Melon Farmers Original Version

Australia Censorship News

2009: Jan-March

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31st March   

Mass Kiss-Off Protest...

Lesbian kiss censored from Australian soap after nutter pressure
Link Here

Protesters are planning to pucker up in a mass 'kiss-off' at Melbourne's Federation Square tonight to rally against Channel Seven's decision to censor a lesbian kiss on teen soap Home and Away .

Hundreds of people are expected to gather as the soap airs at 7pm to demonstrate against the move by the station to reportedly cut scenes from a lesbian storyline.

Policewoman Charlie Buckton, played by actor Esther Anderson, and deckhand Joey Collins, played by Katie Bell, were due to kiss on tonight's episode.

But according to News Limited reports, some intimate close-up shots were cut following complaints from nutter groups and viewers.

A Melbourne lawyer said word of tonight's gathering for straight and gay people was spreading through text messages and emails. She said she believed a minority of conservative voices were being given an undue level of influence over what was being screened: In this case the conservative minority has been able to sway public opinion to the detriment of the majorit y.


28th March   

Update: Challenging Art...

Art Monthly Australia reprises Bill Henson pictures controversy
Link Here

Art Monthly Australia , the magazine criticised by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd last year for carrying a photo of a nude schoolgirl on its cover, has published more naked images to test the Government's guidelines aimed at protecting children.

But editor Maurice O'Riordan said the three pictures of nude girls had been found to comply with the Australia Council's children in art protocols, even though they were starker than last year's image.

The protocols demand that naked images of children be considered by the Classification Board to ensure they are not obscene. Anyone who photographs children needs parental permission before the pictures can be exhibited and must declare the photographs did not involve exploitation of the subject.

The full-frontal photographs - taken from an American book and exhibition, The Century Project , by Frank Cordelle - are used to illustrate a review of David Marr's book, The Henson Case , about last year's controversy over a Sydney exhibition by photographer Bill Henson that included images of pubescent girls.

Both the Henson photographs and the image used by Art Monthly Australia last year - a photograph by Polixeni Papapetrou of her six-year-old daughter, Olympia - were given an unrestricted rating by the classification board.

O'Riordan described Papapetrou's photograph as more demure because of the lighting than Cordelle's images in the latest edition, which he said were more suited to a documentary: It was important for us to test the protocols because we are funded by the Australia Council. He had not considered putting Cordelle's photographs on the cover because he said even the arts community appeared divided over the use of Papapetrou's image.


27th March   

Update: Yes Minister!...

Australians have a good laugh at minister's risible attempts to justify internet censorship
Link Here
Full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship

The Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, has admitted that Bill Henson images were added to the communications regulator's list of prohibited websites in error, while blaming the addition of a dentist's site to the blacklist on hacking by the Russian mob.

The admission by Senator Conroy on ABC television's Q&A program last night casts significant doubt on the Government's ability to filter the internet without inadvertently blocking legitimate websites.

Q&A was inundated with 2000 questions from the public about the Government's hugely unpopular policy, and the audience last night ridiculed Senator Conroy by laughing at a number of his responses.

Senator Conroy, under siege after this website's report yesterday afternoon that an innocuous link containing Henson's artistic photographs of young boys had been added to the blacklist, said the classification board looked at this website and actually said it's PG.

A technical error inside ACMA I'm advised included it ... but it was actually cleared by the Classification Board so it shouldn't be on the list, Senator Conroy said: I've asked ACMA in the last few hours to go through their entire list again to see if there are any other examples of this.

But the presence of innocuous sites on the blacklist, such as that of a Queensland dentist, a school canteen consultancy and an animal carer, and euthanasia sites, abortion sites, fetish sites, gambling sites, regular porn sites and a site containing harmless Henson photographs, were only revealed after the list was leaked by the Wikileaks website this month.

The Opposition's communications spokesman, Nick Minchin, said: This error only came to light because content from the secret blacklist had been publicly leaked. Under Senator Conroy's regime how many similar errors will result in the wrongful filtering of legal sites and content?

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam said: If the whole net censorship debate has done one good thing, it's shown us just how flawed the existing system is, let alone the Minister's proposed radical expansion of it.

The Minister continued to claim last night that his proposed censorship regime was sound because it targeted only "refused classification" content, however, the RC classification includes sites that are perfectly legal to view, such as regular porn sites and fetish sites.


27th March   

Update: Sheepifying Australia...

Australian film censor's website hacked
Link Here
Full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship

The website of the Australian Film Classification Board has been hacked.

The front page was defaced to reads

Welcome to the Classification Website

This site contains information about the boards that have the right to CONTROL YOUR FREEDOMZ. The Classification Board has the right to not just classify content (the name is an ELABORATE TRICK), but also the right to DECIDE WHAT IS AND ISNT APPROPRIATE and BAN CONTENT FROM THE PUBLIC. We are part of an ELABORATE DECEPTION from CHINA to CONTROL AND SHEEPIFY the NATION, to PROTECT THE CHILDREN. All opposers must HATE CHILDREN, and therefore must be KILLED WITH A LARGE MELONS during the PROSECUTION PARTIES IN SEPTEMBER. Come join our ALIEN SPACE PARTY.


26th March   

Update: Australia Embarrassed...

The ACMA internet block list found to be rubbish
Link Here
Full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship

Not only is the list published by whistleblower website Wikileaks over the weekend definitely the ACMA blacklist of banned internet content, it's also rubbish , according to an industry source.

Senator Stephen Conroy finally admitted that the Wikileaked material seemed to be close to ACMA's current blacklist of banned internet content.

ACMA's blacklist is compiled from complaints received from the public. Manufacturers of internet filters pay $15,000 for the list, which must be included in their products to be eligible to participate in the government's current field tests of ISP-level internet filtering.

Our contact in the internet filtering industry is highly critical of the ACMA blacklist's quality. I've had a look at the list and it's rubbish, they told Crikey this morning: I wouldn't pay $100 for it, let alone $15,000. That list would make my filtering look really bad.

The leaked ACMA blacklist dated 18 March 2009 contains 1168 URLs, of which roughly half relate to child-abuse material. The rest is material Refused Classification (RC) for other reasons, or adult hardcore rayed X18+ or is rated MA15+ or higher without an age-verification mechanism in place. Or potentially so on the secret say-so of an unaccountable ACMA staffer.

Our source says around two-thirds of the URLs in the ACMA blacklist don't go anywhere or are otherwise out of date. By comparison, their own company's list contains around quarter of a million URLs covering child-related activity alone, checked every three months to remove out of date or inactive entries.


21st March   

Update: Proof of Censorship Creep...

The real ACMA block list posted on Wikileaks?
Link Here
Full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship

WikiLeaks has released a copy of what is alleged to be the current ACMA blacklist. This list is dated March 18 and includes 1170 URLs, including the now high-profile AbortionTV page and the Wikileaks page containing the Danish blacklist.

URLs belonging to Betfair, The Peaceful Pill Handbook, Redtube, AbbyWinters, IShotMyself, TheHun and xTube are present on the list.

Update: For Sure Real

24th March 2009. From

Evidence is mounting that the list of websites published by Wikileaks is almost certainly ACMA's "secret" blacklist.


20th March   

Update: Grossly Irresponsible...

Conroy blames the leakers over his own failure to keep the block list limited to sites with community wide consensus
Link Here
Full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship

The publication of a leaked list of prohibited URLs which are allegedly part of the Australian Media and Communications Authority's secret list of 2,395 banned websites, has been slammed by Communications minister Senator Stephen Conroy as grossly irresponsible.

The list which was leaked this week by global whistle-blower site Wikileaks claims to be derived from ACMA's censorship list. The Australian government plans to use this list as a basis for its mandatory ISP filtering scheme and under the ACMA guidelines linking sites contained to the list can attract fines of up to $11,000 a day.

The list leak, which includes Telstra's Yellow Pages and YouTube as offending sites, is a further blow to the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy's plans to block ISP content. Conroy denied the authenticity of the list .

The leak and publication of prohibited URLs is grossly irresponsible. It undermines efforts to improve cyber-safety and create a safe online environment for children. No-one interested in cyber-safety would condone the leaking of these addresses. I am aware of reports that a list of URLs has been placed on a web site. This is not the ACMA blacklist, Conroy said.

He admitted however that there are some common URLs to those on the ACMA blacklist. ACMA is currently investigating the incident and considering a range of possible actions it may take including referral to the Australian Federal Police. Conroy warned in a statement that any Australian involved in making this content publicly available would be at serious risk of criminal prosecution.

Hands off Wikileak's Sources

Based on article from

Wikileaks has upped the ante in its skirmish with the Australia Government, warning that any attempts to find the source of the leaked censorship list would cause an international incident, and could see Australian Minister for censorship Stephen Conroy indicted on criminal charges in Sweden.

Wikileaks issued a press release:

The Stockholm based publisher of Wikileaks today issued a warning to the Australian Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Steven Conroy, who is responsible for Australian internet censorship.

Senator Conroy issued an official media release yesterday in response to Wikileaks' release of last year's confidential Australian internet censorship blacklist. The Senator said that his department, is investigating this matter and is considering a range of possible actions it may take including referral to the Australian Federal Police. Any Australian involved in making this content publicly available would be at serious risk of criminal prosecution.

The Senator is perhaps unaware of the legal and diplomatic risks associated with the statement.

Sunshine Press Legal Adviser Jay Lim stated: Under the Swedish Constitution's Press Freedom Act, the right of a confidential press source to anonymity is protected, and criminal penalties apply to anyone acting to breach that right.

Wikileaks source documents are received in Sweden and published from Sweden so as to derive maximum benefit from this legal protection. Should the Senator or anyone else attempt to discover our source we will refer the matter to the Constitutional Police for prosecution, and, if necessary, ask that the Senator and anyone else involved be extradited to face justice for breaching fundamental rights.

