Aussie R18+ decision delayed

Censorship ministers in Canberra fail to agree unanimously on adult rating for video games in Australia; new guidelines being sought to determine impact of possible R18+ rating.

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After nearly three years of political stalling, public consultation, and industry-wide debate, the introduction of an R18+ classification for video games in Australia has been delayed once more due to the failure of federal, state, and territory attorneys-general to reach a unanimous decision at the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) meeting in Canberra today.

Federal Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor told media that attorneys-general failed to reach the decision to introduce R18+ for games despite being presented with the final results of the federal government's public consultation, which showed 98.4 percent of respondents supported the introduction of the adult classification for games. The attorneys-general were also presented with the government's recent R18+ classification review, which showed no conclusive link between violent games and aggressive behaviour, as well as the results of a nationwide Galaxy survey, which showed 80 percent of the 2,226 people contacted supported the introduction of R18+ for games.

Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor.

In interviews conducted with all state and territory attorneys-general by GameSpot AU on Monday, only Tasmania and the ACT publicly stated a pro-R18+ stance; other states and territories chose to wait until the SCAG meeting today to make up their minds. O'Connor told media today that not all attorneys-general were behind the introduction of an R18+ rating, but did not disclose which AGs voted for what.

O'Connor, however, has said that there was general consensus from the meeting that Australia's classification system as it relates to games needed to be overhauled. Therefore, SCAG is now seeking new guidelines on how the possible introduction of an R18+ rating would affect the current MA15+ and Refused Classification brackets. These guidelines will be presented at the next SCAG meeting scheduled for March 2011.

Following the release of the R18+ public consultation preliminary report in May, classification ministers requested further research to ascertain the views of the silent majority. The R18+ classification review and Galaxy survey were made public by O'Connor just last week, shortly before he announced both his and the Gillard Government's full support for the R18+ classification.

O'Connor and the Labor Government were not alone in their pro-R18+ stance: in the few weeks leading up to the December 2010 SCAG meeting, Labor ACT Senator Kate Lundy voiced her support, while the Federal Coalition has also tentatively stated its desire to see an overhaul of the current system.

Previous attempts to introduce the R18+ classification were thwarted by former South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson, who publicly opposed the adult rating for fear that "it will greatly increase the risk of children and vulnerable adults being exposed to damaging images and messages."

Atkinson quit as South Australian attorney-general in March this year, replaced by John Rau, who chose to remain ambiguous on his views towards R18+ until today.

The federal government's R18+ public consultation was first announced in 2008 but suffered a number of delays before finally being passed in April 2009. The preliminary report found that of the 59,678 public submissions received in total, 98.2 percent were in favour of introducing an R18+ rating for games. The majority of responses in the consultation came from retailer EB Games' in-store petition, which scored 34,938 submissions, and pro-R18+ group Grow Up Australia, which organised 16,056 submissions. Other groups who made formal submissions 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+ rating 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.

GameSpot will continue to update this story as more news comes in.

Discussion

78 comments
Shawn45
Shawn45

"Wow, in every poll we've done, gamers have been HUGELY in favor of this new rating! Well, we'd never play these games, but hell, we can't let them have what they want!" Man, I'm not Australian, but reading this just pisses me off. Why is this such a huge deal for them? Just introduce the rating and be done with it! It's not going to make gamers suicidal shooters, or make children violent, that's just what the media likes to say to get ratings.

hotfiree
hotfiree

Stop being childish. The laws are outdated and need to be changed. Get passed your own views to see the big picture. A high majority of australians want it, so your argument that "less people care about than you think" is wrong. No games should be banned at all, I as an adult should not be told I cant play even one game. I shouldnt have to think "God I hope this violent game gets passed through and is allowed into the country" when Im at the age when the government would have no problem sending me to war. So to say "There is nothing preventing you from playing MA 15 games is there? " Is ridiculous. There is also nothing stopping me watch MA 15+ films, so why do they have an R rating?

CrusaderX7
CrusaderX7

@hotfiree There is nothing preventing you from playing MA 15 games is there? Nobody really benefits from this because hardly any games are ever censored or banned in the first place. It would just cost tax payer's money to implement something that less people care about than you think.

hotfiree
hotfiree

@CrusaderX7 How selfish of you. So because your 15, we adults cant get a rating for ourselves? In 3 years time youll be screaming for this to get passed so your not missing out of the games you want that are being banned. There are other people in this country other than yourself, who are adult gamers. Try to think of others. It doesnt matter how you view yourself, you dont have the mental maturity of an adult, your a 15 year old child, no matter what you think. The fact that you want a law that is for the better of the country not to be passed for your selfishness, demonstrates that to me, and shows that your not as mentially mature as you say you are. *Waits to see his opinion in 3 years time, haha*

Cobretti1818
Cobretti1818

It is beyond a joke now. They think that they are protecting the children, but what they don't realise is that while our current laws may see the banning of a few games each year, hundreds more are sold as M when in other countries they are R. EDIT: Hope this doesn't all backfire, and by revising our current laws they make things even stricter.

KuRf
KuRf

Save our Souls Gaming Clan that is one of the most unique name ever!!!! I'll make Soulless Gaming Tribe next!!

macca366
macca366

They don't need to delay it to revise the MA15+ rating. From what I read they seem to understand that for R18+ to be introduced, MA15+ needs to be revised; which is proof enough R18+ is needed, because games that would be rated so elsewhere are rated MA15+ here, which is stupid if they're worried about kids being influenced by adult videogames in the first place (though one of the reviews for the decision showed no significant connection between video games and aggressive behaviour, anyway). If they want people not to be pissed at them for not acting democratic, they should pass the decision that yes we need to introduce R18+, and then work on what needs to be done to make it so, not the other way around.

CrusaderX7
CrusaderX7

I hope it doesn't go ahead. I am 15 and I don't want to have to take my mum with me every time I have to buy an R18 game. And no I am not badass enough to get a fake ID. I believe myself to be mentally and emotionally mature enough to play the games other countries consider R18. The only game that anybody cares about that was heavily censored was L4D2. Some other games were minorly censored like Fallout 3 and GTA SA but they were so trivial nobody gave a hoot anyway.

ThePeonWhoCould
ThePeonWhoCould

DEMOCRACY FAIL. I'm suprised that Australia has such good standard of living despite our pathetic political system. Even yanks get to vote on issues such as this. If this issue came up in California for example, and 80% of the public voted for R18+ ratings, it's guaranteed to happen. Here, if theres just one or two stuck up old ***** in power, they can put our country in a state of ultra conservatism where nothing ever get's changed. Disgusting. I'm ashamed to live in this country.

pengo93
pengo93

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smooth40
smooth40

@lorddaggeroff Are you some form of guru we should all be listening to? Your wisdom amazes me, I have so much to learn. I am so scared to import a game, obviously only you have the skills to do so, teach me how to think outside of a box.

Sablicious
Sablicious

Official govt line on R18+: "Herp + derp = hurrrrrr"

hotfiree
hotfiree

@lorddaggeroff Shut the hell up, alot of us import. I do so because of the much better prices.

cooljosh3k
cooljosh3k

Was to be expected from our Goverment, yet I still had hope. Not hope that R18+ would win or hope that R18+ would lose, just hope that it would finally be resolved. My biggest reason I support R18+ is becuase of the corrupt system where games that should easily be R18+, get only a MA15+ rating. The latest game I saw where incorrect ratings were made, was Castlevania Lords of Shadow. Through the game there are scenes of sexually provocative animations with full on nudity, yet not mention of nudity or even "sexual references" were made in the classification description.

jonny_zoo
jonny_zoo

Gotta love our pathetic government who give a **** about nobody but themselves.

2x4b96123
2x4b96123

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robertwarnes91
robertwarnes91

Lets all play our unedited versions of Left 4 Dead 2 while we wait.

hotfiree
hotfiree

Even if they did bring it in, im not buying games in this country until the prices are heavily brought down. Until then, I will keep sending my money overseas.

SuprSaiyanRockr
SuprSaiyanRockr

@ Angel_Belial By conservative, I mean that the entire system is constructed to reduce change. Have you read the Australian constitution, and what needs to take place to introduce a bill, or alter the constitution? The fact that unanimous consent is required from every state Attorney-General shows how difficult it is to change things. The problem is that the constitution tries to limit the power of the government to avoid its abuse. While this is technically a good thing, it can, such as at times like this, be too effective.

MEGA--X
MEGA--X

Australia's 18+ thing is annoying =/

sonofsmeagle
sonofsmeagle

ahhhhh i still cant play l4d2 wtf these politicians need to get there ***** out of each others a-holes and look at the 98% of australia that wants this introduced and not what some angry christians or stuck up attorney generals want because their just 2% i dont know why i bother voting anymore 1st the dude i voted for (kevin Rudd) gets stabbed in the back and kicked out i mean seriousley how is it the people of australia had no say in that and now this australia has a better chance as a dam Communist state

ferretshob
ferretshob

God danmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just pass the law already. This is an absolute disgrace. I don't vote for other government members in other states so why the hell should they be able to make decisions on my behalf?

TehUndeadHorror
TehUndeadHorror

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

MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

I feel bad for gamers in Australia, they shouldn't have to put up with this kind of crap. Definitely there needs to be a better system in place.

nightharvest
nightharvest

I've said it before, Australia won't get an R18+ classification.

AceBalls
AceBalls

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Auhsoj100
Auhsoj100

It's called 'minority rules', and it's complete and utter rubbish.

CamoBullo
CamoBullo

It's delayed, yet 98.4% of Australia support it? Well, what is this madness? How can 1.6% suddenly outweigh 98.4%? That's absolute rubbish. This issue has been going on for the past year because of pathetic decisions about classifying games and people are only starting to recognise it now. They better have a decision by Q1 2011, otherwise it's frowns all around.

AceBalls
AceBalls

It's been going for long enough. Enough things have been done to show support. Why in the hell of ages does there have to be a couple of conservative AG clowns that have to throw the spanner into the works now? It's as if they were never aware of this R18+ issue whatsoever until yesterday?

Angel_Belial
Angel_Belial

@SuprSaiyanRockr I agree that few in parliament have any integrity, but that our government is conservative? Haha. On ratings perhaps.

Kage52124
Kage52124

At least they are trying to do their job, asking for more information about the other tiers. I personally don't think anyone should care about the 'silent majority' though. That's the group that didn't voice an opinion one way or the other. If they chose to not participate, then screw 'em regardless of their true stance.

lancebalog
lancebalog

Old men sticking to their 1945 values. Why the delay of the inevitable? If you want people to reimburse the national economy your not doing a good job as the gaming industry is a multi-million dollar industry, sending our $AUD to foreign markets via game imports due to censorship.

dr_satan666
dr_satan666

I vote that this whole unanimous decision thing is utter bullcrap, and it should be introduced on a state by state basis, depending on who agrees and who doesn't. Let them set their own guidelines...

StellaLunaris
StellaLunaris

*Takes yet another shot* Man, why did I go along with this drinking game? My liver hurts...

Azghouls
Azghouls

Ooh gee - what a surprise...

magical_chicken
magical_chicken

I cannot understand why we have such a horrible system for things like this. Why do we have to have an unanimous decision when it should be the majority to pass. Was anyone else shocked that it wont be looked at till March next year? What does it matter, they have their cushy jobs so Australia doesn't get its way? I would say contact each attorney general and give them a serve for delaying this again. *end rant*

magical_chicken
magical_chicken

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isshiah
isshiah

this is beyond ridiculous. how much more in favour can you get than 98%? i bet if it were 98% against they'd ban games all together.

Shinkada
Shinkada

I'm so surprised! Actually I'm not, you'd be a fool to not have seen this coming. This is Australia, we're one of the most disgustingly conservative countries in the world. It'll be another 4 years at least until this is passed.

DarkPhoneix85
DarkPhoneix85

This is getting so old! I believe an R18+ classification will eventually happen, but we're going to have to endure a tsunami load of excuses before it happens! The government represents the people?! what a crock!

angrules23
angrules23

I thought the government was meant to represent the views of society? this is why murder is illegal i don't see why having an R rating is any different if society overwhelmingly supports it. I mean all governments are retarded but our politicians are like pants on head retarded.

SuprSaiyanRockr
SuprSaiyanRockr

@ Bruce_the_Ugga The country is fine, the problem is the hyper conservative system our government is built on, and the fact that no-one in parliament has any integrity.

SuprSaiyanRockr
SuprSaiyanRockr

Line of events: You can't have it. Who wants it? We want to know what everyone else thinks. Maybe. Okay, we're thinking about it. Okay, we've made our decision. The decision is delayed.

zxssded
zxssded

yet we still wait....y not just kick us in a balls (medeforically) y dont cha?

Hellsasin
Hellsasin

OMFG just say yes! everyone wants this. It's not democracy if one person says no while everyone says yes and the one who said no gets what he wants.