Protest

May 5, 2000
I’m not aware that we’ve had too many complaints about any tightening of the [classification] system. I mean, we’ll all carry on about these things in the pub, but we won’t necessarily write letters to the local member.

– Richard Alston, Minister for Communications (1998-2003)
– Deliver us from Evil (2000), ABC Four Corners

Why should you complain?

The voice of morality groups is heard because they know how to use the political process.

A small group of Queensland Christians changed music classification in Australia.

A campaign by the Religious Right led to the banning of BAISE-MOI (2000). Take note of the conclusions.

The July 2003 plan to screen KEN PARK (2002) at Balmain Town Hall received saturation media coverage. Despite this, only Reverend Fred Nile complained. Five hundred people attended and countless others were turned away. Following his success in getting the event shut down, he issued a gloating media release titled ‘The Power of One – Fred Nile strikes again’.

It may make you feel good to complain in the echo chamber of social media or your favourite forum. However, do not fool yourself that it will make a difference. Consider directing your anger at someone with the power to change things.

How to contact an Australian Politician

Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) has a great page of tips on how to get a politicians’ attention.

The OpenAustralia project They Vote For You allows you to discover how your MP votes on issues.

Stay informed

The Australian Classification Board is notoriously secretive. Unlike the BBFC and New Zealand’s OFLC, they do not willingly offer detailed reasons why they have banned a particular title. When forced by Freedom of Information requests, they often severely redact the documents. However, this should not stop you from questioning them.

Should that not work, then consider a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

Right to Know, another OpenAustralia project, will help you make FOI requests.

Classification Board @ Right to Know

Classification Review Board @ Right to Know

eSafety Commissioner @ Right to Know

Interference in the Australian Classification system

Still not convinced that we have a problem?

Here is a list of cases where various politicians and assorted morality groups have challenged decisions of the Classification Board (CB) and appealed to the Classification Review Board (CRB). More details on each title can be found in our Censorship Databases.

2020 – Cuties (2020)

ORIGINAL RATING: Sep. 2020 – MA15+ (Strong themes, coarse language) by Netflix Classification Tool.
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Australian Christian Lobby.
RESULT: Sep. 2020 – Confirmed as MA15+ (Strong themes) by the CB.
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Australian Christian Lobby.
RESULT: Oct. 2020 – Confirmed as MA15+ (Strong themes) by the CRB.

2020 – No Game No Life Volume 1, 2 & 9 (2015-19)

ORIGINAL RATING: None.
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Stirling Griff (Centre Alliance), Connie Bonaros (SA-Best SA).
RESULT: Jul. 2020 – Banned by the CB.

2013 – Alien Rage (2013)
2013 – Borderlands 2: Add-On Content Pack (2013)
2013 – Company Of Heroes 2 (2013)
2013 – Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut (2013)
2013 – Deadpool (2013)
2013 – Fuse (2013)
2013 – Gears of War: Judgment (2013)
2013 – God Mode (2013)
2013 – Killer Is Dead (2013)
2013 – The Walking Dead (2013)
2013 – The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct (2013)
2013 – Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist (2013)

ORIGINAL RATINGS: All MA15+ (With various consumer advice) in 2013.
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Australian Council on Children and the Media, Australian Family Association.
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: John Rau (Labor SA), Michael Keenan (Liberal).
RESULT: Nov-Dec. 2013 – All twelve games confirmed as MA15+, with original consumer advice, by the CRB.

2013 – Rampage (2009)

ORIGINAL RATING: Sep. 2009 – MA15+ (Strong Violence).
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Unknown.
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: John Rau (Labor SA).
RESULT: Dec. 2013 – Confirmed as MA15+ (Strong Violence) by CRB.

2011 – The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence (2011)

ORIGINAL RATING: May 2011 – R18+ (High impact themes, violence and sexual violence) by the CB.
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Family Voice Australia, Collective Shout, Australian Family Association.
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Greg Smith (Liberal NSW), Brendan O’Connor (Labor).
RESULT: Nov. 2011 – Banned by the CRB.

2011 – A Serbian Film (2010)

ORIGINAL RATING: Apr. 2011 – R18+ (High impact sexual violence, Sex scenes and violence).
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Collective Shout.
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: John Rau (Labor SA), Brendan O’Connor (Labor)
RESULT: Sep. 2011 – Banned by the CRB.

