Professor Terry Flew appointed as ALRC Commissioner for the National Classification Scheme Review

The ALRC welcomes the appointment of Professor Terry Flew as Commissioner in charge of its National Classification Scheme Review. Professor Flew is currently Professor of Media and Communication in the Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology, and joins the ALRC for the duration of this inquiry. Professor Flew is a prolific author in the media and communications field and President of the Australian and New Zealand Communications Association.

ALRC President Professor Rosalind Croucher stated, “We are delighted that Professor Flew has joined the ALRC to oversee this very complex and important inquiry and are grateful to the Attorney-General’s Department for assisting with the costs for this appointment. This additional support reflects the Attorney-General’s ongoing commitment to the work of the ALRC.”

The last time that the ALRC reviewed the classification system was 20 years ago and the development of media and the convergence of technologies has completely transformed the classification environment, making the current review of the system timely and necessary.

Professor Croucher commented, “Devising the right system to see us through the next 20 years is the challenge ahead for Professor Flew and our inquiry team, and will require both analytical and visionary thought.  The experience in media and new technology that Professor Flew brings to the ALRC will be invaluable—especially as we are asked to envisage a system to work in a technological environment that will undoubtedly transform itself several times over as the media landscape continues to change and the NBN, and other still unknown technological advances, come into our every day lives.”

Professor Flew stated, “I am looking forward to working with a body of such international standing in law reform as the ALRC. The potential scope of this Inquiry is broad. In addition to considering the classification of films, publications and computer games under the Classification Act, the ALRC has also been asked to look at the Broadcasting Services Act and the need for a classification framework that deals with online content. Any new framework will have to take account of what’s happening internationally in this field, and encompass new forms of content and delivery systems, along with the community’s developing expectations about access to information and entertainment.  Consulting with the key stakeholders in this area will be extremely important.”

The ALRC is planning to release an issues paper by the end of May, and a discussion paper by the end of August with its final report being due to the Attorney-General by 30 January 2012.

The ALRC will publish a regular e-newsletter with news and updates throughout the inquiry and people can subscribe to this newsletter from the ALRC website. The inquiry also has a dedicated page on Facebook, which comprises updates about the progress of the inquiry as well as items of interest in the media The ALRC uses its Twitter feed to update followers about the ALRC’s work, and uses the hashtag #clasrev when tweeting specifically about the Review.

Further information about the ALRC’s National Classification Scheme Review can be found at http://www.alrc.gov.au/inquiries/national-classification-review.