his brother will envy!

Update: Feb 2007: Passed

Passed when resubmitted in 2007 with cuts

 

10th June
updated to
20th August
  Blaming Burning Books

Based on an article from Post Chronicle

Join the CaravanAustralia is to censor books and films that encourage terrorism, including those that support violent jihad or suicide bombings.

Australia's Attorney General Philip Ruddock has written to state and territory censorship ministers, asking them to work with the federal government on the crackdown.

Ruddock turned to the state and territorial officials after efforts on the federal level were blocked. The official said he was forced to act after the Australian Federal Police and the director of public prosecutions reported they were unable to use new sedition laws to pursue prosecutions.

You have to weigh up people's right to life and safety and security with freedom of expression, Ruddock said. And I think most reasonable people would take the view that publications that were likely to encourage or promote terrorism should be looked at very carefully.

Ruddock also asked the federal Classification Review Board to review its rulings that eight books and one film did not incite or promote violence.

12th July   Update: Join the Censorship Bandwagon

From The Australian

Join the CaravanAttorney General Philip Ruddock has called for tougher laws to ban extremist books after the Classification Review Board banned two radical Islamic tomes, the first books to banned in Australia in decades.

Ruddock said he had notified state and territory censorship ministers that he would raise the issue at a ministerial meeting later this month.: The Australian Government is already pushing for censorship laws to be reviewed to assess whether they deal adequately with material which urges or advocates terrorist acts.

The two extremist Islamic texts about jihad were discovered in a Lakemba bookshop last year in the wake of the London bombings. The books were banned for sale and importation from yesterday after Ruddock asked the Classification Review Board to examine eight books and one film.

The board revealed its decision late on Monday night, saying the books were instructive in the crime of terrorism. The book Defence of the Muslim Lands: promotes and incites matters of crime, specifically terrorism acts, including the plan, action and execution of martyrdom operations, the ruling says.

The second book, Join the Caravan, was banned because it has the objective purpose of promoting and inciting acts of terrorism against 'disbelievers'.

The ruling came after the Australian Federal Police and Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions both ruled that the books did not constitute sedition under new anti-terror laws passed last year.

Islamic Friendship Association of Australia founder Keysar Trad investigated the books and said the decisions were "McCarthyism all over again". He said Muslims could ask for the Salman Rushdie book Satanic Verses to be banned on the same grounds. He said the books were not on sale any more at the bookshops where they were on display and that while the writings were extreme, they did not incite violence.

16th July   Update: Jihad against Jihad Books

From Refused Classification: Classification Review Board press release

Join the CaravanThe full Board of the Classification Review Board has determined that, of the 8 Islamic books submitted for Review by the Australian Attorney-General, 2 are Refused Classification and 6 are classified Unrestricted.

The books classified Refused Classification are:

  • Defence of the Muslim Lands
  • Join the Caravan.

Refused Classification (RC) means the books are immediately banned throughout Australia. They cannot be sold within or imported into the country.

The books classified Unrestricted are:

  • The Ideological Attack
  • The Criminal West
  • Jihad in the Qur’an and Sunnah
  • The Absent Obligation
  • Islam and Modern Man: The Call of Islam to Modern Man Vol. II
  • The Qur’anic Concept of War

In the Review Board’s opinion Defence of the Muslim Lands warrants Refused Classification because it promotes and incites in matters of crime, specifically terrorism acts, including the plan, action and execution of martyrdom operations. The Review Board noted that the book was republished in English firstly in 1995 by Muslims seeking support for the Mujahadeen in Bosnia and then again in September 2002. The book is specific and explicit in its support for and encouragement of suicide bombing, including details for undertaking such crimes.

The Review Board concluded that Join the Caravan is presented as a direct appeal to Muslims to engage in fighting, particularly in Afghanistan, but also in other theatres. Join the Caravan warrants Refused Classification because it has the objective purpose of promoting and inciting acts of terrorism against “disbelievers” and is a real and genuine call to specific action by Muslims to fight for Allah and engage in acts of violence. The first English translation was printed in 1996, following the conflict in Bosnia. According to the publishers due to popular demand and the book being sold out they decided to publish the copy that was submitted for review. It was reprinted in 2001. The publishers state that the original book was the principal inspiration for thousands of Muslims from all over the World to go and fight in Afghanistan. The publishers state that the struggle must continue until Truth emerges distinct from Falsehood and the true Mujahudeen attain triumph and defeat the enemies of Islam who are trying to destroy the fruit of the Afghan Jihad.

Convenor of the Review Board, Ms Maureen Shelley said, “The Classification Review Board has taken the responsibility and importance of these decisions extremely seriously. In considering this material the Review Board has sought the opinions of a number of organisations so that a range of perspectives could be considered. These include the Mufti of Australia Sheik Taj Aldin Alhilali and the NSW Council for Civil Liberties. Further, the Review Board has considered current Australian terrorism legislation and its applicability to these matters. The Review Board is confident that every effort has been made to make a balanced decision under Australian Classification law.”

26th July   Update: Ruddock's Jihad

From News.com.au

Join the CaravanAttorney-General Philip Ruddock says he wants to consider tighter censorship controls on controversial publications, after an unfavourable classification ruling on extremist "hate" books.

Ruddock today outlined his proposal, to be considered at a meeting of Australia's attorneys-general tomorrow, to make it easier to ban books or broadcasts that promote hatred, violence or terrorism.

His plan comes after the Classification Review Board refused classification to only two of seven "hate" books whose classifications Ruddock had wanted reconsidered.

Ruddock asked the Classification Review Board to reassess the books' classification after the Australian Federal Police and Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions ruled in May that they did not incite violence or breach sedition laws.

Only two books, Defence of the Muslim Lands and Join the Caravan, on sale at Islamic bookstores in Sydney, were subsequently refused classification.

Ruddock said that the decision highlighted a possible need to tighten censorship: I referred the same publications to the Classification Review Board who can refuse classification and, in the case of two of them, did. In relation to the others it's fair enough to ask the same question, whether the standard has been set at too high a level to deal with matters that might well be of real concern to the broader Australian community.

NSW Attorney-General Bob Debus and his Victorian counterpart, Rob Hulls, have said they will not support Ruddock's censorship plan, which would also apply to reality television shows such as Big Brother.

28th July   Update: Ruddock's Crusade

From The Sydney Morning Herald

Join the CaravanState and federal governments will review literature classifications so that so-called books of hate can be banned more easily.

