9.1 This chapter considers the classification categories and criteria used to classify content across different media content and platforms in Australia. The ALRC recommends that the classification categories be harmonised and the classification criteria[1] be combined in order that the same categories and criteria are applied in the classification of all media content—irrespective of its form and the platform by which it is delivered or accessed.

9.2 The effect of these recommendations is that all classifiers operating under the new National Classification Scheme will use the same classification tools to make classification decisions. For decisions made under this system, consumers can therefore expect to receive classification information in the same format knowing that it has the same meaning no matter what the media content.

9.3 The ALRC recommends common classification criteria—the statutory classification criteria—to be applied in making all classification decisions. Likewise, it recommends statutory classification categories—for uniform application across all classified media content as follows:






Parental Guidance



MA 15+

Mature Audience

R 18+


X 18+




9.4 This incorporates the following changes to the category names and markings:

  • MA 15+ descriptor to be amended to ‘Mature Audience’;
  • ‘Unrestricted’, ‘Category 1 Restricted’ and ‘Category 2 Restricted’ classifications now used for publications to be abolished;
  • MAV 15+ and AV classifications used by some television broadcasters to be abolished; and
  • Refused Classification (RC) to be re-named Prohibited.

9.5 For content that must be classified, the ALRC recommends consumer advice (such as ‘Strong violence’ or ‘Moderate coarse language’) be provided for all classification decisions, except for content classified G.

9.6 Research should supplement future reviews of classification categories and criteria and other major changes to the classification scheme. The ALRC therefore recommends that the Regulator’s functions include research activities that may inform the development of classification policy, legislation and decision-making tools.

[1] The ALRC uses the term classification criteria in this chapter broadly to describe the current principles, criteria, guidelines and other matters that either must be applied or taken into account in making classification decisions currently. The ALRC’s recommendation for ‘statutory classification criteria’ is discussed later in the chapter.