1.6 Since 2008, there have been a significant number of inquiries and reviews covering matters related to the Inquiry. These are briefly described below.
1.7 In 2008, the report of the Senate Standing Committee on Environment, Communications and the Arts, Sexualisation of Children in the Contemporary Media, was released. The Committee, chaired by Senator Anne McEwen, observed increasing community concern over the inappropriate sexualisation of children. The report advised that ‘preventing the premature sexualisation of children is a significant cultural challenge’, and made recommendations to broadcasters, publishers, the advertising industry, and state and territory governments about these concerns.
1.8 In 2010, the Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department conducted a public consultation on an R 18+ classification for computer games. Subsequent to the completion of this consultation, the Minister for Home Affairs, the Hon Brendan O’Connor MP, released draft guidelines for the introduction of an R 18+ classification for computer games. State and territory classification ministers reached in-principle agreement on the introduction of an R 18+ classification for computer games at the July 2011 meeting of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) (now the Standing Council on Law and Justice).
1.9 In 2010, the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) reported on a review of measures to increase accountability and transparency for Refused Classification (RC) material. Arising out of this review, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy, committed to undertake a review of the RC category to accompany the proposed introduction of internet service provider (ISP) filtering of RC content, alongside more transparent mechanisms for independent review of lists of blocked URLs, clear avenues for review of classification decisions, and greater involvement of the Classification Board and the Classification Review Board in the process of classifying online content that has been subject to public complaint.
1.10 In June 2011, the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee released its report Review of the National Classification Scheme: Achieving the Right Balance. The Committee, chaired by Senator Guy Barnett, made a total of 30 recommendations, relating to the National Classification Code and Classification guidelines, the classification of art works and removal of the ‘artistic merit’ defence, the transfer of classification powers to the Commonwealth, classification enforcement, training and accreditation for industry classifiers, terms of appointment for members of the Classification Board and the Classification Review Board, and the handling of complaints related to classification.
1.11 Also in June 2011, the Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety, chaired by Senator Dana Wortley, released its Interim Report, High-Wire Act: Cyber-Safety and the Young. The Joint Select Committee investigated young people’s use of the internet and possible cyber-safety threats, including cyber-bullying, exposure to illegal and inappropriate content, inappropriate social and health behaviours in an online environment (technology addiction, online promotion of anorexia, drug usage, underage drinking and smoking), identity theft, and breaches of privacy.
1.12 In July 2011, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs tabled its report, Reclaiming Public Space: Inquiry into the Regulation of Billboard and Outdoor Advertising. The Committee, chaired by Graham Perrett MP, made 19 recommendations relating to the effectiveness of industry self-regulation by the Advertising Standards Board, codes of practice for outdoor advertising, complaints procedures, and research into prevailing community standards. This report raised issues about the effectiveness of advertising industry self-regulation, but ‘rejected the classification system as an inappropriate system for regulating outdoor advertising’.
1.13 Importantly, and in parallel with the ALRC’s Inquiry, the DBCDE is undertaking a Convergence Review. The Convergence Review Committee is an independent committee chaired by Glen Boreham, whose task is ‘to review the operation of media and communications legislation in Australia and to assess its effectiveness in achieving appropriate policy objectives for the convergent era’.
1.14 The Convergence Review is due to report to the Government in the first quarter of 2012, and released a series of five discussion papers for public comment, including a paper dealing with community standards, in September 2011. The Convergence Review incorporates a statutory review of the operation of sch 7 of the Broadcasting Services Act.
1.15 Finally, in August 2011, the Office for the Arts in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet released its National Cultural Policy Discussion Paper. While a National Classification Scheme does not directly promote cultural creativity and innovation, it can be a factor in recognition of cultural diversity, adoption of new technologies and the development of creative industries, so recommendations need to be developed with an awareness of possible cultural policy implications.
 Senate Standing Committee on Environment, Communications and the Arts, Sexualisation of Children in the Contemporary Media (2008).
 Ibid, 2, rec 1.
 See Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department, Final Report on the Public Consultation on the Possible Introduction of an R18+ Classification for Computer Games (2010). This review received over 58,000 submissions, of which 98% favoured the introduction of an R 18+ classification for computer games.
 B O’Connor (Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice), ‘Draft R 18+ Computer Game Guidelines Released’ (Press Release, 25 May 2011); B O’Connor (Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice), ‘Agreement on R 18+ Classification for Computer Games’ (Press Release, 22 July 2011).
 Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Mandatory Internet Service Provider (ISP) Filtering: Measures to Increase Accountability and Transparency for Refused Classification Material–Consultation Paper (2009).
 Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee, Review of the National Classification Scheme: Achieving the Right Balance (2011).
 Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety—Parliament of Australia, High-Wire Act: Cyber-Safety and the Young: Report (2011).
 House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs, Reclaiming Public Space: Inquiry into the Regulation of Billboards and Outdoor Advertising: Final Report (2011).
 Ibid, 36.
 Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Convergence Review: Terms of Reference (2010).
 See Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Convergence Review: Framing Paper (2011); Convergence Review (2011) Discussion Paper: Community Standards.
 As required by Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth) sch 7 cl 118.
 Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Office for the Arts, National Cultural Policy Discussion Paper (2011).