Protest against Censorship

 

"I'm not aware that we've had too many complaints about any tightening of the system."
"I mean, we'll all carry on about these things in the pub, but we won't necessarily write letters to the local member."

Richard Alston, Former Minister for Communications, on the tightening of the X18+ rating.
ABC Four Corners: Deliver us from Evil, May 5, 2000.

 

NSW Police prevent the film KEN PARK from screening in 2003

 

This picture was taken at Balmain Town Hall in Sydney on July 3rd 2003. NSW Police are shown preventing KEN PARK (2002) from being screened.

Do situations like this make you angry?

Then read on, and do something about it!

 

 

How to contact an Australian Politician

This page has information on how to contact your local State Members.

For the Federal Parliament, go to the Parliament of Australia website.

Many of the Religious Right groups have excellent up to date resources on their sites that allow you to contact politicians. There is nothing preventing you from using these for anti-censorship complaints.

Electronic Frontiers Australia has a great page of tips on how to get a politicians' attention.

 

 

Contact the Classification and Review Board

Post: Locked Bag 3, Haymarket, New South Wales, 1240
Fax: (02) 9289 7101
Email: enquiries@classification.gov.au
Telephone: (02) 9289 7100

 

 

Why you should complain

The simple fact is that the Religious Right does, and it works for them.
Their voice is heard because they know how to use the political process.

Here are just a few examples.

 

Steve Cannane's Sydney Morning Herald article shows how a small group of Queensland Christians changed music classification in Australia.

A lone voice in the wilderness is calling the censorship tune
smh.com.au, March 1, 2004

 

 

Pressure from Religious groups forced the OFLC to add warnings of 'Supernatural Themes' to films such as E.T and HARRY POTTER.

Note that THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST was not required to carry such a warning.

Other-worldly fears hit the silver screen
smh.com.au, March 22, 2002

 

 

Peter Johnson's article looks at the campaign by the Religious Right that led to the banning of BAISE-MOI.
Take note of his conclusions.

The Religious Right and Baise-Moi
libertus.net, March 24, 2004

 

 

Be aware that the attempted screening of KEN PARK at Balmain Town Hall in July 2003 would have taken place had it not been for one complaint from Fred Nile!

This was despite the event being given saturation media coverage. Five hundred people attended, and countless others were turned away.

No one, apart from Nile cared.

Following his success, he issued a gloating media release titled "The Power of One – Fred Nile strikes again"

 

 

This quote from Richard Alston, the former Minister for Communications, is worth repeating as it says it all.

In 2000, the X18+ guidelines were made more restrictive following lobbying by Senator Brian Harradine. Richard Alston had this to say.

"I'm not aware that we've had too many complaints about any tightening of the system."
"I mean, we'll all carry on about these things in the pub, but we won't necessarily write letters to the local member."

ABC Four Corners: Deliver us from Evil , May 5, 2000.

 

 

It may make you feel better to complain in the echo chamber of your favourite forum. However, do not kid yourself that it will make a difference. Consider directing your anger at someone with the power to change things.

Do not let the morals groups speak for you.

 

 

Religious and political interference with the Australian Classification system

This is a list of the recent cases where Christians and Politicians have challenged ratings.

 

2013

Rampage (2009)

ORIGINAL RATING: September 2009 - MA15+ (Strong Violence).

COMPLAINT MADE BY: Unknown.

COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: SA Attorney General John Rau.

RESULT: December 2013 - Confirmed as MA15+ (Strong Violence) by Classification Review Board.

 

 

2011

The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence (2011)

ORIGINAL RATING: May 2011 - R18+ (High impact themes, violence and sexual violence) by Classification Board.

COMPLAINT MADE BY: Family Voice Australia, Collective Shout, Australian Family Association.

COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: NSW Attorney General Greg Smith and Federal Minister for Justice Brendan O’Connor.

RESULT: November 2011 - Banned by Classification Review Board.

 

 

A Serbian Film (2010)

ORIGINAL RATING: April 2011 - R18+ (High impact sexual violence, Sex scenes and violence).

COMPLAINT MADE BY: Collective Shout.

COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: SA Attorney General John Rau and Federal Minister for Justice Brendan O’Connor.

RESULT: September 2011 - Banned by Classification Review Board.

 

 

We Dare: Filthy Fun For All (2010)

ORIGINAL RATING: September 2010 - PG (Mild sexual references).

COMPLAINT MADE BY: Collective Shout.

COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Federal Minister for Justice Brendan O’Connor.

RESULT: June 2011 - Confirmed as PG (Mild sexual references) by Classification Review Board.

 

 

Dead or Alive: Dimensions (2011)

ORIGINAL RATING: February 2011 - PG (Mild violence and sexualised gameplay).

COMPLAINT MADE BY: Unknown.

COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Federal Minister for Justice Brendan O’Connor.

RESULT: June 2011 - PG (Mild sexual references) rating revoked by Classification Board. Resubmitted to Classification Board and re-rated M (Content may change online.; Violence and sexualised gameplay).

