There are avenues of appeal and review for online content which has been the subject of a decision by the ACMA or by the Classification Board under the online content co-regulatory scheme set out in schedules 5 and 7 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992. The options available vary depending on the decision made and party concerned or affected by the decision.
If you are not satisfied with the way that a complaint has been handled by the ACMA you may contact the Commonwealth Ombudsman.
Review of Classification Decisions
If the online content you are concerned about has been classified by the Classification Board and you are not satisfied with the decision you may be able to apply to the Classification Review Board for a review of the classification.
Persons who may apply for a review include:
- the Minister
- a content or hosting service provider
- a person aggrieved by the classification
Please note: If the decision is with regard to a restricted classification, a 'person aggrieved' is broadly defined as a person or organisation whose activities relate to the contentious aspects of that theme or subject matter of the content concerned, before the content was classified.
More information about applying for a review of a classification decision including definitions of the terms above is set out in Schedule 7 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992. Please note the definition of a 'person aggrieved' differs between the Classification Act and the Broadcasting Services Act.
Information regarding applications to the Classification Review Board is available from the Classification Board website.
Administrative Appeals Tribunal
Internet Service Providers, content or hosting service providers may apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for a review of an ACMA decision affecting it.
Notices are given to the applicable hosting service provider or content service provider responsible for providing public access to the content.
Where prohibited or potential prohibited online content is identified as hosted in Australia the ACMA must issue a notice to effect the restriction or removal from public access of that content.
The types of notices the ACMA may give include:
- take down notice
- link deletion notice
- service cessation notice
- notice of a decision to apply for classification
An application may be made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of an ACMA decision to give a notice by the hosting or content service provider concerned.
The 'Codes for Industry Co-Regulation in Areas of Internet and Mobile Content' are the codes of practice in place under Schedule 5 to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Mobile Carriers. The code includes, among other things, provisions in relation to:
- restricting online accounts to adults
- online safety and parental/guardian supervision
- complaints handling
- content filtering
- designated notification scheme
If the ACMA becomes aware that an Internet Service Provider (ISP) or Mobile Carrier is contravening or has contravened the code, the ACMA may direct the provider or carrier to comply with the code.
An application may be made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of an ACMA decision to direct compliance with the code by the affected ISP or Mobile Carrier.
The Content Services Code is the code of practice in place under Schedule 7 to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 for the content services industry in relation to their content activities. The code includes, among other things, provisions in relation to:
- content assessment by trained assessors
- complaints handling
- classification advice
- promotion awareness of online safety
- record retention
If the ACMA becomes aware that a participant in the relevant section of the content industry is contravening or has contravened the code, the ACMA may direct compliance with the code.
An application may be made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of an ACMA decision to direct compliance with the code by the designated content or hosting service provider affected.