Classification e-news | Release of Issues Paper

Issue 3 | 20 May 2011   View original format

National Classification Scheme Review – Issues Paper now released

The ALRC has now released an Issues Paper to help frame discussion and public consultation for the National Classification Scheme Review. The Issues Paper provides an overview of the current classification system and outlines its strengths and weaknesses. It refers to the important distinction between censorship and classification, and discusses issues concerning what should be classified and who should do the classifying, in the context of a converging technological environment and rapid change in the media industries and media consumption patterns. It also discusses possible options for revising the regulatory framework including co-regulation with industry and industry self-regulation.

In releasing the Issues Paper, the ALRC is seeking wide community input into reform of the classification system, with the aim of advising on a regulatory framework that:

  • meets community expectations and is readily understood by the public;
  • enables Australians to have ready access to a diverse range of forms of information and entertainment content across media platforms;
  • ensures that appropriate safeguards exist to restrict the availability of inappropriate content, particularly for children;
  • minimises the costs and regulatory burdens of compliance, and promotes competition and innovation; and
  • is enforceable and promotes public trust in the regulatory system.

The Issues Paper raises 29 questions that are central to our public consultations. Responses to these questions can be made using the ALRC online form at: (preferred approach). Alternatively, we welcome submissions in writing, sent by mail to the ALRC offices or by email to  Generally, submissions will be published on the ALRC website, unless marked confidential. In the absence of a clear indication that a submission is intended to be confidential, the ALRC will treat the submission as non-confidential.

In order to inform the content of the Discussion Paper that will be released in September, submissions addressing the questions in this Issues Paper should reach the ALRC by close of business 15 July 2011.

Commissioner in charge – Professor Terry Flew

 Commissioner Terry Flew

Professor Terry Flew was appointed full-time Commissioner on 21 April 2011, specifically for the National Classification Scheme Review.

Terry Flew is a Professor of Media and Communications at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), in Brisbane, Australia. Prior to being appointed as a Commissioner to the ALRC to head the National Classification Scheme Review, he was Portfolio Director in the Creative Industries Faculty responsible for Fashion, Journalism, and Media & Communication.

Professor Flew has a wide range of research interests, and is the author of three books. His book New Media: An Introduction (Oxford) is Australia’s leading new media textbook; having sold almost 10,000 copies over three editions: a fourth edition will be completed in late 2012. Professor Flew has published over 30 book chapters and over 50 scholarly journal articles, in leading international publications in the fields of communication, media and cultural studies, journalism, media and communications policy, and digital media and the internet. He has been editor of 11 special issues/themed sections of academic journals and refereed conference proceedings.

He has led Australian Research Council-funded projects into citizen journalism in Australia (with the Special Broadcasting Service, Cisco Systems Australia and The National Forum), and the development of a creative workforce in Australia’s outer suburban communities. He has also been a chief investigator in projects looking at creative industries developments in China, and worked with Kids Help line on the development of online counselling tools and resources for at-risk children.

He is a Chief Investigator with the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, and a Work Program leader in New Media Services for the Smart Services Co-operative Research Centre where he has worked with leading industry partners including Fairfax Digital. He was also a chief investigator with the ARC Cultural Research Network from 2005 to 2009.

He was President of the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association from 2009-2010, and is active in the International Communications Association. He has provided expert advice to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the National Academies Forum, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, the Department of Broadband, Communication and the Digital Economy, the Communications Law Centre, the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, Brisbane City Council, the Marsden Fund (New Zealand) and the European Science Foundation.

Professor Flew is on leave from the Queensland University of Technology for the duration of his appointment to the ALRC. His term as Commissioner ends on 28 February 2012.

Inquiry timeline and next steps

24 March 2011

National Classification Scheme review – Terms of Reference received

21 April 2011

New Commissioner announced: Professor Terry Flew

20 May 2011

ALRC Issues Paper released; deadline for submissions 15 July, 2011

June – August 2011


September 2011

ALRC Discussion Paper to be released

October – December 2011

Further consultations

31 January 2012

Final Report to be provided to Attorney-General and Minister for Home Affairs