Majority of Aussie states say yes to R18+

Tasmania, Queensland, South Australia, Northern Territory, and the ACT throw their support behind the adult classification.

For the first time in the history of the Australian R18+ for games issue, a poll of all federal, state, and territory attorneys-general has revealed that a majority support the introduction of the adult classification.

GameSpot AU spoke to all nine ministers who will be responsible for voting on the introduction of R18+ for games at the upcoming Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) meeting in July. Of these nine, six stated their public support for R18+: the federal government, Tasmania, Queensland, South Australia, Northern Territory, and the ACT. The remaining three states--NSW, Victoria, and Western Australia--declared they are still making their decision based on a set of preliminary guidelines for the classification, which was agreed to at the last SCAG meeting in December.

For an adult classification for games to be introduced, all of Australia's state, territory, and federal governments must unanimously agree on its implementation.

This is the fourth time in two and a half years that GameSpot AU has surveyed Australia's attorneys-general. The first survey, conducted in February 2009, found that South Australia was opposed to R18+ for video games; Victoria and the ACT were in support of R18+; and NSW, Queensland, the Northern Territory, Tasmania, Western Australia, and the federal government all declined to state a position.

The second survey, conducted in February 2010, found only one supporter of R18+: the ACT. The rest of the states and territories stated no position or declined to comment.

The third survey, conducted in December 2010, found Tasmania, the ACT, and the federal government in support of R18+, with all other states and territories stating no position.

The federal government and the Federal Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O'Connor--who leads the R18+ issue at SCAG--are in support of R18+.

Below are the responses from the attorneys-general on their stance on R18+ for games in Australia.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Attorney-General Christian Porter

"The matter will go to [WA] Cabinet soon, after which the Western Australian government will announce its position," a spokesperson told GameSpot AU. At a meeting of the Western Australian Liberal Party's State Council in December last year, delegates voted on and passed a motion urging Porter to support the introduction of a nationwide R18+ classification for games.

TASMANIA
Attorney-General Lara Giddings

"The Tasmanian Government supports in principle the introduction of an R18+ classification for computer games," a spokesperson for the minister told GameSpot AU in December last year.

NSW
Attorney-General Greg Smith

"We will be considering the issue ahead of the SCAG meeting in July," a spokesperson told GameSpot AU.

NORTHERN TERRITORY
Attorney-General Delia Lawrie

"As Attorney-General, I am supportive of the R18+ classification system for video games. Attorneys-General have been working through the details of the classification guidelines, and I remain hopeful of a national agreement in July at our next meeting," Lawrie told GameSpot AU.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Attorney-General John Rau

Rau told GameSpot AU last month that he supports the introduction of R18+ for games and that he intends to implement the adult rating and abolish MA15+ in South Australia, pending a federal government move to introduce R18+ at a federal level should a unanimous agreement not be reached at SCAG in July.

ACT
Attorney-General Simon Corbell

Corbell told GameSpot AU last month that he is willing to "go it alone" on R18+ and follow South Australia's example should a unanimous agreement not be reached at SCAG in July.

VICTORIA
Attorney-General Robert Clark

"The Baillieu Government will decide our position once we see the final guidelines that the Commonwealth wants us to agree to, and can see whether or not those guidelines will adequately protect the community," a spokesperson told GameSpot AU.

QUEENSLAND
Attorney-General Paul Lucas

"Fundamentally, these laws should be regulated by the Commonwealth Government. Queensland wants to ensure there are strong safeguards so this type of material can only be viewed by adults. Like Queensland, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference supports a new adult classification. Ironically, not having this protection means some games classified MA15+ are unsuitable for their intended audience. Introducing this classification will give parents the confidence that the classification on the games matches the content. It also gives adults the right to choose the sort of games they wish to play. The proposed changes do not in any way affect the ability of authorities to refuse classification to games that go beyond accepted community standards," Lucas told GameSpot AU.

For more on the issue, visit GameSpot AU's previous coverage. GameSpot AU will be reporting live from the SCAG meeting in July.

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Discussion

12 comments
kevmanNZ
kevmanNZ

I think is about time that Australia finally grows up and catches up with the rest of the world with a sensible rating for videogames. Im originally from NZ and we have a general G-R18 rating for all forms of media including video games. So why can't Australia have one?

Grayzer
Grayzer

I'll be a Senior citizen with Arthritis and unable to play games before this gets anywhere (hopefully i'm totally wrong of course)

natenation87
natenation87

Good to see it finally coming along. But I really hope they don't abolish the MA15 rating like SA wants to do. That makes no sense what so ever. You need the middle ground. There are far too many games that don't fit into either M or R. All those games that clearly don't deserve an R are going to get one. Which then really defeats the point of having an R rating. I think all this will achieve is all MA games being reclassified as R, with MA being removed. They will still deny classification to games deemed inappropriate, as said by the SA attorney general. Please, please bring in R and keep MA. Both are needed!

selbie
selbie

Woohoo! Finally we're seeing some common sense.

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

Cmon on, Aussie, Cmon

SuprSaiyanRockr
SuprSaiyanRockr

@ S2333 I somewhat agree. I think they would be better off abolishing M. I mean, there's not very much difference between M and PG, but a lot between M and R.

S2333
S2333

Is it really right to abolish MA15+ though? There are some games that requires that middle ground and the next lowest is M. There are going to be some annoyed teenagers out there.

dancemachine55
dancemachine55

I completely agree with QLD AG Paul Lucas. His comment is straight forward, makes complete sense and supports adults wanting to play games they feel they have the right to play whilst restricting it from underage gamers. Aussie gamers, I don't want to get your hopes up too soon, but this R18+ thing is looking very promising and may likely be implemented by next year, hopefully. It will be more than likely that MK and L4D2 will be allowed through if they resubmit with the R18 rating on board. Postal 2, Manhunt series and other extreme content games may still be refused classification, but I'm totally cool with that. It's time Australia became the cool country with gamers around the world, not just surfers and tourists.

xOmniCloudx
xOmniCloudx

It's about damn time that Australia decided to talk about an issue which should have never been an issue in the first place. Hopefully this does get past as it makes no sense not.

mystic_knight
mystic_knight moderator

Damn you NSW not being certain of introducing an r18. If you say yes on scag meeting or even if you start your own classification and introduce it, i'll buy you lollies and Mortal Kmobat

An-Archist
An-Archist

Let's hope they get the idea right, instead of the skewed idea that John Rau posed.