Melon Farmers Original Version

Australia Censorship News

2008: Jan-March

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29th March   

Update: Eros Go Nutter...

Shameful attitude over adult games by porn lobby group
Link Here
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

As previously reported, Australia has decided to put the issue of R18+ games out to public consultation.

The consultation was immediately criticised by both the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) and the Eros Foundation, an adult industry lobby group.

Given what happens with R-rated films, we could have no confidence that the classification guidelines would be properly applied, ACL managing director Jim Wallace said in a statement. For example, due to loopholes in the guidelines, real sex is sometimes being shown in R-rated films. What will happen if we have R18+ games, which have even greater impact because of their interactive nature.

A spokesman for Eros shamefully said the foundation backed the ACL stance. We support the Australian Christian Lobby's point of view. Because we believe that there's too much violence out there and there are more pressing issues for the attorneys to consider such as the regulation of the X-rated film industry.

Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus said the consultation process would not deliver a final decision: This is not a consultation on a proposal to introduce an R18+ level for games . It is a public consultation process seeking community views to inform our position."

Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hulls said he wanted censorship laws to strike an appropriate balance between freedom of expression and community concerns. It seems inconsistent that in Australia adults are allowed to view adults only films which have been classified R18+ by the classification board but not computer games with an equivalent high level content.


28th March   

Update: Next Level...

Australia to put R18+ games issue to public consultation
Link Here
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

The issue of whether to create an R18+ classification for video games will now be put to public consultation following a meeting of censorship ministers.

Specific details on how the public will be consulted have yet to be finalised but it is expected a consultation paper will be ready for the next Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) meeting.

The only decision out of today's SCAG meeting was that there would be a public consultation.

Victorian Deputy Premier and Attorney-General Rob Hulls has pushed hard for an adults only classification for games but was greeted with significant opposition from South Australia's Attorney-General, Michael Atkinson, who argued he was protecting children from "harmful material".

In a statement today, Hulls said his department's analysis of research on the issue suggested there were persuasive arguments to support an R18+ classification. He said the latest generation of gaming platforms allowed parents to control their child's access to appropriate gaming material and Australia was out of step with the rest of the developed world on this issue: I believe that censorship laws should strike an appropriate balance between freedom of expression and community concerns about depictions that condone or incite violence, as well as the principle that minors should be protected from material likely to harm or disturb them. It seems inconsistent that in Australia, adults are allowed to view 'adult only' films which have been classified R18+ by the Classification Board, but not computer games with an equivalent high level content.

Ron Curry, CEO of the games industry body, the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia (IEAA), welcomed today's decision to consult the public on the issue: Our belief is that good legislation comes from a reflection of community sentiment, so the process that the attorney-general is outlining gives us the opportunity to move this into the public forum for discussion .


21st March   

Fucking Wowsers...

Wowser Cory Bernardi whinges at Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares
Link Here
Full story: TV Censorship in Australia...Gordon Ramsay stirs trouSwearing and age ratings

Australia's Federal Parliament will be asked to investigate swearing on TV after the strong language in Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares .

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay used the word 'fuck' more than 80 times in an episode shown at 8.30pm last Thursday.

Not so Liberal Cory Bernardi will introduce a motion in the Senate today calling for a study of the effectiveness of the broadcasting code of conduct.

He said it was prompted by Ramsay's use of the word 'cunt' in an episode shown at 9.30pm earlier this month.

This was not a live show, so the station had censorship control. Channel 9 had the opportunity to beep out the word before putting it to air, Senator Bernardi said. The word used is grossly offensive to mainstream Australia. There is no justification for the use of such language in the public arena, particularly by our free-to-air broadcasters. It is concerning that the acceptance of profanity is such that a television station deems it appropriate for such offensive language to be aired, let alone relatively early."

Senator Bernardi said he was not a wowser: I like the show ...BUT... I recoil at the swearing because I think, 'Is this necessary? '

Nine Network chief classification officer Richard Lyle said Ramsay's use of the f-word was indicative of the high-stress environment in restaurant kitchens, and in another context might be bleeped out.

He said this was an example of one arm of Government not talking to the other, as the Office of Film and Literature Classification had rated the episodes M months ago. I was surprised Corey Bernardi wouldn't have checked with the OFLC, which viewed series one and The F-Word (another Ramsay program) and passed both as M with consumer advice of moderate course language.

