ACT preparing to "go it alone" on Aussie R18+

Territory Attorney-General Simon Corbell is preparing options for adopting R18+ for games should a national consensus not be reached in July.

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Following on from South Australia's recent decision to introduce R18+ for games in the state should the federal government make a move to pass the adult rating without a nationwide consensus, the Australian Capital Territory has voiced its intent to go down a similar path.

Speaking to GameSpot AU, ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell said that he has asked his department to prepare options on what the ACT can do if there is no national agreement to introduce an R18+ rating for video games at the upcoming Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) meeting in July this year.

ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell.

"I asked my department for advice for options to pursue this course about a month ago, so obviously John Rau and I have been thinking along similar lines insofar that if uniform agreement on this [issue] cannot be reached, then it would appear that it would be left open to states and territories to pursue their own arrangements," Corbell told GameSpot AU.

"Simply accepting that there wouldn't be R18+ would be a ludicrous situation. [If this doesn't happen] we would have to consider going it alone and legislating for R18+. We haven't decided on this yet, however, but I have asked my department to prepare options for me because it is inevitable that we would have to consider this approach if there is no national agreement."

Yesterday, South Australia Attorney-General John Rau told GameSpot AU that his state's cabinet had approved a proposal to introduce R18+ for games and abolish the MA15+ classification for games in South Australia. This will be implemented if the federal government is forced, due to failure of other states and territories to reach unanimous agreement, to find other means to introduce the classification at a federal level, and thus allow each state to either enforce or reject the new rating.

However, Corbell is not yet at this stage; if he decides to follow South Australia's lead, he will have to get his own proposal passed through the ACT Cabinet.

"I'd have to get the ACT Cabinet to agree to it, but my Cabinet has already indicated its support for R18+ nationally, so I doubt they'd be opposed to having it solely in the ACT. What's unclear at this stage is if we need legislation or regulation to do this--I'm thinking whether this can be just achieved by a change to regulation, which a minister can do, rather than a change to the law," he said.

"I hope there will be national agreement on R18+ [at SCAG] but it's not looking hopeful at this stage. However, it's a bit early to predict all that. If the federal government finds a way to provide for an R18+ classification, then states and territories are going to have to consider their position. [In the past], states and territories have generally agreed we should try to deal with the matter uniformly but the federal government can decide to create the classification if it wants, and if they do decide to do this, then it's up to each state to follow or not."

However, Corbell stated that the ACT would not necessarily take a similar position to South Australia on abolishing the MA15+ category.

"I just want to make it clear that the ACT would only consider legislating ourselves in regards to this issue if there was no national agreement. But I think it's highly likely we will go down that path if that proves to be the case. But the MA15+ issue is a separate question. We are supportive of the [federal government's] draft guidelines into an R18+ classification for video games that provide for both the MA15+ and R18+ classification. We wouldn't necessarily follow South Australia down that path."

GameSpot AU will be reporting live from the SCAG meeting in July. For more on the issue, visit our previous coverage.

Discussion

22 comments
vampyre1985
vampyre1985

These rogue AGs will hopefully change the minds of the other states. Let us all hope that there is no new Michael Atkinson.

Australians
Australians

well it will defently be a good thing if they get a R18+ rating i'm just hoping the other states will follow the act (if they do allow a R18+ rating) and not abolish the MA15+ rating

whispershade86
whispershade86

@AceBalls thanks for the reply, but i wouldn't hold my breath if it came to our government using common sense (no offence), as for removal MA 15+, i can see both good and bad with it.... good being it gives games and most gamers that little bit more freedom, the bad being where do they draw the line between kids/teens and adults

Micooliscool
Micooliscool

i was at first against the removal of MA15+ but it suddenly makes sense, if the reason they didnt want R18 was to 'protect the kids', then the removal of MA15 will mean no kids playing semi violent games.... makes sense :)

AceBalls
AceBalls

@whispershade86 Common sense would be a massive YES but once a game has been banned and an appeal has failed, there is no 3rd chance. O'Connor said something about this in a previous Gamespot article. But here's the part that truly sucks the dogs log, and that is that all these MA15+ games that are a bit over the top like MW2 and Dead Space 2 will likely be upgraded to an R18+ once this policy kicks in!!!

dancemachine55
dancemachine55

With SA and ACT stating publicly that they are on board with introducing R18+ as a compulsory move, it's only a matter of time before NT, QLD and NSW jump on the bandwagon. As for WA and VIC, we can only hope that the other Attorney-Generals can convince them that this is a smart move for protecting our youth and giving responsible adult gamers what they want. As long as the R18+ allows popular games like GTA and Left 4 Dead 2 to come in uncensored and allows popular banned games like Mortal Kombat or Leisure Suit Larry Magna Cum Laude, I don't care if they reject extreme content like Manhunt or Postal. I don't even care if they regulate the hell out of it so it can't even be advertised publicly or placed on store shelves, as long as adults over 18 with ID can buy it, we will be happy campers. Is it really so much to ask?

whispershade86
whispershade86

dumb question here, but if the R18+ goes thru nationally does that mean there could be slim chance of Mortal Kombat, Left 4 Dead 2 (uncut) and other black listed games to be re-released?... just asking coz i dont want to get my hopes up if not

zaiderules
zaiderules

just give us R rating its bad enogh i cant play mortal kombat but stop agonizing me also im probably going to sound like an idiot (again)but if NSW does get an R rating does that mean i might be able to buy the uncensored version of left 4 dead 2 in big w or EB games

gamerhell0987
gamerhell0987

Damn. ACT is in NSW. Why couldn't they extend this issue to NSW residents. Then I would be able to play Mortal Kombat.

Australians
Australians

well if South Australia can do it so can victoria

H0rr0rG4m3r
H0rr0rG4m3r

c'mon R+18 for Australia, every state, every city.

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

@lemonliam13, sorry to hear that, but technically some of those games are supposed to be out of your reach. Right now they're 'mislabeled' as MA15+.

xOmniCloudx
xOmniCloudx

I don't understand why there was ever a big deal about making more ratings level in Australia. Having ratings more widespread makes games more available to others and at the same time actually helps their economy since more people will spend money. To think of the thousands of multiple thousands of copies MK would have sold and money it would have added to their retailers pockets.

lemonliam13
lemonliam13

im probably the only one hating this on this site. mainly because i turn 15 in 2 weeks and as soon as i can legally buy these games i am made to wait another 3 years

selbie
selbie

Finally the wheels are turning! Let's hope this train doesn't get derailed.

veeks
veeks

It appears that the ball has started rolling.

benboz
benboz

Hurry up already!

Swindells
Swindells

It's about time that something is moving on this stagnant issue, it really should have been implemented in the first place.

Nintendo_Man
Nintendo_Man moderator

Good to hear they will also keep the MA15+ rating along with the R18+