98.2% of Australians support R18+ rating

Censorship ministers say no decision has been made on 18-and-up game label; poll results show vast majority of respondents back introduction of adult rating.

When the Australian federal government announced a public consultation into the question of whether or not an R18+ rating for video games should be introduced, many pundits expected most to be in favour of an adult rating for games. In fact, very early counting of received responses at the start of February this year showed overwhelming support, with only 1 percent opposed to an R18+.

A majority of Aussies have indicated their support for an R18+.

It seems those early results have been replicated in the full count, with the Federal Home Affairs department now releasing its preliminary report into the public consultation. Of the 59,678 public submissions received in total, the Home Affairs department found 58,589 (98.2 percent) were in favour of introducing an R18+, with only 1,089 (1.2 percent) against it.

The preliminary report--which was released on the Home Affairs Minister's Web site this afternoon--found that the majority of responses came from retailer EB Games off the back of its in-store promotion, which scored 34,938 submissions. The next biggest group was those from Grow Up Australia, which organised 16,056 submissions.

While close to 60,000 individuals responded, 34 groups also made formal submissions to the public consultation. Of those groups, 53 percent supported an R18+, with 47 percent opposed to it. Groups opposed to R18+ included the Australian Christian Lobby, several Western Australian politicians (including the Minister for Water and Health Graham Jacobs, the Australian Council on Children and the Media, the Commissioner for Children Tasmania, and the Sporting Shooters Association). Groups who strongly supported the R18+ included the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association, Telstra, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association, Save our Souls Gaming Clan, and more.

Despite the vast majority of positive responses, today's meeting of Australia's censorship ministers has failed to move forward on the issue. For an R18+ to be introduced in Australia, all of the nation's state and federal attorneys-general must unanimously agree. Federal Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said that ministers attending the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General meeting today had agreed that "further work needs to be done before a decision can be made."

“Censorship ministers have not yet made a decision on whether or not an R18+ classification for computer games should be introduced and have requested further analysis of community and expert views," he said.

“It is not just the weight of numbers that need to be considered. It is also the strength of the arguments on each side."

Stay tuned to GameSpot AU for a full wrap-up of the public consultation process. For more on video game classification in Australia, check out GameSpot AU's Aussie Games Classification FAQ feature.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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RandolphRam

Randolph Ramsay

Randolph is the managing editor of GameSpot, and needs more time to play games.
118 comments
DirtyHarry64
DirtyHarry64

Games like Left 4 Dead 2 and GTA 4 had to be stripped down to fit the MA classification. And Left 4 Dead 2 looks pefetic without rotting corpses. We deserve the full version! It can also be underrated, like what happened to Aliens vs. Predator. This stinks!

TBoneDM
TBoneDM

The Sporting Shooters Association AGAINST an R18+ for games? I find that bamboozling and overwhelmingly ironic...

PumpkinBoogie
PumpkinBoogie

w00t!! Go head, Aussie gaming community, let 'em hear you loud and clear. I'm hella impressed; not only did y'all drop those strong numbers in preliminary vote counts--but hell you followed it right back up in the official vote counts, too! Keep on letting yourselves be heard, don't let up on the pressure! ;) Sure it may not be decided yet; but it's important that the best effort possible be put into it--all great strides have to push through the struggles and adversity. Just the fact that your legislature is taking the effort to actually look deeper into the numbers and the votes/arguments for, and even against, R18 rating system means that they're trying to take seriously what you guys (and gals) have to say. I'm rooting for y'all all the way (as I'm sure many in gaming communities all over are). :)

gandalf_storm
gandalf_storm

like its going to make any difference, kids will pester parents, oh mum, oh dad, ben at schools got it, wine, whinge wine, oh right then son I/we give in, you can manhunt 2, we willl sit here and watch you visit dominatrix clubs and hack up people, its good for you really, silly censorship, its only a game........good luck to you I say but dont come crying when you kid brings a gun into school or worse.... (on a lighter note, they should either ban or give neighbours / home & away) 18+ or even better insanity+

H0rr0rG4m3r
H0rr0rG4m3r

Hurry up the R+18 omg more little kids are getting violent games because the ratings arnt harsh enough, if the parents see the higher ratings, they will think twice about buying games for their kids. All the haters are just retarded.

wondernova
wondernova

living in Australia, im all for the R rating more then you can imagine. but at the moment, it aint gonna happen. we have an election looming, with labor falling behind the liberals for the first time since 2006. Rudds also taken a hit on his approval rating. not to mention the budget is too be revealed soon. the R rating is an important issue, but it has to be at the right time, and now isnt it.

Aramantha
Aramantha

Personally i think this decision is a major one for the Australian public and for me bieng an Aussie citizen. I think that games should not be banned regarding theyre content because that is censorship and i am outraged when this happens. However an R18 rating will not stop Uassie kids buying these games instead it will only encourage them.

jtthegame316
jtthegame316

well how can people be againest adults making up there own mind. maybe this will lead to things not getting banned so much over there. the fact that there are people out there wanting to ban things all the time and not make adults make up there own mind about things makes me sick

AceBalls
AceBalls

I wonder whether they'll weigh up their decision based on the 'groups' views mentioned up here instead of the public opinion.. if that's the case, once again it is a meaningless meeting. 98.2% of the PUBLIC opinion better be counted in here!