After initial resistance from the states, a meeting of attorneys-general yesterday gave the federal Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, the green light for the joint review of censorship. The guidelines are likely to be comprehensively rewritten.

A spokesman for the NSW Attorney-General, Bob Debus, said: NSW is not going to support this. Queensland expressed some reservations and Rob Hulls, of Victoria, said current classification arrangements were adequate to deal with publications relating to terrorism.

In the end, however, the states fell into line, although some maintained a veneer of suspicion. Ruddock said he was pleased that previously reluctant states and territories: are willing to support a fresh look. Material which urges or advocates terrorist acts should not be available for sale. We are not about curtailing freedom of speech.

Ruddock asked the states to ban material counselling, urging, providing instruction or praising terrorist acts.

He also wants reality television checked by classification rules less tolerant of sex and nudity. Critics have likened this to Big Brother suppressing Big Brother, a reference to government irritability at the reality TV show, particularly following an internet broadcast of alleged sexual harassment.

20th August   Update: Join the Anti Censorship Caravan

From Refused Classification

Join the CaravanThe SMH reported on August 9th that the NSW Council of Civil Liberties intends to challenge the recent book ban in the Federal Court. The two books, Defence of the Muslim Lands and Join the Caravan were banned by the Review Board in July.

The council's president, Cameron Murphy, said: We think Australia has a strong and robust democracy, and in a strong and robust democracy there should be a degree of tolerance that can accept material as unpleasant as this. The process of banning it is a slippery slope and one we shouldn't be going down.

 

2nd June
updated to
20th June
  Primitive Research

Based on an article from The Age

College of Indigenous Australian PeoplePornography should be banned from remote Aboriginal communities, according to a mad scientist.

Judy Atkinson, director of the College of Indigenous Australian Peoples at Southern Cross University in NSW, said pornography was fuelling the problem of sexual assault in remote communities: There is a difference between a middle class couple in Canberra watching this and a group of young boys in some remote community in the NT, who have no real access to education, no access to the real world, and think that's the way that Western people behave.

She said that non-Aboriginal men had introduced pornography to Aboriginal communities, and it was being accessed by teenagers, and in some cases children as young as six.

Atkinson said the problem was linked with substance abuse: People have got lots of DVD machines. Blue movies are brought into the community, they have become a commodity . . . and are even more lethal than alcohol.

Nationals MP John Anderson said he had also discussed the issue with Aboriginal elders based in his NSW electorate of Gwydir, which has a high indigenous population. Anderson said a respected elder had told him that the real problem was that young people were becoming "socialised" by obscene and violent videos.

Atkinson said research for a new study about indigenous violence suggests that hard porn including "snuff movies" [sounds like she is bandying terms with negative connotations without any regard to reality] was now being accessed by children. She said she interviewed a six-year-old Aboriginal boy who had been traumatised by a movie he watched with his uncle showing a woman being killed during sexual intercourse.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough said that while pornography needed to be addressed, the focus had to be on policing and sentencing. He said he wanted to ensure that Aboriginal customary law could not be used as a defence to sexual assault or crimes of violence.

20th June   Update: Primitive Politics

From ABC

College of Indigenous Australian PeopleThe federal Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, says the states and territories need to take more responsibility for stopping the supply of unclassified pornographic and violent videos to Indigenous communities.

Delegates at yesterday's national forum to discuss violence and sexual abuse said the videos were pouring into communities and there is concern some Aboriginal people are emulating what they see on film.

Philip Ruddock says more needs to be done to track down the people supplying the material: If you have to go into Indigenous communities to get the evidence and to use that as part of the evidence trail, then so be it.
That's the responsibility of police, and in relation to community policing, those responsibilities rest clearly with the states and territories.

 

30th May   Chilling Australian Law

From The Age

Australian law reform commsission logoJournalists, cartoonists, artists and filmmakers should be freed from the threat of prosecution for commenting on Government policy under sedition laws, the Australian Law Reform Commission says.

The commission wants the term "sedition" removed from the statute books, and says laws outlawing incitement to violence against the government or community groups should be redrafted.

Releasing a discussion paper containing 25 reform proposals, the commission's president, David Weisbrot, said yesterday the aim was to draw a line between free speech and the criminal law. There is no reason these offences, which properly target the urging of force or violence, cannot be framed in such a way to avoid capturing dissenting views or stifling the work or journalists, cartoonists, artists and filmmakers, either directly or through the 'chilling effect' of self-censorship.

The nation's biggest news organisations have slammed the new laws as a danger to media freedom, and want them repealed or amended. Fairfax (owner of The Age), News Ltd and Australian Associated Press have together condemned the laws' "excesses" as they relate to publishers, and called for a media exemption to guarantee a free press.

Fairfax's corporate affairs director, Bruce Wolpe, welcomed the commission's proposals yesterday, saying they had vindicated Fairfax's concerns.The Law Reform Commission is recommending the effective repeal of the sedition laws. It has explicitly recognised the profound threat the sedition laws pose to a free press, and seeking further protections for the media.

The controversial laws, intended to deal with incitement to carry out acts of terror, were pushed through Parliament late last year as part of the Anti-Terrorism Act

 

21st May   SpotlightSpotlight on Censorship

More on Refused Classification where this is a list of films banned in Australia

Siren Visual Entertainment has lost another hentai DVD to the censors. The Classification Board banned Spotlight on May 10th.

This DVD is available from Critical Mass Video

 

5th May   Ghastly Nutters

Based on an article from AVN

Sexpo logoOrganizers of Sexpo, an annual sex trade fair held here beginning today, were facing criticism and outrage from political leaders and nutters over an amusement ride that uses electronic mannequins that simulate sex acts.

According to Perth’s The Sunday Times today, opponents of the “Sex Train” say they hope to shut down the ride, deeming it indecent: We are not happy. In fact, the whole thing is disgusting, said John Barich, Australian Family Association president.

David Ross, Sexpo founder and organizer, said the ride is like a traditional ghost train boarded by passengers who would see unusual things. But instead of ghosts or vampires, riders would see Animatronic mannequins simulating sex acts such as oral sex, bondage and even a castration scene featuring mannequins meant to resemble John Bobbitt and his wife Lorena, who cut off her husband’s penis with a knife.

(Sexpo) travels to three or four major cities each year and despite the censorship laws in (Western Australia province), the people of Perth have shown that they’re no prudes, Ross said:
(The train) is just a bit of fun.

 

4th May   Blown out of All Proportion

From the Advertiser

Brown Bunny DVD coverA South Australian MP has called for reclassification of video and DVD rental film The Brown Bunny which features a controversial oral sex scene.