ACMA admit to blocks on consensual adult hardcore


They explained that they have the remit to irresponsibly add adult hardcore and betting sites etc to the censorship list.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority is aware that a list purporting to be the ‘ACMA blacklist' has been posted on an overseas website. ACMA does not consider that the release and promotion of URLs relating to illegal and highly offensive material is responsible.

The regulatory scheme for online content that has been administered by ACMA since 2000. ACMA's role is to investigate complaints and take such actions as prescribed by the legislation on materials assessed to be prohibited or potentially prohibited content.

The ACMA blacklist has at no stage been 2300 URLs in length and at August 2008 consisted of 1061 URLs. It is therefore completely inaccurate to say that the list of 2300 URLs constitutes an ACMA blacklist.

ACMA considers that any publication of the ACMA blacklist would have a substantial adverse effect on the effective administration of the regulatory scheme which aims to prevent access to harmful and offensive online material. Such publication would undermine the public interest outcomes which the current legislation aims to achieve.

The following categories of online content are the categories that are prohibited:

  • Online content that is classified RC or X 18+. This includes real depictions of actual sexual activity, child pornography, depictions of bestiality, material containing excessive violence or sexual violence, detailed instruction in crime, violence or drug use, and/or material that advocates the doing of a terrorist act.
  • Content which is classified R 18+ and not subject to a restricted access system. This includes depictions of simulated sexual activity, material containing strong, realistic violence and other material dealing with intense adult themes.
  • Content which is classified MA 15+, provided by a mobile premium service or a service that provides audio or video content upon payment of a fee, and not subject to a restricted access system. This includes material containing strong depictions of nudity, implied sexual activity, drug use or violence, very frequent or very strong coarse language, and other material that is strong in impact.

ACMA's current list of approximately 1100 URLs relating to prohibited content and potential prohibited content hosted outside Australia includes material in the following categories:

  • depictions of child sexual abuse
  • depictions of bestiality
  • material containing excessive violence or sexual violence
  • material containing detailed instruction in crime, violence or drug use
  • real depictions of actual sexual activity
  • depictions of simulated sexual activity which are not subject to a restricted access system.

Schedule 7 to the BSA also requires ACMA to investigate complaints about ‘links services' which are hosted in Australia and which lead to prohibited content. If as a result of investigating such a complaint ACMA determines that a link relates to potential prohibited content, ACMA is required to direct the provider of the links service to remove the link, pending classification of the content concerned by the Classification Board.

The Interactive Gambling Act 2001 makes it an offence to provide, or advertise, certain interactive gambling services.

Prohibited internet gambling content is content that can be accessed, or is available for access, by customers of a prohibited internet gambling service.

A prohibited internet gambling service is a gambling service provided in the course of carrying on a business to customers using an internet carriage service, and an individual physically present in Australia is capable of becoming a customer of the service.

If ACMA receives a complaint about prohibited internet gambling content that is hosted in Australia, ACMA will refer the matter to the Australian Federal Police.

If prohibited internet gambling content is hosted outside Australia, ACMA will notify the content to makers of the approved Family Friendly Filters listed in Schedule 1 to the Interactive Gambling Act Industry code.

Google Illegal in Australia

Based on article from

Recent action by the Australian Government may see Google and many other popular websites banned in Australia under existing censorship laws.

Under the Communications Legislation Amendment (Content Services) Act 2007 sites that link to content that is Refused Classification (RC) are considered themselves to be RC, and if hosted in Australia, site owners can be ordered to remove the link(s), or fined AU$11,000 a day.

If I was linking to XYZ blog, and XYZ blog was linking to ABC blog who had linked to the leaked ACMA list, all the pages in the chain are illegal, because each one links to prohibited content. Any site linking to me then becomes illegal, and so on.

And Google links to them all!


19th March   

Update: Trust in the Censor Evaporates...

Australian list of blocked internet sites leaked
Link Here
Full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship

The Australian government secret ACMA internet censorship blacklist from 6 Aug 2008 has been leaked to

This list contains 2395 webpages or site variations derived from the those secretly banned by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and used by a government approved censorship software maker in its "ACMA only" censorship mode. The last update to the ACMA list is August 6, 2008.

While Wikileaks is used to exposing secret government censorship in developing countries, we now find Australia acting like a democratic backwater. Apparently without irony, ACMA threatens fines of up to $11,000 a day for linking to sites on its secret, unreviewable, censorship blacklist -- a list the government hopes to expand into a giant national censorship machine.

This week saw Australia joining China and the United Arab Emirates as the only countries censoring Wikileaks. We were not notified by ACMA.

Most of the sites on the Australian list have no obvious connection to child pornography. Some have changed owners while others were clearly always about other subjects.

One of Australia's largest owned and operated adult websites,, is included on the ACMA blacklist of prohibited websites. Also banned is the, one of the web's longest running and most visited free adult link directories.

AbbyWinters, which is owned by Victorian company GMBill, complies with 18 U.S.C. 2257 Record-Keeping Requirements, meaning all models are over 18 years of age. Most of the material on the site would be rated no higher than X18+, which is legal to purchase and view in Australia.

