Statutes Amendment and Repeal (Classification of Publications, Films and Computer Games) Bill

Second Reading

I am just looking around in case anyone else was inspired to make a contribution on this bill. I thank the member for Badcoe for her indication of support of this bill. There are a couple of matters that have been raised, and I indicate that I share with the member for Badcoe some of the concerns raised in respect of online matters.

In this context, it not so much in the envelope relating to the difficulties the former attorney-general had in relation to the members of the Gamers 4 Croydon political party and the mischief they all got up to. From memory, I think one of them was claimed by the former attorney-general to not exist. On the front page of the paper the next day, it was disclosed that this person did exist and that he was not just an anonymous troll on the attorney but was a real person and in fact lived in his electorate, so that was an interesting time.

It is important to note that we are living in the online world. I remind members of the eSafety Commissioner, which is a national commission which provides a number of services to Australians who, of course, are online and need to have support and advice on how to deal with a number of things. Image-based abuse is common, where intimate images or videos are being shared without consent. There is also cyber bullying, which people obviously understand and want to combat and the harm it causes, and even adult cyber abuse, dealing with threatening, intimidating, or harassing or humiliating online behaviour, and illegal and harmful content, which, members I am sure would be aware, relates to child sexual abuse material and other prohibited online content.

These are all areas that are within the expertise of the eSafety Commissioner. For anyone who has inquiries on these matters amongst their constituency, it is important to make sure that they have this available. I recall a recent occasion when somebody contacted my office and said, 'My 16 year old has been photographed in a local hotel. It has been put on social media promoting the general hotel activity,' entirely innocently, in that sense. Nevertheless, the parent of the girl was quite disturbed and concerned by this, contacted the commissioner, and I think within minutes the offending material was withdrawn.

One of the concerns we all have is that any content that goes online can live forever, so it is important that, where possible, we have the cooperation of the agencies that provide the distribution and the keepers of this material. Although there is litigation and attempts legislatively to try to deal with ensuring that Google and everyone else who are keepers of information have a capacity to be able to ultimately deal with this—and, hopefully, we will be able to deal with this on an international level as to how we might manage that in the future—we have agencies to help us in the meantime.

I also recognise that, in the spirit of what has been raised by the member of material that has been restricted as a result of the state council applying a standard, mention has been made of the different standard, the extra protection, that the former attorney-general felt was necessary to be maintained for South Australia to have its own threshold of what was acceptable and what was not. There have been a number of occasions, in addition to the theatrical performances that have been referred to, where there has been a restriction of publication or a film reclassification.

In 1996, there was a category 1 restricted publication for The Picture Sextra, also The PictureSextra (all issues), and also The Picture (all issues). In 1998, there was a category 1 restricted publication for Spice Girls Poster Magazine. It might seem a little odd these days, but in those days it was seen as requiring a category 1 restriction. In 1999, there was a film reclassification of the Wild Wild West which had an M15+ rating.

In 2005, there was a film reclassification of Birth which had an MA15+ rating. It had adult themes, strong sex scenes, etc. In 2005, there was a film reclassification for 9 Songs which was 18+ restricted to 18 and over. It had actual sex and high-level sex scenes in it. In 2005, there was a film reclassification for Mysterious Skin—it must have been an era in 2005. It was an R18+ restricted to 18 and over. There were adult themes, strong sexual violence, medium-level sex scenes. In 2006, there was an unrestricted publication at M rating for Zoo Weekly. I hate to think what that was about.

Well, it was not recommended for readers under 15 years, let me say that. In 2007, there was an unrestricted publication again for Zoo Weekly magazine which had an M rating from unrestricted. There was Zoo Weekly magazine again later that year. In fact—heavens!—it was the Zoo Weekly magazine for all future issues of a series. That was in 2007, so Mr Atkinson's council must have been very busy that year. It was not recommended for readers under 15 years.

In 2007, there was a film reclassification for Georgia Rule which had child abuse themes, alcohol abuse themes, sexual references and moderate coarse language. In 2009, there was a refused classification publication for Just 18Magazine, Volume 10 Issue 9.