There were only two or three complaints when it was airing at 9.30pm and a total of 60 since it went to 8.30pm and more people started tuning in."

Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares was the No.1 program of the night last Thursday.


7th March   

Update: Children's Games...

Michael Atkinson is vetoing adult games rating
Link Here
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson was cut off by interruptions in State Parliament while arguing against an R18+ classification for games.

Atkinson is the most vocal opponent to a R18+ classification for games, which cannot be introduced without the agreement of all state and Commonwealth attorneys-general.

During the speech, Atkinson began to describe five games that had been banned in Australia. As he was describing drug use in the game Narc , he was cut off by raucous interjections and returned to his seat.

Atkinson said: I have consistently opposed an R18+ classification for computer games. I am concerned about the harm of high-impact (particularly violent) computer games to children. Games may pose a far greater problem than other media – particularly films – because their interactive nature could exacerbate their impact. The risk of interactivity on players of computer games with highly violent content is increased aggressive behaviour.

I do not want children to be able to get their hands on R18+ games easily. I understand that the lack of an R18+ classification denies some adults the chance to play some games, however, the need to keep potentially harmful material away from children is far more important.

Proponents for the classification say the latest technology allows gaming platforms and computers to be programmed to allow parental locks. Today’s children are far more technologically savvy than their parents. It’s laughable to suggest that they couldn’t find ways around parental locks if R18+ games were in the home.

I have mentioned that, despite there being thousands of computer games available to consumers, only a handful are banned. I want to give some examples of games refused classification in Australia because I’m certain that fair-minded people would not want the kind of content in them to be available to children.

  • Blitz: The League
  • Reservoir Dogs
  • 50 Cent: Bulletproof
  • Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure
  • Narc

I contest any idea that it is necessary for games to include material of this kind and that a game is more interesting to an adult because it contains extreme violence, explicit sexual material, instruction in crime or characters using illicit drugs. I remain firmly opposed to changing the classifications of computer games to allow an R-rating for games with such content.

This is a carefully considered position I have held for six years and other attorneys-general around Australia may now be coming to the same view. There are not adequate safeguards that can properly protect our children from those disturbing scenes and I know how computer-literate they are. Like other parents in Australia, I want to try to protect children from being able to access computer-generated pornography and violence.

I have not been persuaded by arguments for an R18+ classification for computer games and I will continue to oppose it.


5th March   

Do in de Rome...

Australia bans gay erotic film from festival
Link Here

The Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF) has had to cancel a film presentation due to government censorship, following a decision by the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) to deny exemption from classification for the shorts package, The Erotic Films of Peter de Rome.

The MQFF is terribly disappointed not to be able to show Melbourne audiences the Peter de Rome shorts compilation, Festival Director Lisa Daniel said in a statement: It provided a fascinating contrast with contemporary gay erotic cinema, and De Rome’s art-house influence was obvious and inspiring.

A spokesperson from the OFLC told MCV she did not have specific information on why De Rome’s films had been denied exemption.

See full review from Chicago Free Press

The Erotic Films Of Peter De Rome
Directed by Peter De Rome

From 1969 to 1972, amateur filmmaker Peter De Rome crafted eight highly stylized 8mm sex films, mainly for his own amusement, which now remains one of the most highly regarded gay art films of its day.

A few highlights:

  • Hot Pants: A naked black man gyrates to a jazz soundtrack, then masturbates to climax. The camera stays fixed on his bouncing genitals, abstracting them from the whole man, for an effect that is both funny and slightly hypnotic.
  • The Second Coming : A naked man bound Christ-like on a cross is presented in various states of arousal. His hands are restrained and he cannot touch his penis, the “punishment” for his desire.
  • Underground : The most daring film in the collection. Two men on a New York subway car cruise, strip and have sex. DeRome shot this film on an in-service moving train, creating a real fear of discovery that radiates off the men.

Bijou Video released the collection on DVD in 2007.


3rd March   

Update: Pompous Porteous...

Nonsense In, Nonsense Out: Australian bishops rants about video games
Link Here
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney Julian Porteous says desensitisation to violence or sexual imagery does not promote the dignity of the human person and is not in the best interest of society.