Gambling sites such as are also included in the block list.


11th March   

Whipping Up Controversy...

Australia's TV censor investigates corporal punishment video on radio website
Link Here

Australia's TV censor, ACMA, is pursuing a formal complaint against radio station 6PR for publishing a video of a brutal corporal punishment caning which took place in Malaysia approximately four years ago.

The 6PR website warns readers with two warning messages before they watch the corporal punishment footage.

ABC's MediaWatch host Jonathan Holmes says: This is on a general-use website. And there's nothing to stop a child intrigued by the warning clicking through to this.

The caning video was posted as background to a debate on whether Western Australia should introduce caning


4th March   

Update: Police Censors...

South Sydney suburban sex shop raided by police
Link Here
Full story: Sex Shop Raids in Australia...Police raid sex shops looking for porn

Miranda police raided a Caringbah sex shop on Tuesday and confiscated more than 3900 DVDs, 3200 DVD cases and a large number of VHS cassettes.

The shop had advertised free adult movies on a community trading website.

Police said no-one had been charged and that the material would be reviewed by the Office of Film and Literature Classification.


3rd March   

Updated: Combination of Factors...

Race riots film pulled after fights break out at cinemas
Link Here

A film set during the race riots that hit Australia four years ago has been pulled from cinemas in Sydney after fights broke out during screenings.

The Combination centres on tensions between gangs of Australian Lebanese and white youths in Sydney's western suburbs in 2005.

It was pulled by one of Australia's cinema chains, Greater Union, after violence flared outside two cinemas. Greater Union said it had cancelled screenings of the film in all four of its Sydney cinemas after violent incidents in its suburban Parramatta cinema on Thursday and Saturday nights.

Maintaining the safety and security of our staff and patrons is our main concern and priority, Greater Union general manager Robert Flynn said in a statement.

The Australian Film Syndicate (AFS) managing director Allanah Zitserman said Greater Union's decision to pull the critically-acclaimed film was devastating for everyone involved, especially for the audiences: Although we do not support the decision by Greater Union to pull the film from its NSW sites we respect and understand their position.

The Combination, directed by David Field, is set in late 2005, when ugly race riots between white and Lebanese Australians flared at the city's Cronulla Beach.

The film can still be seen at other cinema chains in New South Wales state, as well as cinemas in other Australian cities.

Update: Resuming

3rd March 2009. See article from

The screening will now resume on Wednesday with extra security provided by the film's distributor.


27th February   

Update: Opposition Strengthens...

Numbers not adding up for Conroy's internet censorship
Link Here
Full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship

  Unwanted by 79% of
surveyed Australians

The Australian Government's plan to introduce mandatory internet censorship has effectively been scuttled, following an independent senator's decision to join the Greens and Opposition in blocking any legislation required to get the scheme started.

The Opposition's communications spokesman Nick Minchin has this week obtained independent legal advice saying that if the Government is to pursue a mandatory filtering regime legislation of some sort will almost certainly be required.

Senator Nick Xenophon previously indicated he may support a filter that blocks online gambling websites but in a phone interview he withdrew all support, saying the more evidence that's come out, the more questions there are on this.

The Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, has consistently ignored advice from a host of technical experts saying the filters would slow the internet, block legitimate sites, be easily bypassed and fall short of capturing all of the nasty content available online.

Despite this, he is pushing ahead with trials of the scheme using six ISPs - Primus, Tech 2U, Webshield, OMNIconnect, Netforce and Highway 1. But even the trials have been heavily discredited, with experts saying the lack of involvement from the three largest ISPs, Telstra, Optus and iiNet, means the trials will not provide much useful data on the effects of internet filtering in the real-world.

Senator Conroy originally pitched the filters as a way to block child porn but - as ISPs, technical experts and many web users feared - the targets have been broadened significantly since then. ACMA's secret blacklist, which will form the basis of the mandatory censorship regime, contains 1370 sites, only 674 of which relate to depictions of children under 18. A significant portion - 506 sites - would be classified R18+ and X18+, which is legal to view but would be blocked for everyone under the proposal.


22nd February   

Inglourious Nutters...

Australian nutters support the hype for Tarantino's latest
Link Here

A new movie said to be more gruesome and gory than Reservoir Dogs and Kill Bill should be banned from Australian cinemas, according to nutters

Inglourious Basterds , the latest Quentin Tarantino film, stars Brad Pitt as a Nazi-killing commander.

In World War II, Pitt leads a group of Jewish soldiers on a massacre, dismembering, disfiguring and torturing Nazis.

Speaking over a sinister rock soundtrack, Pitt says: We will be cruel to the German. And through our cruelty they will know who we are. Each man under my command owes me 100 Nazi scalps. And I want my scalps.

A nutter group has called for the film, which has been described as extremely brutal, to be banned. They claim Tarantino has increased the shock value to keep audiences interested, but this time he has gone too far.

