Evidence presented at this week’s Senate Estimates hearings demonstrate that the National Classification Scheme is incapable of preventing unclassified pornography from becoming easily available for sale in stores across Australia.

On Monday, under questioning from Tasmanian Liberal Senator Guy Barnett, Director of the Classification Board Donald McDonald again outlined how call in notices for the vast majority of adult films and publications are simply ignored by distributors.

The Classification Board issues call in notices for adult publications and films that should be classified, but according to the Classification Board’s Annual Report for 2009/10, of the 49 publications called in for classification, not one response was received.

Mr McDonald also revealed that ‘just a handful of films’ were compliant with call in notices, despite 444 such notices being issued in 2009/10.

Further highlighting the failure of the classification system to filter out inappropriate content, an officer of the Attorney-General’s Department said that once a distributor is referred to law enforcement agencies, “they are under no obligation under the scheme to provide us with any information about what they then do with that information”.

It seems that under our flawed classification system decisions are made but never followed up, allowing distributors of adult material to easily flaunt the rules without fear of recrimination.

To read the relevant Senate Estimates transcript, click here. A related media release issued by Senator Barnett is available here.

Meanwhile the NSW Labor Government, along with the Coalition and Christian Independents in the Upper House, are to be congratulated for passing a bill to crack down on the sale of illegal pornography in the state.

The bill forces sellers of pornography to pay fees to have their material formally classified when police take a prosecution against them.