[LINK] Censorship Issues..

Bob Bain bobb@soxkat.com
Sat, 08 Feb 2003 21:19:46 +1100

On Wed, 08 Jan 2003 11:54:00 +1100, I wrote:

> I have spoken with (1st. Janaury) the Hon. Ms Kelly, Member for
>Lindsay (Penrith) Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister.  She
>informs me that asking Penrith police to investigate similar material
>sold within the electorate of Lindsay (Penrith) is outside her charter
>as a Federal Member.

> If the police continue to ignore the open sale of such material and
>if a resident of New South Wales as senior as the Parliamentary
>Secretary to the Prime Minister isn't prepared to take an active
>personal interest in criminal activity in the electorate there are I
>believe grounds for censorship law (based as it is on "community
>standards") to be re-evaluated and reviewed.


 The following is the transcript of an unpublished letter to the
Sydney press.  I believe in freedom of expression and note that the
Link list permits such freedom of expression and accordingly post it
here.  I don't expect the mainstream press to take up matters of truth
and there is nothing that goes beyond the bounds of truth in the
statements I make.

 I would like to comment that I'm not involved in a "campaign against
illegal porn" as some seem to believe.  Someone expressed this
recently via email "I have no interest in your campaign against
illegal porn" while commenting that I should not give in to

 I do however have a campaign against "the illegality regarding the
sale and distribution of adult material in the State of New South
Wales" together with some reservations with regard to certain types of
material that infringe on personal privacy.

 ======== quote from unpublished letter ================

 On the 27th September I lodged an anonymous report with Crime
Stoppers noting that adult retail outlets in New South Wales are
regularly (and have been regularly) selling material that violates the
ban in New South Wales regarding "X" rated or unrated material.
(Report Number ICIR-7377).

 My prime consideration in rasing the issue was out of concern for
material that infringes personal privacy such as "Hidden Camera"
material which is either routinely classified as "X" by the Office of
Film and Literature Classification (eg "Peepshow Special Volume 2") or
sold as unclassified or seemingly falsely classified from video
outlets in New South Wales.

 I have raised this issue a number of times with my local Member of
Parliament the Hon. Jackie Kelly MP, Member for Lindsay and
Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister.

 On the 19th December 2001 the Director of the Office of Film and
Literature Classification Des Clarke wrote:-

"I have referred this matter and your emails to Mr David Emery, the
Office of Film and Literature Classification's recently appointed
Senior Community Liaison Officer. As you would be aware, the CLO
assists distributors and retailers of films, publications and computer
games to meet their legal obligations under the national
classification scheme."

 The Hon. Jackie Kelly has raised this matter with the State Attorney-
General the Hon. Bob Debus who seemingly misunderstood my enquiry
concerning the status of the criminal activity report lodged with
Crime Stoppers.

 The Hon. Jackie Kelly has referred this matter back to the Hon. Bob
Debus and the Hon. Minister for Police the Hon. Michael Costa.  I am
still awaiting replies from the State-Attorney General and from the
Hon. Minister for Police.

 In December last year I followed directions from the State
Attorney-General dated 27th November 2002 which indicated that such
material should be referred to the Office of Film and Literature
Classification.  I lodged a number of commercially available "voyeur"
video tapes widely on sale in New South Wales with a Community Liaison

 Despite guidelines from the Federal Attorney-General the Hon Darryl
Williams (4th. October 2001) that Community Liaison Officers advise
retail outlets of their legal obligations, advice from the Director of
the Office of Film and Literature Classification Mr. Des Clark (noted
above) and similar advice from the State Attorney-General I have just
received advice from Mr. Des Clark which states "any breaches of
unclassified films or films classified X18+ in NSW should not be
referred to the OFLC but should be brought to the attention of the
relevant enforcement agency".

 The material lodged with the OFLC included "upskirt" video material,
"hidden locker room", material, material which seemingly endorses
filming under the desks of young secretaries and material which
invites viewers to observe people having sex in the privacy of their
own home via voyeur related material.

 On the 23rd. July 1998 the police raided premises in George Street
Sydney on the suggestion that they were concerned about an
infringement of the civil liberties of a well known Australian
actress.  Within a week as noted on the front pages of the Daily
Telegraph the banned material was back on the shelves.  This video
continues to be sold throughout New South Wales.

