'Silent majority' views needed on Aussie R18+: Minister

Strength of argument and not just weight of numbers need to be considered before introduction of adult ratings for games, federal government says.

by

When the Australian federal government conducted a public consultation into the R18+ for games issue late last year, the community response showed overwhelming support for the introduction of the adult classification. Of the 59,678 public submissions received in total, the Home Affairs department found 58,589 (98.2 percent) were in favour of introducing an R18+, with only 1,089 (1.2 percent) against it.

However, despite receiving such a big number of responses to a public consultation, the federal government still believes more community views are needed before it can think about introducing an R18+ classification for video games in Australia.

Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor thinks more community views need to be sought before R18+ for games can be introduced.

Federal Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor told GameSpot AU that despite the overwhelmingly positive response in support of R18+ for games during the last consultation, the views of the "silent majority" also need to be canvassed.

"[R18+ for games] is a matter for classification ministers and an agreement must be reached that satisfies all states and territory governments before changes can be made to the nation's classification system," O'Connor told GameSpot AU.

"The strength of arguments on both sides must be considered. What is needed is the right decision, not a rushed decision. At its meeting on May 7, 2010, the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General released a status report on the consultations. The report shows that about 60,000 submissions were received and that approximately 98 percent supported the introduction of an R18+ classification for games. This report showed polarised views for and against an R18+ classification."

"Classification ministers agreed at that meeting that further work needs to be done before a decision can be made, including ascertaining the views of the silent majority. It is not just the weight of numbers that need to be considered. It is also the strength of arguments on each side. Ministers are aware of the support for the proposal shown by the number of submissions received. However, they are also aware of the wide range of views on this issue in the community. Ministers have made a commitment to discuss the issue at a future meeting and have requested further analysis of community and expert views to better understand the arguments on each side."

The good news, however, is that R18+ has been confirmed as being on the agenda at the next Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) meeting, which takes place in Canberra on December 10.

Stay tuned to GameSpot AU for more news from the November SCAG meeting. For more on video game classification in Australia, check out GameSpot AU's Aussie Games Classification FAQ feature.

Discussion

79 comments
CoD_dude133
CoD_dude133

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

CoD_dude133
CoD_dude133

look ive been playing halo since i was 5! never screwed me up! people underestimate kids. they are not stupid enough to translate game material into real life. and if R18+ games herald an era of 5-year-old bus massacres then isnt it up to parents to control what their kids watch play and do?

bart723
bart723

politics never work.. this is soo stupidly annoying..

crossaxe
crossaxe

@Sir_Lemsip i see where ur coming from but realistically a 6 yr old isnt going to want to run down hookers cuz he can in GTA4. hey i must have only been 7 or 8 when i 1st played gta3. never made me wanna shoot up streets and run over hookers with busses. virtual content will not harm young kids its the violence in real society and the s**t that goles on in primary schools

Sir_Lemsip
Sir_Lemsip

@crossaxe i never said that the games themselves were the problem. All i am trying to point out is that there are children as young as 6 years old that are playing games like GTA IV. This simply should not happen, and i think that an R18+ sticker on the box is going to go a long way to making sure that doesn't happen in the future

TurambarGS
TurambarGS

"The responses to the discussion paper didn't come turn out how we expected or wanted it to, therefore we're going to ignore them and discuss it ourselves and do something different but something we'll definitely think is better." - nice work guys. Idiots.

pubboy
pubboy

This government makes me do facepalms of epic proportion. If the census had the opposite outcome with 98% against R18 classification the government would NOT be asking for the "minority" to be heard, it would be unchanged and that 2% would be told to stfu. Because you know... thats what a democracy is...

johnnyauau
johnnyauau

I personally don't know what the silent majority is? People who don't play videogames or people who are deaf? I think if gamers continue to get like families involved with videogames or people who doesn't understand how the gaming society works, it's good in a way to educate them so that the silent majority is like "Oh! I get it now". I pray the R18+ would finally come after breaking up with Michael Atkinson.

