26 Aug 1996

PARLIAMENTARY
BULLETIN

26 August 1996

FILMS AND PUBLICATIONS BILL

The Films and Publications Bill returns to the Chamber this week after
amendment by the Home Affairs Portfolio Committee. The Bill defends freedom
of expression and freedom of choice, but it also improves the protection
of children against pornography and focuses on the protection of women
against both degradation and violent sexual abuse.

The Main Points of the Bill

The Films and Publications Bill provides for a new Board of Films and
Publications and:


  • a ban on the import, production and distribution of all XX material,
    including photographs of:

    • child sex
    • explicit sexual violence
    • bestiality
    • degrading sex which constitutes incitement to harm
    • explicit violence which incites to harm


  • a ban on written child pornography
  • a ban on the possession of child pornographythe restriction of the
    distribution of non-violent explicit sex (X18) material to licensed and
    supervised adult outlets which are prevented from allowing children access
  • the classification of all films and videos before public exhibition
  • a ban on the distribution of material which amount to propaganda for
    war
  • a ban on the distribution of material advocating hatred based on race,
    ethnicity, gender or religion, which constitutes incitement to harm
  • an increase in maximum imprisonment for offences from two to five years.
  • The Bill exempts bona fide literary, dramatic, documentary, scientific
    and art works. Art works which contain photographs of child sex and a lewd
    display of nude children are not exempted.

    Material which falls outside the delineated areas would either be free
    of restriction or subject to the general age restrictions and classifications.

    The licensing of adult outlets would be the responsibility of local
    authorities, and local residents would be allowed to make representations
    to the authorities on their location.

    In order to defend freedom of speech, material advocating hatred based
    on race, ethnicity or gender will remain a matter for the courts, under
    the Bill of Rights. The Films and Publications Board will be authorised
    to ban the distribution of material advocating hatred based on religion
    which incites harm. Newspapers and television are not covered by the Bill;
    but are separately regulated.

    Films and Publications Board

    The proposed Films and Publications Board will be responsible for:


    • the classification of films and video
    • the banning of prohibited pornographic material in response to a complaint
      from the public
    • the supervision of licensed adult outlets and the imposition of sanctions
      on those which violate their conditions.

    The Board`s hearings would be open to the public and its decisions could
    be challenged in appeal to a Review Board and to the Supreme Court.

    Improvements on Current Legislation

    The new Bill is a major improvement on current (and past) legislation.

    It focuses on material which constitutes incitement to cause harm.

    It defends freedom of speech, freedom of choice and privacy, where these
    do not cause harm, by restricting the powers of regulators to intervening
    only where complaints are made.

    It eliminates confusion by specifying precisely what material is prohibited,
    rather than prohibiting material on vague criteria such as `indecent`,
    `obscene` or `offensive`.

    It removes restricted material from general distribution by providing
    for licensed adult premises.

    It improves democratic accountability by giving local authorities powers
    to regulate licensed adult premises and local residents a say in where
    these premises should be located.

    It improves democratic justice by allowing for a system of appeals.

    ANC Key Lines

    The Film and Publications Bill which will be debated this week has been
    strengthened considerably by the many ANC amendments in Home Affairs Portfolio
    Committee.

    The ANC amendments extend the protection of children against their
    exposure to pornography.

    The ANC amendments prohibit the broadcasting of XX material.

    The ANC amendments extend the prohibition on XX material to import
    and production.

    The ANC amendments extend the prohibition on child pornography to
    written material.

    The ANC amendments remove the artistic exemption for child pornography.

    The ANC amendments extend the prohibition to material which amounts
    to propaganda for war, incites imminent violence or advocates hatred based
    on race, ethnicity, gender or religion.

    The ANC amendments extend prohibition to the import, production and
    distribution of sexually-explicit material which degrades a person and
    constitutes incitement to cause harm.

    The ANC amendments increase maximum imprisonment for offences from
    two to five years.

    Uncaught exception thrown in shutdown function.

    PDOException: SQLSTATE[HY000]: General error: 2006 MySQL server has gone away: DELETE FROM {semaphore} WHERE (value = :db_condition_placeholder_0) ; Array ( [:db_condition_placeholder_0] => 13331833262fa50df333705.24169681 ) in lock_release_all() (line 269 of /home/ancparliament/public_html/includes/lock.inc).