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CLASSIFICATION (PUBLICATIONS, FILMS AND COMPUTER GAMES) REGULATIONS 1995 NO. 401EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
STATUTORY RULES 1995 No. 401
Issued by the authority of the Attorney-General
Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995
Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Regulations
The Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 (the Act) is the Commonwealth's contribution to a new Commonwealth, State and Territory cooperative scheme for the classification of publications, films and computer games.
The Act establishes the Classification Board (the Board) and the Classification Review Board (the Review Board) and sets out procedures for classification. Under the new scheme it is proposed that State and Territory legislation will adopt, in enforcement laws, classification decisions made under the Act. It is the State and Territory legislation that determines what the consequences are in each jurisdiction of the classification decisions made under the Act. For example, it is State and Territory legislation that makes it an offence to allow a film classified W under the Act to be exhibited to a person under 18.
Section 93 of the Act provides, amongst other matters, that the Governor-General may make regulations prescribing matters required or permitted by the Act to be prescribed.
The purpose of the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Regulations is to prescribe fees for applications made under the Act where provision is so made under the Act.
The Act, other than sections 1 and 2, is scheduled to be commenced on 1 January 1996. Under regulation 2 of the Regulations the Regulations will commence on the date of commencement of the remaining provisions of the Act.
The Act provides for applications to be made to the Board by any person for the classification of publications, films and computer games.
The Board is also empowered, under the Act, to approve advertising for publications, films and computer games and to issue exemption certificates to enable unclassified films to be advertised prior to classification. Under the Act, the Director of the Board is empowered to issue evidentiary certificates, for example, as to the classification accorded to a particular film, which may be used in prosecution for offences under State and Territory legislation.
The Act also provides for an application to be made to the Review Board to review decisions made by the Board.
For all these functions performed by the Board, the Director of the Board and the Review Board, the Act requires that an application be accompanied by the prescribed fee. The Regulations prescribe fees for this purpose.
In recognition of the important role State and Territory enforcement legislation plays in the new co-operative scheme the Regulations provide for each State and Territory to receive, in any one year, 100 free applications by that State or Territory for classification of a publication, film or computer game or for an evidentiary certificate about action taken under the Act required for the purposes of prosecutions under State and Territory legislation. Under State and Territory legislation a prosecution for an offence for selling, for example, an unclassified film, cannot be brought until the film is classified. Where the offence relates to breaching a condition applying to a particular classification, for example, not hiring an 'R' classified film to a minor, an evidentiary certificate relating to the classification of that film may be required for the prosecution of the offence.
Where the number of free applications or certificates is exceeded in a particular year by a State or Territory, the Regulations also provide for applications by that State or Territory for the remainder of the year for classification of a publication, film or computer game, for the purposes of a prosecution, to be at half the prescribed fee.
Details of the Regulations are set out in the attachment.
Details of the Regulations are as follows.
Regulation 1 provides that the Regulations may be cited as the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Regulations.
Regulation 2 provides that the Regulations commence on the date of commencement of the remainder of the provisions of the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 (the Act).
Regulation 3 provides that in these Regulations "Act" means the Act and "State or Territory" includes, an authority of a State or Territory.
Regulations 4, 5 and 6 prescribe fees for the classification of categories of publications, films and computer games respectively for the purposes of section 13, section 14 and section 17 of the Act.
Regulation 7 prescribes a fee for a copy of a classification certificate for the purposes of section 27 of the Act.
Regulation 8 prescribes fees for the approval of categories of advertisement for the purposes of section 29 of the Act.
Regulation 9 prescribes a fee for application for a certificate of exemption to advertise an eligible film for the purposes of section 32 of the Act.
Regulation 10 prescribes fees for review of a decision made by the Classification Board relating to: classification of a publication, a film or a computer game; approval or refusal to approve an advertisement for a publication, a film or a computer game or the imposition of conditions upon such an approval; granting a certificate of exemption for a film and declining to deal with or to deal further with an application under the Act.
Regulation 11 prescribes fees for issue of a certificate under section 87 of the Act which deals with evidentiary certificates and provides that the Director of the Classification Board may issue a certificate about action taken under the Act.
Regulation 12(1) defines "eligible document" and "year" for the purposes of Regulation 12.
Regulation 12(2) provides that, in any year, fees prescribed in Regulations 4, 5, 6, 7 and 11 will not be payable for the first 100 classifications or certificates requested by a State or Territory in relation to the enforcement of a law of the State or Territory for the purposes of the cooperative scheme referred to in section 3 of the Act.
Regulation 12(3) provides that in relation to any additional applications from a State or Territory for the classification of a publication, film or computer game within any year in which 100 classifications or certificates have been issued to the State or Territory, relevant fees prescribed in Regulations 4, 5 and 6 will be reduced by 50%.