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Background: The Australian Classification Board (ACB) is a statutory classification body formed by the Australian Government which classifies films, video games and publications for exhibition, sale or hire in Australia since its establishment in 1970. The Australian Classification Board was originally incorporated in the Office of Film and Literature Classification which was dissolved in 2006. The Attorney-General's Department now provides administrative support to the Board. Decisions made by the Board may be reviewed by the Australian Classification Review Board.

1970-presentEdit

Bumper: We see the film's name at the top in capital letters, then the film's certificate, and finally a description of the certificate.

Certification Symbols:

  • G - General. (formerly For General Exhibition.) Contains material intended for general viewing. G does not necessarily designate a children’s film or game. The content is very mild in impact.
  • PG - Parental guidance suggested. Contains material that young children may find confusing or upsetting, and may require parental supervision. The content is mild in impact.
  • M - Recommended for mature audiences. (formerly For mature audiences; the highest unrestricted rating.) Contains material that may require a mature perspective but is not deemed too strong for younger viewers. The content is moderate in impact .
  • MA15+ - Not suitable for most people under 15. Under 15s must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. Contains material that is considered unsuitable for exhibition by persons under the age of 15. People under 15 may only legally purchase, rent, exhibit or view MA15+ rated content under the supervision of an adult guardian. The content is strong in impact.
  • R18+ - Restricted to 18 and over. Contains material that is considered unsuitable for exhibition by persons under the age of 18. People under 18 may not legally buy, rent, exhibit or view R18+ classified content. The content is very strong in impact.
  • X18+ - Same as R18+. Contains material that is pornographic in nature. People under 18 may not buy, rent, exhibit or view these films. The exhibition or sale of these films to people under the age of 18 years is a criminal offense carrying a maximum fine of $5,500. This rating applies to films with unsimulated sexual content only. Films classified as X18+ are banned (via state government legislation) from being sold or rented in all Australian states and are only legally available in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. Importing X18+ material from these territories to any of the Australian states is legal (as the Australian Constitution forbids any restrictions on trade between the states and territories). The content is sexually explicit in impact, and does not exist for video games.

Trivia: The censors also have RC (Refused Classification), specially appended to content that contains material that is considered to offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that it should not be classified. This indicates a ban. The content is very high in impact. Films and games that exceed the R18+ & X18+ ratings are Refused Classification by the ACB. Content which may be Refused Classification include:

  • Detailed instruction or promotion in matters of crime or violence.
  • The promotion or provision of instruction in ********* activity.
  • Descriptions or depictions of child sexual abuse or any other exploitative or offensive descriptions or depictions involving a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 years.
  • Gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions of:

1.(i) violence with a very high degree of impact or which are excessively frequent, prolonged or detailed;

2.(ii) cruelty or real violence which are very detailed or which have an extremely high impact;

3.(iii) sexual violence

  • Depictions of practices such as bestiality, necrophilia or other practices that are revolting or abhorrent.
  • Gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions of:

1.(i) activity accompanied by fetishes or practices that are offensive or abhorrent;

2.(ii) incest fantasies or other fantasies that are offensive or abhorrent Classification is mandatory, and films that are rated Refused Classification by the ACB are banned for sale, hire or public exhibition, carrying a maximum fine of $275,000 and/or 10 years jail if an individual/organisation is found to be in breach of this. It is, however, legal to possess RC films and games (except in Western Australia and certain parts of the Northern Territory), unless they contain illegal content (e.g. child pornography). The game Saints Row IV became the first game to be refused classification under the new standard on 25 June 2013. State of Decay became the second game to be refused classification less than 24 hours after the first (Saints Row IV) was banned.

Variant: On most G-rated films in Australia, there is no description of that certificate at all. However, The Dark Crystal and Space Chimps used the description on the G rating.

FX/SFX: None.

Music/Sounds: None.

Availability: Common. Seen at the start of most films and VHS tapes and on much packaging.

Scare Factor: None.

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