CamoBullo
CamoBullo

If the "community" say that an R18+ is a bad idea, we're gonna have to hammer them in the balls.

crossaxe
crossaxe

@payback7 i have to admit i am a bit bias as i am 16 myself. but i have been playing violent video games since i can remember. but i do think that there should be an R18 rating in AUS as it means people are missing out. it would nbe a minor inconvinience if i couldnt buy the games i want anymore as i have friends and relatives to buy them for me. all im saying is that it is stupid to say hey a kid shouldnt be playing this because its violent or has sexual content. i mean by the time your 15 ur probably already having sex so seeing it referenced in a game isnt going to hurt. i normally buy from ebay anyway so an R18 rating wouldnt ruin anything 4 me really and buuy the time the rating is put in place i will prob be 18 anyway

freek33
freek33

Strength of argument you say, here's a few off the top of my head ahhem: 1. Games are a form of media just like any other, difference is all the other forms have R18+. 2. I'm 34 and should be able to play whatever games I want were as 15 year olds probably should not. 3. If I where 18 I could drive, buy hardcore porn, have kids, drink ale, smoke myself to death, join the army and kill a REAL person and do ALL manner of other 'adult' activities but NOT play a game deemed to have to much adult content for a 15 year old?? 4......... why am even bothering?

tjmic1
tjmic1

meh... not fussed either way - the government can either take my money, or i can send it offshore when i purchase RC games from overseas :)

-CheeseEater-
-CheeseEater-

Just give us the R18+ rating already. It's years overdue, and all this is doing is prolonging the issue, and creating more disgust over how lowsey the system works for issues like this.

AceBalls
AceBalls

So the new consultation forum will be what? Viewers of Sunrise and the Today show? We're going to have our R18+ decided by bored out of work housewives and a legion of conservative non-gamers. What an amazing idea, Mr O'Connor. I wonder how much Atkinson is paying you to minimize his retardation reputation - and popularize yours.

Ragnarok-64
Ragnarok-64

I'm sorry I don't see the difference between R18+ movies to R18+ video games. So if we allow R18+ Movies, why the hell don't we have Video Games >.> Kids aren't going to be allowed to walk into any store and just buy an R18+ game off the shelf, just like they aren't going to be allowed to walk into any cinema. It's the parents responsibility, if they don't want them exposed to games like that, they don't buy them - simple.

ToRNiO
ToRNiO

Sigh... Just get your thumb out of your arse's and bring in our R18+ classification. Politics...

HollowNinja
HollowNinja

So, they conduct a test and get a result, and it's not the result they wanted. Therefore, they have to find a new method of testing to get them their desired result. Thank god I don't live in Australia, no offense intended towards Australians.

AceBalls
AceBalls

Nah I better not post that last one hehe. I'd probably go to jail for it.

AceBalls
AceBalls

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

eBentl
eBentl

As I have always stated here there is really nothing to lose with an r18+ rating, the OFLC will still have to review all games before they are rated, and they will still have the option to refuse games classification if they feel the game exceeds what is appropriate for an r18+ classification

Barighm
Barighm

At least they're trying to make an informed decision before they change anything. I wish more governments did the same.

brok
brok

For crying out loud, it was a public poll. Anyone and everyone who gives a damn either way has already voted. You have all you need to make the right decision already

Angel_Belial
Angel_Belial

Yeah, the silent majority...'Mr. Silent Majority, do you believe video games should have an R18+ rating?' Mr. Silent: 'Vidyer games? Whatcha talkin bout sonny?' 'How about you, Ms middle age Silent Majority?' Ms. Majority: 'Oh heavens, no!!! My niece and nephew will be mentally damaged if this happens, I just know it! Ban all those games - only movies can be R18+! Besides, my ex used to like video games and he's a real bleeep bleeeeeeep bleep!'