2011 – We Dare (2010)

ORIGINAL RATING: Sep. 2010 – PG (Mild sexual references).
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Collective Shout.
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Brendan O’Connor (Labor).
RESULT: Jun. 2011 – Confirmed as PG (Mild sexual references) by the CRB.

2011 – Dead or Alive: Dimensions (2011)

ORIGINAL RATING: Feb. 2011 – PG (Mild violence and sexualised gameplay).
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Unknown.
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Brendan O’Connor (Labor).
RESULT: Jun. 2011 – PG (Mild sexual references) rating revoked by the CB.
Resubmitted to the CB and rerated M (Content may change online, Violence and sexualised gameplay).

2010 – Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)

ORIGINAL RATING: Apr. 2010 – R18+ (Scenes of torture and degradation, sexual violence and nudity).
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Family Voice Australia, Australian Family Association, Australian Christian Lobby, Julian McGauran (Liberal), Guy Barnett (Liberal).
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Brendan O’Connor (Labor).
RESULT: May 2010 – Confirmed as R18+ (Scenes of torture and degradation, sexual violence and nudity) by the CRB.
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Mar. 2011 – Family Voice Australia, Australian Christian Lobby, Julian McGauran (Liberal), Guy Barnett (Liberal).
RESULT: Aug. 2011 – Federal Court application dismissed with costs.

2008 – Art Monthly Australia No. 211

ORIGINAL RATING: Jul. 2008 – Not rated.
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Kevin Greene (Labor), Brendan Nelson (Liberal).
RESULT: Jul. 2008 – Rated M (Not recommended for readers under 15 years) by the CB.

2008 – Bondage Mansion (2001)

ORIGINAL RATING: Apr. 2008 – R18+ (High level animated sex scenes and themes).
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Catholic Pilgrims attending Sydney’s World Youth Day, Australian Family Association.
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Bob Debus (Labor).
RESULT: Aug. 2008 – Confirmed as R18+ (High level animated sex scenes and themes) by the CRB.

2008 – Classes in Seduction (2004)

ORIGINAL RATING: May 2007 – R18+ (High level animated sex scenes).
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Catholic Pilgrims attending Sydney’s World Youth Day, Australian Family Association.
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Bob Debus (Labor).
RESULT: Aug. 2008 – Confirmed as R18+ (High level animated sex scenes) by the CRB.

2008 – Holy Virgins (2001)

ORIGINAL RATING: Mar. 2008 – R18+ (High level animated sex scenes).
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Catholic Pilgrims attending Sydney’s World Youth Day, Australian Family Association.
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Bob Debus (Labor).
RESULT: Aug. 2008 – Banned by the CRB.

2008 – T&A Teacher (2004)

ORIGINAL RATING: Feb. 2008 – R18+ (High level animated sex scenes, Violence)
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Catholic Pilgrims attending Sydney’s World Youth Day, and the Australian Family Association.
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Bob Debus (Labor).
RESULT: Aug. 2008 – Confirmed as R18+ by the CRB. Consumer advice changed to ‘High level animated sex scenes and sexualised violence’.

2008 – Killing Me Softly (2005)

ORIGINAL RATING: Nov. 2008 – Not rated.
COMPLAINT MADE BY: The family of Perth woman, Erin Berg, who committed suicide in Mexico.
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Robert McClelland (Labor).
RESULT: Nov. 2008 – Called-in by the OFLC and passed with an Unrestricted rating by the CB.

2007: The Peaceful Pill Handbook (2006)

ORIGINAL RATING: Dec. 2006 – Category 1.
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Right to Life Association (NSW).
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Philip Ruddock (Liberal).
RESULT: Feb. 2007 – Banned by the CRB.

2006 – Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure (2006)

ORIGINAL RATING: Nov. 2005 – MA15+ (Strong violence, Strong themes).
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Local Government Associations of QLD and WA.
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Philip Ruddock (Liberal).
RESULT: Feb. 2006 – Banned by the CRB.