While Bishop Porteous believes the causes of violence and crime in society is a very complex problem, the problem should not be compounded by video games that numb our natural repulsion to violence, he told The Catholic Weekly.

In regard to sexually explicit games, it reduces women in particular to mere objects of instant self gratification, Bishop Porteous said: We know from psychological research that exposure to violent video games can desensitise people to real-life violence .


27th February   

Update: Adults Treated Like Children for Some Time Yet...

Australia shows signs of SLOWLY growing up
Link Here
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

Adult classification for games will be raised at the next Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) on March 28th.

But a spokesperson for Michael Atkinson, the South Australian Attorney General, has confirmed that he will maintain his long-running opposition to the proposed system.

The attorney-general remains very firmly opposed to introducing an R rating for computer games in Australia, the spokesperson said.

Minister Atkinson would not consider an 18+ rating even if there were measures to protect children from being exposed to adult content, the spokesperson said: He doubts whether any safeguards could be put in place to deter young people, who after all (are) the most computer literate and savvy in our society, from being able to access material.

F rom CNET News

While various Australian media outlets are reporting today that a change is soon to come, a decision to introduce an R18+ rating down under still looks like it is months to years away from actually happening.

For an R18+ rating to be introduced, all of Australia's State Attorneys-General and the Federal Minister for Home Affairs would have to agree on the change before it can be passed into law. But a spokesperson for the Home Affairs Minister, Bob Debus, said no decision should be expected to come from the March 28 meeting.

According to the Minister's spokesperson, in a 2005 SCAG meeting it was agreed that the Victorian Government would research the issue of an R18+ rating in Australia further. The SCAG meeting on the March 28, 2008 is simply a chance for that research to be tabled, the spokesperson said.

Usually those things move pretty slowly at those meetings. It can take years for things to get through. I would imagine Victoria would just present these materials and the states would go away and have another think about it until the next meeting, the spokesperson said


27th February   

Obscene Decision...

Obscene Machines too adult for Australian TV
Link Here

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) found SBS breached its codes of practice by showing British documentary Obscene Machines in April last year.

The broadcasting regulator, which investigated the program after receiving a complaint from a viewer, found the show was too extreme for its MA15+ classification.

One 2-˝-minute segment features close-up shots of a naked woman apparently being penetrated by a mechanical dildo.

Another segment focuses on an elderly man's use of a life-like sex doll called Emma, modelled on his 18-year-old ex-wife.

ACMA rejected SBS's argument that a large proportion of the program dealt with the sexual activities of the old and disabled and was informational: ACMA considers that the treatment of the subject matter in Obscene Machines is adult in nature and is therefore unsuitable for ordinary 15-year-old audience members, the watchdog said in its report.

SBS said it would not screen the program again.


26th February   

Update: Betting on the Slippery Slope...

800 more URLs adding to Australia's website blocking list
Link Here
Full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship

Without a public fuss, an Australian federal government agency is quietly blacklisting web pages

Australian IT reports that an Australian federal government agency has built a blacklist of illegal online gambling sites that has caught some industry players off guard.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has produced a blacklist of around 800 hundred web pages, not websites, deemed 'unsuitable for public consumption.'

ACMA sends the list to internet service providers and content filtering companies so they can update their list of banned URLs.

About three months ago service providers received a list from ACMA containing illegal gambling pages they should block: We asked ACMA what was going on and were told that these were illegal gambling websites that had been identified by the federal Government as inappropriate .

ACMA clarified that it is normal practice to distribute a single list that included prohibited online gambling pages. However, the anomaly was due to a high number of complaints about illegal online gambling sites in October 2007 that were resolved months later.


26th February   

Not Negative...

Porn use does not lead to negative attitudes to women
Link Here

New research has revealed the majority of Australian pornography consumers are not shady perverts, but religious, monogamous men and increasingly their partners.

The Porn Report , by academics Alan McKee, Kath Albury and Catharine Lumby delves into the Australia's pornography industry and has turned up some interesting results.

The report has found most pornography users do not have disproportionately negative attitudes towards women.

When asked questions like Should women get equal pay for equal work? and Would I mind working for a female boss? regular pornography users did not fare any differently to non-users.

