6.1 This chapter considers what content should be classified under the proposed National Classification Scheme. It starts by considering distinguishing features of content that might be used to determine whether something must be classified. The ALRC then proposes that the following content (subject to some exemptions) must be classified before it is sold, hired, screened or distributed in Australia:

  • feature-length films produced on a commercial basis;
  • television programs produced on a commercial basis;
  • computer games produced on a commercial basis and likely to be MA 15+ or higher;
  • all media content likely to be X 18+ (ie, sexually explicit adult content); and
  • all media content that may be RC (Refused Classification).

6.2 The classification of most other media content—for example, books, magazines, websites, music and computer games now likely to be G, PG and M[1]—should become or remain voluntary. However, the ALRC proposes that industry bodies should develop codes of practice that encourage the voluntary classification of some of this other content, such as lower-level computer games, using the categories, criteria, and markings of the National Classification Scheme. In Chapter 8, the ALRC proposes that access must be restricted to all media content that is likely to be R 18+, including content that is not required to be classified.

6.3 In this chapter, the ALRC also proposes that media content should be classified before: enforcement agencies require someone to stop distributing content (whether on the internet or otherwise); enforcement agencies prosecute someone for distributing content; and before the content is added to any proposed list of content that must be filtered by internet service providers (ISPs).

6.4 In Chapter 7, the ALRC proposes that much of the content required to be classified may be classified by authorised industry classifiers, subject to review by the Classification Board, but some content must continue to be classified by the Classification Board.[2]

[1] New classification categories are proposed in Ch 9.

[2] A table summarising what content must be classified and by whom, and what must be restricted, is in Appendix 4.