 

 

2010

Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)

ORIGINAL RATING: April 2010 - R18+ (Scenes of torture and degradation, sexual violence and nudity).

COMPLAINT MADE BY: Family Voice Australia, Australian Family Association, Australian Christian Lobby, Senator Julian McGauran, and Senator Guy Barnett.

COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Federal Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor.

RESULT: May 2010 - Confirmed as R18+ (Scenes of torture and degradation, sexual violence and nudity) by Classification Review Board.

COMPLAINT MADE BY: Family Voice Australia in the Federal Court in March 2011.

RESULT: August 2011 - Complaint dismissed, and Family Voice Australia ordered to pay costs.

 

 

2008

Bondage Mansion (2001)

ORIGINAL RATING: April 2008 - R18+ (High level animated sex scenes and themes).

COMPLAINT MADE BY: Catholic Pilgrims attending Sydney’s World Youth Day, and the Australian Family Association.

COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Bob Debus, Minister for Home Affairs.

RESULT: August 2008 - Confirmed as R18+ (High level animated sex scenes and themes) by Classification Review Board.

 

 

Classes in Seduction (2004)

ORIGINAL RATING: May 2007 - R18+ (High level animated sex scenes).

COMPLAINT MADE BY: Catholic Pilgrims attending Sydney’s World Youth Day, and the Australian Family Association.

COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Bob Debus, Minister for Home Affairs.

RESULT: August 2008 - Confirmed as R18+ (High level animated sex scenes) by Classification Review Board.

 

 

Holy Virgins (2001)

ORIGINAL RATING: March 2008 - R18+ (High level animated sex scenes).

COMPLAINT MADE BY: Catholic Pilgrims attending Sydney’s World Youth Day, and the Australian Family Association.

COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Bob Debus, Minister for Home Affair.

RESULT: August 2008 -  Banned by Classification Review Board.

 

 

T&A Teacher (2004)

ORIGINAL RATING: February 2008 - R18+ (High level animated sex scenes, Violence) 

COMPLAINT MADE BY: Catholic Pilgrims attending Sydney’s World Youth Day, and the Australian Family Association.

COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Bob Debus, Minister for Home Affair.

RESULT: August 2008 - Confirmed as R18+ by Classification Review Board. Consumer advice changed to 'High level animated sex scenes and sexualised violence'.

 

 

2006

Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure (2006)

ORIGINAL RATING: November 2005 - MA15+ (Strong violence, Strong themes).

COMPLAINT MADE BY: Local Government Association of Queensland, and Western Australian Local Government Association.

COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock

RESULT: February 2006 - Banned by the by the Classification Review Board.

 

 

2005

The Brown Bunny (2003)

ORIGINAL RATING: July 2005 - R18+ (Sexual activity, High level themes).

COMPLAINT MADE BY: Dennis Hood of the South Australian Family First Party.

RESULT: South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson declined to push the issue further. He said it was "...too late to reclassify".

 

 

9 Songs (2004)

ORIGINAL RATING: January 2005 - R18+ (Actual sex, High-level sex scenes) by the Classification Review Board.

COMPLAINT MADE BY: The Festival of Light, Senator Brian Harradine, Senator Julian McGaurin, South Australian Liberal MP Robert Lawson, Labor MP John Murphy.

COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson.

RESULT: August 2005 - South Australian Classification Council changed the rating to X18+ (Explicit sex).

 

 

Mysterious Skin (2005)

ORIGINAL RATING: April 2005 - R18+ (Adult themes, Strong sexual violence, Medium level sex scenes).

COMPLAINT MADE BY: Australian Family Association and the Festival of Light.

RESULT: The Director of the OFLC refused to give them a fee waiver to appeal the decision.

COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson.

RESULT: August 2005 - Confirmed as R18+ by Classification Review Board. Consumer advice changed to 'High level child sexual abuse themes, High level sexual violence, Paedophile themes'.

COMPLAINT MADE BY: The Festival of Light.

RESULT: August 2005 - South Australian Classification Council confirmed the R18+ (High level sexual abuse themes, High level sexual violence, Paedophile themes) rating.

 

 

2004

Irreversible (2002)

ORIGINAL RATING: November 2003 - R18+ (Strong sexual violence, Graphic violence, Sexual activity).

COMPLAINT MADE BY: Rev. Fred Nile of the Christian Democrat Party and the Australian Family Association.

RESULT: March 2004 - Classification Review Board decided that the Australian Family Association’s application was out of time.

COMPLAINT MADE BY: Australian Family Association and Senator Brian Harradine.

COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Phillip Ruddock, Commonwealth Attorney-General and South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson.

RESULT: June 2004 - Confirmed as R18+ by Classification Review Board. Consumer advice changed to 'High level sexual violence, Graphic violence, Sexual activity'.

COMPLAINT MADE BY: Australian Family Association against DVD release. Result: Australian Family Association withdrew application after a fee waiver was refused.