Mikethechimp
Mikethechimp

Hey guys, read the article. The 98.2% statistic is due to partisan groups, not general public opinion. I know this is a gaming site, but whoever wrote this article shouldn't have put such a blatant claim for a title.

Liponade
Liponade

seriously. if people cannot separate what they do in a video game from reality they have something wrong with them. im sick of people claiming that gaming causes violent behaviour, wait sorry i forgot, hitler was a HUGE cod fan. get a life australia, im so sick of this

Devvy01
Devvy01

we're adult enough to decide what's bad for us.. Its the retailers that should lock up the 18+ titles, and the parents should be educated better about such titles. I know , I'm a parent...

Jaguar_Shade
Jaguar_Shade

All these childrens associations against an R18+ rating is very silly. It's like they want this sort of adult content (which is inappropriate for kids) to be accessible to kids, when if it were R18+ the kids would not get it. Hey, Saints Row 2, R18+ in America, M15+ here in Australia. gg nextmap

Metal-Gear1997
Metal-Gear1997

Im a catholic and i am against the fact that 18+ games are not allowed in AUS! I mean, I am an Australian but the government is saying that people over 18 are not allowed to play games suitable for them...if dat even made sense...but still i think if your age is suitable u hav the power to control your emotions and feelings when your playing violent video games however if you cannot control your self and think blowing ppl to bits is normal jus simply dnt play and head to a phsycotherepist.... :)

modecian
modecian

I'm a Christian and I support R18+ games, I think enforcing it isn't going to do anything except annoy the crap outa the majority of adult gamers.... its just like watering down beer, its not going to save lives, it just delays the inevitable.

collingtonuk
collingtonuk

It would be political suicide to oppose this. lets hope common sense shines through.

Glade_Gnarr
Glade_Gnarr

WTF so christians are aginst it but catholics support it lol.

themovi3nut
themovi3nut

I think it's only a matter of time before the sensible decision is made and R18+ games are released and an end to the undemocratic censorship crap that they pull becomes a thing of the past.

blakeney
blakeney

AceBalls, thats the problem in uk too, without going into things on a deep level, "democracy" is an illusion/smoke screen/nice idea nowerdays!

cannibal87
cannibal87

this is just bull 98.2% of us said yes to it why do we have to put up with this bull

AceBalls
AceBalls

If R18+ does NOT come through now, even with these unbelievable positive demands from the public, then "Democracy" will well and truly belong in the toilet. If this occurs, I will never pay a fine or cast a vote ever again, because what will be the point of it?

Paul2004
Paul2004

The people have spoken, its time to give them what they want !. Im not surprised that some religious groups oppose this (They never let us have any fun lol) but the total amount supporting it is staggering. I dont see how they can turn it down without risking riots and their own jobs

Shinkada
Shinkada

tl;dr: Denied again, the government thinks they know better than the people. For the last goddamn time, this is not about whether games SHOULD be violent, it's about whether they CAN be. Most games don't benefit from it. Even if NO games benefitted from it, it WOULD NOT MATTER because that is NOT WHAT THIS IS ABOUT. This is about laws that (fail to) protect children impeding the ability of adults to do whatever they damn well please as long as it does infringe on the rights of others (see: Freedom). Do I want to play a game full of violence and sex? No, I hate sex in videogames, I think it's pointless and the idea of a videogame selling based on some softcore pixellated nudity when you can get any fetish you want for free sickens me, because it's profiting via ignorance, and I hate that in any context. Doesn't matter. It's not my choice to make. It's not the government's choice to make. It's not the developers' choices to make. It's not the distributers' choices to make. It is the choice of the man who has earnt $100, and wishes to spend it on his own entertainment. That's it. The end. Issue over. Approve the ****ing rating you useless piles of ****.

MooncalfReviews
MooncalfReviews

There's really no need for excessive gore and sex scenes in video games. You can tell a story without the need for sadistic violence. (Says the guy who just spent an hour on Just Cause, strapping innocent people to his helicopter and flying them into oncoming traffic, whilst laughing like Dr Evil.)

whispershade86
whispershade86

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

summonsoul
summonsoul

i really dont understand why they are standing in the way of R18 games. do they not know that the games they desperately dont want children playing are the games they have helped put into that childs hand, minus a scene dropped here and there ? the games are still filled with violence, gore, murder etc.... you would think they would welcome the R18 rating. and further noone has the right to say what i can and cant play as im an adult and its up to parents to decide what their child play or dont play

