Australians are one step closer to an adult classification for video games today, with the R18+ legislation passing the House of Representatives overnight. It will now go to the Senate to be voted on.
In order for it to pass through the Senate, the bill will require the support of either the coalition or the Greens, both of which are sympathetic to the R18+ issue; in November 2010, Federal Opposition Shadow Attorney-General George Brandis voiced his sympathy towards the R18+ cause, while the Greens have showed their support in the past.
Once it passes the Senate, the R18+ legislation will become law.
The legislation passed the House of Representatives without amendment. Federal Minister for Home Affairs Jason Clare confirmed today that following the passage of the R18+ legislation through the Senate, each state and territory will pass their own complementary legislation.
Judi Moylan MP, the member for Pearce, spoke on the bill last week during its second reading and recommended parliament vote to introduce the bill to ensure consistency across all media, and addressed concerns that the category will allow more violent games into the country.
"The R18+ category is not a generic free-for-all category without limit; games with a high impact of violence or sexual content will still be refused classification," Moylan said in parliament. "This ensures minors don't have access to this material."
"The distinction between interactive and non-interactive entertainment is becoming increasingly blurred. Having an R18+ for video games is a sensible response to the changing attitudes and demographics of gamers, and it empowers parents and consumers through increased awareness and knowledge. I think with this bill we have arrived at the best possible outcome."
Ed Husic MP, the federal member for Chifley, also recommended the R18+ bill to parliament, and spoke extensively about the changing attitudes to games in the community and the importance of an adult classification for the video game development industry in Australia.
"It's an important reform not just for Australian adults, but also for the flourishing industry that is involved in the development and design of games in Australia. The industry is growing, and we have a fantastic international reputation. R18+ for games will improve our industry's competitiveness in the global industry."
"This reform has taken too long. The R18+ bill reflects the growing up of our nation. Gaming is no longer the sole domain of young people. I admit I have an Xbox 360 at home, and I play it with my wife. It's well and truly time we introduced R18+. It will make the system more relevant to the community."
Husic also indicated in his speech that roughly 25 MPs are speaking in support of the R18+ bill. During the session, two more MPs spoke in favour of the bill.
Last month, new Federal Minister for Home Affairs Jason Clare introduced the R18+ bill in parliament after the legislation was cleared by the Federal Parliamentary Caucus of the Australian Labor Party.
The R18+ bill will now go to the Senate to be voted on in the coming weeks. It is scheduled to become federal law on January 1, 2013.
GameSpot AU will continue to update this story.