Bill Muehlenberg, from the Family Council of Victoria, said Pitt would attract a young and influential audience and he recommended parents beware: He is a role model for many young people, so the more gory and bloody and violent it gets, the worse the example. We have a classification board that allows filmmakers to get away with murder.

Jewish groups were also uneasy about the level of bloodshed, saying it did not reflect reality and was not a true story. However, it could split the community, according to Rabbi Sholom Kluwgant, who said some might applaud its revengeful message.


20th February   

Update: Consistency Theft...

Australian censors lost and damned
Link Here

In 2008, Grand Theft Auto IV on console was released in Australia in a censored form. No blood pools, no sexy camera angles. In 2009, though? All is forgiven, all censorship, removed.

The original Australian version of GTAIV on console was censored. Blood was kept to a minimum, and you couldn't enjoy the same kind of intimate viewing experience with ladies of the night as you could elsewhere.

But when the PC version rolled around later in the year, it passed without incident. It did include blood pools, and it also included the full range of sex-related camera angles, despite being the same game intended for the same audience.

Newly-released expansion Lost & Damned is no different. It's been given an MA15+ rating and will have all the blood and sex that was deemed unacceptable less than a year ago in the same country.

Leaving us with this absurd situation: If you boot up your 360 copy of GTAIV and play GTAIV , it's censored. But if you boot up your 360 copy of GTAIV and play L&D , you'll get the full, uncensored experience.


19th February   

The Soft Underbelly of Censorship...

Nutters whinge at TV programme Underbelly: A Tale Of Two Cities
Link Here

Bare breasts and raunchy sex scenes have sparked fierce debate following the second outing of the Underbelly prequel.

Nutters have expressed concern over this week's episode of Underbelly: A Tale Of Two Cities , which featured raunchy sex scenes between heroin kingpin and his drug-running mistress.

The Australian Family Association said the show was pornography and inappropriate for its 8.30pm timeslot.

The laws governing censorship need to be reviewed because teenagers are still up at this time, AFA spokesnutter Joe Lopez said: There's no excuse at anytime to show excessive pornography or violence like they do in Underbelly.


8th February   

Update: Still an Idiot...

Jeremy Clarkson explains his apology
Link Here
Full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

  At least he didn't call me fat!

Jeremy Clarkson watered down his apology yesterday for calling Prime Minister Gordon Brown a one-eyed Scottish idiot – saying he was not sorry for the idiot bit.

Speaking to The Sun, in which he writes a weekly column, he said: I very specifically apologised for making fun of his personal appearance – very specifically.

I have nothing against the Scottish and of course I regret making any remark that might have upset the disabled. But the idiot bit – there is no chance I'll apologise for that.

The BBC said it would be taking no further action against Clarkson.


8th February   

Update: Effing Brilliant...

Gordon Ramsay puts failing TV censors to right
Link Here
Full story: TV Censorship in Australia...Gordon Ramsay stirs trouSwearing and age ratings

The Australian TV censor, ACMA, has agreed a undertaking from The Nine Network to classify Gordon Ramsay's fruity language with a more restrictive rating:

The Nine Network will be required to put in place more rigorous classification procedures for future series of Underbelly —including the forthcoming second series A Tale of Two Cities —under an enforceable undertaking accepted by the Australian Communications and Media Authority. Nine will also reclassify repeat broadcasts of a number of episodes of the original Underbelly series, and implement additional training and reporting processes.

In addition, Nine will classify as MA all episodes of Kitchen Nightmares and other programs substantially featuring Gordon Ramsay, subject to any material change in the content of the programs.

‘This remedial action is the product of extensive discussions with the Nine and WIN networks about action they will take over the next 24 months to ensure that these programs are correctly classified and shown in the appropriate time slot, said Chris Chapman, ACMA Chairman. It is a response to the unacceptably high number of incorrectly classified Underbelly and Ramsay programs broadcast in 2008. It aims to create an improved compliance culture, while giving ACMA an avenue to pursue further remedial action if necessary .

If ACMA subsequently finds that one of the licensees has breached its undertaking—for example, by incorrectly classifying a program covered by the undertaking—ACMA may apply to the Federal Court for an order that the licensee pay ACMA an amount equivalent to the financial benefit the licensee obtained by breaching the undertaking.

In relation to the Underbelly programs Nine and WIN will:

  • reclassify or edit programs found by ACMA to be incorrectly classified
  • provide reports to ACMA on any complaints alleging code breaches with respect to these programs.

In addition, Nine will:

  • conduct an extensive education program for the Underbelly production team to outline the requirements of the M classification
  • develop ‘detailed internal classification guidelines' based on ACMA's findings
  • ensure that classifiers review scripts and assess each episode of the 2009 series, to ensure that the classification requirements are met
  • report to ACMA on compliance with the classification training requirements.

All programs featuring celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay will be classified MA. Nine and WIN will also provide reports to ACMA on any complaints they receive alleging code breaches with respect to these programs.


7th February   

Update: Down Under the Belt...

Jeremy Clarkson apologises for calling Gordon Brown an idiot
Link Here
Full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

  At least he didn't call me fat!

