Aussie censorship ministers remain quiet on R18+

Only one Australian Attorney-General publicly states support for introduction of R18+ rating for games; others remain noncommittal.

If early results from the federal government's public consultation into the introduction of an R18+ rating for games in Australia are anything to go by, then the public is overwhelmingly behind an adult classification for games. But with less than a week to go before the end of the consultation, the people whose opinion matters the most--the various state and territory Attorneys-General that ultimately get to decide whether an R18+ is introduced--are remaining tight-lipped about their views.

A recent survey of all state and territory Attorneys-General by GameSpot AU has found that only the Australian Capital Territory's AG was willing to admit public support for R18+. The rest of the ministers stated no position or declined to comment. When GameSpot AU last interviewed the Censorship Ministers over a year ago, Victorian AG Rob Hulls and the ACT AG Simon Corbell said they supported the introduction of an R18+ classification. Hulls has since withdrawn his public support, saying that he does not wish to "preempt" the results of the public consultation. Other ministers admitted no position with the exception of South Australian AG Michael Atkinson, whose stance on the issue is well known.

While the outcome of the R18+ discussion paper is looking to be largely in support of R18+, little is known about how influential the results of the paper will be toward bringing about an adult classification for video games in Australia. To date, the federal government has only stated that the results will merely “inform” any future decisions made about the R18+ classification.

What is known is that at some point, state and territory Attorneys-General will once again be asked to vote on whether or not they support the introduction of an R18+ classification for video games in Australia. For an R18+ rating for games to be introduced in Australia, all Attorneys-General must agree on its implementation.

Below are the responses from the Attorneys-General on whether or not they support an R18+ rating for games in Australia.

VICTORIA
Attorney-General Rob Hulls

"The government supports the release of a public discussion paper on an R18+ classification of video games. I will not be preempting this consultation by announcing a position on this issue," the minister said.

ACT
Attorney-General Simon Corbell

“The ACT Government supports the introduction of an R18+ classification for video games, similar to that of films and television. This position has been conveyed at meetings of commonwealth, state, and territory ministers on a number of occasions. There is general support in Australia for an R18+ classification, and the ACT would encourage anyone with an interest in this issue to have their say by making a submission to the discussion paper. I expect that the support that exists for film and television classifications translates into [support for] classifications for computer and video games. The ACT Government is supportive of introducing an R18+ rating for video and computer games and will take into account the views of consumers through the consultation process," the minister said.

NSW
Attorney-General John Hatzistergos

"The NSW Government supports a national approach to classification based on public consultation. The National Classification Scheme is based on the premise that classification decisions should represent the standards of morality, decency, and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults. The position of Censorship Ministers on this issue should therefore be informed by views of the broader community. The consultation process now under way is an important step in achieving this," a spokesman for the minister said.

TASMANIA
Attorney-General Lara Giddings

"We are currently working through the discussion paper, weighing up the arguments for and against the classification, and intend to lodge a submission before the closing date of 28 February 2010," a spokesman for the minister said.

QUEENSLAND
Attorney-General Cameron Dick

"The Queensland government believes this issue should be resolved to give certainty to the industry. We are currently finalising our position in relation to the issues raised in the discussion paper," the minister said.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Attorney-General Christian Porter

"The Commonwealth Government released the discussion paper on 14 December 2009. Submissions to that paper will be received until 28 February 2010. Ministers will make a decision on this matter after they have had time to consider the discussion paper and any submissions," the minister said.

NORTHERN TERRITORY
Attorney General Delia Lawrie

A spokesperson for the Northern Territory government declined to comment on the issue.

For more on classification, check out GameSpot AU's Aussie Games Classification FAQ feature.

Written By

Discussion

23 comments
xatman911
xatman911

Politics is always funny business and almost always withholds progress, as seen above.

Payback7
Payback7

Please bring it in and end this silly debate. I just don't understand how Mr Atkinson still believes that an R18+ rating is going to harm children. If anything it will HELP protect children and at the end of the day the average age of gamers in Australia is apparently 30. I'm in my late 20's (VERY LATE!!! hehe) and have been a gamer since I was a child. I've played many violent video games and have never commited a crime and hurt anyone. Heck, I don't even like killing bugs!! HAHA It's just a close minded view and Mr Atkinson should really step back and have a good long think about this issue. From where I stand it just looks like he's trying to get some attention before an election to show that he's 'protecting the children'. Hows about this Mr Atkinson - let PARENTS protect their own children like they should be doing anyway! Sign - rant over. Hope it get's voted through otherwise there will be a heck of alot more illegal downloads and imports happening in Australia.

5M177Y
5M177Y

dunnowhathuh man your so right

dunnowhathuh
dunnowhathuh

These guys can no longer deny Australians the R18+ rating and say they're acting in the public interest when almost all (if not all) of the submitted discussion papers support the introduction of the rating. They're elected to do what we want them to do and if they don't, we don't vote for em. Unfortunately for us, atkinson will never act in the public interest on this issue. He'd rather act on his interests alone. I'm willing to bet he hasn't even read the discussion papers.

