The Western Australian Government would not hand over its censorship powers to the Commonwealth without a new national approach to censorship, Arts Minister Kay Hallahan said today.
Mrs Hallahan said Western Australian censorship authorities were currently in the best position to judge local standards.
The Minister was speaking as a petition signed by nearly 4,600 Western Australians concerned about sexual crime was tabled in State Parliament.
The petition called on Parliament to:
· ban all degrading, demeaning and crime-inciting publications;
· prohibit the possession of child pornography in any form; and
· prevent State censorship rights being usurped by the Commonwealth.
Mrs Hallahan said the State Government had introduced tough new laws banning the possession of child pornography and had responded to community wishes on offensive publications.
"The community is fed up with the offensive and degrading images in many publications freely available to young children," Mrs Hallahan said.
"And there is widespread concern about excessive violence, including sexual violence, in films and videos rated for a young audience."
The Minister said the Federal Government had to consider involving more women and parents with young children in decision-making on censorship matters.
"National censorship authorities are clearly out of step with the wishes of the Western Australian community."
All States except Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland had delegated their censorship powers to the Commonwealth.
The Government will hold a series of community meetings next week to canvass public opinion on censorship issues.