28% of pornography users are Labor voters and 24% for the Coalition, while Greens voters (16%), Democrats (9%) and One Nation (3%) made up the numbers.

The report also found Queenslanders and West Australians consumer more porn per capita than the rest of the country.

Unsurprisingly, younger Australians are more liberal in their views toward porn than their parents while young women and couples are increasingly carving off a section of the adult market.


25th February   

Adult Games...

Australia shows signs of growing up
Link Here
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

Adult rated video games could soon be sold in Australia after the Federal Government said it was considering updating the classification system for games to include an R18+ rating.

Unlike films, magazines and other publications, there is no adult classification for games in Australia, so any titles that do not meet the MA15+ standard are banned from sale by the Classification Board. Any changes to the censorship regime must be agreed to by the Commonwealth and all state and territory attorneys-general.

A spokeswoman for the Minister for Home Affairs, Bob Debus, confirmed the issue of whether or not to allow an R18+ classification for games would be discussed at the next Standing Committee of Attorneys-General meeting on March 28.

The games industry has long argued that the censorship regime is unnecessarily draconian and prevents adults from making their own decisions about the type of content they consume.

Research conducted by Bond University in Queensland for the industry body, the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia (IEAA), found that the average age of Australian gamers is 28 and more than 50% of gamers are over 18. Another survey of 1601 Australian households, conducted by the university in 2005, found 88% of Australians supported an R18+ classification for games.

Bond University associate professor Jeffrey Brand, who wrote the research report, said Australia was the "only developed democracy" that did not have an adult classification for games.

He said the lack of an R18+ rating meant some games deserving of adult classification were being let through by the Classification Board as MA15+, and people who wanted to obtain banned games could easily get them from the internet or overseas.


21st February   

Broadcast Discrimination...

Banning Aborigines from 18 rated pay TV
Link Here
Full story: Discriminatory Porn Ban in Australia...Porn is banned in Aboriginal communities

The Australian Federal Government has taken another step in discriminating against the Northern Territory's Aboriginal communities.

The Government has introduced a bill to amend the Broadcasting Services Act with a view to preventing pay television licensees providing channels containing R-rated programs to areas prescribed under the Commonwealth intervention.

The Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin says it addresses concerns raised by Aboriginal people in the Little Children Are Sacred report about the exposure of children to pornography.

The Minister says there'll be consultation with communities that want R-rated material restricted before action is taken.

The possession, control and supply of pornography is already banned in Aboriginal communities and town camps under the emergency response legislation passed last year.


17th February   

Update: Free Filters Filtered Out...

Low take up so Australia looks to compulsion
Link Here
Full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship

The Rudd Government has branded as a failure the $85 million software filter scheme to protect young Australians from online pornography and will review its future.

Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy is assessing the NetAlert program, which will come under scrutiny at the Senate estimates hearings tomorrow.

The filter scheme was a central feature of the Howard Government's $189 million NetAlert program launched last August to address the perceived threat of online sexual predators and unsavoury content to young internet users. A multimillion dollar advertising blitz followed, including a booklet delivered to every household across the nation.

It was expected 2.5 million households would take up the free porn-blocking filters within 12 months but only 144,088 filter products have been downloaded or ordered on CD-ROM since August last year.

The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has estimated about 29,000 of these accessed filter products were still being used - less than 2% of the set target.

The program has clearly failed, despite over $15 million being spent in advertising to support it, Conroy said: Labor has always said that PC filtering is not a stand-alone solution to protecting children from online dangers. The Government has a comprehensive cyber-safety plan that includes the implementation of mandatory ISP-based filtering to deliver a filtered feed to all homes, schools and public internet points.

Conroy said the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) would examine all aspects of ISP-level filtering, with a laboratory trial completed by the end of June 2008, followed by a pilot test in a real world environment.

Opposition communications spokesman Bruce Billson said the Rudd Government was rushing to criticise the NetAlert program to set the scene for a "harebrained, half-baked policy dreamt up in the lead-up to an election": NetAlert is a program which is relatively new, as is the minister in his role, and I'm sure he would like a little more than six months or so before the public decide if he has been a failure or not.


16th February   

Update: Dark Appeal...

