Senator Conroy says awarding him the title of Internet Villain of the Year is misguided and that the people have been mislead into what the Government is doing in terms of filtering the Internet. However, in doing so the Minister for Communications has shown he is either deliberately misleading the public about the type of content that will be banned or he has no understanding of classification systems in Australia.

Fairfax reports on what he told journalists Tuesday (my emphasis):

“Unfortunately most people have been misled as to what the government is actually doing,” he [Senator Conroy] said.

“We have identified that this is sites like pro-rape sites, bestiality sites, and child pornography promotion sites.

“We’ve said it is confined to that.

“If people have a problem with blocking that material, well, I’m going to disagree with them.”

[...]

“A lot of the myths about what we are trying to do have been perpetrated quite deliberately to mislead and inflame the debate,” he said.

“This is an act of parliament. This is the Broadcast Services Act that defines what refused classification is.

“There is no capacity to include political material.”

Actually Senator, the Broadcast Services Act defines what is prohibited content. Classifications such as refused classification are based on criteria outlined in the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995, National Classification Code and the Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games 2005.

And the type of content you intend to ban isn’t confined to sites like those you mentioned. Refused classification is an extremely broad classification category which includes material surrounded by political debate like The Peaceful Pill Handbook. Movies like Ken Park and adult pornography with fetishes like spanking are also RC. Even content that depicts or deals with drug misuse and addiction can end up being classified RC.

Here’s the criteria from the National Classification Code for determining if a film is RC:

Films that:

  • depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified; or
  • describe or depict in a way that is likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult, a person who is, or appears to be , a child under 18 (whether the person is engaged in sexual activity or not); or
  • promote, incite or instruct in matters of crime or violence

Unless the content is illegal under other criminal codes, such as child abuse, RC content is legal to possess and view in Australia (with the exception of Western Australia and some indigenous communities in the Northern Territory).

Deliberately misleading or no understanding? Flip a coin.