The film, released in December last year, is available from Blockbuster stores in South Australia with an R-rating and features graphic oral sex scenes performed by Hollywood actress Chloe Sevigny.

Family First MLC Dennis Hood said the view of fellatio involving a fully erect penis "was pornographic": If that's not pornography, then what is? Any depiction of actual sex is clearly X-rated,

He called on the Attorney-General Michael Atkinson to order a review of the film's classification status.

Atkinson yesterday said it was too late to reclassify The Brown Bunny.

Written, directed, produced and edited by maverick director/actor Vincent Gallo, the film first caused a stir at Cannes 2003. While it did not show in cinemas in Australia, a spokeswoman for distributor Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Katie Hull, said the movie had:
done quite well as a rental title.

 

23rd April   State Censors

More on Refused Classification

OFLC armsBack in February it was announced that control of OFLC policy would be moved to the Attorney-General’s Department. At the time this grab for power received little, or no media comment. Now it looks like staff at the OFLC are far from happy with this decision and the the Community and Public Sector Union has become involved.

from www.cpsu.org.au

The recent decision to abolish Office of Film & Literature Classification (OFLC) raises serious concerns about the future of an independent classification system that is in touch with community values and free from political interference.

Commonwealth Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock recently announced the policy and administrative functions of the OFLC would be relocated to the Attorney General's Department (AGD) in a process to be completed by 1st July 2006.

The decision was announced without consultation with key stakeholders including key industry groups, state and territory governments who share responsibility for classification and censorship in partnership with the Commonwealth, and OFLC staff.

Classification staff have expressed a number of issues and concerns at this move by the Attorney General. This places a question mark over the continued existence of an independent classification review process, at arms length from government. Further questions have been raised as to the transparency of the decision given the lack of consultation prior to the government's announcement. The changes will also impact on staff, with transitional arrangements unclear and the prospect of job losses.

Independence at stake: CPSU has spoken to staff about their issues in concerns. As a result of these discussions, the union has produced an issues paper that covers the decision making process and the possible implications for the community at large.  See
www.cpsu.org.au

 

13th April
updated to
20th June
Filtering Out Practicality

I find it hard to believe that a one filter-fits-all could ever be very useful to even those that think it may be useful. If a family had kids of various ages, where would one set the filter? At a level only suitable for 5 year olds, 10 year olds, 15 year olds? What happens if the parents would like to have free reign when they surf? Presumably they will have to opt for a full feed and install a properly controllable local filter anyway.

Based on an article from News.com

Filter gogglesAn Australian-first trial to filter Internet pornography will begin in Tasmania this year. Organised by Tasmanian senator Guy Barnett, the trial is supposedly aimed at preventing children from accessing inappropriate internet material by blocking pornographic material at the ISP level. The technology also will be used to filter extreme violence.

The trial will be conducted by two companies, Sydney-based Internet Sheriff Technology and US filtering company RuleSpace. It is understood Internet Sheriff Technology has reached agreement with about 50% of ISPs to participate.

Once the trial begins, adults wanting access to pornography will have to contact their ISP to opt out of the filtering.

Senator Barnett, announcing the trial in Launceston yesterday, said he believed every Australian had a fundamental right to access the internet free from pornography and extreme violence.

If successful, the three-month trial could be expanded nationally, Senator Barnett said and he would be advising Communications Minister Helen Coonan of the results of the trial.

23rd May
Update: Government's Blinkered View on Filters

Based on an article from P2P Net

Filter gogglesAustralia's biggest ISP won't be taking part in a Tasmanian trial of network wide porn filtering.

We fundamentally believe that the protection achieved through PC-based filtering is much more effective than any network-based approach, Telstra operations manager Denis Mullane told a Senate estimates committee.

Telstra argues, individual customers should use their own filtering solutions on their computers because network based filters require too much processing power and may cause drops in speed. Our concern is it would lead to a false sense of security for our customers. We are not persuaded it has sufficient merit.

Currently, Telstra only filters content at a network level when asked to do so by the Australian communications watchdog.

The government backed trial will begin sometime after July.

13th May
Update: Australian Net Nannies

Based on an article from ninemsn

Filter gogglesAustralia's 6 million internet subscribers will be given software to filter out pornography for free under a federal government plan to toughen controls on internet content.

Communications Minister Helen Coonan is preparing to launch the service with an injection of funds into the government's NetAlert online safety agency,

But the government is reluctant to put its stamp of approval on software that may later turn out to have flaws, so it is leaning towards creating a list of software suppliers for consumers to chose from and making them available on the NetAlert site, the paper says.

20th June
Update: Filtering Out Stupid Populist Ideas

From X Biz

Filter gogglesHaving explored many options to keep children from accessing pornography, Australian Communications Minister Helen Coonan has decided on a federal subsidy for parents who buy filtering software for their home computers.

The government also will ramp up funding to NetAlert, the Internet safety board, and launch a public information campaign. Public libraries will have to install filtering software, as well.

Blocking access to adult material online is a prime objective of the Australian government in the lead up to next year’s elections.

It is the fundamental right of all Australians to access the Internet free of pornography and offensive material, Liberal Party Sen. Guy Barnett said: I’m hopeful of a positive response from the Howard Government to the concerns and recommendations of more than 60 backbenchers,” said Barnett, referring to the 62 senators that signed a letter to Prime Minister John Howard asking him to ban offensive websites.

The Labor party favors Internet filtering at the ISP level, where providers would supply a so-called “clean feed” stripped of adult and questionable content. Coonan does not support this method, preferring a filter at the individual PC-based level: You can get a customized and safe experience that looks after emails, chat rooms and peer-to-peer file downloading in a much more effective way than simply blocking half the Internet and slowing it down so that nobody can use it, even for innocent purposes. Clean feed is anything but clean — it does not block all pornography or other offensive sites and does not make the Internet safe.

According to a government study, the prohibitive cost of applying filtering at the ISP level would be too onerous to implement. The study found startup costs would be $45 million, with $33 million needed yearly to keep it up and running.

NetAlert published a recent study that found ISP filtering would slow network performance by 18% for even the best performing filter. Filtering content at the desktop will have a better success rate to stop porn being accessed by children without impacting the genuine rights of the entire population, Netspace’s Stuart Marburg wrote.

 

10th April   Australians Enact Surveillance of Inncocents

Opinion from The Sydney Morning Herald

The Australian Federal Parliament have passed a law that allows the Government to read private emails, text messages and other stored communications without our knowledge. The power extends to innocent people, called B-parties, if they have been unlucky enough to communicate with someone suspected of a crime or of being a threat to national security.