MadJax
MadJax

I feel for our Australian brethren, they appear to have the only government in the world that is allergic to money... @bsnimunf As far as I know, our R18 in the UK would be different from yours, but judging from how backwards some politicians are (globally) , it wouldn't suprise me if what you say becomes truth if by some miracle this goes through

Krystyan68
Krystyan68

As an aussie I can say, I love my country ... ... but I hold it's government in contempt!

muzza93
muzza93

Im worried about Red Dead Redemption bein censored like GTA IV, remember rock star just censored it themselves without bein told to censore it to make sure it definitely got in. (even tho now GTA IV aus version got all the good bits added back in thanks to a recent update for GTA)

bsnimunf
bsnimunf

In the UK R18 means restricted 18 and the games would only be sold in what are now sex shops. Does this mean the same in Australia or is it the the equivalent of a standard UK 18 rating. Because i would hate to have to go into a sex shop to buy GTA

Avenger1324
Avenger1324

It's long overdue that the Australian censors introduce an 18 rating, so lets hope this can be brought in soon rather than held up in law courts for years.

sammysalsa
sammysalsa

I still fail to see what the problem was in the first place, there is no reasonable argument against an R18+ rating. Also LOL@ catholic supporting and christians opposing.

selbie
selbie

I don't see how there is any strength for an anti-R18 argument. It is just far too logical to introduce the rating because it would benefit all groups. I see it as a win win situation for both sides. The only reason people are against R18 is because they think there will be MORE violent games made, which is a complete load of BS. An R18 rating would allow for a greater degree of control over the extra-violent games that are released here and would bundle them into a category that is subsequently out of reach to vulnerable minds.

hotfiree
hotfiree

Take that atkinson! Haha he never knew what aus wanted.

gamerpipe
gamerpipe

I wonder if the censorship ministers were censored too. I guess the aussie government soon will change Australia name to Asteriskia or CENSORED. No offense to Aussies.

Sphire
Sphire

“It is not just the weight of numbers that need to be considered. It is also the strength of the arguments on each side." Wow...just wow. I was in Australia for 5 years, and this issue was a pain. I wholly expected the public consultation to go the 'gamers' way, and that change would be afoot. But to then shove it back in the face of the public speaks volumes. And I love how children's groups are against it. 18+ aren't kiddies.

Randomname27
Randomname27

I don't see what the big deal is, I've been stopped from buying MA games before because my voice sounded too high even though I'm 15. Retailers aren't going to suddenly go lax on their rules.

Vesica_Prime
Vesica_Prime

'Censorship ministers' huh? I wonder who they hired, Joseph Goebbels I guess?

apochs_edge
apochs_edge

@ for2100 Good point, I completely forgot about the internet filter which I am wholeheartedly in opposition to.

for2100
for2100

@ apoch" the reason australia is being reffered to as similar to china and korea is not only gaming sensorship have you not heard about the proposed filter on the internet also threatening to further diminish our choice in information under the scheme they are proposing could even block political or sex educational info as the "black list" is to be kept private therefore it is basic communist rule not to mention no government would undo it i mean hey who doesnt want full control over all media outlets

Australians
Australians

there is a reason the attorney general has received death threats its because he's not being democratic basically he's not listening to the people and same goes with most of the Australian politicians (not all of them like the one here on the peninsula Mr.Dixon)

mushroommanic
mushroommanic

"Groups opposed to R18+ included the Australian Christian Lobby..." "Groups who strongly supported the R18+ included... the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference." Is it just me or is Catholicism not as stuck up as people make it out to be? I remember when Pokemon came out all these Christian religions tried to boycott it, whereas the Vatican issued a message saying they thought it was imaginative and had no opposition... I just found this interesting.

apochs_edge
apochs_edge

people really need to stop over reacting to this issue so much, sure I too am massively in favour of an R18+ rating but posters here keep comparing Australia to North Korea and China because video games are being censored, it sucks that our rights as adults are somewhat being infringed upon by this censorship but lets face facts, video games are not a medium that is currently drawing any greatly important issues to light in the public eye, the only reason they are being censored here is because of blood, gore and sex, the issue will be dealt with sooner or later but just let it run its course and keep making rational arguments for the introduction of R18+ rather than making ridiculous comparisons to police states, the reason its taking so long to be passed is because of the jumbled up DEMOCRATIC bureaucracy we live in! this is nearly always the way democratic systems work, they can be slow and ineffective but they are the least worst system of government we currently have on hand.

alienmlbyrne0
alienmlbyrne0

This will go on and on..............They will(Government) just keep stalling the issue with their own petty excuses.

TheCyborgNinja
TheCyborgNinja

If the Aussie government doesn't pass the R18+, they're officially fascist jerks who only think about their own moronic hang ups.

spacemariens22
spacemariens22

sigh! god i wish these Attorneys-Generals would just get on with it and give us our R18 rating i mean we have all the evidence and cleary ppl wont it just get off ur asses and vote it in already!! and stop dragging it on and on and on like they have been!

tigertechie
tigertechie

I'm a good percent of that. I signed it ten times! ;)