Jeremy Clarkson has apologised after referring to Prime Minister Gordon Brown as a one-eyed Scottish idiot. He was speaking in Sydney, Australia where he is hosting Top Gear Live , a stage version of the popular BBC show.

During a discussion on the economy, he compared Brown unfavourably with Kevin Rudd, the Australia prime minister, who had addressed his country on the scale of the financial downturn.

He genuinely looked terrified. Poor man, he's actually seen the books, Clarkson said of Rudd.

We have this one-eyed Scottish idiot who keeps telling us everything's fine and he's saved the world and we know he's lying, but he's smooth at telling us.

Lesley-Anne Alexander, chief executive of the Royal National Institute of Blind People, said: Mr Clarkson's description of Prime Minister Brown is offensive. Any suggestion that equates disability with incompetence is totally unacceptable. We would be happy to help Mr Clarkson understand the positive contribution people with sight loss make to society.

In a statement issued by BBC Worldwide, Clarkson said: In the heat of the moment I made a remark about the Prime Minister's personal appearance for which, upon reflection, I apologise.

Scottish politicians reacted angrily to Clarkson's remarks. Iain Gray, the Scottish Labour leader, said: Such a comment is really a reflection on Jeremy Clarkson and speaks for itself. Most people here are proud that the Prime Minister is a Scot and believe him to be the right person to get the UK through this global economic crisis.


7th February   

Updated: Censor War...

Australian politicians claim censorship control over online games
Link Here

Australian video game publishers and retailers are risking hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines by selling online role playing games such as World of Warcraft without age classifications.

The games industry believes there is a legal loophole exempting online games that don't have a single player component from classification requirements but this view is contradicted by the federal and state attorneys-general.

World of Warcraft , with more than 11.5 million subscribers, is the most popular of the online-only games but there are other examples including Age of Conan , Warhammer Online and Pirates of the Burning Sea.

All are sold as boxed sets in retail stores across the country without classification by the Classification Board or the appropriate labelling, for instance M or MA15+.

A spokesman for NSW Attorney-General John Hatzistergos said the NSW Classification Enforcement Act prohibited publishers and retailers from selling unclassified computer games: The NSW legislation covers computer games bought online as well as those bought in stores, and treats single, multi-player and online games the same way .

The spokesman added that enforcement of the act was the responsibility of police but penalties for breaking these laws ranged from $1100 to $11,000 for individuals and/or 12 months' imprisonment. For corporations the fines were approximately double.

A spokeswoman for Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland said that, although it was up to each state and territory to enforce game classification requirements, Commonwealth legislation also had no loopholes for online games: The National Classification Scheme does not distinguish between games based on whether or not they contain a single player component. Online games are computer games within the meaning of the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 and are covered under the existing legislation.

But Ron Curry, chief executive of games industry body the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia said he believed that online games without a single player component did not require classification by the Classification Board.

Update: Loopy Australian Classification

7th February 2009. See article from

Despite reports earlier in the week that World of Warcraft and other multi player online games were being withdrawn from sale due to legal reasons, the games are still for sale in all stores.

A loophole in the Australian law that allowed online games with no single-player content to go on sale without a classification was exposed earlier this week, and the federal and state attorneys-general declared that all titles without this classification were to be withdrawn from sale. However, this only applied in NSW, the other states were unaffected. Also, it was up to the police to act on complaints about sales of the games, something which they are unlikely to receive.


31st January   

Update: Atheists vs Bus Bigots...

Atheist bus advert ban reported to Australia's Human Rights Commission
Link Here
Full story: Atheist Buses...Atheists fund adverts about enjoying life

National President of the Atheist Foundation of Australia, David Nicholls, is going to have to seek legal help to try to get his atheist bus ads approved.

APN Outdoor, the company who is in charge of advertising on buses in Adelaide and other cities, would not accept ads for an atheist bus campaign. According to a report on The Independent Weekly, Nicholl’s said: …they wouldn’t accept any ad from atheists. I spoke with sales staff in Adelaide, then higher sales staff in Brisbane, and finally to a sales executive in Sydney. He said APN would have to seek legal advice but they rang back in less than a minute saying they were not going to take our ad, no matter how it was worded.

As a result, the atheist group has decided to take the case to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. Nicholls said: The world-wide response demands we act decisively to release freedom of expression from the arbitrary control of bus company advertising executives. We therefore have no option but to seek legal means to that end.


30th January   

Dragonball Pants...

Atari recall Dragonball Origins game from Australia
Link Here

Australia's well known for its iron-handed, dogmatic views on video game ratings, and it seems Dragon Ball: Origins on the Nintendo DS is the latest game to suffer.

All other Dragon Ball games have received a PG rating Down Under, but a shot of one of the character's pants in Origins is apparently enough to force a recall of the game so it can be given a more mature rating.

Atari has issued the recall notice, though how successful it'll be is anyone's guess. It's all good advertising, of course, and this sort of nonsense will undoubtedly help boost the original's resale value on eBay in years to come, so our advice to all those Aussie DS gamers is to hang onto it.


