O'Connor pushes for July R18+ deadline

Australian Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor's keen to introduce R18+ for games by mid-2011; will push all state and territory attorneys-general to accept proposed guidelines and vote in favor of adult classification.

Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor has told GameSpot AU he wants to resolve the issue of Australia's lack of an adult classification for video games by July this year. With the absence of New South Wales Attorney-General John Hatzistergos from the upcoming SCAG meeting in March preventing ministers from taking a vote on the R18+ for games issue, O'Connor hopes to use the time to dispel any concerns and discuss in detail the soon-to-be-finalized R18+ guidelines.

Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor.

"It would be optimistic to assume we would even get to the voting stage [on R18+] in March," O'Connor told GameSpot AU. "But we need to resolve this issue one way or another. From the Federal Government's point of view, we'd like the matter determined at the July SCAG meeting, regardless of which way it swings. We can’t continue to go back and forth on this. I can only keep presenting the arguments, and by then, all the ministers will be present, and everyone will have had a good chance to look at the issue properly and determine a final position."

For his part, O'Connor believes the upcoming March SCAG meeting will be a good opportunity for ministers to take a closer look at the new guidelines presented and come to a more concrete decision on how to proceed with the R18+ issue. The vote to introduce the guidelines will also be the vote that introduces R18+, something O'Connor is planning for the July SCAG meeting.

"As far as GameSpot AU readers are concerned, we cannot make any sort of decision on the R18+ issue in March. But I am determined to seek to get common ground among every minister to move ahead on this issue; in the end, the Commonwealth's position is that we need an R18+ classification for video games in this country. This is a sound argument insofar as doing the right thing and protecting minors; it is also a reasonable argument as it allows for adults to access material that is accessible by other adults in other countries; and it fits in with evolving changes in technology. So, [R18+ for games] is good public policy, and that’s what I’ll continue to say to people."

Although O'Connor thinks it unlikely, if all state and territory attorneys-general in attendance at the March SCAG meeting show overwhelming support for R18+, the absent jurisdiction (that is, NSW) could be allowed to subsequently affirm their own position after the meeting. However, this is also unlikely because NSW could have a new government after March 26.

"As I understand, the NSW Opposition hasn’t made its views clear on R18+. However, if there is a strongly held view that R18+ should be introduced after the March SCAG meeting, I will be impressing this position upon whichever party that wins the NSW election. There will be great pressure on the party to carefully consider SCAG's position if it is recommending changes."

Finally, O'Connor is positive that because all the arguments are in favor of change, Australia could well have an R18+ classification for games before the year is out.

"We can’t continue to have an outdated arrangement, which doesn’t reflect technological changes, just like we can't continue to deny the rights of adults. We simply can’t continue to justify the current arrangement," O'Connor said.

Stay tuned to GameSpot AU as we bring you more news closer to the March 4 SCAG meeting. For more on the issue, visit GameSpot AU's previous coverage.

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Discussion

30 comments
Falcon084
Falcon084

@Jamesey11 I get that............A LOT ;)

AceBalls
AceBalls

I'm over it. Online shopping for games is the way to go anyway, R18 or not.

bs1m
bs1m

Don't get suckered people. The Labor party has been dragging it's feet on this issue for years (Michael Atkinson was a member of the labor party as is Brendan O'Connor). Politicians desperate for the youth vote will promise us anything.I'm sure you have all noticed they still haven't delivered us a R18+ rating for games. The only way to guarantee we no longer have a bunch of uptight right wing conservatives trying to tell us how to live our lives (mandatory internet filter, no same sex marriage, taxpayers money going to religious schools that allow discrimination on the basis of beliefs and sexual preference etc) is to vote for real progressive political parties (The Greens or The Australian Sex Party). Only then will we have a real democracy in Australia.

johnnyauau
johnnyauau

I guess everything is slightly going in the right direction. They manage to get rid of nearly all obstacles. Starting with the resignation of Michael Atkinson, no evidence that games make people aggressive, Australian wide submissions and now its the matter of getting the attorney generals to agree on having an R18+ for games which is overdue. But it's not easy with people replacement all the time. At least the winter period in July will determine what happens next. I hope they wouldn't "hold it against me" (Britney Spears).