 The Hon. Jackie Kelly has noted that this is a matter that falls
outside her charter as Federal Member and noting my concern has
referred this back to relevant State Authorities.

 I believe there is cause for concern that "hidden camera" material is
routinely rated "X" by the Office of Film and Literature
Classification (indicating that it is an inoffensive fetish) and that
material that depicts seemingly criminal activity is routinely on sale
in New South Wales despite official government bans on such material.

 I am not a guardian of public morality and believe that the sale of
adult material within New South Wales is in most cases healthy, and
would willingly endorse moves to legalise such material, but draw the
line at material which infringes personal liberty.

 ============ end of quote ========================

 The following statement arose from a correspondent in another mailing
list and I reproduce it in the interest of how the system *may* work.
The correspondent has alleged that he regularly keeps in contact with
community standards via police/community interfaces.

 ============ start quote ==================

"The people who are charged with keeping the laws, i.e. poice
headquartes sends down the views of the political masters, in addition
the local police commanders have a fair amount of leeway to allow for
area differences.

A second level is through community interfaces with police and
politicians, of course the politicians have an ear open for voter

Maybe you should get involved with some of these groups, you probably
will have a lot better result than shooting from the sidelines."

 =================== end quote ===============

 I made it clear (in response) that the people I am consulting with
regard to these issues are politicians and that at least one of these
politicians has an electoral office which faces an adult outlet that
has been observed on a number of occassions to routinely trade in
bestiality (a prohited import) for several years.

 I would also like to comment on the seeming discrepancy in the manner
in which the Director of the Office of Film and Literature
Classification deals with adult material from "Restricted
Publications" areas in the State, with the press statements made by
the same offical with regard to the prohibited game "Grand Auto Theft



11 December 2001

Following a review of the Refused Classification decision for the
computer game Grand Theft Auto 3 the game remains illegal to sell.
The Refused Classification status of Grand Theft Auto 3
leaves retailers liable for prosecution under relevant State and
Territory legislation. It is an offence to sell or demonstrate the
game in Australia.

The Director of the OFLC, Des Clark said, I have been assured by the
distributor all stock will be recalled and retailers had previously
been asked to remove stock from their shelves. Community Liaison
Officers have also been visiting retailers to let them know of the
substantial penalties involved in selling refused classification stock

The classification for this game highlights the importance of seeking
a classification for computer games prior to their distribution. It is
an offence for games to be sold without a classification and it is an
offence to sell games with incorrect markings suggesting a
classification has been made by the Classification Board.


 In January I asked the Hon. Ms. Kelly whether the community liaison
officers of the OFLC are _obliged_ to deal with seemingly illegally
classified material.  I don't believe she knew and I'm not certain
that she was unduly concerned either ( I don't believe that censorship
or laws relating to censorship are high on her personal agenda) but
appreciate the time she has spent representing my views to those in
offical capacity in New South Wales.  I am still awating responses
from the Hon State Attorney General and the Hon Minister for Police.

 I would remind readers to the "Link" list that the New South Wales
government has placed laws relating to uploading material "unsuitable
for children" to the Internet on hold and that these laws can be
(shold the law ever be endorsed) be applied arbitrarly by the police.

 Some correspondents refer to "coathanger" laws - that is laws that
are there to be implemented at the discretion of the police.  I do not
belive in "coathanger" laws. I believe in clearly defined laws that
apply to all (not just some).

 I also believe in adjusting the classification scheme (largely
artificial) with broader methods of identifying content that might be
disturbing or offensive to certain sections of the community, and that
the sale and distributuion and the interchange of adult material on
the Internet is in the most part healthy and should be encouraged
rather legislated against.

 I recently received an e-mail from Fiona Patten
(www.bodypolitics.com.au) who tells me that she has been campaiging
for the legalisation of "X" rated material for several years and asked
if I'd turned to the "dark side" as I was seemingly being being
"defamed" in the coridoors of Paliament.  

  I could only respond that in my view the issue isn't "X" rated
material (which is routinely sold by her clients in New South Wales)
but the rights of adults in the community to sell and distribute
material that some may find offensive, and for individuals to import
material from overseas that is legal in the countries in which the
material is sourced but which can and often is confiscated at the
point of importation into Australia.

Bob Bain
Sydney Australia