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Australia Censorship News

2013: April-June

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Updated: Censorship Row...

Australian censors ban 2 video games, Saints Row IV and State of Decay

Link Here27th June 2013
Full story: Banned Games in Australia...Games and the Australian Censorship Board

The Acting Director of the Censor, Board Donald McDonald, has announced that Saints Row IV was the first computer game in Australia to be banned under the Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games that commenced on 1 January 2013.

The Classification Board classified the game RC (Refused Classification). In the Board's opinion, Saints Row IV, includes interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context. In addition, the game includes elements of illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards. Such depictions are banned by the computer games guidelines.

Meanwhile Jeff Strain, the Executive Producer for the Microsoft game, State of Decay , has said that this has also been banned by the Australian Censor Board. Strain explained on a games forum:

State of Decay has been refused classification by the Australian Classification Board. We've run afoul of certain prohibitions regarding the depiction of drug use. We're working with Microsoft to come up with options, including changing names of certain medications in the game to comply with ratings requirements. Whatever our path forward, it's going to take a bit.

Update: Anal Censorship

27th June 2013. See article from

The Australian Classification Board has issued a report detailing why Saints Row IV was banned in Australia. According to a statement sent to GameSpot, the game was banned on the grounds of implied sexual violence , pertaining specifically to the Alien Anal Probe weapon and the use of illicit drugs referred to as alien narcotics . The report outlines the reasons in detail, stating:

The game includes a weapon referred to by the applicant as an 'Alien Anal Probe'. The applicant states that this weapon can be 'shoved into enemy's backsides'. When using this weapon, the player approaches a (clothed) victim from behind and thrusts the weapon between the victim's legs and then lifts them off the ground before pulling a trigger which launches the victim into the air.

A weapon designed to penetrate the anus of enemy characters and civilians constitutes a visual depiction of implied sexual violence that is interactive and not justified by context.

Smoking the 'alien narcotics' equips the player with 'superpowers', which increase their in-game abilities, allowing them to progress through the mission more easily. During the mission, onscreen prompts guide the player to 'Go to deal location' and 'Get drugs'. In the board's opinion, there is insufficient delineation between the 'alien narcotic' available in the game and real-world proscribed drugs.

Publisher Deep Silver has issued a statement announcing the developer's intention to create an edited version of the game.

Update: High on Censorship

27th June 2013. See article from

The Censor Board has supplied IGN with a report that outlines the reason State of Decay was banned:

The game contains the option of self-administering a variety of medications throughout gameplay which act to restore a player's health or boost their stamina. These medications include both legal and illicit substances such as methadone, morphine, amphetamines, stimulants, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, codeine, aspirin, trucker pills , painkillers and tussin. Of these, methadone, morphine, and amphetamines are proscribed drugs and the term stimulant is commonly used to refer to a class of drugs of which several are proscribed.

Players obtain drugs by scavenging for them in the environment or by manufacturing them in a Medical Lab . When players find drugs in the environment the name of the drug appears onscreen and the drug is also represented by a visual icon such as a pill bottle or syringe. Within the Medical Lab players are prompted to make substances such as Potent Stims , Mild Stims and Painkillers . The laboratory includes a research library and chemical dictionary .

When administering drugs, the player is briefly depicted moving a pill bottle toward their mouth. The sound of pills rattling in the bottle accompanies the depiction. The name of the drug appears onscreen along with its representative icon. Consumption of the drug instantly increases a player's in-game abilities allowing them to progress through gameplay more easily. The Applicant has stated that a player can choose not to make any drugs or scavenge for them, but it would be very difficult to complete the game without some form of medication .

In the Board's opinion, the game enables the player's character to self-administer proscribed drugs which aid in gameplay progression. This game therefore contains drug use related to incentives or rewards and should be Refused Classification.



Corrected: Restricted Appeal...

Australian film rating for Behind the Candelabra reduced from MA15+ to M on appeal

Link Here23rd June 2013

Behind the Candelabra is a 2013 USA biography drama by Steven Soderbergh.
With Matt Damon, Michael Douglas, Rob Lowe. YouTube iconBBFC link IMDb

The Australian film censorship board has announced that the rating for Behind the Candelabra has been reduced from MA15+ to M on appeal. MA15+ is an age restricted rating as per the UK 15 rating. M is an advisory 15 rating which would be a PG-15 in US terminology.