 

 

Anatomy of Hell (2004)

ORIGINAL RATING: May 2004 - R18+ (Strong themes, Sexual activity, High level sex scenes).

COMPLAINT MADE BY: Australian Family Association.

COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson.

RESULT: July 2004 - Confirmed as R18+ by Classification Review Board. Consumer advice changed to 'Actual sex, High level Sex scenes, High level themes'.

 

 

Birth (2004)

ORIGINAL RATING: September 2004 - MA15+ (Adult themes, Medium level sex scene).

COMPLAINT MADE BY: Australian Family Association.

RESULT: Des Clark, the Director of the OFLC refused to give them a fee waiver to appeal the decision.

COMPLAINT MADE BY: South Australian Liberal MP Robert Lawson, Queensland National MP Kevin Lingard, South Australian Family First MP Andrew Evans, Queensland Liberal MP Elizabeth Cunningham.

COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Unknown.

RESULT: South Australian Classification Council confirmed the MA15+ (Adult themes, Medium level sex scene) rating.

 

 

I Spit On Your Grave (1978)

ORIGINAL RATING: June 2004 - R18+ (Strong sexual violence).

COMPLAINT MADE BY: Unknown.

COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson.

RESULT: October 2004 - South Australian Classification Council confirmed the R18+ (Strong sexual violence) rating.

 

 

Manhunt (2003)

ORIGINAL RATING: October 2003 - MA15+ (Medium level animated violence).

COMPLAINT MADE BY: Young Media Australia, West Australian Liberal’s Colin Barnett and Barbara Scott.

COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: West Australia's Justice Minister Michelle Roberts and Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock.

RESULT: September 2004 - Banned by the by the Classification Review Board.

 

 

2003

Ken Park (2002)

ORIGINAL RATING: May 2003 - Banned by Classification Board. Protest screening organised at Balmain Town Hall.

COMPLAINT MADE BY: Rev. Fred Nile of the Christian Democrat Party.

COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: NSW Police

RESULT: July 2003 - NSW Police shut down protest screening at Balmain Town Hall.

 

 

2002

Hannibal (2001)

ORIGINAL RATING: February 2001 - MA15+ (High level violence).

COMPLAINT MADE BY: Rev. Fred Nile of the Christian Democrat Party, Australian Council of State School Organisations, and Liberal MP Trish Draper.

COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Queensland Attorney General, Judy Spence.

RESULT: February 2001 - Increased to R18+ (High Impact Violence) by the Classification Review Board.

 

 

Baise-moi (2000)

ORIGINAL RATING: October 2001 - R18+ (Strong sexual violence, High level violence, Actual sex and Adult themes).

COMPLAINT MADE BY: Rev. Fred Nile of the Christian Democrat Party, the Festival of Light, Senator Brian Harradine, National MP De-Anne Kelly, Liberal MP Trish Draper.

COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Federal Attorney-General, Daryl Williams.

RESULT: May 2002 - Banned by Classification Review Board.

 

 

1999

Lolita (1997)

ORIGINAL RATING: March 1999 - R18+ (Adult themes, Medium level violence).

COMPLAINT MADE BY: Helping All Little Ones (HALO), Individual on behalf of Child Protection Connection, Adult Survivors of Sexual Child Abuse.

RESULT: April 1999 - Classification Review Board refused to deal with the groups, as it did not consider them 'person aggrieved'. The Howard Government then changed the definition of 'persons aggrieved' to allow groups such as HALO to challenge future ratings.

 

 

1996

Ninja Scroll (1993)

ORIGINAL RATING: March 1995 - MA15+ (Medium level violence).

COMPLAINT MADE BY: Unknown.

COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Federal Attorney General.

RESULT: July 1996 - Increased to R18+ (Medium level sex scenes) by the Classification Review Board.

 

 

1993

Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)

ORIGINAL RATING: January 1993 - R18+ (Disturbing adult concepts and high level violence and sex).

COMPLAINT MADE BY: Senator Julian McGauran, Rev. Fred Nile of the Christian Democrat Party. West Australian Liberal MP, P.A. Filing, NSW Liberal Senator, John Tierney, Senator Brian Harradine, Liberal Senator, H.G.P Chapman, Liberal MP, Trish Draper.

COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: South Australian Attorney-General, Trevor Griffin and the Queensland Attorney General.

RESULT: February 1994 - Banned in South Australia. February 1998 - Banned by Classification Review Board.

 

 

1988

The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

ORIGINAL RATING: October 1988 - R-rating changed to M-rating by Classification Review Board.

COMPLAINT MADE BY: Various Christian groups.

RESULT: Banned in Queensland. Original R-rating retained in West Australia and the Northern Territory.

 

 

1986

Hail Mary (1985)

ORIGINAL RATING: April 1986 - R-rated.

COMPLAINT MADE BY: Rev. Walter Ogle and Rev. John O'Neill.

RESULT: August 1986 - Initiated action in the Federal Court of Australia. This failed, so they sought to revive it early in 1988, but this was withdrawn when they learned that the print of the film had been destroyed at the direction of the importer.