Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

R-Rated Restrictions Bill Introduced In Parliament

A Bill was introduced into Parliament today to amend the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, the Northern Territory National Emergency Response Act 2007 and the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976.

The Bill addresses concerns expressed by Indigenous people to the Little Children are Sacred inquiry about exposure of children to R-rated material available on pay television.

The Australian Government is serious about cracking down on the exposure of R-rated material to children. This is one of a number of measures the Government is implementing in Northern Territory communities to protect children.

When implemented, there will be provision to prevent pay television licensees providing television channels which contain R-rated programming into prescribed areas.

The Government’s amendments will require consultation with communities that want this material restricted before action is taken.

The Northern Territory Emergency Response legislation package passed in 2007 included prohibitions on the possession, control and supply of pornographic material in prescribed areas.

This Bill also gives effect to our election commitment to retain the permit system in common areas of major communities.

In addition to existing permit exemptions including for police, social workers, and other Government employees and contractors, and including doctors and nurses working for the Emergency Response, the legislation will allow the Minister to authorise journalists to enter Aboriginal communities without permits under certain conditions, to carry out their work.

Northern Territory police have stated that the permit system does have an important role in policing these communities and keeping out grog and drug runners.

The Australian Government is committed to the Northern Territory Emergency Response and this new measure will assist with the protection of children.