In the past, Australia was one of worst censors in the English-speaking world. The most common reason for a book being banned in Australia was that it was deemed “obscene,” meaning it was believed it could corrupt the morals of the reader. This was often used to suppress LGBTQIA+ works. Australian’s book bans were largely overturned by the Fraser government, but some books remain banned — or at least restricted — in Australia, or in a specific State.
American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis. Although the movie is readily available, the original novel is restricted in Australia for its inclusion of graphic violence and sex, and was completely banned in the State of Queensland.
The Anarchist Cookbook, William Powell. This book has been banned since 1985. It was most recently reviewed and still refused classification in 2016, on the grounds that it “promote, incite or instruct in matters of crime or violence.”
Another Country, by James Baldwin. This was banned from 1963-1966 for obscenity, due to references to homosexual and interracial sex.
The Decameron, by Giovanni Boccaccio. This classic work of 14th Century literature was deemed too obscene in Australia. It was banned from 1923-1936, and again from 1938-1973.
The Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs. This was the last work of fiction to be banned in Australia, due to its depiction of homosexuality and drug culture. The ban lasted from 1960-1973.