State and territory online content regulation

16.30 Some state and territory enforcement legislation contains provisions dealing with matters beyond the classification of publications, films and computer games and including the regulation of online content. For example, the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) (Enforcement) Act 1995 (Vic) makes it an offence to ‘use an on-line information service to publish or transmit, or make available for transmission’ objectionable material, child pornography or ‘material unsuitable for minors’—the latter category being defined by reference to classification categories.[30]

16.31 At the time the Broadcasting Services (Online Services) Bill 1999 (Cth) was introduced, it was intended that the Commonwealth would be responsible for regulating the activities of internet service providers and internet content hosts and the Attorney-General would encourage the development of uniform state and territory offence provisions, creating ‘offences for the publication and transmission of proscribed material by users and content creators’. However, such a scheme did not eventuate and the regulation of internet content in the states and territories continues to ‘vary drastically’.[31]

[30]Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) (Enforcement) Act 1995 (Vic) ss 56, 57, 57A, 58.

[31] C Penfold, ‘Child Pornography Laws: The Luck of the Locale’ (2005) 30(3) Alternative Law Journal 123, 125.