Classification Review discussion forum: draft principles for reform

Commenting on this forum closed on 2 September 2011.

In May this year the ALRC released an Issues Paper that provided an overview of the current classification system, and an assessment of its strengths and weaknesses.

Based on submissions in response to that Issues Paper, face-to-face consultations, and a review of relevant legislation and government reports, the ALRC has developed a set of eight draft principles for reform. We envisage them as the main principles that should underpin any new policy framework.

The ALRC is in the process of writing a discussion paper, which will contain detailed ideas and proposals for reform. The discussion paper will be released in September. In the meantime, we welcome feedback from the public about these broad principles for reform and whether there are any others that should be included.

The eight principles are listed below. Please click on the links for further explanation of each principle, and to provide feedback.

Please keep comments to not more than 200 words.

Moderation policy and process

We want to have the best conversation we can about the Classification Review. Comments will be moderated, so there may be a delay between submission and publication of comments. This delay will be longer outside of normal working hours. The moderation process allows us to make sure that spam or comments that breach the ALRC's Participation Protocols are not published. 


1. Australians should be able to read, hear, see and participate in media of their choice

Should  the principle that adults be able to read, see and hear what they want be extended to a more general statement on the right to communicate, and be able to participate in the media of their choice?

5. The regulatory and classification framework needs to be responsive to technological change and adaptive to new technologies, platforms and services

The ALRC is interested in your thoughts about the extent to which a revised National Classification Scheme can be more adaptive to new technologies, platforms and services.

Other comments

Do you have any comments about these draft principles for reform generally? Are there any others you think should be included?

8. Classification regulation should be focused upon content rather than platform or means of delivery

The ALRC is interested in views about this principle and in particular if there are any issues that may arise with the practical application of such an approach.

7. Classification regulation should be kept to the minimum needed to achieve a clear public purpose, should be clear in its scope and application

The ALRC is interested in views on the most suitable balance between direct government regulation and other approaches where there is greater involvement of industry in the regulation process.

6. The classification framework should not impede competition and innovation, and not disadvantage Australian media content and service providers in international markets

The ALRC is interested in the extent to which the regulatory burden on industry can be minimised while giving effect to the other principles of reform outlined here.

4. The national classification scheme needs to provide consumer information in a timely and clear manner, and to provide a responsive and effective means of addressing community concerns, including complaints

The ALRC welcomes comment on the role of the National Classification Scheme as a source of consumer advice about media content for individuals and families.

3. Children should be protected from material likely to harm or disturb them

The ALRC welcomes discussion on this principle, and particularly around its relationship to Principles 1 and 2.

2. Communications and media services available to Australians should broadly reflect community standards, while recognising a diversity of views, cultures and ideas in the community

The ALRC welcomes discussion on this principle, particularly in relation to the continuing relevance of ‘community standards’ in the context of media convergence, but also in relation to a diverse and multicultural Australian society.