Under the Telecommunications (Interception) Amendment Act, the Government will be able to access communications not only between the B-party and the suspect, but also between the B-party and anyone else. If you have unwittingly communicated with a suspect (and thereby become a B-party), the Government may be able to monitor all your conversations with family members, friends, work colleagues, your lawyer and your doctor.

The Government may be able to use the information even though the information is not related to the original suspect. It also does not have to tell you that it has been listening in. While there are some remedies if you have been illegally monitored, these are pointless if you do not know you have come under surveillance.

This is of even greater concern given how easy it is for the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) to gain a warrant. The gatekeeper is not an independent person such as a judge, but a politician, the federal attorney-general. As long as ASIO has tried other means of tracking a suspect, to gain a warrant it need only show that intercepting the B-party's communications is "likely to assist" in obtaining intelligence "related to security" - vague terms providing scope for the misuse of the power.

The Government rushed the law through Parliament without taking into account advice from its own ranks. A Senate committee examining the bill unanimously found last Monday that the powers were too extensive. It recommended strengthening protection against misuse. The Government's own Blunn report on the area also suggested stronger protection. Despite these warnings, the law does not incorporate the recommended safeguards. Indeed, amendments made to the law over the past week widened its reach.

The Government says that there is an urgent need for this law and that it could not wait. This approach is wrong-headed. Like the sedition laws of late last year, a law of this importance should not be enacted in haste in the face of obvious problems.

 

7th April
updated to
9th July
  Playing Games with Game Displays

From ABC

Not suitable for politicians or religious bigotsRetailers in Western Australia will be forced to store violent video games separately from lower rated games,

The state Government's Censorship Amendment Bill makes it an offence, carrying a $5,000 fine, to sell or rent games with an MA-15 plus rating to minors.

The Liberals and the Greens combined in the Upper House last night to also make it an offence for shopkeepers to freely display the games.

Opposition's spokesman for children Barbara Scott says it will help prevent children accessing the games:
At the moment, a child can go in with their carer or babysitter or parent. There's no problem with that person, an adult hiring it or buying it, but this measure will now at least make that adult be aware that the contents are not appropriate for young children.

9th July
Repressed Australian Adults

From Refused Classification

Not suitable for politicians or religious bigotsUnder the current federal government legislation, it is illegal to sell or display material refused classification (RC) by the OFLC, thus the importation of such material is banned. However a loophole might exist with regards to downloading RC material as most states have not enacted laws to cover RC material.

Under Commonwealth law it would be illegal to make it available on an Australian website. But the only districts in Australia that ban possession of RC material are NT and WA. In those states if you’ve downloaded RC material you have broken the law.

The WA government has recently gone a step further to control the video game market, slapping a $5000 fine on the public display of MA15+ games. The Censorship Act 1996 Section 85 also introduces a $2000 fine for publicly displaying an unclassified game which would have received an MA15+ rating if classified.

The new amendments to the WA law mean that retailers won’t be able to display or promote legally available MA 15+ games, as well as extending the law into the home. WA now makes it an offence with a $2000 fine for showing an MA 15+ game to a minor under 15, unless you are the parent or guardian of the child. The Liberal and Green parties combined to get the amendment through the WA Upper House.

 

25th March
Big Brother for Children

Based on an article from News.com.au

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has been flexing newly provided powers to insist upon 'enforceable undertakings'.  The next series of Big Brother will feel the brunt.

Network Ten made the undertaking to the Australian Communications and Media Authority yesterday after the watchdog found a third episode of the 2005 series of Big Brother Uncut breached broadcast standards to ensure that all TV content is suitable for 15 year old children.

ACMA received two complaints from viewers about an episode aired on July 4 last year. The media watchdog found the episode went beyond the suitability of the MA (15+) classification and the network did not properly describe the episode as containing strong adult themes, sexual references, implied sexual behaviour and full frontal or partial nudity.

In its list of undertakings to ensure it met community standards, Ten has pledged to improve codes of conduct and housemate training to increase awareness of sexual harassment, assault and bullying.

Ten also said it had brought in a Rape Crisis Centre manager and a media studies academic to look at its precautions to prevent sexually demeaning behaviour in the house.

Production staff will improve the way they monitor housemate behaviour from the control room and draw up new guidelines. The control room will use the guidelines to identify risky situations and immediately refer them to production executives for advice, Ten said.

Two classifiers will view Big Brother Uncut episodes before they are shown to ensure they meet standards, and report back to ACMA every week on any complaints received.

ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said it was important community standards were upheld. The classification scheme set out in the code reflects well-accepted community standards and provides safeguards against the broadcast of inappropriate material.
It is imperative that broadcasters stay within its limits.

 

22nd March
Updated 27th March
Nutter Idea Blocked

From ABC

The Federal Opposition has outlined a plan to block Internet pornography reaching home computers.

Opposition Leader Kim Beazley says a Labor government would introduce laws requiring Internet service providers to offer a "clean feed" without pornographic and violent sites. Beazley says Australian parents do not want their children to be exposed to such material: Block it at the point of the provider as opposed to the point of the parent and if that particular household wants to opt into the pornographic sites then they make an active decision to do so.

The reality is ... only about a third of the parents put some sort of blocker in relation to the sites on their home computers, it's too hard for most of them but if you did it at the level of the provider, probably very few people would opt in.

However the Federal Government says Labor's plan to block Internet pornography from reaching home computers will only slow down online services for everyone.

Communications Minister Helen Coonan says PC-based filters are more effective and do not affect the performance of the Internet. PC-based filtering remains the most effective way of protecting children from offensive Internet content as well as other threats that are not addressed by Labor's ISP filtering programs.

Coonan also says Labor's plan is prohibitively expensive:
A previous government review into the filtering technology that is the basis of Labor's plan also found that it would involve implementation costs of around $45 million and ongoing costs of more than $33 million per annum for ISPs for questionable benefit.

23rd March
Update: Flip Flops

From The Sydney Morning Herald

A blockade against internet pornography and violence is now a possibility after the Communications Minister, Helen Coonan, showed signs of buckling to backbench demands for action on this issue.

A day after scoffing at a Labor plan to force internet service providers to filter out porn and violence, Senator Coonan yesterday changed tack and said the Government had not ruled out such a filtering system.

This followed a demand from a Liberal backbench campaigner on the issue, Guy Barnett, who described current home-based measures as "unsatisfactory" and rejected Senator Coonan's earlier suggestions that mandatory filters would be costly and of "questionable benefit".