Distributors of Dark Sector consider appealing censor's ban
Link Here
Full story: Banned Games in Australia...Games and the Australian Censorship Board

A statement issued by D3Publisher has confirmed the Australian ban on the Dark Sector video game. It also said that the game's distributor may appeal the cemsor's ruling.

AFA Interactive, the publisher's exclusive distributor in Australia, is considering an appeal on the decision and will not rule out the eventual launch of the title with the censor's approval.


15th February   

Dark Days...

Australia's censorship board bans Dark Sector
Link Here
Full story: Banned Games in Australia...Games and the Australian Censorship Board

IGN Australia has just been informed that Dark Sector , the third-person action game from Digital Extremes, has been banned by Australia's censorship board.

In the game, players assume the role of Hayden Tenno, an elite black-ops agent who has been infected by a brutal bio-weapon virus, giving him explosive combat capabilities.

In its report, the Board describe Dark Sector as a violent and sometimes gruesome game with a sinister storyline and ominous outcome. The violence and aggression inflicted upon the protagonist is of a high level, naturalistic and not stylised at all.

The game contains violence that is high in impact and the game is therefore unsuitable for persons aged under 18 years to play.

In the unanimous view of the Board, the impact of the game exceeds strong and as such cannot be accommodated in a MAI5+ classification.


11th February   

Sir Ban-a-lot...

Australia censor bans Xcalibur
Link Here

Pierre Woodman's hardcore version of the Arthurian legend Xcalibur: The Lords of Sex has just been banned in Australia. This is curious as back in October it was originally passed with an X18+ (Explicit Sex) rating.

Hardcore films that attempt to tell a story are often going to have problems with out censors. In this case there are numerous sword fights which would not have fitted in well with the X18+ category where violence is forbidden.

Perhaps as an addendum to the Refused Classification comment about violent background story lines, it is interesting to note that the hardcore version is not available in the UK either. The softcore version was passed 18 though.

After the BBFC massively cut the award winning hardcore film Pirates , then presumably nobody has considered submitting this film, also with a violent background story.

One can only conclude that the hardcore version of Xcalibur is also effectively banned in the UK too.


5th February   

Slaves to Repression...

Slaves to Passion banned in Australia
Link Here

Siren Visual Entertainment have just had another hentai DVD banned by the Classification Board.

Slaves To Passion was Refused Classification on January 24th.

Update: A Passion for Censorship

24th February 2008

Slaves To Passion was passed R18+ after cuts


27th January   

Update: Unauthorised Best Seller...

Tom Cruise book is selling well to Australia
Link Here

An underground market for the new unauthorised Tom Cruise biography has sprung up on auction site eBay, with Australian buyers willing to pay a significant premium for the book.

There were dozens of auctions for Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography - many offering multiple copies - and bidders willing to pay up to $61.50. The book is available on for about $30, including shipping.

The book is now number one on the Amazon best-seller list.

It will not be printed in Australia and US distributors have now said they will no longer export the book, by British author Andrew Morton, outside the US and Canada.

But eBay sellers are getting around the ban on the book by having partners make bulk retail purchases in the US.

We've got two shipments coming, the first is 150 books," said a man selling the books on ebay, Wojtek: We're buying multiples of 100 at a time. The demand is quite substantial, we need to get in as many as we can as quick as possible.


20th January   

Historical and Religious Nonsense...

Bishop whinges at Corpus Christi play
Link Here

Australian nutters have condemned a play shortly to open in Sydney depicting Jesus as a gay man who is seduced by Judas. The play also features Jesus conducting a gay marriage between two apostles.

The play, named Corpus Christi , is due to open next month as part of the city's annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

A senior Sydney churchman called the play historical nonsense. It is deliberately, not innocently, offensive and they're obviously having a laugh about it, Robert Forsyth, Anglican bishop of South Sydney, was quoted saying.

The play's director Leigh Rowney, who claims to be a Christian, accepted the play would offend some Christians but said he was keen to provoke debate about Christianity.

Playwright Terrence McNally, who is gay, received death threats when the work was performed in the United States, the Sun-Herald reported.


20th January   

Update: Unreasonable Australians...

Court bid fails to get hardcore passed as R18+
Link Here

The recently concluded case between retailer and the Classification Review Board (CRB) was a benchmark case. argued that the CRB had erred in classifying one of its films, Viva Erotica , by giving it an X18+ classification (sexually explicit nonviolent erotica).

