Aussie R18+ public consultation goes ahead

Australian Censorship Ministers agree to release public discussion paper on introduction of R18+ for games before the end of the year.

The Australian public will soon be asked to voice its opinion on whether the country should have an R18+ classification for video games, with a meeting of the nation's Attorneys-General agreeing yesterday on the release of a discussion paper before the end of 2008.

At the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) meeting in Brisbane, Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hulls, whose department drafted the discussion paper, said that all in attendance agreed that the public will be consulted before the end of the year.

But the draft discussion paper presented to censorship ministers will undergo changes before it's made public, after South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson alleged that it was biased.

“I believe the draft discussion paper did not adequately represent both sides of the argument. I voiced my concerns to other Attorneys-General and we reached agreement that some minor changes will be made to the discussion paper,” Atkinson said.

“I am not opposed to a public debate on the merits of introducing a R18+ classification for electronic games--in fact, I welcome it. But it's unhelpful to commence that debate with what I believe is a biased discussion paper.

“There is little point in seeking public comment on an unfirm footing that neglects one side of the argument. I look forward to contributing to the development of a fairer discussion paper.”

In March this year, SCAG announced that it would be asking the public for its opinion on the R18+ classification for video games via a soon-to-be released discussion paper; the paper included an overview of the relevant research and literature and a proposal to amend the classification guidelines. GameSpot AU reported last week that the discussion paper would not go ahead after Atkinson withdrew his support of the draft without specifying why.

Now, work is again progressing, and once finalised, the discussion paper will be made available to the public via the Internet, and will ask opinions on a number of issues relating to the introduction of the R18+ classification for video games.

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Discussion

110 comments
theWanderer80
theWanderer80

Perhaps gamers will rally this cause and we get to make our mind up ourselves whether a game is suitable for us or not. I'm sick of having to track which games are banned or modified for importing but if I play a game I wanna play it as it was intended to be played.

hellhound1345
hellhound1345

about time they put this survey out, i hope the government actually takes a good look at the results here...that is if they are positive ones. A survey is just a survey, if the results do come back saying we need an R18 rating i just hope that a**hole michael doesnt be like "nah their wrong, im still right, video games are the source of violence in teens and children"

vaperizer
vaperizer

hope we get it but still u have all those American games like GTA which are R18 there but r just MA here in Aus and some others like God of war some really good games but i just like the gameplay and storys like who the **** would buy a game to jack off too seriously u gota be messed up

jahnerd
jahnerd

For me its not about the violence/gore/sex/whatever. I just hate the fact that someone else decides I cant do something as simple as enjoy a game. I understand that with the current laws certain material which can be accessed freely in other mediums is not allowed to be released in the gaming market locally but in this instance time and again with the banning and censoring of games it is showing disrespect across the board to the intelligence, motivation and disposition of the average aussie gamer (and developer), which from what I've been led to believe now has an average age of 30+ (Im 34). If it is an industry that needs to be regulated by censorship (which we all seem to agree it is) than it is only right that is as fairly regulated as all other such industries. I only hope that if an R18+ rating is introduced that parents will take more time to evaluate the next purchase for their kids instead of placating their whinging in the shop for the next GTA, Silent Hill, GoW, without truly having any idea what these games are about. I see it all the time.

Pilch_R_eD
Pilch_R_eD

You all realise, the war isnt over yet. right? Its comparable to some kind of mythic war between two sides, with us fighting a battle thats been impossible to win. But now, we have a weapon which we can use to fight back, and maybe, MAYBE take the victory. My point is, dont everyone start celebrating yet. As soon as this oppinion poll goes up, make sure your there to put in your oppinion, and rally as many others as you can. Dont underestimate the enemy of a pissed off AG with a slew of mislead ancient followers ready to do his bidding. for once, if we all get together and do this right....... This is finally a war we can win ^^ !

xtreme_chief
xtreme_chief

When they ask for public opinion I hope that the majority are adult gamers, because it's their rights at stake. If the public opinion mostly comes from mothers and pensioners we should all just forget about an R18+ rating. Hope it goes good.