Mitchell_1797
Mitchell_1797

well 4 n a half years before i can play a R rated game like thats gonna happen:p

AceBalls
AceBalls

Good work O'Connor. If you pull this off, I'll even cook the barbecue at the poll booths - on one condition, Atkinson gets the dirty sausage..

arogo
arogo

I wanna have his babies...

gummy_joe
gummy_joe

Hopefully this chapter of Australian history will be closed soon. My eventual grandchildren will look back on this day as a triumph for the little guy.

AceBalls
AceBalls

All this effort just because of one old politician in Adelaide.

gawthy
gawthy

About time. Im surprised to not see a whinging 12 year old complaing that it wants to play Black Ops, etc. At least one polli i can like except that hot Amanda Vanstone. ai

darkwolf1982
darkwolf1982

As a Christian I strongly believe Australia needs an R Classification for games. These religious groups follow a similar mentality to those who opposed Rock'N'Roll back in the day and haven't really taken anything into consideration other than their own biased oppinions. You only have to hear a fifth grader say they want to join the army to go kill Russians to know the classification system is severely out of date because parents buy games like Call of Duty for the children. Unless you're gamer or know videogames well enough, Christians who argue points based on their own biased views fail to appreciate the need to introduce Adults Only (R/X 18+) classifications to the system.

Jamesey11
Jamesey11

@Falcon084 i like your profile picture...................ALOT ;)

Falcon084
Falcon084

@dawnofhero The word "morphine" alone is enough to ban Fallout 3 it was changed and released in Australia with the name Stimpacks. Does this make any seance to you? Besides in a free socitiy "Classification" is a dirty word.

Falcon084
Falcon084

There is a chance that LA Noire will be a R18+ game. LA Noire is being made in AU by Team Bondi. Would it not be ironic if the game was banned in Australia, yet sold everywhere else?

holydevel
holydevel

oh wow, look who just got my vote for the next election!

AceBalls
AceBalls

I looked in my toilet today and I saw Michael Atkinson.

dawnofhero
dawnofhero

The world doesn't need more 'adult' games. The only reason they dub it 'adult' is because those kind of games include extreme sexual images and/or excessive blood and gore. It makes me wonder just exactly why people play those kinds of games in the first place...

E-i-N-e
E-i-N-e

Well at least this guy is optimistic on getting an R18+ Classification. I'd vote for next time he needs it.

SuprSaiyanRockr
SuprSaiyanRockr

I like this guy from now. Hell, if the Catholic church supports it (note: they supported it due to content being available, and would like it to be given an R rating), why can't the rest of the government? Is Australia really more conservative than the Catholic church? (no offense to any Catholics reading this)

CamoBullo
CamoBullo

If one game gets banned before then, someone will die.

gameking5000
gameking5000

The state governments and federal governments have never had the best relationship and I think we're going to be waiting more than 6 months

peterp94
peterp94

Why is there a need for an official meeting to decide on this? Have they ever heard of email? Email each of the ministers and await a response within a week. If they are unsure about NSW's position, email the government and opposition on their position which will be binding and come into effect after the election.

isshiah
isshiah

such clear reasoning couldn't possibly come from a politician... anyway i'm happy to see some progress on the issue.

selbie
selbie

Jolly good show ol' chap

flammable_zeus
flammable_zeus

2000 years from now we'll have churches dedicated to this man.

bahamut_au
bahamut_au

Yeah Dead Island has no hope of getting through with how the gaming classifications stand now.

cjabery
cjabery

it's refreshing to see a minister with such reasonable, forward thinking opinions.

Moshin07
Moshin07

Nice, things are finally start to roll with the R18+

cannibal87
cannibal87

Yeah, hope it happen's im over waiting for this and with dead island coming soon even more so.