Refused Classification has an interesting snippet from Senate Estimates held May 27. In regards to the ‘emergency’ ban on pornography in certain areas of the Northern Territory, Labor Senator Trish Crossin asked whether expanding the ban to include all of the NT and the ACT had been discussed. Classification Board Director, Donald McDonald, and Assistant Secretary of Office of Legal Services Coordination, Janette Davis, are present:
T Crossin – …That is not the matter I want to go to. What I want to ask is: given the fact that the Northern Territory intervention is now nearly nine months on, has either of the boards been involved in any discussions about banning the sale of this material in the Northern Territory?
D McDonald – That would not be a matter for the Classification Board, Senator. That also would be a matter for governments in either jurisdiction.
T Crossin – Ms Davies, can I ask you if that has been a matter for your area?
J Davies – Yes, it has.
T Crossin – To what extent?
J Davies – The amendments that were made last year to the Classification Act which prohibit the supply or possession of certain high-level material, including X18+ films in prescribed areas in the Northern Territory. We had input to those amendments, clearly.
T Crossin – That is true, but I understand you can still purchase this kind of material in Darwin, for example.
J Davies – Yes. It is still legal to sell that material in areas of the Northern Territory, other than the prescribed areas of the Northern Territory.
T Crossin – Yes. Has there been any discussion with you or the department about banning the sale of the material right across the Northern Territory?
J Davies – I am not aware of any discussions.
T Crossin – Who would set predominant legislative requirements for that? Would it be at the territory or federal level at this stage?
J Davies – In general, the legislation dealing with any restrictions on the sale, et cetera, of material at different levels is in state and territory legislation.
T Crossin – Has anything been raised at the SCAG meetings about looking at the availability and the sale of this material across areas such as the ACT and the Northern Territory?
J Davies – No.
T Crossin – So X18+ has not been raised as an issue at all, despite the focus on the objectives of the intervention in the Northern Territory?
J Davies – It may have been touched on in general discussion, but it is certainly not an item that is under consideration.
Trish Crossin was a supporter of the crackdown on pornography in Aboriginal communities.
Also of interest is this (said earlier in the discussion):
J Davies – In general, the prohibitions that relate to X18+ material in the states relate to the sale or display of that material, not to possession. There may be some offences relating to possession in the presence of a minor, but in general it is not unlawful to possess that material in the states; it is unlawful to sell it.
M Shelley – Could I add a clarifying remark, Chair?
T Crossin – Yes, Ms Shelley.
M Shelley – It is illegal to possess it in Queensland, but not in the other states. Queensland is different.
Show me otherwise, but isn’t possession of an X18+ (or objectionable) film only against the law in QLD when you posses it for the purpose of sale or for the purpose of exhibition in a public place? QLD CLASSIFICATION OF FILMS ACT 1991 – SECT 41.
Western Australia’s Classification Act is similar, but it specifically says a person must not possess an unclassified film that would be classified RC, or a film classified RC.