Under Australia's national classification code a film can only be given an X18+ classification if it is likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult. argued that the times had been changing since the code was written in the early '80s and backed its case by producing a reliable ACNielsen community survey (conducted in September 2006) that showed that 70% of Australians were not offended by films containing explicit sex and that 76% actually thought that X18+ films should be legally available to adults throughout Australia. At present all states make the sale of this product illegal.

It maintained that this majority of Australians represented the reasonable adult at law and in representing the reasonable adult, the CRB had not only failed to produce any research of its own to refute this claim but had manifestly failed to apply community standards to its decision, which it is required to do under the federal Classification Act 1995. Indeed, the CRB was forced to admit that the Office of Film and Literature Classification had not conducted any relevant research at all into community attitudes about X18+ films.

In rejecting the evidence of three independent experts that had called to support its view that Viva Erotica was not offensive to the reasonable adult, the CRB said that it would not accept any expert witness testimony if it contradicted the classification guidelines. No matter how learned they be or how many are involved in a survey, we will not delegate our responsibility to make a decision on community standards to others.

The CRB was also critical of the ACNielsen community survey because it said the respondents were not shown the film about which they were being questioned. For a start the film would probably be illegal to show to those respondents in the states, and at 98 minutes would clearly have made a standard poll impossible.

The poor intellectual grasp of the issues by the CRB did not stop there. It also criticised the surveys put forward by, saying there was no evidence that those being surveyed had ever watched a sexually explicit film and that this could cloud their judgment.

Unbelievably, Federal Court judge Peter Jacobson agreed with the CRB and said that a large majority community opinion did not necessarily equate to the reasonable adult in the classification code. Well, what does then? The views of seven handpicked Howard appointees? Hardly. And despite the assertions of the CRB, the classification guidelines for films conveniently exclude a definition of the reasonable adult.

The judge's decision was full of Grundyisms. He seemed obsessed with the demarcation line between R18+ and X18+, repeating that X was only for the real thing. He ought to broaden his viewing habits by going to the local video shop and hiring a copy of the R-rated movie Nine Songs . He'll see a half-dozen very real sexual acts in that, which should really confuse him.

This court case has, for the first time, shed light on how the offensiveness test is applied to sexually explicit material in Australia. In the past, it has always been assumed that a majority needed to be offended. What the court has confirmed is in fact the opposite: that a minority will suffice.

This means that any film containing sexually explicit scenes should be classified X18+ because there will always be a minority of reasonable Australians who will be offended by such material.


15th January   

Tom Schtum...

Church of Scientology threaten Tom Cruise biography
Link Here

Leading Australian book retailers have bowed to pressure from the Church of Scientology and will not stock a biography on Tom Cruise by British writer Andrew Morton. Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography , due out in the US on Tuesday, is seen by the group, which has Cruise as one of its most high-profile and loyal members, as an attack on its teachings.

Morton alleges Scientologists threatened to blackmail Nicole Kidman if she spoke out against the church after her failed 10-year marriage to Cruise. The church has threatened legal action against Morton in the US, describing the book filled with lies.

Australian book retailer Dymocks says it will not sell the biograph: We take all accusations of defamation very seriously and, as a result, we won’t be stocking the book ,a spokeswoman said.

Angus & Robertson spokeswoman Kate Jones said: There are certain legal issues that have occurred overseas and with all of the risks involved we will not be stocking it .

As a consequence Pan Macmillan will not now print an Australian edition of the book Tom Cruise, An Unauthorised Biography in Australia due to legal concerns, a move that has been labelled an act of censorship.

The book won't even be published in the UK. Andrew Morton faces a hefty penalty for claims the actor is second-in-command of the Church of Scientology and comments about the conception of his young daughter, Suri. Cruise is said to vehemently deny the claims and has enlisted lawyers to sue St Martin's Press, publishers of Tom Cruise: An Unauthorised Biography.

The book will not be published in Australia and the UK, but goes on sale in the US on January 15.


14th January

 Offsite: Unfiltered Derision...

Link Here
Widespread derision for Australia's internet filtering idea



13th January   

Censors Gone Wild...