2005 – The Brown Bunny (2003)

ORIGINAL RATING: Jul. 2005 – R18+ (Sexual activity, High level themes).
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Dennis Hood (Family First SA).
RESULT: Michael Atkinson (Labor SA) declined to push the issue further. He said it was ‘…too late to reclassify’.

2005 – 9 Songs (2004)

ORIGINAL RATING: Jan. 2005 – R18+ (Actual sex, High-level sex scenes) by the CRB.
COMPLAINT MADE BY: The Festival of Light, Brian Harradine (Independent), Julian McGauran (National), Robert Lawson (Liberal SA), John Murphy (Labor).
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Michael Atkinson (Labor SA).
RESULT: Aug. 2005 – South Australian Classification Council changed the rating to X18+ (Explicit sex).

2005 – Mysterious Skin (2005)

ORIGINAL RATING: Apr. 2005 – R (Adult themes, Strong sexual violence, Medium level sex scenes).
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Australian Family Association, Festival of Light.
RESULT: The Director of the OFLC refused to give them a fee waiver to appeal the decision.
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Michael Atkinson (Labor SA)
RESULT: Aug. 2005 – Confirmed as R18+ by the CRB. Consumer advice changed to ‘High level child sexual abuse themes, High level sexual violence, Paedophile themes’.
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Festival of Light.
RESULT: Aug. 2005 – South Australian Classification Council confirmed the R18+ (High level sexual abuse themes, High level sexual violence, Paedophile themes) rating.

2004 – Irreversible (2002)

ORIGINAL RATING: Nov. 2003 – R (Strong sexual violence, Graphic violence, Sexual activity).
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Fred Nile (Christian Democrat NSW), Australian Family Association.
RESULT: Mar. 2004 – The CRB decided that the Australian Family Association’s application was out of time.
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Australian Family Association, Brian Harradine Independent).
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Philip Ruddock (Liberal), Michael Atkinson (Labor SA).
RESULT: Jun. 2004 – Confirmed as R-rated by the CRB. Consumer advice changed to ‘High level sexual violence, Graphic violence, Sexual activity’.
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Australian Family Association against DVD release.
RESULT: Australian Family Association withdrew the application after a fee waiver was refused.

2004 – Anatomy of Hell (2004)

ORIGINAL RATING: May 2004 – R (Strong themes, Sexual activity, High level sex scenes).
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Australian Family Association.
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Michael Atkinson (Labor SA).
RESULT: Jul. 2004 – Confirmed as R-rated by the CRB. Consumer advice changed to ‘Actual sex, High level Sex scenes, High level themes’.

2004 – Birth (2004)

ORIGINAL RATING: Sep. 2004 – MA (Adult themes, Medium level sex scene).
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Australian Family Association.
RESULT: Des Clark, the Director of the OFLC refused to give them a fee waiver to appeal the decision.
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Robert Lawson (Liberal SA), Kevin Lingard (National QLD), Andrew Evans (Family First SA), Elizabeth Cunningham (Liberal QLD).
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Unknown.
RESULT: South Australian Classification Council confirmed the MA (Adult themes, Medium level sex scene) rating.

2004 – I Spit On Your Grave (1978)

ORIGINAL RATING: Jun. 2004 – R (Strong sexual violence).
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Unknown.
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Michael Atkinson (Labor SA).
RESULT: Oct. 2004 – South Australian Classification Council confirmed the R (Strong sexual violence) rating.

2004 – Manhunt (2003)

ORIGINAL RATING: Oct. 2003 – MA (Medium level animated violence).
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Young Media Australia, Colin Barnett (Liberal WA), Barbara Scott (Liberal WA).
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Michelle Roberts (Labor WA), Philip Ruddock (Liberal).
RESULT: Sep. 2004 – Banned by the CRB.

2003 – Ken Park (2002)

ORIGINAL RATING: May 2003 – Banned by the CB.
RESULT: Jul. 2003 – Protest screening organised at Balmain Town Hall.
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Fred Nile (Christian Democrat NSW).
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: NSW Police.
RESULT: Jul. 2003 – NSW Police shut down protest screening at Balmain Town Hall.