Sablicious
Sablicious

Alleluia!! About FREAKIN time you antiquated bureaucrat neanderthals! About time a country whose average gamer age is 28(!) makes some overtures to introducing a ratings system that actually applies to the medium it controls! -_-

Aero-Sayou
Aero-Sayou

Excellent news. Hopefully we get that R18 rating.

Mephistoau
Mephistoau

"BenevolentEnemy I am disturbed by how many 'mature' adults are just saying "%^(* yeah, 'bout time, i want my violence fix noawz!" -------------- I think the majority of those who would actually classify as "mature gamers" would understand that it's not just a violence fix. Although i can see why it would come across as that. Personally, i love violence in a game - bring on the gore - but it isn't about that. It's about the fact the gaming in Australia (especially) has not been regarded as a respected entertainment medium for far too long, and people like the SAAG are the cause behind it. Plus the whole argument that games (and music is the same too - i listen to heavy/death metal) cause people to do stupid stuff is completely beyond my comprehension. It's the PEOPLE ffs. Some people (myself included) like violence and swearing etc in game if it's in context - it adds to the believability of a game/story/character/whatever. And by "in context" i mean also in the tone of the game. Gears of War, Fallout 3, even something like saints row. The violence is all in context - and not displayed in a bad way. See i'm not a fan of manhunt - because i don't see the point in that crap. It's like the movie Hostel (if you've seen it). "Torture porn" as they class it, well manhunt could be classed as "murder porn" or something like that. It is beyond the normal bounds of "senseless violence". But the point being people over 18 should have the CHOICE as to whether they play games like that. They are big boys and girls now remember? At least if we get R ratings parents can't b**ch at developers etc for what's in the game - it'd be their own damn fault for letting their underage kid play it. Let mature gamers have mature games finally. It's like going to the movies and a ticket seller saying you can't see an R movie when you're over 18... it's just dumb.

Gobbomob
Gobbomob

Taygun91, of course it doesn't relate to the statement. It just relates to Atari 7200's last comment. My point being is that what he said will not help the favour of R18+ classification.

the_mitch28
the_mitch28

Hahah available on the internet, sweet. That means the majority of people who get to it will be for R18+ games and not opposed to it.

Taygun91
Taygun91

Gobbomob "In Australia, there has been actions of some students on October 20 that led to an entire Year 12 group of Xavier College being suspended." That statement has no relation to R18+ video games. Do you see plenty of other schools committing the same level of violence? No. Racial incidents may occur in other schools but that also has nothing to do with R18+ video games.

Yellowshirts
Yellowshirts

>:D i drove past his office on port road... nothing a semi cant handle

Erebyssial
Erebyssial

Wow, I'm amazed they actually ended up doing it after all of Atkinson's ignorant bs. Great news.

SpeedCanHurt
SpeedCanHurt

YYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSS Maybe we'll finally be able to get games within a year of the global release date. Lets hope the politicians don't screw this one up. You can't just have MA15+ and then say everything that doesn't fit in that is illegal, everyone's just going to go get torrents anyway and that's hardly gonna help the gaming industry. And, IMHO, anybody who is affected by video games like GTA or Silent Hill and become 'violent offenders' are going to do the same crap when they watch movies like Saw. These movies have an R18+ rating and don't get banned, so why aren't games the same? Anyway, thanks for the news GS, it's about time we got some good news about the Aussie games industry!

TH3_WR417H
TH3_WR417H

Thank god, we've need an R18+ for games for so long. Hope everyone does there part.

