The Office of Film & Literature Classification was introduced in the 1970's, and has fairly relaxed guidelines compared to countries such as the United States when it comes to sex and coarse language. In Australia, there are 6 classification categories for films, three of these are advisory categories, and can be viewed by anyone.

G: General exhibition, these films are recommended for viewing by general audiences.

PG: Films where parental guidance is recommended for viewers under the age of 15.

M: Films classified M, are recommended for mature audiences, generally for viewers over the age of 15.

The other three classifications, are legally restricted by law.

MA 15+: Those under the age of 15 cannot legally view MA films without their guardian's consent. These films can contain coarse language, implication of sexual activity, and strong themes.

R 18+: R rated films can contain pretty much anything, the only major restriction for films under this classification, are that sexual activity can only be realistically simulated.

X 18+: The only difference between X rated films, and R rated films, are that only adult characters (in terms of both perceived and actual age) may be used, and actual sexual activity can take place.

Films that cannot meet any of the guidelines above, are Refused Classification. Distributing films under this classification carries heavy penalties, including fines and jail. In Australia, this is what you can expect to see on commercial network television in prime time:

3:30 - 7:30 pm: G classified programming.
7:30 - 8:30 pm: PG classified programming.
8:30 - 9:30 pm: M classified programming.

With the exception of subscription TV channel, World Movies, R classified films are not aired in Australia.

Related Links:
Office of Film & Literature Classification