media release

May 7, 2010


Film degrading minors sparks call for review of classification system

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has called on the Federal Government to conduct an urgent review of the classification system following a review board’s decision to clear for release the controversial Salo film.

“In rebuffing the Minister, who clearly had concerns with the initial decision, the board has thrown out its own rules which prohibit the sexual degradation of minors,” ACL National Chief of Staff Lyle Shelton said today.

“How can any Australian have confidence in the national classification guidelines anymore?

“The Government in conjunction with the States should either rewrite the guidelines or it should act to ensure that the boards it appoints follow the rules.”

Mr Shelton said the Classification Review Board’s decision to clear for DVD release a sadistic and graphic film about the sexual abuse and degradation of teenagers makes a mockery of Australia’s classification system.

“The decision to classify the DVD of the film Salo as R18+ clearly breaches Australia’s classification guidelines and is completely out of touch with community standards.

“Even fans of this film say it is sadistic and full of unspeakable misery and sexual depravity. But far worse than that, this depravity and abuse is inflicted on captive teenagers who are apparently depicted as being under the age of 18,” Mr Shelton said.

“At a time when child sexual abuse is reaching alarming levels, what kind of justifiable reason can there be for permitting a film about young people being raped and tortured to go legally on sale in Australia? Adding three hours of additional ‘context’ material people can easily skip through is a ridiculously inadequate excuse.”

Mr Shelton said the Classification Board and the Classification Review Board have a responsibility to protect the community from this kind of abhorrent material.

“The classification guidelines are weak enough, but for the Classification Board and its review body to both disregard the guidelines in approving this film is reprehensible and shows how ineffectual the classification system has become.”