Zythyl
Zythyl

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Gobbomob
Gobbomob

Sorry, Knifey. But it's not we're attacking you either. So try not to take it personally. So long nothing is said about you, you got nothing to worry about.

knifey
knifey

would people stop being biased towards people with psychiatric conditions by calling them "retards" I have a psychiatric condition which has made people call me that and I'm just tired of hearing people say that ALL the time

herof_time
herof_time

Im 16, I think it would be alright, even though I shouldn't have a voice in this decision. Everyone, not just the "old conservatives" or the "yeeeeoowww pronz XD" people agree that the biggest issue is bad parenting. Kids watch MA films anyway, not as often though, as games are not taken seriously with their ratings. take Halo for an example; MA. Did you ever know that? Of coarse, you guys would, but I doubt many of the players (who usually range from 10-12; otherwise known as a Halo Noob) or their parents would care. My cousin has been playing since he was 5, that's ridiculous, he is particularly violent for a kid his age, but thankfully, he has good parents, but they just don't seem to notice the rating of the game. I think if they introduced the R18+ rating, people may begin to consider the videogame ratings as being equal to film ratings and start taking them seriously. Parents haven't cared about the R18+ rating of Halo, but if they noticed their kid roleplaying such incredibly violent things, they'd have to notice something is going on. So introducing the R18+ rating for games could relieve the issue of 10 year-olds playing videogames... But I just feel like punching someone in the face when I hear 13 year-olds talking about GTAIV. They call Nintendo "kiddy", but 13-year olds could be considered "kiddy" themselves. There is not much of an age difference between them and myself, but we make huge leaps in our maturity as teens. Anyone who is under 18 really does not belong here, I just looked at this article out of curiosity. I also laugh a little bit inside at how biased Gamespotters are, but I can't see how anyone reading this article could think otherwise.

benny322
benny322

how mad will it be cant wait

Gobbomob
Gobbomob

Atari 7200. I don't know about the last part you said, man. There's news articles saying that the government have intentions of filtering any porngraphic material on the internet to Australia. And you don't need to be 12 years old to be dyfunctional. In Australia, there has been actions of some students on October 20 that led to an entire Year 12 group of Xavier College being suspended. Police have spoken students involved in the mayhem during the Xavier College's muck up day, which included students riding on trams disguised in balaclavas and jumping on a Kew residents car, causing $5000 damage. So, I think you should leave out those dicussions aside if you're in favour of R18+ games.

Atari_7200
Atari_7200

It's about time they did this. I'm a big boy now, I don't need someone to say what I can play and can't play. If soccer mums have a problem with the R18+ law on video games then that's their problem, not mine. The problem with soccer mums is that they think all video games are meant to be marketed to children. They seem to be forgetting that there is quiet a large amount of people that ARE mature enough to play those games. Not all people that play video games are mentally disabled 12 year olds that copy everything they see. Most of gamers are AT LEAST 13+. Now if the Australian government are going to let in REALLY violent movies or pornographic films into their country so..... Why not video games?

Jekken6
Jekken6

Even though i'm 13, i'm still supporting R18+. I am a mature gamer, but i am treated like a halo player(immature).

NeilAngieroF
NeilAngieroF

In Australia, kids are getting pregnant at 15-16yrs of age. Then there's heaps of underaged smokers and junkies. What's a video game compared to all of that? Why doesn't the government worry bout the more important issues?

Gobbomob
Gobbomob

I was never against it. But for the parent's sake, make sure 18+ games should be sold only 18+ consumers. I know it's being done now, but that's not how parent's sees it. So, I thought I should reinforce it. Otherwise, we Aussies end up losing the favour of R18+ games.

BenevolentEnemy
BenevolentEnemy

I am for it, even though I don't play those sorts of games generally, but I'm prochoice and any victory over the ignorant haters is good, in my view. I am disturbed by how many 'mature' adults are just saying "%^(* yeah, 'bout time, i want my violence fix noawz!" There are issues here, and you shouldn't vote for it because you want to tear the crap out of something in a video game. People like that should be protected from violent video games, the prospective sociopaths that they are. What I'm saying is, democracy relies on people not being bloodthirsty idiots. I'm still voting yes on principle.

