For a long time now, we here at GameSpot AU have kept a watchful eye on and examined the process behind Australia's video game classification system. The long-awaited public consultation will soon ask members of the public to voice their opinions on the introduction of an R18+ classification for video games in Australia.
As reported this week, the public feedback session will go ahead this year in the form of a discussion paper to be released by the office of the Commonwealth Minister of Home Affairs, Bob Debus. The paper will be made available to the public on the Commonwealth attorney general's Web site, where anyone can view it and comment on it via email, post, or fax. The closing date for the public consultation has been set as July 31, 2009.
The decision to release the discussion paper was made at last week's Standing Committee of Attorneys General meeting (SCAG) in Canberra, where Minister for Home Affairs Bob Debus announced that his office would be taking over the release of the paper after censorship ministers could not reach a unanimous decision regarding its contents and proposed release date. South Australian attorney general Michael Atkinson was initially responsible for delaying the release of the discussion paper, but was later joined by other ministers in his stance against the R18+ classification for games in Australia. Last week GameSpot AU sat down with Mr. Atkinson in Canberra to discuss his views on R18+, the delay of the discussion paper, his personal views on censorship, and the future of the classification system in Australia.