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Australia Censorship News

2013: July-Sept

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Update: Still Living in a Pac-Man World...

South Australian Attorney-General has a whinge at MA15+ rated games

Link Here20th September 2013
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games
Children are being exposed to sex and violence in video games which should carry adult classifications, outraging Attorney-General John Rau.

Rau said 13 video games released this year were rated MA15+ but carried a higher age rating in Europe and the US. [Perhaps he is referring to the equivalent 16 rating in Europe and 17 (M) rating in the US]

These particular games have been assessed as having intense violence, blood and gore, nudity and suggestive themes.

I am asking the new Commonwealth Attorney-General to have a look at the way the Australian Classification Board is assessing these games and assure the community that the rules are being applied appropriately.

Rau said he would prefer not to use the South Australian Classification Council to review the games and up their classification in the state even though he has the power:

The preferable position is to do it nationally because ... if other states had a completely different regime to ours not only would it be confusing for retailers but it would also mean there's an opportunity for people to buy online and interstate and have things posted to here.



Victorian Prudes...

A Melbourne council censors noted erotic photography book from shop window

Link Here13th September 2013
Council staff have deemed a famous photograph by a well-known photographer too offensive to be displayed in a Melbourne bookshop window.

The $9500 book caused quite a stir about its front cover featuring an athletic naked woman photographed by deceased photographer Helmut Newton.

The Stonnington Council in Melbourne banned the book from its prized position in a bookshop window. The council issued a statement claiming:

After receiving a complaint from a resident...council officers followed up and asked - given the resident's concern - the shop owner to remove it from the window.

Bookshop owner Douglas Stewart is offended at the position he's been put in, revealing that the book is an original copy of Newton's work.

I was absolutely surprised and a little bewildered. We deal in rare and beautiful books specialising in fine art books.



Hopefully She Won't be Taken Seriously...

Politician threatens Australian free speech and the right to lampoon politicians

Link Here12th September 2013
The disgraceful Australian Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young claims that ZOO magazine made her look incompetent and immature when they photoshopped her head onto the body of a lingerie clad model.

Hanson-Young is suing the magazine on several grounds over the photo and article entitled ZOO's Asylum Seeker Bikini Plan , published in July 2012.

But NSW Supreme Court Justice Lucy McCallum struck out several of her arguments, saying she did not believe the photo made the senator look incompetent or immature. Justice McCallum, however, granted Senator Hanson-Young leave to argue her case in front of a jury at a later date.

The magazine had said it would house the next boatload of asylum seekers in the ZOO office , if the Greens' immigration spokeswoman would agree to a tasteful bikini or lingerie photo shoot.

Senator Hanson-Young claims the magazine gave rise to several imputations, including that she is not a politician to be taken seriously and that her pro-asylum seeker stance is ridiculous .



All Day Children's Hour...

Australian commercial TV calls for an end to the TV watershed citing unfair competition from the internet and pay TV

Link Here10th September 2013

Free TV is an industry body which represents all of Australia's commercial free-to-air television licensees. The body has now made a call to scrap the TV watershed citing that it gives an unfair advantage to competing internet TV.

In a submission to the Australian Communication and Media Authority, Free TV Australia says the restrictions on what can be shown during children's viewing hours have become irrelevant with adult material available to any home at any time through the internet or pay TV.

It has called for the removal on time zone restrictions which it says are out-dated and put free-to-air broadcasters at a disadvantage.

Free TV Australia says while the protection of children remains an enduring concept, there are now more effective tools to protect children, including parental locks.

But the South Australian Attorney-General John Rau says any change to the times when adult material can be screened would be:

Well out of line with community expectations. As a parent, I would be appalled if my children were exposed to programming that displayed

I believe it is unrealistic to expect parents to monitor every single program that their children watch on television, particularly during school holidays.



Opting in to Confusion...

Australia's Coalition stutteringly announce website censorship policy in run up to election

Link Here6th September 2013
Australia's Coalition has made a couple of last minute changes of mind about its internet censorship policy.

Under a last-minute plan, which was not accompanied by any press release or announcement, Australian mobile phone and ISPs would be required to censor adult content on the internet unless users opt out.

But by Thursday evening, the Coalition's communications spokesman, Malcolm Turnbull, announced the policy had been changed so that users would opt in if they wanted websites to be blocked.

Coalition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull said:

All I can say to you is mistakes happen. As soon as I became aware of the policy having been released in the form it was I took steps to correct it.

The opting in to website blocking policy had received the tick of approval from Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and other senior Liberals before being released, but was apparently misunderstood by those who first presented the policy.



Updated: Political Advert Put Down...

Australian TV in a tangle about a political election campaign advert advocating legal suicide when advocating suicide is currently against the law

Link Here5th September 2013

Update: Australian Sex Party Campaign Advert

5th September 2013. See  article from

The Australian Sex Party has come up with an amusing political advert joking that Australians like sex but they don't like getting fucked. They are fucked by being denied gay marriage, legal euthanasia, sex education and freedom to take drugs

See video from YouTube



Banned for the Sake of Unsexy People...