devildemondruid
devildemondruid

game informer said it best i quote "the classification code states 'adults should be able to read, hear and see what they want' but also that 'minors should be protected from material likely to harm or disturb them'. By definition our classification system requires an adult rating to exist, or these two philosophies collide". The simple fact is gaming evolved quickly, 20 years ago were mere pixels 15 years ago barely resembled anything remotely realistic, but now can clearly be seen and put in a worldly context. Unfortunatly our government has been lazy and done nothing about this rise and advancement in gaming technology. The same can be said about our current broadband situation, ignore it until people give up. The fact is gaming isnt a niche hobby enjoyed by nerds in their mothers basements anymore, gaming is right along side music and movies as legitamate forms of entertainment and and still has room to grow, the average gamer is 29 and this must be rectified. On a personal note Ive played every style of game since i was 5 (now 22) I played violent games as a young person but i have not gone on a killing spree or am not violent in any way. The reason? I had very good parents who tought me context, boundarys and understanding about what im playing.

tko6070
tko6070

hey if your 17 or over you can always grab a gun and slaughter some Taliban in Afghanistan, the graphics are way more realistic and theres no ping.

jmal2578
jmal2578

@Payback7 That's ok, we didnt read it :)

Payback7
Payback7

WOW - that was a rant and a half. Apologies!!

Payback7
Payback7

@crossaxe - I wasn't saying that I should be policing what kids play at all? That is the decision of every parent that took on the responsibility of having a child. And I was only using GTA4 as an example of content that generally isn't aimed at kids - it's a game aimed at adults who have a choice to play these games. The reason for an R18+ rating is so that adults can still play games that are directed at them as they were meant to be played without the government telling us we can and can't play. I agree with you that violent video games are not the cause of the violence we see in the world today (I too relieve alot of stress playing violent video games - thanls GTA4 for that by the way!! :P ) - the sort of violence we see in the world has been happening since before electricity was even invented! And you say a 15 year old is realisitcally allowed to play whatever virtual content they want? How are you more quialified then me to say what people can and can't play? And generally games that are M or MA rated get into hands of even younger kids - where as if it had an R18+ rating I'm sure their parents would think twice before letting them get their hands on it. I've seen some of your other comments and couldn't agree more e.g - it is pretty naive to think that a video game is the root of behavioural problems. And I also agree with your importing games comment. Anyway - I hope they bring the rating in :)

wogboypaul
wogboypaul

my grandchildren will see the day when R18+ will finally be introduced in australia..

Jayse001
Jayse001

Any one no matter the age can walk into a video shop or games shop and not get asked id. I have seen it. So until we bring it out in law and it is enforced anyone any age can go and get what they want. It also comes down to the parents taking the right action to stop kids from watching and playing stuff that is not right.

EUROFIGHTER44
EUROFIGHTER44

I agree with Twin-Blade, sick of content being cut out of a game cos its not suitable to be MA15+

Twin-Blade
Twin-Blade

@ CrusaderX7 Mainly because a government shouldn't ban me, a person over the age of 18, from playing 18+ content. Why aren't cigarettes & adult movies banned? Mature games should be just as hard to access by kids 17 & under if the staff at game outlets do their jobs properly & the government makes parents aware of what mature games can do to young people (if anything?) so that they won't just buy the games for them. There are campaigns on TV raising the concerns of smoking, yet they allow it. Though the answer to that is simple - Cigarettes sell, they're highly addictive & are taxed. If mature games sold near as much as cigarettes the government would rush to allow an R18+ rating tomorrow.

wolf503
wolf503

@CrusaderX7 Even if the games aren't bad they're edited to the point where it defeats the purpose of even buying the game, L4D2 is a perfect example of this. But until we have an R18+ here this site provides a nice solution to get around any bullcrap censorship: http://www.play-asia.com/ :D

dallasanderson1
dallasanderson1

typical the government just procrastinates any one ever watch question type no wonder this country is a shambles right now

zxssded
zxssded

2 the ppl saying whats the big deal...CODMW2 was nearly banned in aust...now do u knw how much outroar tat would hv made??