Senator Barnett, who late last year got 62 Coalition MPs to sign a plea to the Prime Minister, John Howard, for more action against internet porn and violence, said yesterday: I will not roll over on this issue. I will continue to pursue this in the best interests of Australian children.

On Tuesday, Senator Coonan rejected Labor's plan for a mandatory filter on internet porn and violence, saying it would only result in slowing down the internet for every Australian without effectively protecting children from inappropriate and offensive content. She said home-based filtering of computers using free or low-cost software was the most effective way to protect children.

Senator Barnett questions this view, because he says many parents do not take up the software. But yesterday Senator Coonan's spokeswoman said the Government has not ruled out ISP-based filtering and is currently undertaking a trial in Tasmania in conjunction with the internet safety agency NetAlert.

This was the third Government investigation of ISP-based filtering since 2001 and the Government was actively trying to overcome technical impediments to ISP-based filtering.

Labor's approach would only block internet sites that were listed but thousands of pages were added or changed every day, she said.

Senator Barnett said industry experts had told him filters could be introduced without undue detriment to services.

27th March
One Block Fits All

Hopefully the ISPs will also block the nonsense beliefs promoted by the church.

From Scoop

Church welcomes home computer block

Moves to block violent and pornographic material before it reaches home computers will protect children from the dangers of cyberspace, the Australian Bishops Conference said.

Chairman of the Bishops' Committee for Media, Archbishop Barry Hickey, said most parents were concerned at the presence of internet violence and pornography on their home computer, but many did not know what to do about it.

The opposition this week announced its policy to have Internet Service Providers (ISPs) filter out websites rated R or above and media reports yesterday indicate that the federal government is investigating and trailing the idea.

Archbishop Hickey said: Those with little technical know-how might not even know that such filtering equipment exists. It is much more effective to have ISPs block sites promoting violence and pornography before they ever reach home computers.

We welcome any moves by political parties to make home computers safer for children and less worrying for parents, he said.

 

19th March
Updated 2nd April
So Where the Fuck is Australia's Sense of Humour?

From Inquistion21

The Australian Government has shut down a parody website that mocked Australian Prime Minister John Howard. The website featured a satirical speech that 'apologised' for the Iraq war. The site was down for two days before a phone call from Melbourne IT advised the owner that it had been shut down 'on the advice from the Australian Government'. We now tell Australians how to access the blocked site and also reproduce its contents.

2nd April
Update: Prime Minister's Office are Self Appointed Censors

From Reporters without Borders
See also richardneville.com for the banned spoof

Reporters Without Borders voiced shock at the methods used by the office of Australian Prime Minister John Howard to censor parody website Johnhowardpm.org, on which political commentator Richard Neville posted a spoof speech by Howard about the presence of Australian troops in Iraq.

The prime minister’s office had the website closed down on 14 March by going to Melbourne IT, the company that administers its domain name.

All the world’s leaders are subject to parody and the Australian prime minister should learn to live with it rather than banning it, Reporters Without Borders said. And anyway, to close down a website, a court order should be required, not just an administrative decision. This type of censorship is unacceptable in democracy, in which website managers have the same rights as those who run traditional media.

Aping the design of the prime minister’s official website, the satirical johnhowardpm.org website carried spoof statements by Howard. A supposed fault in its registration with Melbourne IT was the grounds given for its closure. But Reporters Without Borders has verified that it was registered under the name of R. Neville and was therefore perfectly valid.

Melbourne IT blocked the domain name in response to an e-mail request from a member of the prime minister’s office. Johnhowardpm.org is now redirected to Neville’s personal website on which the Iraq war spoof speech is available.

Neville has not received any official notification of the site’s closure. He angrily told Reporters Without Borders : I think that closing down a website is like burning a newspaper, only it is done with a velvet glove. There would have been people in the street if a newspaper had been censored like this. Although the site was online for only 36 hours, it received more than 10,000 visits, he said.

 

13th March
updated 20th March
So Where the Fuck is Our Sense of Humour?

From SBS, See also www.wherethebloodyhellareyou.com

Where the bloody hell are you?What was initially a campaign to lure tourists to Australia has literally become a war of words with the UK after the British censor banned a television advertisement that used the great Australian adjective "bloody".

However now the offending phrase, Where the bloody hell are you?  has been emblazoned across full-page advertisements in the British press with full approval of the regulators.

The cheeky slogan has also been cleared for the print, online and cinema arms of the campaign.

So Australian Minister for Tourism Fran Bailey has gone to confront British officials over why it was banned from television. Bailey launched her bid to have the television ban overturned from the Tourism Australia offices next to the Australian High Commission on The Strand in London.

She will meet officials from the British Advertising Clearance Centre (BACC) but she acknowledged it would be a "big ask" to have them reverse the ban.

She cited a 1983 Paul Hogan ad for Fosters and a 1998 Toyota advertisement which used "bloody" both of which were allowed on British television. We're proud of this campaign, we know it's a cheeky campaign but it's designed to cut through, the minister said. You have to look at the context in which the word is used and it fits in with the overall theme. It's allowed in cinemas, online and in print, which is such an anomaly.

The dedicated website for this campaign had received more than 30,000 hits from the UK even before the launch, with Tourism Australia officials no doubt keen to fan the flames of the BACC controversy that has brought it to the attention of the British public.

The A$180 million television campaign features natural Australian icons such as beaches, the Great Barrier Reef, the outback, Sydney Harbour and Uluru.

The ads end with a girl in a bikini saying "we've saved you a spot on the beach", before she poses the colourful question, "Where the bloody hell are you?"

However Tourism Australia was apparently warned months ago that the ads would breach a list of words that can not be used in ads in Britain.

15th March
Update: Bloody Hell...A Rethink

From ABC News

The Australian advertising campaign that asks prospective tourists "Where the bloody hell are you?" could now get the thumbs-up in Britain by the end of the week.

Last week the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre (BACC) banned the advertisement from airing on British television.

The Tourism Minister, Fran Bailey, flew to London to convince the authorities to change their decision.

She has met with the British Secretary and the head of the regulator and they have agreed to review the ban.

"This is a first - this has never been achieved before so this a tremendous coup for Australia," she said.

Ms Bailey says she has put forward a very strong case and she expects the regulator to make a decision by the end of the week.

20th March
Update: Bloody Common Sense

From Monsters & Critics

The ban Britain imposed on the slogan of Australia's new tourism campaign - So where the bloody hell are you?- has been repealed.

