THE AUSTRALIAN CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM AND WHAT THE RATINGS MEAN
Before a movie, TV show or video game is released in Australia, it must be given a rating by the Australian Classification Board. The ratings are either advised or legally restricted due to the impact of the content on a viewer.
THE ADVISED AND LEGALLY RESTRICTED CLASSIFICATION CATEGORIES
The content is very mild in impact
G classified products are suitable for all audiences. They may contain themes and elements that are very mild in impact.
The content is mild in impact
PG classified products may contain themes and elements that are mild in impact. However, they may include material that children may find confusing or upsetting and are not recommended to children under the age of 15 without the guidance of a parent, teacher or guardian.
The content is moderate in impact
Products with M-ratings may include moderate portrayals of violence, nudity and themes that require a mature outlook. Although M-rated products are not recommended for viewers under 15, children may legally view, hire or purchase the content as the classification is only advised.
The content is strong in impact
Content that is rated MA 15+ may contain strong depictions of sex, violence and drug use that is restricted to viewers aged 15. Children under 15 may not legally view, hire or purchase MA 15+ rated films, shows or computer games unless they are accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. A person may be asked for proof of their age to access MA 15+ material.
The content is high in impact
Material that is classified R 18+ is restricted to adults as it contains content that may be considered offensive or elements that are high in impact. A person may be asked for proof of their age before viewing, hiring or purchasing R 18+ films, shows and video games.
The content is sexually explicit
The X 18+ classification is a special and legally restricted rating due to sexually explicit content that is very high in impact. X 18+ films are not exhibited and can only be purchased or hired in certain areas of Australia.
SYMBOLS FOR CONTENT BEFORE A RATING IS DECIDED AND FOR REFUSED CLASSIFICATION
Check the Classification
Before a classification has been decided
When a movie, show or video game has been approved for advertising but not yet given a classification, the CTC (Check the Classification) message must be displayed. When the film, show or video game has been classified, the CTC marking must be replaced with the rating.
RC (Refused Classification)
RC is a classification category for content that may not be legally purchased, hired, advertised and imported in Australia. RC-rated material contains themes and elements that are very high in impact and falls outside generally-accepted community standards.
HOW A RATING IS DECIDED AND THE CONSUMER ADVICE IS MADE
The Classification Board decides the rating of a film based on 6 elements and what context they’re in and the impact they may have on a viewer.
The Classification Board rates a film, show or video game based on the elements it includes such as:
- Coarse Language
- Drug Use
The impact of an element is assessed by the Board. The content may receive a higher rating for impact when the material is graphically detailed, prolonged or realistic. The content may receive a milder rating for impact when the material is briefly verbally or visually referenced or incidental.
The level of impact allowed in each classification category:
- G — Very Mild Impact
- PG — Mild Impact
- M — Moderate Impact
- MA 15+ — Strong Impact
- R 18+ — High Impact
- RC — Very High Impact
Therefore, a film, show or video game receives a rating by the Classification Board to protect children from inappropriate content. The consumer advice is also made to describe the elements of the strongest content.