29th January   

Freedom of Belief in Australia...

Church joins Atheist Foundation in saying that blasphemy should be lawful
Link Here

The church and the Atheist Foundation of Australia (AFA) are among more than 150 organisations and individuals to make submissions to a freedom of religion and belief project, being run jointly with the Australian Multicultural Foundation, RMIT University and Monash University.

The Australian Human Rights Commission discussion paper sets out to examine the extent to which the right of freedom of religion and belief can be enjoyed in Australia.

The church's six-page submission said blasphemy should be made lawful.

Blasphemy is not a common law offence at a national level but a few federal laws, such as the Broadcasting and Television Act, still include it as an objectionable item'.

We look for a society where religious discourse is conducted in safety and security, and people are free to disagree without danger or social exclusion or harm to person or property,
the church said in its submission: These conditions will entail the freedom to engage in robust debate and disagreement about religious beliefs and practices. We support the abolition of the common law offence of blasphemy and the repeal of any laws creating the offence of blasphemy.

The AFA said in its submission it backed an end to blasphemy laws, adding there were sufficient laws in place to prevent vilification.

The AHRC have extended the deadline for submissions to its discussion paper to February 28. Race Discrimination Commissioner Tom Calma said the discussion paper had already generated a lot of interest, but more comment was being sought.


28th January

 Offsite: Treated Like Children...

Link Here
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games
Nutter politician opposes adults rating for computer games

See article from


26th January   


Australia nutter whinges at internet viral ad for TV series Underbelly
Link Here

A 37 second Internet video campaign is said to be shocking and crude, cut together to showcase the most violent and sex-charged scenes of the new TV series Underbelly: A Tale Of Two Cities.

The clip has already sparked outrage from Christian Democratic Party leader Reverend Fred Nile, who labelled the video pornographic and will concern family groups. I think it’s disgusting and shocking.

Even for a viral campaign there are standards and this would come into the category of pornography. The worst part about it is that it’s making the criminals heroes when that’s a black page on the history of Sydney. There is nothing proud about it.

Reverend Nile said the Christian Democratic Party would hold protests, the same held when the original Underbelly screened early last year and call for advertisers to boycott the program, when the show premieres on Channel 9 in February.


25th January   

Defacing Free Speech...

Australia bans graffiti magazine
Link Here

Issue eight of the Aussie graffiti magazine Dirty Deeds has just been banned by the censors. The applicant in this case was Dirty Deeds Streetwear.

In the 2005-06 annual report of the Standing Committee of Attorneys General (Censorship) it was mentioned that the South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson wanted to change the censorship rules to make it even easier to ban films, games, and books that feature graffiti. However this was opposed by the other ministers and the issue was dropped from the agenda by the time of the next annual report.

This has not prevented the censors from going ahead and banning items with graffiti themes anyway.

The banned magazine is for sale on eBay.


21st January   

Too Family Friendly...

Australian author under duress for sidestepping book censors
Link Here
Full story: Book Censorship in Australia...Australian books banned by censors

A self-published author faces legal action if he keeps distributing graphic books on incest before the federal classification board reviews them. But he may escape prosecution for mailing the books to the 500 libraries throughout Australia.

Charles Kevin, 82, bypassed classification laws to distribute Sibling Love and Bet and Zak . The books contain graphic descriptions of sex between brothers and sisters and a mother and her son.

More than a dozen public libraries which had the books in general circulation, have since pulled them off their shelves.

Kevin, also known as Charles or Zoltan Kovacs, sees nothing shameful in incest and sought as wide an audience as possible for works he admitted were perverted. He welcomed efforts to ban the books, saying it was would only lift his profile.

Federal authorities now want Kevin and his home publishing business Anthos, to submit copies of the book to the classification board. Kevin's failure to do so, and any subsequent distribution of the books, could result in fines and jail. But the State Government, which enforces classification violations, said he would not face prosecution for the previous distribution of the books or for failing to submit them for classification.


15th January   

Update: Breaking the Silence...

Atari comments on its cuts to the game Silent Hill
Link Here
Full story: Silent Hill Homecoming...Adding to long list of banned games

Atari, the publisher of the game Silent Hill has commented about what they censored from the game to achieve an Australian MA 15+ rating.

A spokesperson for Atari states:

The major changes to the Australian release of Silent Hill Homecoming will be made to its cut scenes, where new camera angles and techniques will be used to reduce the impact of the unclassifiable material.

The company notes changes have only been made to some scenes, while the original storyline remains unchanged.


14th January   

Update: Sex and Digital Liberty...

A wide range of organisations fight against Australian internet censorship
Link Here
Full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship

The newly-formed Australian Sex Party has come out and blasted the idea of Internet filtering, putting itself on the same side as the entire tech industry — from networking vendors to ISPs.

Sex Party leader Fiona Patten believes the government is already backing down on its original promises and is shifting the focus of what type of content will be filtered — a significant concern for all who are seeking more transparency.

