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Australian Classification Board
Basic Information
Business Type
Content Rating Organization

The Australian Classification Board (ACB), formerly known as the Office of Film and Literature Classification for Australia (OFLCA), is a statutory censorship and classification body which provides day to day administrative support for the Classification Board which classified films, video games and publications in Australia, and the Classification Review Board which reviews films, computer games and publications when a valid application has been made. Originally founded as the OFLC, it was dissolved in 2006. The Attorney-General's Department now provides administrative support to the ACB.


In February 2006, Attorney-General Philip Ruddock announced that the policy and administrative functions of the OFLC would become part of the Attorney-General’s Department, and, while the Classification Board and Classification Review Board would continue to make classification decisions, they would be serviced by a secretariat from the Attorney-General’s Department.


Donald McDonald has been named as the new director but yet to be appointed by the Attorney-General’s Department. Critics are concerned the appointment facilitates the Government's ability to control or restrict material, in particular that which incites or instructs terrorism.[1]

The current members of the Classification Board:

  • Olya Booyar (deputy director)
  • Wendy Banfield (senior classifier)
  • Marie-Louise Carroll (senior classifier)
  • Jeremy Fenton
  • Alexandra Greene
  • Robert Sanderson
  • Rodney Smith
  • Lynn Townsend

The current members of the Classification Review Board:

  • Maureen Shelley (convenor)
  • Trevor Griffin (deputy convenor)
  • Rob Shilkin
  • Kathryn Smith
  • Gillian Groom
  • Anthony Hetrih

Classification of Video Games[]

Despite a line in the National Classification Code stating that "adults should be able to read, hear and see what they want", the adult R18+ classification was only introduced on January 1, 2013 for video games.

The ACB takes a strict stance with video games, and video game classification in Australia is the most strict in the Western World in terms of not having an adult's rating (R18+) with some Attorneys-General having conservative views on the matter. Though Australia has no R rating, there are many examples of games getting much more lenient ratings than other countries. Such games would include Halo 3 which was classified as M (BBFC 15, ESRB M, OFLC R16), The Witcher, which was classified as MA15+ (PEGI 18, BBFC 18, ESRB-M), Dead Rising, which was classified as MA15+ (BBFC 18, PEGI 18, CERO Z), and Dead or Alive: Xtreme 2, which was classified as PG (ESRB M).

Currently only Michael Atkinson, South Australian Attorney-General opposes the R18 classification introduction and is also blocking the release of a public paper that canvasses the opinion of the Australian public on whether or not an R18 classification should be introduced. Studies done by Bond University indicate that a majority of people whom they interviewed want an R18 rating to be introduced and many Psychologists back this study and condemn Michael Atkinson.

Ratings given[]


The classifications below are advisory in nature — they are not legally enforced.

ACB-E.svg ACB-E-Large.png

E (Exempt from Classification) - These films are granted permission to be sold without a specific classification. This classification is usually granted to (and not limited to) educational content such as documentaries, concerts, fitness programmes, educational software, live TV and non-violent sporting events. Currently there is no predetermined marking for exempt films and computer games [1], although it is advised that films and computer games that are exempt display “This film/computer game is exempt from classification”.

The content varies depending on the show / film. Any film or computer game which is to be rated E must not exceed the PG rating.

ACB-G.svg ACB-G-Large.svg

G (General) - These films and computer games are for general viewing. However, G does not necessarily designate a children’s film or game as many of these productions contain content that would be of no interest to children.

The content is minimal in impact.

ACB-PG.svg ACB-PG-Large.svg

PG (Parental guidance recommended) - These films and computer games contain material that may confuse or upset younger viewers.

The content is mild in impact on children.

ACB-M.svg ACB-M-Large.svg

M (Recommended for mature audiences) - These films and computer games contain material that requires a mature perspective, but is still not enough to be deemed too extreme for younger players. This classification was formerly known as M15+, but was changed to simply M to distinguish it from the higher (and restricted) rating of MA15+. This is the highest unrestricted rating.

The content is moderate in impact.


By contrast, the classification below is legally restricted—i.e., it is illegal to sell or exhibit materials so classified to a person younger than the respective age limit.

ACB-MA15+.svg ACB-MA15+-Large.svg

MA15+ (Restricted) - The content is considered unsuitable for exhibition by persons under the age of 15. Persons under 15 may only legally purchase or exhibit MA15+ rated content under the supervision of an adult guardian. This is a legally restricted category.

Refused Classification[]

Video games which exceed the impact of what the MA15+ rating allows are rated Refused Classification, or banned. Refused Classification games may be edited and resubmitted by their developers to garner an MA15+ classification. People under 15 are not permitted to purchase or rent films or video games classified MA15+ unless they are accompanied by a parent or adult guardian.


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