Perhaps the change of heart was helped on its way by Prince Edward who used the word 'bloody' on Australian TV. Edward lost his temper with a member of his staff. The prince then turned from the camera and shouted at an aide typing on a laptop: You don't know how annoying that bloody clicking is over here.

The presenter on Australia's Channel 7 mumbled: So it's OK for royalty then.

Britain's watchdog Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre (BAAC) upheld an appeal by Australian Tourism Minister Fran Bailey.

I am pleased that common sense prevailed and the regulators realised the campaign was intended to be cheeky, friendly and very Australian, Bailey said in a statement. My faith in the British sense of humour has been restored.

The oath 'bloody' ranks 27th on the BAAC's list of offensive words that may not appear in advertisements, just after 'crap' and just before of 'God'. Also off-limits are bastard (6th), bollocks (8th), bugger (21st), sodding (24th) and Jesus Christ (25th).

 

12th March
Hooligan at the OFLC

Hooligan DVD coverFrom Refused Classification

Siren Visual Entertainment has had another Hentai DVD banned by the Classification Board. HOOLIGAN was Refused Classification last week.

Despite last year having had THE GORE GORE GIRLS, and IN A GLASS CAGE banned, Siren have continued presenting controversial titles to our censors. For that they deserve your support

Here is a list of Japanese animation that have run into censorship problems in Australia.

The DVD Hooligan is available at www.animecornerstore.com/hooligan.html

1994: Urotsukidoji -Legend of OVERFIEND (Rated RC, cut for R18+)
1994: ADVENTURE KIDS (Rated RC, cut for R18+)
1995: Urotsukidoji 2-Legend of Demon Womb (Rated RC, cut for R18+)
1995: Crying Freeman-The Impersonator/The Russian Connection (Chapters 5 and 6) (Rated RC, cut for R18+)
1997: Violence Jack-Evil Town (Rated RC)
1996: NINJA SCROLL (MA15+ rating raised to R18+)
2001: COOL DEVICES VOLUME 5-8 (Customs Confiscation)
2002: INMU BOX SET (Customs Confiscation)
2002: INMU 2 BOX SET (Customs Confiscation)
2002: NIGHTMARE CAMPUS: a TOTAL NIGHTMARE (Customs Confiscation)
2002: vicious box set (Customs Confiscation)
2003: GIRL NEXT DOOR (pre-cut before OFLC submission)
2003: CAMPUS (pre-cut before OFLC submission
2006: DARLING (Rated RC)
2006: HOOLIGAN (Rated RC)

 

10th March   Endangered Species Regulation

From The Age

Foxtel chief executive Kim Williams yesterday put another item on  Communications Minister Helen Coonan's agenda: internet regulation.

The rapid take-up of broadband has some television executives concerned because it allows consumers to download films or TV shows directly from a web-site, circumventing TV operators altogether. At the same time, there is nothing to stop a broadband provider from bidding for and winning exclusive sports rights.

Telstra's BigPond division launched a movie download service last month and other companies such as ReelTime are following close on its heels.

Williams insisted that broadband was an opportunity, not a threat, but he expressed concerned about the lack of regulation for providers. Broadband has none of the content regulations we have, he told an Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association conference yesterday. There is no regulatory impediment to broadband taking out a whole football code's content exclusively, and in its entirety.

Williams said the internet was the "fastest-expanding force in home entertainment", referring to statistics showing that in the US, those aged 12 to 24 now spend 25% more time on the internet than watching TV.

In Australia, the number of pay TV subscribers grew by 6.3 per cent to 1.69 million last year, while broadband customer numbers surged by more than 80% to 1.67 million.

And yet despite its dramatic growth, to all intents and purposes it is, other than for some censorship issues, unregulated, Williams said. Foxtel is launching its own broadband offering later this year.

 

6th March Australian Jihad Against Freedom

From Info Wars

The latest example of airline security gone insane is provided by rock star and stand-up comedian Henry Rollins, who was recently reported to the Australian government for reading a book on a plane.

US rocker and writer Henry Rollins was reported to the National Security hotline during his recent Australian tour because of a book he was reading on flight to Brisbane. A furious Rollins was informed he was "nominated as a possible threat" for reading Jihad: The Rise Of Militant Islam In Central Asia. The incident happened on a flight from Auckland on the recent Big Day Out tour.

Rollins then received a letter from the Australian government warning him not to read such books in future. His response was to post the letter on his website and tell the Australian government to "go fuck themselves."

 

19th February   50 Cents Worth Nutters

Based on an article from Refused Classification

A censored version of the game 50 Cent: Bulletproof has been passed with an MA15+ (Strong Violence, Strong Coarse Language) rating. It is due for release on April 6th. The fuller version was banned in Australia.

Not content with seeing his game 50 Cent: Bulletproof banned, and censored in Australia, nutter groups are now calling for the man himself to be rated.

From NineMSN

Tonight 50 Cent will perform at the Sydney Superdome to a sold-out crowd including children, sparking calls by the Australian Family Association to apply age restrictions in the same way cinemas restrict viewers of movies with an MA+ rating.

Other family groups are also complaining of the double standard, which allows artists to perform on stage in front of children but keeps them banned from movies with similar subject material.

Sharryn Brownlee from the Parents and Citizens Council warned that trying to prevent young people from attending concerts may actually make them more appealing. She said it was up to parents to decide what music is appropriate for children to listen to.

From News.Com.Au

The Australian Family Association called for live shows and concerts to be classified.
Very young children go into these concerts, they're 10 and up, national secretary Gabrielle Walsh said. I think age limits would help and 18-plus would be good.

 

17th February   Offensive Jetstar Attitude

From the Advertiser

An Australian woman was told to cover up or get off plane. She was told to hide a supposedly offensive tattoo.

She claimed that no one had ever found her tattoo offensive before. It never bothered people at her workplace, in public or even at her daughter's school where Peta Bull sometimes helped out.

She was even wearing a singlet which partially hid her tattoo of a naked man and woman embracing when she boarded a Jetstar flight to Brisbane on 26 Jan. So she was understandably shocked when airline crew told her that she would have to cover up - or get off the plane.

They handed her a jacket and said that there were children on board and that some passengers might be offended by the tattoo. She was told to wear the jacket until she reached the terminal.

It was humiliating, she said. I couldn't see the problem. (Because of the straps of my singlet) nobody could have worked out what the picture was. I was very embarrassed.