Australian censor bans Girls Gone Wild title
Link Here

The Australian censor has banned the US softcore DVD, Girls gone Wild: Spring Break Sex Riot

The uncut DVD is available at US Amazon .

If it makes the censored Australians feel any better the film was also cut in the UK. 5s were removed to avoid a a hardcore R18 rating.

Update: Passed with Cuts

20th January 2008

Passed R18+ when resubmitted with cuts


6th January   

Hard Issues...

Lobbying the new government to ease up on porn
Link Here

The Australian adult industry will push the new Federal Labor Government to allow legally classified X-rated DVDs to be sold or rented in Victorian sex shops.

The industry lobby wants federal laws that allow for the sale of classified X-rated DVDs to replace Victorian and other state governments' "untenable" laws, which ban them from retail sale.

X-rated material legally classified by the Federal Government can be sold in the Australian Capital Territory (around Canberra) and the Northern Territory but state laws ban it from retail sale in Victoria.

Victorians and buyers in other states can legally own pornography and usually obtain it by mail from Canberra. But this has led to many of the state's adult shops and other venues importing illegal, non-censored or classified X-rated DVDs from overseas.

The legal anomaly has also opened a pirate trade in weekend markets and petrol stations for imported, non-classified DVDs that the adult industry claims contain banned content such as violent sexual scenes.

Fiona Patten, a spokeswoman for the Eros Foundation, an adult industry lobby group, has called on Federal Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus, who is in charge of classifications, to raise the state laws issue at the March meeting of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG).

Patten also called on the Victorian Government to bring their censorship laws into line with federal classification laws.

Victoria's Attorney-General, Rob Hulls, said many issues would be discussed at the meeting of SCAG in March, but I would be surprised if this issue was high on the agenda.


6th January   

Update: Unfiltered Doubts...

Criticism for Australia's internet filtering plans
Link Here

The Australian Government plans to protect unwary children by blocking violence and pornography on the internet.

Yet this simple sounding initiative - barely discussed during the election - is riddled with technical, financial, moral and social complexities.

The Government's plan, overseen by Telecommunications Minister Stephen Conroy, would require internet service providers (ISPs) to block undesirable sites on computers accessed by Australians.

A seething Dr Roger Clarke, chair of the Australian Privacy Foundation, bluntly described the proposal as "stupid and inappropriate".

He said not only was it unworkable, but it was a sinister blow to an individual's rights to use the internet without censorship: Not only will it not work, it is quite dangerous to let the Government censor the net and take control out of the hands of parents . It is an inappropriate thing for them to be doing. Mr Conroy is like a schoolmaster playing god with the Australian population, all because of the dominance of a moral minority.

One problem for the Government is that blocking child porn may unintentionally block acceptable sites. Another problem, according to civil libertarians, is that policing the net should be left to parents - not a big brother-style bureaucracy.

And, if it is disingenuous to compare Labor's policy to China's malevolent control over web access to its citizens, it is equally disingenuous of Rudd's Government to claim the issue simply relates to child pornography. There are genuine concerns that the Government - backed by morals groups like Family First - will in time extend the powers outside of their intended target area.

Also of concern is that, under the Government's plan, users would be permitted to "opt out" of the scheme - and might therefore find themselves listed as possible deviants.

On a practical level, ISPs fear the mass blocking of sites could slow internet speeds and cost millions of dollars to implement. The ability for download speeds to be maintained would depend on the exact number of sites blocked - it is suspected around 2000 sites could cause problems. ISPs fear a system based on key indicator words could rapidly clog the system.

A user typing in the address would be sent to an error page or possibly - as in Scandinavia - redirected to a police page.

Crucially, the Government has not explained how such a system would be paid for or who would monitor it or how such a system would work.

So far the industry, although eager not to be seen to be dragging their feet on child pornography, has been noticeably reticent in their response to Labor's plans.

Internet Industry Association spokesman Peter Coroneos was keen to emphasise the work already being done by service providers in supplying free filters.

They are likely to clarify their position after ACMA runs simulated tests on a filtered network later this year. We obviously want to know if this will have an impact on network performance, Coroneos said At the moment we don't know what the extent of it will be, what it will cost, and whether it will set a precedent for other changes. We just don't know if it is feasible.

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