ACL has joined fellow pro-family group Family Voice Australia, and Liberal senators Julian McGauran and Guy Barnett, in a Federal Court appeal against the release of the disturbing 1975 film Salo. The film had previously been refused classification on six separate occasions, the most recent in 2008.
Salo, which depicts the kidnap, torture and sexual abuse of minors by a group of four Fascists in Mussolini's Italy, was recently approved for DVD sale in Australia accompanied by two hours of additional material, which is meant to place the film within its broader historical and cinematic ‘context’.
In recent Senate Estimates hearings, chairman of the Classification Board Donald McDonald admitted that the Board had no evidence people would actually watch the contextual material, which formed the basis of the decision to approve the DVD’s release.
Mr McDonald also confessed that, “Simulated paedophilia could be acceptable in the context of a particular film”. He further admitted the film contained “depictions of paedophilia”, contradicting his classifiers, who had argued otherwise. Clearly the Classification Board have erred in allowing the sale of Salo – if paedophilia doesn’t overstep the boundaries, do any boundaries actually exist? ACL has called for an overhaul of classification laws to restore the public's trust in the system.
Senator McGauran and FamilyVoice Australia issued separate media releases. For media coverage of the Federal Court appeal, please click here and here.