The tattoo shows a man sitting behind a woman, who is lying back and propped up on her elbows. He holds one arm across her breasts and another over her private parts.

It's not sexual, she said. Bull tried to call the airline to complain but was told to make a written complaint. She said she has sent a registered letter.

Cameron Murphy, president of the New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties, said it was a censorship issue: I think the operators of Jetstar should be more sensible. It's really an issue of freedom of expression. There's no particular reason why something like that could cause any problem for people.'

A Jetstar spokesman, Simon Westaway, said that the company would look into the issue when it received the letter: Our cabin crew aren't the social police. At the end of the day the comfort of all the passengers needs to be taken into consideration. Our cabin crew clearly felt that they needed to ask her to cover up a little bit.

 

5th February   Victims of Censorship

From the Advertiser

Victim groups are demanding film-makers be banned from producing movies about recent horrific murders.

The Victoria-based Crime Victims Support Association is preparing a submission to the federal and state attorneys general calling for a 20-year ban on movies based on real murders in Australia.

The demand comes as a new film apparently based on one of Australia's most chilling murders is set to be released.

The storyline of Suburban Mayhem closely resembles a notorious 2000 murder case in NSW – which involved the gay-hate killing of Wollongong mayor Frank Arkell – although the film's producers deny it is based on the crime.

Suburban Mayhem follows last year's hit Wolf Creek, which was loosely based on backpacker murderer Ivan Milat and Bradley Murdoch, the killer of British tourist Peter Falconio. Wolf Creek was Australia's most successful film of 2005, earning $16 million at the box office.

Crime Victims Support Association president Noel McNamara confirmed the group was preparing a submission saying films about horrific murders should be embargoed: They are part of history so you cannot stop them but you can call for them to be banned for 20 years, so those involved are not traumatised again.

Queensland's Homicide Victims Support Group manager Neville Coventry said the film industry was profiteering from murder: Essentially what happens is that people become re-traumatised and it's quite frankly offensive. They have a total disregard for those people being continually exposed to images that remind them of the trauma they've encountered.

Coventry said violent films based on real-life crimes should be treated with the same caution as those dealing with child sexual abuse.

 

31st January
Updated
23rd February
  Freedom Vandalised

Based on an article from Refused Classification

The computer game, Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, has been the centre of attraction in Australia.

The game is a broad-based action-adventure inspired by graffiti’s historically rich and diverse culture and is the culmination of seven years of story and character development by Marc Ecko, the visionary behind several of today’s most respected youth lifestyle brands.

Set in the city of New Radius, the game features a world where freedom of expression is suppressed and graffiti has been outlawed by a tyrannical government. In the game, players assume the role of Trane – voiced by hip-hop artist Talib Kweli – as they learn and master various graf skills in a journey from toy to legend. During their quest, players find themselves with an even greater burden – to use their high-wire graffiti talents to expose an oppressive mayor and rid the city of his stranglehold on New Radius.

In the US, Peter Vallone, a member of the New York City Council soon began a fight to have the game banned.

A couple of weeks later news of the game had filtered through to the Local Government Association of Queensland. On August 8th they issued a press release calling for the game to be banned in Australia: The new game, Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, promotes graffiti writing on railway networks and community buildings, train surfing, fighting and other anti-social behaviour. Councils believe an increase in graffiti offences is inevitable if the release of the game goes ahead. New offenders are also likely to emerge.We’re calling on the Atari company to show some social responsibility and withdraw its plans to market this game.

Three days later the Premier of Queensland, Peter Beattie, took up the fight with a statement in Parliament, followed by a media release.

I am today writing to the federal Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, seeking his action to ensure that a new video game is banned in Australia. The game has not yet been released in Australia and I hope it never is. The game Getting Up: Contents under Pressure glorifies high-risk, law-breaking, violent and even deadly behaviour. It flagrantly promotes graffiti, including the highly dangerous tagging of the inside of railway subways and entire rail carriages, and other civil disobedience. It makes heroes of a cast of reckless characters. One of them is described as ‘the notorious Bronx bomber and destroyer’ and another has supposedly taught a fellow tagger to bomb entire subway cars.

It took another three months for the game to be rated. On November 18th 2005 Atari Australia were awarded an MA15+ (Strong Violence, Strong Themes) classification.

Following pressure from the Queensland Government and local councils, the Attorney-General Philip Ruddock eventually asked for the MA15+ rating to be looked at by the Review Board: The request for the review responds to the concerns of local councils and state governments who have written to me in relation to the way in which the game is said to condone and incite the use of graffiti.

The Classification Review Board now will convene on Monday 6 February and Wednesday 8 February 2006 to consider the classification of the computer game.

16th February   Update: Getting Up the Nose of Australian Censors

From Boom Town

The Office of Film & Literature Classification Review Board announced that it has confirmed the ban on Atari’s  Marc Ecko’s Getting Up.

Both the National Classification Code and the Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games state that a computer game will be refused classification if it includes or contains detailed instruction or promotion of matters of crime, Convenor, Maureen Shelley said. It is the Classification Review Board’s determination that this game promotes the crime of graffiti.

Here are the reasons the game has been refused a classification according to the board’s press release.

In the Review Board’s majority opinion, Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure warrants refused classification as it promotes crime. Some factors contributing to this promotion include: The realistic scenarios whereby the central character Trane acquires his knowledge of graffiti tips, techniques and styles – including meeting with five real graffiti artists who pass on details of tips and techniques. The reward for and positive reinforcement of graffiti writing on public buildings and infrastructure, and interactive biographies of 56 real graffiti artists, with details of their personal tags, styles and careers. The game detail states that all these artists began their careers performing illegal graffiti on public buildings and infrastructure and that some continue with this practice today.”

Atari has said it will appeal the decision.

David Wilson from New Zealand's Classification Office says it is still available in this country, as New Zealand can rate games R18. He says they felt the game was likely to be injurious to the public good if it was available to children.

23rd February   Update: Australia Scribbles over Human Rights

From Games Industry.biz

Graffiti artist Marc Ecko has hit back at Australia's entertainment ratings board after PC, PS2 and Xbox title Marc Ecko's Getting Up was refused classification and thereby effectively banned in the country.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Ecko said he was "extremely disappointed" by the decision to revoke the game's original MA 15+ rating, a decision which was based solely on a perceived notion that it will somehow promote the crime of graffiti. To blame gaming for everything that is inherently wrong in our homes, in our schools and on our streets is much easier to do than to actually figure out ways to fix the systemic problems that exist within our culture.