TheJGene
TheJGene

The only problem with asking the public is the chance that you get the same dopey uninformed attitude as that held by the SA attorney general. fingers crossed...

tramsit
tramsit

Yeah 4 shure I agree, I need the uncut games, NZ gets them so why cant we?? It's BS.....

-P4R4D0X-
-P4R4D0X-

Huh...what do you know...seems I owe a few people beers... I have my hopes up now, if those studies showing 88% and 91% of people say we should have one are accurate, then we might finally be given our rights as adults, rather than just being told we are no more mature than children. @ trenno2529 That may be so, but kids can do ANYTHING if their parents let them. Watch R rated movies, swear, watch porn, go out at night to do god knows what, whatever. Fact is, kids have already been "given access" to horrible things, its discrimnatory to not give adults access to these things and others because of irresponsible parents. @ Spyder25000 It says "via the internet". Most people who dont know what gaming is or what a console is or whatever probably don't HAVE the internet. We are more likely to get a relevant distribution this way I think.

zexcel
zexcel

I agree with others in saying PLEASE insure any opinions expressed are relevant and courteous on this matter. We don't want people touting they'll go round to a member of the committees mothers house if this doesn't get voted in and 'f**k them up'. Be sensible!!

phil817
phil817

this is bull dust.... ok yea it may

trenno2529
trenno2529

this is great initiative, but i doubt it will change much if it is passed. sure, it will change something, but it really just gives kids access to worse games. people say it's up to the parents, but unfortunately there are many irresponsible parents around.

black_helven
black_helven

the r18+ rating should have came in with movies magazines but old decreped aholes r to stupid to do so

Turbo-Evil
Turbo-Evil

Finally! I'm going to vote yes a billion times, all from different IPs :P

bubbalooga
bubbalooga

lol what's shani boy101 doing playing GTA4 anyway, thats ridiculous. You should be in school learning instead of wondering how the 18+ games will be for u in 4 years time...

Spyder25000
Spyder25000

i hope they ask people who PLAY games not some old folks who say "whats a gameboy/playstation?"

ImOldGreg
ImOldGreg

you better beleive I'll be a supporter. this stupid country has been in the dark for far too long. but thats how it is with the older generations, they are stuck in the old way of thinking.

shani_boy101
shani_boy101

They just better not rerate games already out like GTAIV.

shani_boy101
shani_boy101

its about time. even though i'm like 14, with this there will be more games.

Sagacious_Tien
Sagacious_Tien

Thats good. I thought this would never go ahead.

peachball
peachball

I'm 27 years old and hopefully i will be an adult in Australia soon. Can't wait to be a big boy!

ColdGen
ColdGen

Atkinson you idiot? Who voted for him? Blame them!

flammable_zeus
flammable_zeus

I'm really curious as to what this "bias" in the draft discussion paper was. I hope the changes to it aren't anything unfounded, since that is what Michael Atkinson's stance pretty much is. If there is anything in it about games making people violent, that could sway a lot of people who don't know any better.

everlast219
everlast219

Thats good that it'l be up on the internet for everyone. I was worried their idea of "the public" might just be one group of snobby conservatives.

thibbledorfP
thibbledorfP

I can't get over how ignorant it is for certain older politicians to claim video games are potentially violent without every TRYING video games or doing any academic research. It's like criticizing a book or movie without reading or seeing it respectively. With GTAIV for example, it was a quality game with a story rivalling the godfather. The story was so good, I don't know anyone who mucked around 'killing police and hookers', people followed the storyline. People spent years making the game. All far some puritanical ignoramuses to claim it was shallow and dangerous, WITHOUT PLAYING IT OR DOING ACADEMIC TESTING on it. If a 77 year old person wearing a tie says something is dangerous, does not make it so. You want to prove games are dangerous? Do an academic study. Do research over time. But if you did that you would not find the evidence you claim is there.

cannibal87
cannibal87

Come on man we have been waiting to long for this s*&t just give us the R18+