2002 – Hannibal (2001)

ORIGINAL RATING: Feb. 2001 – MA (High level violence).
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Fred Nile (Christian Democrat NSW), Australian Council of State School Organisations, Trish Draper (Liberal).
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Judy Spence (Labor QLD).
RESULT: Feb. 2001 – Increased to R (High Impact Violence) by the CRB.

2002 – Baise-moi (2000)

ORIGINAL RATING: Oct. 2001 – R (Strong sexual violence, High level violence, Actual sex and Adult themes).
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Festival of Light, Australian Christian Lobby, Australian Family Association, Australian Federation for the Family, Fred Nile (Christian Democrat NSW), Brian Harradine (Independent), De-Anne Kelly (National), Trish Draper (Liberal).
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Daryl Williams (Liberal).
RESULT: May 2002 – Banned by the CRB.

2000 – Romance (1999)

ORIGINAL RATING: Jan. 2000 – R (High-level sex scenes) by the CRB.
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Unknown. Eight were received.
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: South Australian Classification Council.
RESULT: Feb. 2000 – Confirmed R (High-level sex scenes) by South Australian Classification Council.

1999 – Lolita (1997)

ORIGINAL RATING: Mar. 1999 – R (Adult themes, Medium level violence).
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Trish Draper (Liberal), Helping All Little Ones (HALO), Individual on behalf of Child Protection Connection, Adult Survivors of Sexual Child Abuse.
RESULT: Apr. 1999 – CRB refused to deal with the groups, as it did not consider them ‘person aggrieved’. The Howard Government then changed the definition of ‘persons aggrieved’ to allow groups such as HALO to challenge future ratings.

1996 – Ninja Scroll (1993)

ORIGINAL RATING: Mar. 1995 – MA (Medium level violence).
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Unknown.
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Daryl Williams (Liberal).
RESULT: Jul. 1996 – Increased to R (Medium level sex scenes) by the CRB.

1993 – Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)

ORIGINAL RATING: Jan. 1993 – R (Disturbing adult concepts, high level violence & sex).
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Julian McGauran (National), Fred Nile (Call to Australia NSW), Paul Filing (Liberal), John Tierney (Liberal), Brian Harradine (Independent), Grant Chapman (Liberal), Trish Draper (Liberal).
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Trevor Griffin (Liberal SA), Cheryl Edwardes (Liberal WA).
RESULT: Banned in WA (Sep. 1993), SA (Jan. 1994) and by the CRB (Feb 1998). R-rated content was unable to screen on pay-TV. South Australian Classification Council established.

1992 – Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

ORIGINAL RATING: Early 1992 – Censored for R (High level violence).
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Elaine Nile (Call to Australia NSW).
RESULT: No action taken.

1988 – The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

ORIGINAL RATING: Oct. 1988 – R-rating changed to M-rating by the CRB.
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Various Christian groups.
RESULT: Banned in QLD. Original R-rating retained in WA and NT.

1986 – Hail Mary (1985)

ORIGINAL RATING: Apr. 1986 – R-rated.
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Reverend Walter Ogle, Reverend John O’Neill.
RESULT: Aug. 1986 – Initiated action in the Federal Court of Australia. This failed, so they sought to revive it early in 1988, but this was withdrawn when they learned that the print of the film had been destroyed at the direction of the importer.

1981 – Caligula (1979)

ORIGINAL RATING: Mar. 1981 – R-rated (censored).
COMPLAINT MADE BY: In NSW, Reverend Fred Nile and the Festival of Light. In WA, unknown.
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Bill Hassell (Liberal WA).
RESULT: Banned in WA.

1981 – The Exterminator (1980)

ORIGINAL RATING: Dec. 1980 – R-rated.
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Barry Blaikie (Liberal WA).
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Bill Hassell (Liberal WA), Trevor Griffin (Liberal SA).
RESULT: Banned in QLD, SA & WA.

1980 – Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971)

ORIGINAL RATING: Aug. 1971 – Banned.
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Unknown.
COMPLAINT ESCALATED BY: Trevor Griffin (Liberal SA).
RESULT: Dropped from Adelaide Festival.

1974 – Language of Love (1969)

ORIGINAL RATING: Dec. 1973 – R-rated.
COMPLAINT MADE BY: Reverend Fred Nile and Christian Endeavour Movement.
RESULT: No action taken.

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