Australia's advert censor has a whinge at gentlemen's club poster featuring a low cut dress

Link Here4th September 2013

The Australia's advert censor has upheld a complaint against an outdoor ad for a Townsville strip bar featuring a buxom woman in a low cut top. The poster for the Santa Fe Gold nightclub features the woman with the message I'm waiting. xxx .

One complaint to the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) claimed:

This ad is completely degrading to women, showing a large cleavage and implying she is available to be oggled.

The majority of the Board considered that in connection with the text 'I'm waiting', the sexual nature of the business and the sexualised image of the woman, the advertisement presented the woman in a manner that was subservient and degrading.

The Board noted that the advertisement is above a car park which is used by patrons to family restaurants and entertainment centres and so it is likely to be viewed by a broad audience which would include children.

The Board noted that the woman was wearing a bra or low cut top. The Board agreed that the neckline was very low and that the nipple of the woman's left breast was seemingly exposed. The Board agreed that although it is difficult to determine exactly whether the nipple is visible, the first, likely impression and perception is that there is an exposed nipple and that the position of her breast would suggest that that is where the nipple would appear anatomically. The Board considered that the low cut top exposed the majority of the woman's breasts in a sexually suggestive manner.



PC O-Words, Offence, Outrage and Orient...

Australian video game causes o-word and o-word with its title Whore of the O-Word

Link Here3rd September 2013
Whore of the Orient , a new computer game from the developer of L A Noire , is being harangued for not having a politically correct title.

A prominent member of the Australian-Chinese community is whingeing that the game is supposedly an attempt to disgrace Chinese culture, history and traditions .

Jieh-Yung Lo has vowed to take his complaint to the Human Rights Commission on grounds of supposed racial vilification:

Australian institutions should be encouraged to fund projects and initiatives that cultivate mutual understanding and prosperity in the Australia-China relationship. We need to build greater trust and cultural understanding rather than promote division and negativity.

It seems that Whore of the Orient is an historical nickname for the city of Shanghai. The game is set in 1936 in a city described in promotional material as the most corrupt and decadent city on the planet, where anything can be had or done for the right price .

Lo explained:

It's the use of the word 'Orient', more even than the word 'whore', that is the issue. The O-word is very similar to the N-word for African-American communities. It's a 19th century racial-colonial conception and it's especially painful for older people in the communities. That was a very bad time in China, and people don't want or need to have that dragged up.



Updated: Re-fucked...

Australian Censorship Board re-bans Baise-Moi for home video

Link Here18th August 2013
Full story: Banned Films in Australia...I Want Your Love
Baise-moi is a 2000 France crime drama by Virginie Despentes and Coralie.
With Raffaëla Anderson, Karen Lancaume, Céline Beugnot. YouTube iconBBFC link IMDb

The Australian Censorship Board has just re-banned Baise-Moi.

The film played in Australian cinemas with an R18+ (18) rating but the real sex coupled with rape made it very controversial. The government stepped in and requested that the film be banned on home video. The resulting ban has persisted from 2002 to the present day.

Now Potential Films have just resubmitted the film for home video hoping that time has healed whatever ailed the censors. But to no avail, the film censors reaffirmed their ban.

Uncut in the UK

UK: Passed 18 uncut for sexual violence, real sex and very strong language with previous BBFC cuts waived for:

However the 2001 cinema release was cut by 10s and 2002 DVDs were cut by 12s. The DVD cuts were:

Cuts required to two sequences of sexual violence involving strong sexual imagery:

  • explicit close up of sexual penetration of woman during rape scene
  • sight of gun being pressed into man's anus prior to being fired

See also: Melon Farmers film cuts details for Baise-Moi

Update: Reasons for the Ban

18th August 2013. See  article from

See  article from . Note that the version banned by the censors in 2013 was a pre-cut version with the sight of penetration deleted from the rape scene. The Film Censorship Board explained its majority decision to ban the video:

In summary, as this film contains depictions of explicit sexual activity and sexual violence, sexualized violence and violence which are very high in impact and, as such, exceeds what can be accommodated within the R 18+ classification, and, as the film also contains violence, sexual violence and sexualized violence and, as such, cannot be accommodated within the X18+ classification, this material warrants Refused Classification.



Is it a healthy message for children that everything sexy must be banned?...

Australian Christian Lobby supports Melbourne in banning offensive sexualisation objects (or something like that)

Link Here 10th August 2013

The Australian Christian Lobby has predictably welcomed the decision by the Melbourne City Council to push for the banning of ads that supposedly 'sexualise' women.

ACL spokesprat Wendy Francis bleated that the initiative is a much-needed step towards dealing with the 'objectification' of women in outdoor advertising.

ACL congratulates Lord Mayor Robert Doyle for his stand against offensive and sexist imagery in Melbourne's public spaces.