A three-member panel of the Australian Classification Review Board has determined that the film Behind the Candelabra is classified M (Mature) with the consumer advice Drug use, coarse language and sex scenes .

In the Classification Review Board's opinion Behind the Candelabra warrants an M classification because the themes in the film are moderate in impact and justified by context.

The lack of explicit visual detail contributed to the Review Board's decision that the themes could be accommodated at the M level.

The overall impact of the classifiable elements in the film was no higher than moderate.

For comparison the UK BBFC rated the film  was passed 15 uncut for strong language, sex, sex references and drug use.

As it is a TV movie the US note the rating at TV-MA which means: specifically designed to be viewed by adults and therefore may be unsuitable for children under 17 [corrected].



Everything's Fucked...

Australian art exhibit raided by police over collage including both child images and sexual elements

Link Here2nd June 2013

Update: Arrested

7th September 2013. See  article from

A Melbourne artist has been charged with producing and possessing child pornography in what is likely to be a landmark case testing legal interpretations of art.

Paul Yore was charged by Victoria Police after officers seized some of his artwork from a St Kilda gallery where he was exhibiting in June.

The work, from an installation entitled Everything's Fucked, contained collages such as a cardboard cut-out of a child with Justin Bieber's head stuck on, urinating from a dildo into a sink.

Yore condemned the seizure at the time as censorship gone mad and has now vowed to fight the charges.

Update: Not guilty

4th October 2014. See  article from

Melbourne artist Paul Yore has had serious criminal charges against him dismissed. Magistrate Amanda Chambers found one of the seven images -- a close-up image depicting a boy performing fellatio on a man -- removed by police from Yore's installation could be classified as child pornography.

But the magistrate found a statutory defence relating to the artwork's classification by the Australian Classification Board applied and dismissed charges of possessing and producing child pornography.



Update: Blocked Information...

The Australian government investigates the extent of secretive internet censorship

Link Here30th May 2013
Full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship

An Australian security agency has used federal powers to block Australian access to websites, in the latest development surrounding revived fears of internet censorship.

Bureaucrats at the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, and the Attorney-General's Department separately confirmed at Senate estimates hearings that a total of three departments had requested that ISPs block specific websites from access within Australia.

The requests, known as section 313 notices, come under 15-year-old legal powers that require telecommunications carriers to cooperate with law enforcement in stopping unlawful use of their services. However, until recently the powers were not believed to have been widely used for the purpose of blocking websites.

DBCDE deputy secretary Abdul Rizvi said on Thursday that a total of three federal agencies were found to have used the powers to block website access, after a meeting was held on May 22 between 12 federal agencies to determine the scope of the issue.

The bureaucrats conceded they were unsure exactly how much agencies were using the notices, and whether state government departments were also requesting website blocks.



Betting 2/1 On that Everything Will be Banned from TV by 2020...

Australian Government speaks of proposal to ban Live betting odds from TV

Link Here 27th May 2013

Australia has unveiled plans to ban television and radio broadcasts of betting odds during live sports matches.

Gambling advertisements will no longer appear during live events and around sporting venues, the government said. Gillard told a press conference:

From the moment that the players step onto the field, to the moment that they leave the field, there will be no live odds.

The broadcasting industry is expected to submit a revised code to Australia's media watchdog reflecting the changes.

Under the new rules, advertisements would only be allowed before or after a game, or during a scheduled break in play, such as quarter-time and half-time.



Rated M for Moralism...

Australian private members bill calls for age classification for advertising billboards

Link Here24th May 2013

The political party, Katter's Australia Party, has put up a Private Members Bill which would see advertising billboards given classifications from G to MA15+ and also levy a tax on the more risque advertising.

Under the proposal, a censorship panel would be set up to determine the rating of billboards. The panel would also split the state into classification zones , so only G-rated billboards could be shown in a G-classified zone and PG-rated billboards in PG zones. Only G-rated posters could be anywhere near schools, hospitals, bus stops and sporting fields, while M and MA15+ billboards would be severely restricted to areas rarely frequented by children , such as industrial estates.

The cost of the panel, who and how many people would be on it and how they would make their judgments was yet to be determined by the KAP.

