Films, computer games and publications
9.44 Films, computer games and publications that advocate the doing of a terrorist act must be classified RC, but otherwise, must be classified in accordance with the National Classification Code (the Code) and either the Guidelines for the Classification of Publications or the Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games (Classification Guidelines).
9.45 In Adultshop.Com Ltd v Members of the Classification Review Board, the Federal Court explained that the Code ‘describes’ the classification categories and ‘contains the general principles which form the basis of the Classification Guidelines’—principles such as that ‘adults should be able to read, hear and see what they want’ and ‘minors should be protected from material likely to harm or disturb them’. The Code features separate tables—with distinct criteria—for publications, films and computer games.
9.46 The classification guidelines assist in the application of the criteria in the Code, as they ‘explain the scope and limits of each classification category’ in more detail. A separate set of guidelines exists for publications. Films and computer games are currently covered by the one set of combined guidelines, but separate guidelines for computer games—as agreed at the July 2011 Standing Committee of Attorneys General meeting—will be introduced with the introduction of an R 18+ classification for computer games.
9.47 In addition, the Classification Act sets out the following matters that must be taken into account in the making of a classification decision:
the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults;
the literary, artistic or educational merit (if any) of the publication, film or computer game;
the general character of the publication, film or computer game, including whether it is of a medical, legal or scientific character; and
the persons or class of persons to or amongst whom it is published or intended or likely to be published.
9.48 The television codes of practice each contain details on the classification criteria and process for making decisions in relation to the media content they broadcast. While some of the codes incorporate elements of the current national classification scheme, the extent and manner in which they do this varies between broadcasters.
9.49 Subscription television content is classified using the film and computer games guidelines, but free-to-air television has developed its own criteria, provided for in an industry code of practice.
Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 (Cth) s 9A(1).
 Ibid s 9.
Adultshop.Com Ltd v Members of the Classification Review Board (2007) 243 ALR 752 .
National Classification Code 2005 (Cth) cl 1. The principles that classification decisions are required to give effect to under the existing National Classification Code might usefully be reviewed in future against the principles discussed in Chapter 4.
Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 (Cth) s 12(1).
Adultshop.Com Ltd v Members of the Classification Review Board (2007) 243 ALR 752, 765 .
Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 (Cth) s 9. The Classification Board must take these matters into account, or ‘have regard’ to them; they are not criteria or standards: See Adultshop.Com Ltd v Members of the Classification Review Board (2008) 169 FCR 31, ,.