Australia: censorship as usual

Applause (1930): sex, chorus girls

Frankenstein (1931): horror

When the Kellys Rode (1934): against the public interest

Ten Days That Shook the World (1936): communism

The Duke of Windsor Skis in Austria After the Abdication (1937): against the public interest

All Quiet on the Western Front (1939): pacifism

Love on the Dole (1941): realistic scenes of poverty

Indonesia Calling (1946): criticism of the Dutch

Violence (1948): violence

Children of the Wasteland (1953): criticism of treatment of Aborigines

Creature With the Atom Brain (1955): horror

The Werewolf (1956): horror

The Art of Rubens (1956): nudity

The Fly (1958): horror

The Fall of the House of Usher (1960): horror

Viridiana (1962): blasphemy

The Leather Boys (1963): homosexuality

Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster (1964): horror

Kitten With a Whip (1964): violence

Naked as Nature Intended (1965): sex

Hit the U.S. Aggressors (1965): propaganda

Ulysses (1967): sex

The Trip (1967): drugs, violence

Detail of a list of repressed films with official justifications, excepted from Geoffrey Dutton and Max Harris (eds), Australia’s Censorship Crisis, Sun Books, Melbourne, 1970.

Almost ten years ago I posted the foregoing to my old web-thing big tank (a blog avant la lettre, if you will) as a sort of comic tribute to Sen. Brian Harradine. The Dutton and Harris book was a fascinating eye-opener. I had not realised just how well-protected the Australian public had been from such discreditable foreign concepts as sex, chorus girls, pacifism, homosexuality and criticism of the Dutch; among the democracies, only Ireland came anywhere near us.

At the time, I assumed that the post-censorship Australia I had grown up in was a permanent state of affairs, but the Government’s Clean Feed plans have made me realise, with a kind of dawning horror, that I was wrong. For all our self-congratulation about how tops and democratic we are, such freedom of speech as we have in Australia is only about forty years old, and we are going to have to fight to maintain it.

One thing I’m certain of is that this is my generation’s fight. The boomers grew up under censorship and only a minority of them fought against it at the time. Somehow I doubt that they have grown less amenable to being censored with age.

Further info:
Background Briefing 15th March


One response to “Australia: censorship as usual

  1. You may be interested in some more recent media banned in Australia. I posted this in May 2007. Things have gotten worse since then.

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