KAP Queensland leader Ray Hopper said the explicit material he would want to see branded MA15+ included signs promoting products that boast longer lasting sex . He said that the scantily-clad women on a Sin City billboard on the M1 would be unlikely to be acceptable under the proposal. Hopper said the levy should be 10% of the cost of advertising on the billboard.

The proposed Bill is now set to come up for debate some time during the year.



Update: Wasting Space...

After years of wasting money proposing internet censorship, the government is now crowing about how much will be saved by dropping the idea

Link Here18th May 2013
Full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship

The axing of Stephen Conroy's other pet project, the controversial mandatory internet blocking scheme, will save the government more than $4 million.

According to Budget 2013 papers, the government will achieve savings of $4.5m over three years by not proceeding with mandatory filtering legislation, a move announced in November.

The plan would have forced ISPs to filter web pages that contain refused classification-rated content based on a government blacklist.

Instead, major internet service providers will be required to block child abuse websites on Interpol's worst of child abuse list, and anything else banned by government bodies such as the financial regulator.

Senator Conroy mooted the ea in the lead up to the 2007 election but it has been fraught with delays ever since. The methods employed by the government were deemed impractical and seen as an attempt to censor the internet.



Humiliation by YouTube...

South Australia enacts a law against filming or distributing humiliating or degrading images

Link Here12th May 2013

A new law with jail sentences for filming or distributing humiliating or degrading images of people has come into effect in South Australia. However people who film an offence for the purpose of assisting police are protected from prosecution. Presumably this covers CCTV.

State Attorney General John Rau said the law carrying up to two years' imprisonment was a response to bad behaviour in the digital age.

The Government shares the community's concerns regarding the practice of people being deliberately humiliated via the internet.

Whether it be distributing a private image or video of an ex-partner, or the filming of an assault, you can now expect up to two years in prison.

The law is a reaction to an incident in 2011 where school children at Craigmore High arranged for an unsuspecting student to be king hit which was filmed and put on the internet. Several students were subsequently suspended.



Update: The Australian Film Censor Recommends...

Short film Morgue Street banned from showing at a horror film festival

Link Here19th April 2013
Full story: Banned Films in Australia...I Want Your Love

Morgue Street is a 2012 Italy short horror thriller by Alberto Viavattene.
With Mario Cellini, Désirée Giorgetti, Roberto Nali. YouTube icon IMDb

Morgue Street was slated for screening at the A Night Of Horror Film Festival in Sidney, but the Australian Classification Board banned it with a 'Refused Classification' rating, two days before the screening, claiming

its material that is considered to offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults.

Morgue Street is based upon the story The Murders in The Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe. It tells the story of two prostitutes, mother and daughter, struggling against a mysterious creature that breaks into their home.

Brian Yuzna called it An original artistic horror while cult author Jack Ketchum blessed it as impressive and perverse .

By the way of a hint about the reasons for the ban, as well as horror film festivals, it was also screened at the Berlin Porn Film Festival.



Offsite Article: Graphic Complaints...

Link Here19th April 2013
Australia's internet censor reports that February 2013 was a slow month for website blocking

See article from



Offsite Article: Media Censorship in Australia...

Link Here17th April 2013
A lively new Facebook page from the makers of the Chopping List

MediaCensorshipInAustralia Facebook Page



Allowing More Players into the Money Making Game...

Australia moves to end the suffocatingly expensive costs of computer game censorship

Link Here10th April 2013

The Australian Government wants to make some changes to how the classification system works in Australia, and one of these is to make the computer games censorship process cheaper for small developers.

Jason Clare, Australia's minister for home affairs presented a raft of changes last week at the Standing Council on Law and Justice meeting. One of which was to Enable the use of automated classification decision making systems, starting with a pilot for mobile and online computer games.

What this means is that the Australian Classification board and their classifiers will not need to rate every single video game or app  that is released in Australia. There is a tremendous cost for this classification and it's stopping a lot indie developers getting their games into the marketplace.

The pilot program for automatic classification may only start with online and mobile games (which currently don't have classification) with the program to be extended to all digitally distributed titles such as the ones released on the eShop.



Offsite Article: Pretty Graphs and Censorial Figures...

Link Here8th April 2013
Australian internet censor reveals that it blocked 149 website URLs in January 2013 and that 30% of them weren't even banned content

See article from

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