Voicing your concern
This page outlines the processes for making complaints about:
- television or radio broadcasts
- film, videos, computer games, publications and music recordings
- print media (including related websites).
Complaints about the content of newspapers and magazines should be directed to the editor of the publication in the first instance.
A self-regulatory system for the advertising industry was instigated in 1998 by the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA).
The AANA has set out a code of ethics for advertisers and a set of principles and advisory notes for advertising to children and a code for advertising of food and beverages. Where relevant, these are used in conjunction with codes from the broadcasting and other industry sectors in assessing complaints about advertisements.
The Advertising Claims Board (ACB) reviews complaints between competitors on matters of truth, accuracy and legality of advertisements.
The Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) receives advertising complaints from the public and refers them to the Advertising Standards Board for determination. Complaints can be made about issues including health and safety, the use of language, the discriminatory portrayal of people, concern for children and portrayals of violence, sex, sexuality and nudity. This is a free service to members of the public.
Complaints about the content of advertisements must be made in writing to the ASB and must include a postal address.
Complaints about billboard advertising can also be directed to the ASB.
Find out more about making a complaint about advertising content at the How to complain page on the ASB website.
To lodge a complaint, use the ASB online complaints form or use the contact details provided on the right.
(Note: the placement and classification of television advertising is covered by the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice and the relevant Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) codes of practice. See the section below on television and radio for information on making complaints about breaches of these codes.)
Most program content matters for television and radio are covered by industry codes of practice (see links to the various codes in the column on the right).
These codes are developed with reference to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (BSA), which provides the legislative foundation for the regulation of content on commercial, community, subscription (pay) and class licensed (narrowcast) services.
Complaints about material broadcast on radio or television will be assessed in terms of how that content breaches those codes.
The first step in making a complaint about material broadcast on commercial television, commercial radio, the ABC or SBS is to write directly to the broadcaster concerned.
If the complainant does not receive an answer within 30 days (60 days for subscription television), or is unhappy with the response provided, the matter can be referred to ACMA.
Because of the number of individual radio and television services, it is not practical to list contact details for them here. Local telephone directories provide contact information for local stations, and the ACMA website provides lists of licensed broadcasters.
Contact details for complaints to the national broadcasters are available from the websites of the ABC and SBS.
See contact details and links for all relevant broadcasting bodies listed on the right.
All films, videos, computer games and certain categories of publications (including magazines) and music video recordings are classified using the National Classification Scheme, which is administered within the Attorney-General's portfolio. Classification provides information about the content of these products to assist consumers in deciding what is appropriate for themselves and their families.
Complaints about the content of newspapers, periodicals and the related websites of those publications should first go to the editor or other representative of the publication concerned.
If the complaint is not resolved in this way it can be referred, in writing, to the Australian Press Council (APC)the industry body that oversees the responsible and ethical behavior of its members.
Information on making complaints about print media is available on the APC website. Use the online complaint form or write to the APC at the address given in the contacts column on this page.
Advertising Standards Bureau
97 Northbourne Avenue
Turner ACT 2612
Tel: 02 6262 9822
Fax: 02 6262 9833
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
GPO Box 9994
Your capital city
Australian Communications and Media Authority
PO Box Q500
Queen Victoria Building
Tel: 1800 226 667 (a free call) or
02 9334 7700
Fax: 02 9334 7799
Australian Press Council
117 York Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Tel: 1800 02 5712 (free call) or
02 9261 1930
Fax: 02 9267 6826
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Special Broadcasting Service
Locked Bag 028
Crows Nest NSW 1585
Tel: 02 9430 2828
Fax: 02 9430 3700
- Australian Communications and Media Authority
- Complaints - Advertising Standards Bureau
- ABC Act, charter and policy documents
- SBS Codes of Practice
- Complaints - ABC
- Complaints - SBS
- Commercial Radio Industry Code of Practice and Guidelines
- Lists of licensed broadcasters - ACMA
- Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice
- Subscription (pay) television codes of practice
- Complaints about online (Internet) content - ACMA
- Community broadcasting codes of practice (radio and television)
- Complaints - Australian Press Council
- National Classification Scheme for film, video, computer games and certain publications