Aussie R18+ public debate still waiting on Atkinson

South Australian attorney general yet to make proposed "minor" changes to R18+ public consultation discussion paper.

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The much-anticipated public consultation on whether Australia should have an R18+ rating for games remains in limbo, with South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson yet to make his proposed amendments four months after initially delaying the process.

In 2008, the Standing Committee of Attorneys General (SCAG)--a body made up of state, territory, and federal censorship ministers--agreed to release by year's end a discussion paper which was to serve as the start of a public consultation process for the introduction of an R18+ rating for video games in Australia. The paper included an overview of the relevant research and literature and a proposal to amend the classification guidelines. The first delay was suffered when Atkinson withdrew his support for the paper without citing a reason, before agreeing to back the paper's release only on the grounds that he be allowed to make some "minor" changes.

Atkinson proposed changes to the paper and has still to act on these changes since agreeing to make them at the SCAG meeting in November 2008. When GameSpot AU contacted Atkinson's office to ask about the status of the minister's changes, a spokesperson said: "Discussions are continuing between the [South Australian] attorney general's office and the SCAG Secretariat about amendments to the discussion paper."

Atkinson's office could not offer any indication of a timeline in regards to the completion of these changes to the discussion paper by Atkinson, or when the discussion paper is being considered for public release.

Atkinson initially said the wording of the original draft paper was biased, and he made this statement to GameSpot AU in November 2008: "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 an 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. I look forward to contributing to the development of a fairer discussion paper."

Four months on, it appears Atkinson has yet to make these changes to the paper, further delaying its release to the public. Other attorneys general--including ministers from Victoria, Queensland, and the Commonwealth--have already acknowledged that it is Atkinson they are waiting on.

"I fully support there being consultation on this issue, but ultimately SCAG is waiting for the South Australian attorney to agree to consult on the matter," Victorian Attorney General Rob Hulls said.

The office of Federal Attorney General Robert McClelland had this to say: "At this stage, censorship ministers are considering the content of a draft discussion paper and awaiting comments on the draft from South Australia. Any changes to classification categories, including introducing an R18+ classification for computer games, require unanimous support of the Commonwealth and all state and territories."

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 in Australia.

Discussion

50 comments
southwardraptor
southwardraptor

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TheWarMachin3
TheWarMachin3

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mollyrulz9999
mollyrulz9999

Yeah, I agree with the ID card idea. It'll be a more safer way for adults to buy games just for adults. Although, I'm pretty sure that some people will be able to buy/get them unofficially (bogans in particular), but in the end, R18+ games will be on the shelves, no matter what you think, except it'll be more safer for everyone :)

googlrpoxer
googlrpoxer

It can't take four months to re-develop any kind of discussion paper. He is just trying to hold back the inevitable.

RockZillaX
RockZillaX

But also that being said I know my thoughts and opinions are not in sync with the majority rule or else Neighbours would not be on TV and the Wii would not be the most popular console.

RockZillaX
RockZillaX

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dr_satan666
dr_satan666

I agree with those who think R 18 games should be sold only with photo I.D. This system would totally work, if they treated it like selling alcohol or something that would be seriously prohibited towards minors. I'm 23 and I STILL get asked for I.D when buying alcohol. Nobody cares about Atkinson's views because he's made it clear he's not gonna budge on the subject. stubborn bastard! that's why there's a delay - he knows that once the consultation is released his iron hold grip on what we can and can't play, will crumble - people will actually be able to have all the facts....for once.... he knows he's gonna lose.

vannet89
vannet89

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Hayabusa-Chaff
Hayabusa-Chaff

come onif a game is rated R 18 + itsmore likely just a publicity stunt, kids will find their hands on it and Newspapers and tv shows will be whinging for centuries so who really cares

Payback7
Payback7

Oh and video games are a legitimate form of adult entertainment and should be treated as such :)

Payback7
Payback7

@the_red85 and RockZillaX - couldn't have said it better myself. I for one would like an R rating as it gives adults who choose to play games the freedom to play what THEY want not what the government believes you should be watching/playing. I've been playing games since I was a kid. I'm now 28 and believe I should be able to choose what I play. Like RockZillaX - I have been forced to buy games outside of Australia just because a game has been deemed unfit for CHILDREN. I'm not a child and can choose to play what I want. While I understand the need to protect children, the solution offered by 'the_red85' is perfect and lays the responsibility on the parents. Who should be more vigilant in the first place anyway.

the_red85
the_red85

if they are worried about kids getting the games, make sure that ALL R18+ games are locked away behind the counter, and they must provide photo ID to buy it..... simple. if a parents buys it for their child then they have no one to blame if something goes mentally wrong with their child. simple.... done and dusted.......

morbid_man_guy
morbid_man_guy

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gameking5000
gameking5000

Mr.Atkinson knows what he's doing. It is not an easy job of just saying "R18+ rating is on" in a flash. There shouldn't be an area to write comments on this article. All these people who need to straighten up and give more respect...

