Published: 21 April 2015

[12.49 p.m.]

Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, it reminds me of a time when we were having a less exciting debate and I sent the Leader a picture of a meerkat doing an interpretive dance that might help in explaining some of the challenges.  I felt maybe that was an ideal opportunity to bring that out and consider it.

In all seriousness, it is important to streamline and update legislation as times change, and this is a classic example of that.  I have a question for the Leader; she may be able to nod.  I know the Commonwealth legislation came in last year, but I assume the work leading up to that would have occurred over previous governments, so I expect that this has had essentially bipartisan support throughout that journey.


Dr Goodwin - The report was 2012, from the Australian Law Reform Commission, so it has had a lengthy -


Ms FORREST - We have had state ministers involved through that process as well.  Both governments and both parties having been involved in the process indicates there is a broad level of support there for it.


I was interested in a couple of points that I would like to address now, or in the Committee stage if necessary.  With the changes to 2D and 3D, it makes sense to me in many cases that if the 2D film has been classified however it is classified and then it is converted into a 3D film or game, that it should be the same.  There are possibly instances where some things can be more frightening in 3D to a child than they might be in 2D, for example, when things come out of the screen at you.  I do not go to many 3D movies, but I wonder if there are circumstances where that may be the case.


The Leader did say in her second reading speech that, to date, 3D and 2D versions of the same film have always received the same classification and consumer advice, with the exception of one instance, so perhaps she can provide a bit more detail of that one instance.  That is the sort of circumstance where 2D may be quite innocuous in some respects, but if you put it into 3D it could become a bit more frightening for children, for example.  I do not know as I do not go to many movies, let alone 3D ones.


Mr Valentine - Or even timid adults.


Ms FORREST - I do not normally sit at night to watch a scary movie.  I never used to watch those ghost story movies and stuff, whatever they were, because they used to frighten me.  In Montpelier Retreat I think there is a 7D movie or experience, and I am still trying to figure out what the 7Ds are.  Anyway, it is obviously more than 3D.  I do not know whether you get wet if it is raining in the movie or what.  Your seat probably moves if you are on a train, for example.  I still could not get up to seven.  Is there a smell?  Maybe there is a barbecue cooking and you get the smell.


Mr Farrell - It would be interesting to watch one of those Swedish films in a cinema like that.


Ms FORREST - Maybe we all need to go along for the experience!  It is just walking distance from here.  Maybe you have been yourself, Mr President, I do not know.  I have walked past coming to the Parliament and noticed it being built.  Now it is open.  Maybe we should all go.  Anyway, I am not sure what the 7D get up to.


It is appropriate that it is generally less prescriptive and the rules around modification are minor technical and format changes to films and computer games.  The question I have is, when that occurs, the producer or distributor claims it is just a minor adjustment but are they required to demonstrate that in any way, or are we just taking their word for it?  Some computer games and films are quite violent.  They only have a PG rating, for example, and they say it is only a minor modification - a few more death scenes or something in it.  At what point does it change and where does the onus fall there?  Is it up to the distributor to say it is only a minor change, it has only added a couple more scenes or whatever, or a couple more aspects to this game?  When does that require a review by the classification bodies, or does it?


The other issue is the exemptions around film festivals.  Film festivals are great events and are often held in open public places.  They often attract quite a diverse group of people.  They are an important part of our arts festivals and things like that.  Some of them can be specifically aimed at children, some are for families generally, or the ones later at night may be adult focused.  The Leader said that simplifying exemptions for festivals and cultural institutions has gained considerable support from the arts and related sectors.  I am sure it has, because it seems it is quite a complex process, or has been.


The Leader also said the Australian Law Reform Commission recommendation aligns film festival exemption arrangements with section 5B exemptions to the extent that if the content is eligible for an exemption, an application to obtain the exemption is not necessary.  That is, the onus would be on the festival operator or the cultural institution to determine if content is eligible to be exempt, and if so, comply with the relevant conditions as set out in the Commonwealth classification act and its guidelines.


The onus is on that person or persons to determine whether something fits within the exemption framework.  It would not be until after a film, or films, were shown at a festival and complaints were received from the public that it would become evident they were not exempt under the guidelines.  I am sure there are penalties, but I would like more detail about how that should work in practice.  There are guidelines, and I assume they are just that - they are not legislative instruments.  We had one case with the Public Health Act where guidelines were legislative instruments.  Are these guidelines simply that - guidelines?  Obviously there is a requirement to comply with the Commonwealth classification act, but I would like a bit more information to understand how that works.


Overall, we need to align with the changes - give effect to the changes at the Commonwealth level and update our legislation.  It makes sense, and these changes are eminently sensible.  I do not have any problem with them.  I would like more detail about how they work in practice.


[12.59 p.m.]


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