Australians
Australians

im glad to be in victoria at least we have better polotics then South Australia

truetime
truetime

aussie gamers should get the same privledge as every other country like i was really looking forward to left 4 dead 2 but insted they brought out some stupid censored edition that made no sense >:(

Hoob22
Hoob22

If the weight of the public is truly suppporting the pro R rating cause, then it should be a cinch, because they will realise that this means mucho votes for them. But as stated, hopefully they see sense and look at the issue from both sides, but it remains to be seen if this is the case.

stray2615
stray2615

I think this is the 1st time in my life I can truly say I'm proud to live in Canberra. I normally vote for independents, AG Simon Corbell has a lifetime voter in me for his support of an issue I hold dear. I have to agree with AcidBlood. I think the best thing we could hope for from the consultation is for all AGs to look at the submissions and make informed decisions. I just wish ALL AGs were as open minded. One other thing that bothers me though is the NT AG refusing to comment. Declining to comment on an issue usually means you have something to hide from the public. Let's hope this is just a conspiracy theory on my behalf, last thing we need is a second Atkinson.

AcidBlood83
AcidBlood83

"All i got out of that was typical political standard question dodging and 'undecided' until the public consultation. Wow, way to save your butts right before the election." Not saying that there isn't at least a bit of this going on, but if you knew nothing about a topic (I doubt any of the AGs are hardcore gamers) but were one of a few people asked to vote on it, wouldn't you want to get as many facts and opinions on said topic as possible before making a decision that's going to effect tens, probably hundreds, of thousands of people?

AceBalls
AceBalls

It's all about the votes for these guys. They'll "weigh up" according to their agenda policy way before any logical theory. Atkinson will still say no anyway and the whole thing will be a waste of time. The only way this will work is if each state can get their own classification stamp - separate from the others. We can buy adult movies and firecrackers in Canberra but not is South Australia (legally anyway). We should get R18 games like this as well.

Generic_Dude
Generic_Dude

Amazing how repressive a former prison colony can be.

R_evolution_Jay
R_evolution_Jay

At least they admit they will look into this deeper based on the publics opinion through the paper (apparently), unlike atkinson, won't even read any of it I'm betting, which is a disgrace to Australians and their rights and trust. And for all those saying this is such a tiny percent who filled it out, 1: that would have fallen into the governments hands to get it out there so they cant fall back on that, 2: would you like to sit there and read every single reply it will have in total by the end of Feb? there will be a tonne of information by a broad range I'm sure So after this if this one biased man still votes no, then this country has truly gone to sh!t, when one man has the right to oppose and laugh at an entire country and there's no law against it... might as well be a dictatorship!

Abecale
Abecale

All i got out of that was typical political standard question dodging and 'undecided' until the public consultation. Wow, way to save your butts right before the election.

hectadectagon
hectadectagon

Firstly, its fair enough to say we'll wait for due diligence with the paper. I couldn't have named the VIC rep before reading this article so they might also think they're more influential then they really are. Nevermind the fact I don't care what they think, they aren't buying the games for me, its actually my money that pays for them to do a job. Secondly, well before any paper was about it should have been they either represent themselves and the people who voted for them or they go elsewhere. Enough with the cat and mouse, either they have an opinion or they're just political pandas. You have to give Corbell and Atkinson credit for playing all in.

spetz_naz_basic
spetz_naz_basic

Do this paper and its submissions really mean anything at the end of the day? It's pretty much a given that most people (who know about the issue) support an R18+ classification; we didn't need the submissions to know that. It's also clear that Atkinson will stick to his guns no matter what; the paper doesn't change that. We've worked ourselves up over a paper that will leave us where we were at the start: Atkinson vetoing the R18+ proposal.

AcidBlood83
AcidBlood83

Well at least they sound open to idea, unlike Mr. MA. Hopefully he will either get voted out or the other AGs will be able to put enough pressure on him given the, likely at least, outcome of the disscussion paper.

Jortan
Jortan

Can't we just have that R18+ in the state that the Attorney General want one

wenisman
wenisman

sounds like the ministers are waiting to see which way people will vote... they dont want to appear too unpopular in an election year however given 1% of the population filled out the discussion paper (roughly 22,000 submissions) and considering the content then this does not make a large portion of the voting community. this discussion paper has been a proving ground for what the community wants. However the reality is that unfortunately the attorney generals all know the arguments and with said people in power this will never get through. I have stated it before, if we dont get an R18+ rating then I am going to vote with my feet and also encourage others to buy all games from over seas suppliers. If i am not treated like an adult here then I will purchase my goods where they do recognise my rights and ability to make an informed decision.

AceBalls
AceBalls

I think they'll all come to an agreement except for the obvious. The question is, will it all matter in the end anyway? If Atkinson still says no even though 16 thousand of us say yes, then he will still win. That is how stupid, unfair and pointless this entire system has become. I wonder though, if each state can imply the R18+ separately? There's gotta be something in the law that allows them to do that... there HAS to be ;)

2x4b96123
2x4b96123

at reading the title i thought 'pansies!' I hope they are as open to this as they sound. =p where was Michael Atkinsons response?

johnnyauau
johnnyauau

I'm glad ACT attorney general is in to this with other attorneys slowly agreeing to this consultation unlike Michael Atkinson who's views is far too contradictory to what gamers have been saying all along. Michael Atkinson has put himself in danger in upcoming elections and that could be avoided if he had done his job by representing people's views instead of this weak argument that not having an adult rating "save's children" from adult content in what's suppose to be an adult game made for adults.