CrusaderX7
CrusaderX7

This R18+ thing is a big whinge over nothing. Very few games in Australia get banned so what the hell are you complaining about?

crossaxe
crossaxe

Importing= cheaper games, any game u want banned or not = best option

crossaxe
crossaxe

@Sir_Lemsip it is pretty naive to think that a video game is the root of behavioural problems.

Sir_Lemsip
Sir_Lemsip

I work with children under the age of 12 in areas including behaviour management, and i'm honestly disgusted with the high percentage of them that talk non-stop about their favourite games - GTA IV and Call of Duty being the most common names. Unfortunately most parents don't see the MA15+ rating as a dangerous to their children, whereas the R rating would immediately set off alarm bells in those same parents. These changes need to be made and they need to be made now.

crossaxe
crossaxe

@Payback7 its not your job to police what kids are playing either so dont say what games shouldnt be in the hands of kids full stop. in the real world no michael atkinsons fantasy land a 12 yr old playing gta 4 isnt going to do them any harm. when i was a younger i always used violent video games as a way to deal with stress. I would have been more likely to shoot someone if i didnt have that simulation (not that i ever would shoot anyone). for a kid to buy a game that may have been R rated if the rating existed they would have to be at least 15 to buy a game pushed down to MA which is realistically old enough to view any virtual content.

Moshin07
Moshin07

"silent majorities"? and I suppose the minister has some of genius plan in order to obtain these views from this majority

Payback7
Payback7

And another thing - I believe that NOT having the R18+ rating is actually doing more harm then good. Take for example Grand theft Auto 4. That game should not be in the hands of kids full-stop! But cause we have the censors say no to an R-rating it's modified SLIGHTLY! and still released anyway with a rating that allows kids to get ahold of the game legally and still be exposed to the very content 'the goverment' (Isn't it the parents job to police their children?) is trying to 'protect' these kids from! BAH!!! At least I can still order these games online - plus with the Aussie dollar the way it is at the moment it makes more sense to buy overseas anyway. Double whammy! rant over....... for now :P

Payback7
Payback7

Sigh - will this never end? If it does not get passed, then I'm afraid Australian retailers will be missing out on alot of sales as most people over 18 are able to use the internet and will just import the games from overseas - I know that's what I'll be doing!! :) It wold be nice to have it though so that us fellow Aussies can support OUR economy etc etc

GordonFrohman11
GordonFrohman11

Even with R18 I still doubt Duke Nukem Forever will make it intact past the censor...

blasterchief
blasterchief

Whether those who voted for an R18+ rating are gamers are not, if there are 58,589 of them who strongly believe in it (as opposed to the miniscule figure against) then I think the government should be convinced. Clearly what they call the 'silent majority' really just aren't concerned, or are underage and can't have a say about it (as it should be, considering it refers to an R18+ rating).

Falcon084-2
Falcon084-2

Politics is a popularity contest they don't care about what we the people think, they just want their names in the history books.

jeremy-
jeremy-

The reality of the situation is that most of the submissions by gamers were ill conceived and illegitimate, primarily based on emotion and desire to play violent (and interesting:) content, as opposed to a rational argument on why it should be introduced. Unfortunately youths and those with mental impairments alike will be negatively effected by this introduction, what we need is more intellectual submissions like that of EBgames proposing regulations and proper structure. Not people all like F**K yeh violence wohoo.

damo320
damo320

This is the problem when a Government introduces inconsistent classification in the first place. There should have always been an R18+ rating for games but this is typical of the shortsightedness of Australian politics. Now there will be a ridiculous ongoing fight to get this broken ratings setup fixed.

StingrayA
StingrayA

They essentially don't want to make a decision, because if they do and some people don't agree, then they can be voted out. It is essentially a political football and I don't think it will get resolved for a long time, because unfortunately gamers and informed people aren't in the majority voting public. People see introduction of R18+ games and think its bad without any background info. For this reason, I have given up on it ever happening.