Classification Guidelines

Classification Guidelines

Mrs Carol V. Phillips

If you've wondered, like many others, how it is that material of such low moral standards is able to get into Australia, then hearken to some basic assumptions used by the Office of Film and Literature Classification, regarding audio recordings, films and video games.

The first principle assumed by the Australian Record Industry Association Ltd (ARIA) is that "Adults in a democratic society should be free to listen to what they wish." At the same time, it is acknowledged that "audio recordings which advocate suicide, violence, sexual violence, necrophilia and other abhorrent or criminal activities should not be available to children."

It seems to me that no person, of any age, should have access to any of this abhorrent or criminal material. How has this so-called freedom to indulge in the viewing or listening to material with abhorrent or criminal activities, been allowed to happen?

Regarding the Classification Guidelines for publications, films and video games, the first principle of the Code is that "adults should be able to read, hear and see what they want." Alongside this principle, the Code states that "the standards or morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults" must be taken into account.

As far as I can see, this means a contradiction of the Office's first principle. For someone who demands the "freedom" to have access to anything he wishes, principles of common decency would only be seen as a denial of his rights.

It is obvious that the principle which gives adults the freedom to read, hear and see whatever they wish is clearly flawed, and is therefore a spurious "freedom" when viewed in the light of common decency, common sense and the acknowledgment of the results when this "freedom" is taken to its logical extreme.

Goodness and decency should regulate everything that Australians do or have access to, and it is time that good, decent people had their say. These things have been too long left to a few. "Evil can only succeed when good men do nothing."

The Office of Film and Literature Classification can be contacted by phoning (02) 9289 7100 or faxing (02) 9289 7101. Their internet address is

Queens Park, WA

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