It seems the member for Badcoe remembers that one. That was refused classification. There was another occasion of Just 18Magazine, when a serial classification of 24 months was refused classification. Again, in 2009, there was a refused classification—this is really busy—for Purely 18Magazine; another Purely 18Magazine for the holiday 2008. Then the Barely LegalMagazine Australia Edition was refused classification. Best of 18Teen AngelsMagazine was refused classification; 18 Teen Angels Magazine on five occasions was refused classification. They may have been actually renaming themselves, I do not know. Anyway, they kept getting refused. Purely 18Magazine and then Best of 18 Teen Angels Magazine was refused classification and 18 Teen Angels Magazine was refused classification.

Members will also remember, as per the second reading debate on this and as mentioned by the member for Badcoe, the film reclassification of A Serbian Film from R18 to refused classification in 2011. That was the last time the council undertook work. I am not quite sure how the attorney-general, Mr Atkinson, had time to do any work during 2009.

Ms Stinson: Some of those were John Rau.

The Hon. V.A. CHAPMAN: No, 2009.

Ms Stinson: 2011 was John Rau.

The Hon. V.A. CHAPMAN: Yes, all the ones in 2009 I was referring to. It was a very busy year. He had obviously been reading teen magazines to check whether the council's recommendations should be applied. In any event, he obviously found time and exercised his capacity as attorney to consider those recommendations.

I also place on the record that, whilst the practice of having a national scheme at times overlaps with a state scheme, it usually emanates from there being state regimes and a desire for uniformity and consistency, especially in the publication of films and literature, and even theatrical productions, which may have Australia-wide proposed audiences. Uniformity is often presented as an argument in circumstances where there is a practice—in this case, production in entertainment—that would provide for those providing and preparing material to have some consistency. Therefore, this is promoted to have a national scheme.

We moved to a national scheme. Certainly, it was decided by the former attorney that the South Australian Classification Council was to have a continued life, even though it was extinguished in other jurisdictions, so we have had it for a long time. I would like to thank Julie Redman for her work as the chair, whom I have also known for decades in legal practice, and those members of the council who were not reappointed after late last year by this government, purely because there was really no purpose in their continuing when this work was being competently undertaken at a national level, as we know.

I think it is important for all members to appreciate that we have areas of responsibility. When we do agree to transfer responsibility for certain issues to a national board or scheme, for example, it is done with good intentions. We have done it for very comprehensive areas, such as in income tax and in corporations law. There are lots of reasons and circumstances where we have transferred to a national level. I can think of consumer law that is now at a national level, as well as defamation law, and there is usually a very good reason for this.

However, South Australia is an autonomous body, state and entity which, through this parliament, has its own capacity to make legislation and to determine its own destiny in relation to matters. It should never be forgotten that we have the capacity to deal with a number of matters, and we do at times maintain a position where we have a different standard. I can think of one more recent example in the time I have been here when the minister for health of the day, the Hon. John Hill, proposed a scheme by which all our health practitioners and their regulations should be dealt with at a national level. It would be applied and implemented at the state level in offices around the country, but there would be a national scheme.

When we got to optical, opticians, optometrists and—I forget what the surgeons of optical work are; whatever their important title is—it was determined that in South Australia we had a regulatory regime that prohibited the use of plano lenses. Some people might know them as cosmetic lenses, which young girls in particular would use to make their eyes look green, cats eyes or something of that nature. We decided in South Australia this was such a dangerous practice, without instruction or without being under supervision, that they should not be sold or distributed without a prescription.

We had that rule here. The rest of the country did not, but we decided, when the Hon. John Hill promoted this national scheme, that we would require that we still retain the right to be able to insist that that occur, and we did. So there are times when we should not be, I suppose, blindfolded to the concept that at times we have in our state the better system, in our view, and we are entitled to retain that autonomy.

It became very clear in this instance, though, in relation to classification that, whilst the attorney-general of the day, the former member for Croydon, had a particular interest in maintaining his personal stamp in relation to these matters, it really was perpetuating a structure that had very little work to do, and the national scheme was able to comprehensively undertake that role.

I appreciate that the former member for Croydon is probably gnashing his teeth at this point at the prospect of this bill passing the parliament. He may not care at all, but I expect he is probably irritated to say the least. Notwithstanding that, I thought about making the bill in memory of the member for Croydon, the '(Atkinson) Bill', but I have resisted that temptation. I commend the bill to the house and thank those who have made a contribution.

Bill read a second time.