For release: June 24, 2011

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) is heartened to see bi-partisan recognition of the problems around the National Classification Scheme with the recommendations from a Senate committee report released late yesterday.

ACL chief of staff Lyle Shelton said the Review of the National Classification Scheme: achieving the right balance[i] acknowledged problems such as the sexualisation of society and objectification of women.

“This is important recognition from the both sides of politics in acknowledging the influence media has on society and how the classification system is failing to protect children,” he said.

“Children shouldn’t be bombarded with overtly sexual and violent messages through film, games and music videos and women shouldn’t be told their value comes through their appearance.

“The recommendation to keep restricted content and R18+ films out of children’s reach and to ban X18+ films is a positive for children,” he said.

The Standing Committee of Attorney Generals’ meeting in July should hold off making any recommendations about letting violent video games in to Australia until after the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) review on reforming the classification system is completed early next year, Mr Shelton said.

ACL welcomed the Senate’s recommendation to prioritise enforcement action for failing to respond to call-in notices, as a way to make the pornography industry respond to community concerns about a lack of self-regulation.

“The porn trade continues to ignore call-in notices to explain potentially illegal pornography and it’s good to see parliament recognise the importance of securing proper policing of harmful material,” he said.

“All of the Senate’s recommendations will be beneficial to the ALRC review of the classification system which the ACL hopes will restore confidence in the classification system’s ability to protect children,” he said.