This sets an example for other city councils around Australia to crack-down on sexualised advertising that threatens our children's innocence and promotes negative representations of women and girls,.

Apart from advocating for a ban on advertising that sexualises and objectifies women, the Council will also encourage the community to report such material. The plan also includes creating special safety zones for women in the inner city with CCTV surveillance, strong lighting and security patrols.



Updated: Anally Probed Censors...

A cut version of Saints Row IV sees the game unbanned by the censors

Link Here6th August 2013
Full story: Banned Games in Australia...Games and the Australian Censorship Board

A cut version of the computer game Saints Row IV has been classified MA15+ by the Australian Censorship Board.

An optional side mission has been removed. The mission contained the use of a substance Volition referred to as alien narcotics which improved certain superpowers temporarily within the game. The cut episode represents about 20 minutes of game play.

The anal probe weapon, which was highlighted as problematic when the Censorship Board initially rated Saints Row IV RC back in June, is due to be available in Australia as part of scheduled online update which has been agreed with the censors.

Update: Aussies thrown out of international gameplay

6th August 2013. See  article from

Game developer Deep Silver has revealed that the recent Australian cut version of Saints Row 4 will not enable play with international fans in the optional co-op mode. The company explained:

We feel that you deserve to know what you are getting in Australia. Due to the changes we were forced to make, this version is different than the version rated by rating boards like the ESRB, USK, and PEGI, which is why it will be incompatible with those versions in co-op.

The Facebook post also revealed that the other controversial topic for classification, the Rectifier weapon that acted as an anal probe, is still under consideration on whether to be included in the Season Pass for Australian versions.

Uncut in New Zealand

Those in New Zealand who are concerned they may also be getting a cut version will be happy to know that this isn't the case. Gamers will have access to both international co-op and the Rectifier weapon in the uncut version.



Bookshop Censors Recommend...

Tampa by Alissa Nutting

Link Here3rd August 2013

A new novel about a female teacher who seduces a 14-year-old boy student is too hot to handle for two Australian bookshops.

Written by American debut novelist Alissa Nutting, Tampa follows the story of sociopathic sexual predator Celeste Price, 26, who seduces one of her high school students.

Victorian booksellers are stocking the book, but Dymocks Camberwell has put a R18+ sticker on it. But Queensland bookstore owner, Stephanie Walkem, who has Angus and Robertson shops said she would not be selling Tampa at either of her outlets. She said:

While I believe it is vital that we continually push the boundaries of modern writing ...[BUT]... I did not take this book because it would require careful hand selling.

Publisher Allen and Unwin is promoting the title as sure to be the most controversial book of the year. A spokesman said:

It would be easy for moral outrage to swamp this critically acclaimed and thought-provoking novel, especially from those who haven't read it.



Update: Still Treating Gamers Like Kids...

Australia's Censorship Review Board upholds the ban on Saints Row IV

Link Here30th July 2013
Full story: Banned Games in Australia...Games and the Australian Censorship Board

The Australia's Censorship Board banned the video Game Saints Row IV citing issues with drug use related to incentives and rewards.

The distributors then appealed the ban to the Censorship Review Board who have turned down that appeal.

A three-member panel of the Censorship Review Board unanimously confirmed the ban. In the Board's opinion, Saints Row IV could not be accommodated within the R 18+ classification as drug use related to incentives and rewards is not permitted. The detailed reasons for the decision will follow.

It is expected that the game distributors will now submit a cut version.



Update: Censorship Supplement...

Cut version of State of Decay passed R18+ by the Australian Censorship Board

Link Here12th July 2013
Full story: Banned Games in Australia...Games and the Australian Censorship Board

A cut version of State of Decay computer game has been passed R18+ by the Australian Censorship Board. All references to drugs have been removed.

Undead Labs explained on their Facebook page that the game has been edited to comply with the censorship guidelines of the Board:

Stimulants out! 'Supplements' in! Who could possibly not like vitamins? They're good for you.

The nominal change meant that the Drug Use category went down from being higher-than-high impact violence to Mild Impact thanks to the name changes.



Offsite Article: The classification divide between games and films...

Link Here11th July 2013
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games
Why does the Australian Censorship Board use different rules for games and movies?

See article from



Offsite Article: Censorship and the Sydney Film Festival...

Link Here7th July 2013
An interesting interview with David Stratton, long standing festival director

See article from



Update: Censorship Supplement...

Cut versions of banned computer games being prepared to appease Australian censors

Link Here3rd July 2013
Full story: Banned Games in Australia...Games and the Australian Censorship Board

A cut version of State of Decay has been resubmitted to the Australian Censorship Board. All references to drugs have been removed.

Undead Labs explained on their Facebook page that the game has been edited to comply with the censorship guidelines of the Board:

Stimulants out! 'Supplements' in! Who could possibly not like vitamins? They're good for you.

Meanwhile there are reports that a cut version is also being prepared for the other game banned by the Australian censors, Saints Row IV . A 'low violence' version is now listed on Steam, a download centre for computer games.

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