In meetings I had with Senator Conroy last year he indicated that they had no intention of banning non-violent erotica or X-rated material, Patten said: But that is not the case — the ACMA Web site lists the types of material that will 'qualify' for the blacklist. This includes material that would be rated X (18+).

According to the Sex Party, there is a clear distinction between X-rated (18+) content, which can be legally traded on DVDs, and child pornography and sexual violence, and the government should not attempt to lump them together in one blacklist.

They also state that the blacklist will only contain 10,000 sites. One wonders how they will choose from the millions of sexually explicit sites out there, Patten said.

So great is the opposition to the idea of content filtering that organised street protests have already popped up around the country, uniting unlikely groups of people for a common cause. The initial Sydney protest attracted a wide range of people , including those from the gay and lesbian community, the Scarlet Alliance (the national sex worker alliance) and organisations like the EFA.A number of political organisations were also involved — including the Greens, the Democrats and the Liberty and Democracy Party.

Another organization that has been invigorated by the Clean Feed project is the national Digital Liberty Coalition. Whether or not the filter goes ahead, the DLC will be looking to use its groundswell of support to push for a specific Bill of Rights in Australia.

DLC executive Jeremiah Hutchinson said having explicit freedoms, as opposed to simply implied ones Australians currently have, is the only way to stop politicians continuously returning to the absurd notion that censorship is wise course of action.

In terms of uniting disparate groups, Hutchinson said nationalists turned up at the Melbourne protest and were happily protesting alongside socialists: The issue of Internet censorship is one that effects every person in the country, so it isn't surprising to see people come together on this issue, despite political or historical differences.


14th January   

Update: Net Alert Over...

Australian government quietly cancels free home filter software
Link Here
Full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship

The Australian Government has closed the programme established by the previous Coalition Government which gave all Australian families access to a free PC-based Internet content filter under its NetAlert initiative.

The filters were available through the NetAlert web site. The site now says simply that The free availability of internet content filters from this website under the National Filter Scheme ended on 31 December 2008.

Shadow minister, Nick Minchin claimed that the Rudd Government had quietly closed the programme...under the cover of the festive season on 31 December. However, a spokesman for communications minister, Stephen Conroy, told iTWire that plans to close the scheme had been revealed in the May 2008 budget. He said that free filters were now widely available from ISPs so provision by the Government was unnecessary.

The free filter scheme was announced with great fanfare by the Coalition's communications minister, Helen Coonan, in June 2006 as part of a $116.6 million comprehensive package of measures to crack down on the scourge of Internet pornography.


11th January

 Offsite: Lack of Transparency...

Link Here
Full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship
Brooklyn Law School embarrass Australia's web filtering proposal

See article from


7th January   

Update: Children's Version Passed...

Atari resubmits revised Silent Hill Homecoming for an MA15+ rating
Link Here
Full story: Silent Hill Homecoming...Adding to long list of banned games

The computer game, Silent Hill: Homecoming was banned in Australia in late September.

An update to the Classification Board's online rating database dated January 5, 2009 now lists Silent Hill: Homecoming as conforming to the maximum MA15+ rating for video games.

The site lists the rating as "revised," with consumer advice identifying strong horror violence and themes.

So it seems that Atari have edited the game to make it suitable for the MA 15+ rating


5th January   

Update: Worthless Trials...

Conroy's 10,000 websites to block wholly unrepresentative
Link Here
Full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship

Ministry of Broadband,
Communications and
the Digital Economy

As the debate around the proposed Great Firewall of Australia censorship scheme in Australia continues, the Government’s long awaited censorship trial is due to begin shortly.

While some ISP’s are participating only to prove that the filter is flawed, it’s the testing procedure itself where things are completely wrong. The number of sites to be filtered in the trial: 10,000.

While 10,000 may be 10,000 too many, it’s also no where near close to how many sites the filter will have to block to comply with the Government’s guidelines.

We know that among other unwanted things, the following falls into the censorship regime: porn, R rated games, certain types of political speech (for example discussion of methods of euthanasia) and possibly copyrighted content.

We can’t count every category, in part because we simply don’t know exactly how the Government will define what stays and what gets blocked, but we can estimate block rates for porn, because we know R rated softcore and X rated hardcore (R Rated stays only with strict age verification, which 99.99% of sites won’t meet) is out.

According to Netcraft, there are 73.6 million active websites. Estimates of the number of porn sites online vary from 1% through to a massive 35% of all sites online. The most common figure used is 12%. 12% of pages to be blocked by the Great Firewall of Australia would total 9.12 million sites. Even if we take the minimum figure of 1%, 736,000 sites would require blocking.

Do any of these figures sounding anything close to 10,000 sites? I’m told that the more sites listed on a blacklist, the slower the filter becomes because each website requested must be checked against the list. 10,000 sites vs 9.12 million: there is no way the trials can give a representative result of what the implementation of the Great Firewall will do for internet speeds in Australia.

The Government may well say in response that they will not be filtering that many sites, and that may be the case. But if true, how will the firewall be effective if some sites are blacklisted, and others aren’t?

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