tawagivercetti
tawagivercetti

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rockatanski
rockatanski

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RockZillaX
RockZillaX

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edeasknight
edeasknight

Clearly, the 'minor' change he's proposing is changing 'this discussion paper will be made public' to 'this discussion paper won't be made public'.

darthturkey
darthturkey

Even there was a R rating, parents will still get the games for their kids, just to shut them up, So mr Atkinson can you stop being such an douch and play along. Why do we have to be the only country in world that nearly everly game get either banned or modified to a way its not worth buying here, we are the only country which dosnt have an R rating for games, its time to be the same as the US and get the same version they get, not some wash down version to suit an MA rating, or are just scared to let an R rating for games, one way or another kids will get those games, either its downloading of torrents or getting themfrom friends.

littlebrainmagg
littlebrainmagg

im with "imprezawrx500" if the R18+ games are allowed in AUS, there would be much less kids playing games like GTA4 or L4D, ruining the XBL experience for some people. Having an 8 year old screming into the mike abusing you isn't as funny as u might think...

Pilch_R_eD
Pilch_R_eD

I'm not surprised he's being allowed to do this. With how many stupid people are running the world making stupid decisions nothing surprises me in that department. It still doesn't change the fact that he is abusing his position to force his own personal opinion on an entire country. He, is an individual and I welcome him to have his own opinion, and fight for it, and live his own life by it. But the way he is doing it is extremely despicable. He's not willing to have a fair and honourable fight because he will lose. So he will forever do whatever he can possibly do to have things stay the way he wants them to. Mr.Atkinson, you are not Australia, you are not even South Australia. And in the grand scheme of things, South Australia is such a minor insignificant part of this country that it makes it even MORE ridiculous that your personal feelings and opinions could be given this much power over so many people. This is why I don't vote. Should I put the lying scum from the left corner in power or the lying scum from the right? No no no no, I don't think I want to feel even the tiniest bit responsible for either.

Blackadder51
Blackadder51

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VitasV
VitasV

God. We allow R rated magazines and movies which cost way less than R rated games. So how do R rated games become any different?

jorel12
jorel12

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Captain_Tom
Captain_Tom

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plainelmo
plainelmo

It's not just what he's doing, but his photo pi$$es me off lol, that grin...

MarioMainic
MarioMainic

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Powderfingers91
Powderfingers91

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imprezawrx500
imprezawrx500

why can't he just stop holding things up? all he is doing is making it much easier for kids to play gta4 etc. it's the same game in aust as the rest of the world except a few very minor things and not having a 18+ rating means 15 year olds can legally play game in aust while they can't anywhere else.

H0rr0rG4m3r
H0rr0rG4m3r

Mr. Atkinson should stop being a wuss, and hurry up, us aussies are waiting to get our R+18 rating because we ARE getting that rating, he's outnumbered!

zxssded
zxssded

one thing i cant understand is y did they ban games like dark sector til like about 2008 and then they still have games like playboy

ImOldGreg
ImOldGreg

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cannibal87
cannibal87

He dont like games and thats it. like come on look at the games that where banned they where not that bad (well the one i read up about)

Shifty-Sniper
Shifty-Sniper

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AussieMonster
AussieMonster

It annoys me that one person can dictate to me and the rest of my countryman what we can and can't play.

rockatanski
rockatanski

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gameking5000
gameking5000

You got all the time in the world Mr.Atkinson, don't rush and ignore all these disgraceful comments.

superchink
superchink

This guy is a wuss. He doesn't have the ammo to win this debate, so he stall and keep stalling the discussion. Instead of growing a pair and tackle the debate head on like a man, he engage the public in an endless cat and mouse chase avoiding the discussion altogether.

TurambarGS
TurambarGS

He's got to realise that he's down on support, surely and now this is just a delaying tactic in the hope that the issue will die down eventually. But well, we're still waiting and whinging about it, so we're not going away in a hurry!

tawagivercetti
tawagivercetti

I wish this guy would f' up and get this done ASAP stop lagging behind you SCAG head

maxgil2
maxgil2

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smooth40
smooth40

I am 31 years old, am I still not considered mature enough to handle the content for an R18+ classification? This man has no clue, and like others are suggesting he knows he cannot win and is delaying.

spacemariens22
spacemariens22

he is just delaying it because he knows he will lose and what little power he has will be gone and he cant stand to think about that! there is no REAL! reason for us not to have an R18+ system in australia!

skitzo_zac
skitzo_zac

It was biased? I seriously doubt it was, now we know for sure that when/if it is released that it will be seriously biased against the introduction of the R18+ rating.

Mattyrock
Mattyrock

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Kaldo
Kaldo

Laura, is there anyway to make all this mans stalling more public? Maybe have news.com.au get wind of it or something... I feel if he was put in the spotlight a little more he'd have to come out from hiding in his little South Australian hole.