Changing Australia's classification system

We’ve had our say about our classification system, back in early 2020.

We are still waiting for change.

The federal government called for submissions to its Review of the national classification regulation scheme by Feb 19 2020.

In essence the review looked at how films and games are classified (ie the effectiveness of the categories such as G, PG, M, MA15+, R 18+  and whether they needed to be changed).

It's also looked at how films and games are classified and by whom. (ie should the classification of these items be done by Classification Board or by industry assessors using an online process).

The ways in which films and games are promoted and advertised was also up for review.

Here’s important issues put by CMA:

1) The present categories need to be replaced by a research and age-based classification system. Read more here

CMA’s 2019 parent survey showed big support for this.

2) The ways that forthcoming films are advertised needs to change to stop scaring children, and misleading parents.

Read more here

And here

A related issue is when the trailers of films “yet to be classified” should be allowed to be shown – too often it’s with features of lower classification.

3) The move to online classification seems inevitable given the volume of material being produced. This won’t work well for children unless such a system incorporates something similar to Netherlands Kijkwijzer system which was designed for such implementation, and importantly, uses research- and age-based classification categories.

The Government needs to be encouraged to be bold enough to introduce a new classification system that does what it’s meant to do: give parents reliable, evidence-based information, and provide effective protection for children.

The ball is in the court of the federal Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland.