Aussie R18+ public consultation delayed

Draft discussion paper on possible introduction of R18+ for games down under suffers setback.

A proposed public consultation process for the introduction of an R18+ rating for video games in Australia has suffered a setback, with a draft discussion paper on the issue rejected by South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson.

In March this year, the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) announced that it would be asking the public for its opinion on the R18+ classification for video games in Australia. A discussion paper was drawn up to seek public opinion submissions on the issue; the paper included an overview of the relevant research and literature and a proposal to amend the classification guidelines.

However, Atkinson withdrew his support for the discussion paper, and it was subsequently not released to the public. A spokesperson for the minister said that Atkinson "gave consideration to the draft but was unable to support the release of that document," but he did not specify reasons why. Atkinson has been a long-standing opponent of the introduction of an R18+ rating for games in Australia.

"The next meeting of the ministers will occur in November so the matter can be further discussed then if ministers choose," Atkinson's spokesperson told GameSpot AU.

Despite the fact that Atkinson is leaving the door open for more discussion, other attorneys general are becoming despondent on the issue. Victorian Attorney General Rob Hulls said, "Whilst the issue is still formally on the SCAG agenda, it now appears unlikely that there will be unanimity from all jurisdictions to proceed further at this stage with introducing an R18+ category for computer games."

Unlike films and DVDs, which can carry an adult R18+ rating, games in Australia can only be rated MA15+. For the law to change, all of Australia's various state, territory, and federal attorneys general need to agree on its introduction. A single national classification code, agreed between the Australian government and the states and territories, sets out the principles to be followed in making classification decisions. The Australian government attorney general's department is responsible for Australian government classification policy and supports the minister for home affairs in meetings with state and territory censorship ministers through the Classification Policy Branch.

Ron Curry, the CEO of Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia, said today he would push ahead with plans to petition the federal government on the introduction of the R18+ classification for video games, despite this recent drawback.

Speaking at the launch of the Interactive Australia 2009 report (IA9)--the latest study into Australian gaming habits--Curry said the IEAA was determined to keep the issue circulating within government departments.

"We'll continue to work with government and policy advisors and various departments to maintain it on the agenda," Curry said. "To us, what it seems like is that Mr. Atkinson is actually censoring debate on censorship, and there's a whole lot of irony in that," Curry said of Atkinson's decision. "We're going to try and put the paper forward again as soon as possible."

The IA9 report showed an overwhelming public response on the issue of classification, with 91 percent of adults supporting the introduction of the R18+ rating for video games.

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Discussion

65 comments
tadkop
tadkop

wtf im 12 and i play ive played and got through all the silent hill and resident evil games

nhall00195
nhall00195

Average australian gamer is now 30 years old...this bloke is a F*&@^ing RETARD Why do minority groups and opinions often control society and policy...MOB RULE SOUNDS GOOD. Someone should remove him from office...and perhaps from planet earth...freak

Unreal_007
Unreal_007

We should just burn this Nazi at the stake and be done with it, whatever happened to good old mob justice.

trentman7
trentman7

This is disgusting. Why is this delusional and biased **** deciding on the R18+ rating when it's obvious he has no clue what he is doing. And 91% of adults supporting the R18+ classification. Give us our own freedom of expression which you don't seem to have a problem with, Atkinson.

joelgargan
joelgargan

This is a Joke. Im 15 and i think its pathetic. Its stories like this that make me love Amazon all the more. I basically get all my games thier now, usually for about 30% cheaper as well for PS3.

Sellwin
Sellwin

@ turb06 - completely agree. The system makes no sense, and allows one person to hijack an entire issue. Atkinson's comment "it's a matter of free speech, free expression" in relation to the nazi flag incident is so contradictory to his actions in rejecting the discussion papers for an R18+ legislation. He's actively preventing free expression for all mature Aussie gamers, as well as the talented developers who want their game to have an audience in this otherwise awesome country.

turb06
turb06

how is it that 1 man can stop the release of that paper to the public, there more state attorney generals saying yes release the document, we are a democracy for christs sake how can this one douch bag censor the whole country whatever happened to the majority vote.

htotheo
htotheo

i seriously think that when they do introduce the R+18 law that they're just going to throw all games into the R+18 classification and give it out way to easily. but by that time i'll probably be 18 so doesnt matter.

heavymetalzplin
heavymetalzplin

what an absolute load of bull**** we've missed so many awesome game thanks to the dou***bag atkinson and his stupid censorship laws. BRING BACK R18+ !

king_pin_87
king_pin_87

"Unless one can argue that it incites racial hatred, then I suspect it's a matter of free speech, free expression." I wish I could swear on GS, because right now I would be cussing to no end. He doesn't agree with freedom of expression with video games, BUT HE IS OK WITH A MAN FLYING A NAZI FLAG? Aussie gamers it is official, we aren't just dealing with a Jack Thompson here, WE ARE DEALING WITH A NAZI. And the only way to beat a Nazi is to call up Russia and get them to attack him.

Sellwin
Sellwin

I've had enough of Atkinson and his narrow minded idiocy. Check this out: http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=650417 From the above article (about someone flying a nazi flag in their front yard) pay close attention to the irony here: >>> Mr Atkinson said that while the flag was in very bad taste, the issue was one of freedom of expression. "I assume that the tenants are that one per cent type people who just like to shock and disgust, like they've managed to do," he told ABC Radio. "Unless one can argue that it incites racial hatred, then I suspect it's a matter of free speech, free expression."

knifey
knifey

hey suspenders are cool!!

greasemonkey42
greasemonkey42

It is issues like this that make me frustrated when older generations make decisions that are not in tune with the modern population. Obviously, the guy is too old to give a flying %#$* about video games. As generations change, we will one day get our 18+ rating people, one day...

tawagivercetti
tawagivercetti

Have you seen a picture of this Atkinson guy?? He's like 70, wtf would he know about games anyway?? He wears suspenders for fsake! By the time he gets around to do this he may be dead. C'mon already old creepy man and stop the oflc tearing the best bits out of freakin awesome games...

Yellowshirts
Yellowshirts

that guy needs to be shot... wheres a bikey when you need em?

Sablicious
Sablicious

The most absurd statistic is that although Australia lacks a 'R18+' rating for video games, the average age of the country's video game player is cited as being 28 year old!! o_0 Stupid, conservative, neanderthal politicians. >_>

Big_Ted
Big_Ted

cru3 Its not Illegal to import games from overseas haha even if they are banned in Aus! Haha. Its just illegal to sell it so oh what a shame you can't buy it from your favwite lil ebgames. Aww! oh and do some so called exercise too. You spend too much time on the net. Yeh Banning games is urgh no good...

huntercal
huntercal

It seems that the SA attorney general believes that videogames are still a medium for "child's play". But what he doesn't realise is that this is just as much an adult industry now. R18+ needs to be given a shot in videogames, it's bizare that it is easier to get soft core porn in this country than it is to get an unedited version of Fallout 3!

cru3
cru3

"As i've said before if you really want a game that is blacklisted they can easily be imported and cheaply from overseas suppliers." Do you even know what blacklisting is? Obviously not. R18+ games are ILLEGAL in Australia. If customs find your imported game, you will never receive it. It might be a rare occurrence, but it's ridiculous that it's even an issue to begin with, all because of ONE man with his head stuck in the past, and up his arse.

ColdGen
ColdGen

Someone must have voted for the idiot. Blame them!

smartcriminal
smartcriminal

Some on should tell him to agree or dissapear

Sagacious_Tien
Sagacious_Tien

Essentially - this is censorship on a debate about censorship. How can one man, just one man, weild the power negatively against his own citizens, 91% of which are in favour for new laws? Imagine if this kind of power could be abused? Oh, wait a minute....

redskinStu
redskinStu

There are so many more important things to be working on than the "evils of video games." Some elements in society will always look for scapegoats and distractions. In the 50's it was comic books, in the 60's it was Elvis and the Beatles, in the 70's it was street gangs, in the 80's it was heavy metal etc. leading up to the present day.

tjmic1
tjmic1

you're a muppet atkinson

skrat_01
skrat_01

This is absolute bull**** Incompetant beurocrats running the show, who still echo "think of the children" as their excuse. After the *****ing shocking display on the ABCs Q&A program, on the R18+ rating AND the banning of Fallout 3, its hard to beleive that the mindset is so effing backwards, in a country that has a large games industry (that still doesent get govement funding), and is supposed to be somewhat.... progressive? *SIGH*

ddt88
ddt88

How long has this loser got in office? Like most of the out of touch politicians he needs to take an early retirement. Yet again, 21 million Australians are held to randsome by one person with an axe to grind.

Angel_Belial
Angel_Belial

The IA9 report also put the average age of Aussie gamers at 30. I don't know what they (SCAG) are so worried about - we have R18+ movies and parents understand those ratings well enough. All the government needs to do is have the media cover reports on how gaming is no longer as simple and G-rated as a lot of earlier games used to be, and that parents should treat them exactly like movies and follow the ratings for their children's sake. Adult games = for adults only. Simple.

Wrathesoul
Wrathesoul

Could someone explane this to me why was silent hill HC and dark sector banned when neither are even remotely as gory or human killing decapitating delimbing etc as dead space/ninja gaiden 2 soon to be released gears of war 2 and fallout 3 to name a few.. So what a drill in the eye that holds its place for a few seconds in SH HC or a spade head monster cutting the main guy in half big deal dead space has a monster who impales your guy cuts off his limbs then head as he is suffering also the abiliyty to stomp off arms legs heads of dead humans or monsters etc dead space is way more gory.. Ninja gaiden 2 about 99% of the game is blood everywhere heads off limbs off heads off cut in half etc from what I played so far dark sector isnt gory at all really. Fallout 3 love it and love more the slow mode shooting etc off heads lol nice and messy yet it is here.. How do they rate these games I am confused let the lesser gore be banned yet the real gore is here with a ma15 rating... I would love to better understand how this all works..Atkinson your must have been a natzi in a former life by your actions treating your public who pay your wages like babies controling what they can do or not.. You need to grow up and see what the world is take care of the country you serve by allowing ppl to be FREE in all there choices and to keep the money in this country not forcing ppl to import or pirate games just so they feel equil to the rest of the world..

DiscoJoy
DiscoJoy

As disappointed as I am that this is off the agenda (yet again) for the now, I am encouraged by the final paragraph. "The IA9 report showed an overwhelming public response on the issue of classification, with 91 per cent of adults supporting the introduction of the R18+ rating for video games." So if we ever do get to comment as a public on this, I still hold hope that we will eventually be allowed to make adult decisions concerning the entertainment we enjoy in our own homes.

-P4R4D0X-
-P4R4D0X-

Atkinson knows that if it goes to the public, we will vote for it. Thats the only reason this hasn't come through; because he doesn't WANT there to be an R18+ rating.

Galzakian
Galzakian

Ridiculous. What ignorance this guy shows, by refusing to even consider video games deserve an R18+ rating when movies and various other entertainments do? Clearly this fool is just living in the past, when video games were simply childrens games. Times are changing, and people like Atkinson need to realize how integral games can be in todays modern society.

nintendofanjp
nintendofanjp

I've been personally bombarding the OFLC and the Attorney-Generals office about this issue but I think the SA Attorney-General is a pre-historic tw@t who probably thinks like a pilgrim from colonial times.

chaoscougar1
chaoscougar1

omg, can this hurry up already, why is atkinson so against this, it will help protect the already sheltered children even more!

Tronzo
Tronzo

Someone should go kill Michael Atkinson in the name of censorship, then we can all whinge, and write angry letters about how censorship is bad and should be abolished. Kinda like what ignorant parents and close minded people do to 'violent' video games or other media; because it's not the fault of the person committing the crime, I mean how could it be? Sarcasm for those that don't pick it up ;p

cannibal87
cannibal87

If you are over 18 its up to you what ya want to play not some dick that dont play em so many games we have missed out on coz of this f*&king s*&t

witide
witide

**** you Atkinson.

wayanbros
wayanbros

Can't believe one retard is preventing R18+ Democracy at its worst, just omit SA from the R Rating.

cuitexcutei
cuitexcutei

Someone go slap that dude's face for not letting the R+18 draft be released! WHY CAn'T AUSTRALIA HAVE AN R+18 RATING FOR VIDEO GAMES! THIS IS MADNESS

sradisich1
sradisich1

Marka1700, quite clearly your not from aus, judging from the fact you don't know what your talking about. Australia IS a democracy. We don't have internet censorship and when we had dodgy IR laws brought in we had an ELECTION, the biggest feature in a Democray. As for the 18+, it's only a matter of time, we got rid of howard and atkinson will have his day too

Marka1700
Marka1700

Why bother, Australia obviosly isn't democracy. Nothing ever goes the way the Australian people want it. (IR Laws, Internet censorsip)

zxssded
zxssded

all hail curry!!!!! Atkinson.... please quit, someone fire him, or just die.

chutup
chutup

Atkinson, I don't know you, but die

DeadlySpartanII
DeadlySpartanII

Thats messed up, i reckon there are some games that are r18+ that should never reach the shores, and some games where it should of been here ages ago, there is good r rated and there is bad r rated

Deano
Deano

eh we still live in the best country on earth. it's a bit lame but I hardly feel my "rights" are being violated and we are living in communist china because there is no "R" rating, that is being over dramatic. As i've said before if you really want a game that is blacklisted they can easily be imported and cheaply from overseas suppliers.

camian69
camian69

All this determined by one individual totally out of sync.....we need to really do something about this.

Kaldo
Kaldo

Excuse me Ms Parker but is there anything we, the public, can do about all this? I'd be anxious to find out how at all I can help get this motion passed, or at least out of Mr Atkinson's hands, if possible.

daqua_99
daqua_99

Whatever happened to the notion of 'free choice' in this country? We seem to be going downhill every day...