In December last year, Australians were asked to voice their opinion on the introduction of an R18+ classification for video games via a long-awaited public consultation. A discussion paper was made available to the public on the Federal Attorney-General's Web site, detailing the pros and cons of an R18+ for games and asking participants for their opinion on the issue. Now, as the public consultation nears its end date of February 28, attention has turned to the next step in the process.
According the Federal Attorney-General’s Department, once the public consultation comes to an end, the department will compile information on the submitted responses and prepare a report for the Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O'Connor, and the remaining state and territory Attorneys-General.
A spokesperson for the Federal Attorney-General’s Department would not be drawn on what effect an overwhelmingly positive or negative public response would have, stating that O'Connor and the Attorneys-General would merely use the report to "inform their decision whether Australia should have an R18+ classification for computer games."
The introduction of an R18+ classification for video games will require amendments to three important federal classification documents: the National Classification Code, the Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games, and the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995. These can be changed only with the unanimous agreement of all state, territory, and federal Attorneys-General. South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson has previously publically opposed an R18+ rating for games.
O'Connor has told GameSpot AU that he has yet to form a final view on R18+ for games in Australia.
"We are consulting first rather than imposing a change so we have an opportunity to gauge all community views on the subject," the Minister said.
Stay tuned to GameSpot AU for more information on the public consultation process. Meanwhile, check out GameSpot AU's Aussie Games Classification FAQ feature.