As you sit there and read this you may be deciding what to have for dinner. Maybe even what to put on as background news while you scroll through this website on your phone. And that is because you can. That is what Freedom of Choice allows you to do.
That is because you are old enough, smart enough and wise enough to make that choice. You are old enough, smart enough and wise enough to pick your partner. You are old enough, smart enough and wise enough to pick where you live, what type of car you drive, even what clothes you like to wear.
BUT did you know that the Australian Federal Government, and their counterparts and State level, think that you are not old enough, smart enough or wise enough to pick and choose the pornography you enjoy?
Between the State and Federal Government, there is so much red tape, so many conflicting laws, so many stringent and out-dated laws that some of Australia's best Adult Entertainment performers, including the likes of Jodie Moore and Angela White, have been forced to head overseas to continue in their industry. Moore a 2002 Venus Award winner for Best Actress, White - still in the prime of her career - has won over 80 industry awards and been nominated for over 100 more.
The Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations and the Customs (Cinematograph Films) Regulations were introduced as a 'national' scheme in 1984, which allowed the government to control the importation of pornography, and with it, in most states the classification of products that depict adult entertainment including magazines and videos.
If we take ‘pornography’ to mean ‘depictions of actual sexual activity’ then such media can only be classified as either ‘Category 2 (restricted)’ if a publication, or ‘X18+’ if a film.
Under the Publication Guidelines a publication will be Refused Classification (RC) if it depicts:
‘revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults’.
Where ‘revolting or abhorrent phenomena’ is defined as ‘fetishes or practices, sometimes accompanied by sexual activity, which are considered offensive’.
Furthermore, ‘fetish’ is defined under the Publication Guidelines as: [A]n object, an action, or a non-sexual part of the body which gives sexual gratification. Mild fetishes include stylised domination and rubberwear. Stronger fetishes include bondage and discipline.
A ban on ‘fetishes’ also exists under the Film Classification Guidelines, which has a much broader definition including ‘body piercing, application of substances such as candle wax, ‘golden showers’, bondage, spanking or fisting’.
Category 2 (restricted) publications must only be sold in age-restricted sections of premises, with various State and Territory laws applying to display, packaging and advertising.
Films classified X18+ cannot have wide release in Australia and can only be sold and exhibited in the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory under compliance with strict local laws.
Nevertheless, under the current wording of the Classification Guidelines many forms of pornography depicting non-violent, consensual sex are likely to be Refused Classification by the Classification Board.
But if having our freedom of choice being taken off us from an over-zealous government wasn't enough, spare a thought for the performers in the Australian Adult Entertainment Industry. But first and foremost let's just get it out there and say it. "PORN" there! That is all that is going through your mind every time you read the word Adult Entertainment, but now it is out there let us treat the industry with the respect it deserves and refer to it under its name - the Adult Entertainment Industry.
It is no secret the history of the Adult Entertainment Industry isn't the cleanest. But in this day and age is anything as squeaky clean as it once was? But major steps have been taken to clean up the industry globally to rectify some of the issues that previously plagued the industry.
Over the last decade while the Australian Adult Entertainment Industry has been reinventing itself, ridding itself of the bad apples, and working towards more professional set ups in this day and age where technology and social media platforms are forever evolving the Australian Federal Government have failed to adapt with the changing times, instead relying on laws put in place when women were in the kitchen while their husbands went to work, where women had no rights to vote, and when even wearing a bikini would cause a stir, to govern the Australian Adult Entertainment Industry.
Under current Australian law, a lot of pornography is illegal to distribute in most parts of Australia. However, X18+ publications such as magazines can be distributed in the ACT and the Northern Territory. However,Internet pornography and other X18+ rated material is legal to view for personal use, but is illegal to upload.
If a complaint is made about content that you film and upload to a local hosting company (within Australian borders), the Australian Communications and Media Authority can have the video taken down. The laws are rarely enforced, however were in 2009 when Garion Hall - owner of abbywinters.com - was arrested and charged with "making material likely to cause an offence to a reasonable adult", and was forced to close up shop and relocate to the Netherlands, but many Australian Adult Entertainment websites usually host their content on international servers.
In addition, the production of adult entertainment is illegal in all states except the ACT. With a widely under regulated industry, it means there are no health guidelines to protect the performers. It also means that there aren't too many people setting up shop 'legally', meaning the continued health and safety of its performers remains at risk. With a lack of a competitive industry on Australian shores many performers who want to be taken seriously need to relocate overseas, usually the United States, to earn a paycheck for the same thing some Escorts and Prostitutes are earning.
UpdateAustralia would like to see all politicians at Local, State and Federal levels to back a reform to the Australian Adult Entertainment Industry.
This reform would hopefully include having RESPECT for the industry. It would have RESPECT for the performers, it would have the RESPECT to the beautiful land of Australia and allow adult entertainment videos to be filmed across this great land of ours.
We call for RESPECT to us the Australian people, the people who vote the politicians in to power, with RESPECT. Have RESPECT for us that we are able to decide what the nature of the video we enjoy is.