If a kid wants to learn how to write on the wall, he or she will figure it out. They have done it since prehistoric times, in fact... You just have to dig a little deeper and be willing to open your mind to two artistic mediums - gaming and graffiti - you may not fully understand or appreciate.

Atari Australia has also issued a strong statement condemning the ratings board's decision, describing it as a form of censorship which is "tantamount to book burning."

The [ruling] is an ironic instant of life imitating art in that Getting Up takes place in a world where freedom of expression is suppressed by a tyrannical government, the statement reads. Banning any form of artistic expression suppresses creativity and begs the question, 'Where does it end?'

Atari argues that Getting Up "does not condone or encourage any criminal act", but merely provides amusement and escape in a fantasy world where players can vicariously experience different lifestyles.
The look and feel of the game reflect many aspects of [graffiti] culture, including its music, fashion, and language, giving the player the ability to "experience" the graffiti art form in a safe and legal setting. The focus of the game is on expression through art and Atari will vehemently fight its censorship.

 

18th January   Brokeback Nutters

The gay themed cowboy movie was passed 15 uncut in the UK. Brokeback Mountain

Based on an article from Refused Classification

Taking his lead from Christian nutters in the US, Fred Nile intends to do something about Brokeback Mountain. The film was rated M (Moderate Coarse Language, Moderate Sex Scenes, Moderate Violence) on November 8th, and is due to open at the end of this month.

The nutters say that it shouldn't be accessible to audiences under the age of 18.

Gabrielle Walsh from the Australian Family Association says the movie shouldn't be screened to a mass-market audience, and it shouldn't be promoted as a western: They really need to make sure that people under 18 or families don't think it's just your standard western, and go in to see it.

Christian groups led by New South Wales upper house member Fred Nile, from the Christian Democratic Party, say Brokeback Mountain should be released on video for the gay community rather than be released on the big screen. Fred Nile said: I think it's causing a great confusion to have two homosexual cowboys after all the popularity of the cowboy theme in American themes. I'll be making contact with similar pro-family groups to see whether there should be some action taken against it. Yep.

 

16th January   Animated to Censor

From Refused Classification

The dubious honour of being the first title to be banned in 2006 goes to the Japanese animation Darling. Siren Visual Entertainment submitted the DVD, but was awarded an RC rating on January 4th. 

This joins an ever-growing list of Japanese Anime that have fallen foul of the censors since Urotsukidoji-Legend of OVERFIEND was banned back in 1994

 

8th January   Adult Politics

Those good people have at the Eros Association have decided that a way forward for adult entertainment in Australia is to go political. There is talk of the foundation of a political party but in the meantime check out the informational service outlined below.

From www.voting.org.au

Adolph Hitler wore a dark suit and tie, was well groomed and spoke about the importance of family values. He vowed to uphold decency through a return to traditional Germanic values. It didn't sound unreasonable at the time. But beneath this conservative and seemingly respectable veneer, a madman was lurking.

And like all politicians who seek to control the personal lives of the people they represent, one of his first official acts was to censor dissent through a series of spectacular book burnings. Modern art, racially impure texts, anything gay of course, and so-called 'pornography'.

There are plenty of dark-suited and well-groomed politicians in Australia who want to ban 'pornography'. And although they may not light physical fires anymore, they still use the power of the state and the moral authority of their religion to enforce bans on non violent and sexually explicit media. It's a form of control and coercion on otherwise law-abiding citizens that is tantamount to Hitler's thugs setting fire to a collection of books in the 1930s. Pornography is always in the front line of any attack on freedom in the media and on social philosophy.

If you would like to know what the censorship and free speech policies of the major and minor parties are at election times, then log on to voting.org.au

Before every state and federal election, we will email you an update so that you can make an informed vote on these important issues. We will also keep you informed of the progress of any new civil libertarian or free speech parties that are likely to contest further elections.

 

2nd January   Three's a Crowd

From ABC

Legislation outlawing brothels in Tasmania came into effect yesterday.

The controversial Sex Industry Offences Act was passed by the House of Assembly late last year.

Anyone found running a brothel can be fined up to $80,000 and jailed for up to eight years. Clients can also be fined $10,000 and jailed for a year.  There are also fines for people who supply drugs to prostitutes, and for adults who lure children into prostitution.

Brothels may be closing, but up to two sex workers are still allowed to operate from a private home.

The legislation will be reviewed in 2009.

 

2nd January   Censor's Annual Report

Based on an article from The Australian

Sex, violence and a comedy called Bad Santa that details a conman's plot to rob department stores on Christmas Eve sparked hundreds of complaints to the nation's censorship board.

The Office of Film and Literature Classification has revealed that it investigated 669 complaints in 2004-05, compared with 361 in 2003-04.

Nutters didn't like violence in The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie (G), the satirical humour in Team America (MA15+) or the adult-oriented themes of coarse language and sex in Bad Santa.

The classification board refused to classify 19 publications for reasons including offensive fantasy, incest, child pornography, rape, sexual violence and offensive fetishes

Computer games sparked the highest volume of complaints, with 153 submissions urging a new (R18+) classification be introduced to allow games involving more sex, drugs and violence.

Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock also intervened to demand a tougher classification than R18+ for the film Anatomie de l'enfer, which featured actual sex scenes, following a complaint from South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson.

A series of "misleading" reports that Nicole Kidman's movie Birth, rated MA15+, featured her in a sexual relationship with a minor also sparked anger. The movie had Kidman playing the role of a wealthy widow who was planning to remarry before being confronted by a 10-year-old boy claiming to be the reincarnation of her husband.

OFLC director Des Clark said the board remained strongly committed to the principle of protecting children from material likely to disturb or harm them: It is inevitable that some films classified R18+ will be offensive to some sections of the adult community. However, there are appropriate safeguards in place to ensure that children are not exposed to these films. Few complaints were received from consumers who had viewed these films, although a significant number were received from those who apparently had not.

Most of the complaints related to the movie Closer, a tale of adultery starring Julia Roberts and Jude Law and rated MA. Nutters also complained about sex and violence in Bad Santa and about the violence in the children's film The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie.

The Gore Gore Girls movie was refused classification in Australia as a result of excessive and sexualised violence.

There were almost 100 complaints over videos and DVDs for sale or hire, including concerns that the MA15+ classification for Lost in Translation, House of 1000 Corpses and Texas Chainsaw Massacre was too low.

The OFLC also refused classification for the computer games Singles Flirt Up Your Life and Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude because of sexual activity.

The computer game Narc was banned because of drug use related to an incentive or a reward

 

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