South Australia to introduce R18+ for games

UPDATE: South Australian Attorney-General John Rau says state will have adult rating for games regardless of unanimous SCAG decision in July; state to abolish MA15+ category.

South Australian Attorney-General John Rau has taken the R18+ for games issue into his own hands today, declaring that his state will introduce the adult rating regardless of the decision made by other states and territories at the upcoming Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) meeting in July.

Currently, the introduction of the R18+ classification requires the unanimous agreement of all federal, state, and territory ministers. However, in March this year, Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor told GameSpot AU that the federal government would be considering "other options" should the R18+ issue not reach a unanimous "yes" vote come July. O'Connor hinted at the possibility that each state and territory could adopt different arrangements should consensus not be reached.

South Australian Attorney-General John Rau.

This is exactly what South Australia has now done. According to Rau, the South Australian cabinet endorsed his proposal to introduce the R18+ classification for video games in the state, and at the same time, phase out the MA15+ category.

"I've been consulting very broadly on this [issue] for a year now," Rau told GameSpot AU today. "I've been listening to parents and gaming advocates, and I have come to the conclusion that both points of view are legitimate and need to be accommodated. Recent moves by the federal government suggest that there will be an R18+ classification for video games in some form after the July [SCAG] meeting."

Rau believes that the federal government has the capacity to go ahead with introducing R18+ for games without the unanimous agreement of other state and territories, something that he believes will happen, at least at a federal level, if unanimous agreement is not reached in July. If this happens, Rau says it will be up to each state to either adopt or reject an R18+ classification for games.

"Of course, it would be ideal to have a uniform national scheme. That's why we need to wait now to see how the federal arrangements will shake out. If there is a national opportunity to embrace R18+, South Australia will do it with the quid pro quo that MA15+ is eliminated as a classification and all games that are now rated MA15+ will be made R18+. This is what I want to happen in South Australia.

"We do this [different legislation in different states] with film now--the ACT and NT have different legislation when it comes to X-rated films compared to the rest of the country. This already exists and the sky hasn't fallen in. I don't think that it will be a problem if South Australia has a slightly different regime in respect to games than the rest of the nation."

The reason Rau wants to abolish the MA15+ classification for video games in South Australia is he believes that there should be a clear gap between content that is for children and content that is for adults. He says the view that film classification can be applied directly to video games is wrong; firstly because films are not interactive, and secondly because while the idea of parental supervision in relation to film is justifiable, it is "ludicrous" when applied to video games.

"It is also important to note that there are some games that are rated MA15+ in Australia, which are rated R18+ in other countries. At the moment, there is an unbroken continuum from G to PG to M to MA15+, which includes some pretty violent games. What we want to do is make sure there is a clear gap between material for adult and material for children and empower responsible parents by making sure game classifications are helpful. No adult would be any worse off [with the abolition of MA15+ for games]; in fact, adults would be better off because there would be more games available in the R18+ category."

While Rau thinks that it is inevitable that R18+ for games will be brought out in either late this year or early next year on some level in Australia, his focus has now turned inward: The support of his cabinet means that what was once just Rau's opinion is now South Australia's opinion.

"The next step [for me] will depend on what happens in SCAG in July. Certainly, in order to implement R18+ for games here in South Australia, there will need to be some regulation or possible statutory amendments made, but I don't think it will be hard to do this. We just have to wait until the federal position becomes clear."

UPDATE: John Rau's office has contacted GameSpot AU to expand on the Minister's comments. A spokesperson now says South Australia will definitely introduce R18+ in the state if the federal government first passes the adult rating at a national level. This will happen regardless of whether other state and territory attorneys-general reach a unanimous decision on the issue at July’s SCAG meeting.

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

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Discussion

83 comments
scq7
scq7

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

jetstopia
jetstopia

This will just be the catalyst for all the other states to follow I think. It means all adults in Australia should be able to get the R18 games buy ordering games from South Australia. Wonder what impact that may have on the gaming industry in the states that dont adopt the R18 Rating?

aesir05
aesir05

10 hours drive, but worth it W00T!!

Micooliscool
Micooliscool

so i can go to SA to buy R18 games, sweet :P

mattp91
mattp91

Its about time, now for NSW

jsonaut
jsonaut

Finally SA has done something useful on this issue.

Promised_Trini
Promised_Trini

I think everyone should be able to enjoy their games no matter where they are...

pezbear1975
pezbear1975

It should only be a matter of time i believe before the other States will follow suit. I ended up ordering Mortal Kombat for the PS3 from the USA and i received it in the mail yesterday and i am from NSW.............Sweet Kratos .........

macca366
macca366

I'm glad someone's spearheading introducing R18+, even if it should have been here a long time ago. I'm unsure of whether phasing out MA15+ is a good move or not though, and even though I'm over 18, it might indeed effect me as it could effect the gaming industry in Australia in the long term. New generations of gamers and the future consumers of the industry get introduced to games when they're young, but I wouldn't have enjoyed being stuck playing Crash Bandicoot until I was 18, probably lost interest and not be a video game consumer anymore. Deterring young people could damage the Australian gaming industry in the future, and poor sales means that publishers won't want to bother wasting the money it takes to post the games here. That scenario is probably a bit dramatic though, ultimately I'm happy about this. I just see a clear difference between mature and adult games, like Halo compared to Mortal Kombat. I hope Victoria follows suite.

CrouchingWeasel
CrouchingWeasel

@ Vaultboy-101 Hows abouts you hold off on that next game release & invest in an atlas instead (or at least familiarise yourself with Google Maps). Remember, knowledge is the foundation of wisdom (unless you enjoy getting laughed at by every Australian on Gamespot)

choas_theory
choas_theory

I keep thinking the South Australian Attorney-General John Rau introduced the R18+ ratings just so he could play Mortal Kombat

CrouchingWeasel
CrouchingWeasel

Couldn't agree with Rau more. If we have an R18+ rating then there is no place for an MA15+ rating. Only the childish & selfish gamers see the R18+ issue as being only about their right to play whatever the hell they want. The right of adults to choose for themselves without interference from government fascists is only part of the issue. The greatest problem with our ratings system is that halfwit breeders are legally allowed to let their 5 year old kids play games like GTA (don't get me wrong, I love GTA but only a brainless wanker would let a child play it). Yes we need an R18+ rating for games but with such a classification many games currently rated MA15+ would be pretty much guaranteed of being rated R18+ if they were submitted for classification under a revised ratings system making MA15+ obsolete (whilst many games currently rated MA15+ like Fable 3, Halo Reach, even Mass Effect 1 along with many, many others should never have gotten anything more than M). With only a handful of high profile games in the last few years to be given an RC rating what is the point of introducing an R18+ rating just to cover harder material when half of the argument for R18+ is based upon keeping explicit games out of the hands of kids? If you think it's all about your right to play whatever you want (and yes I do disagree with some arbitrary board telling me I can't play Mortal Kombat when I can legally watch Amy Smart realistically get her jaw ripped off in Mirrors) then you've missed half of the issue.

brok
brok

Didn't South Australia pioneer voting for Women too? They are a forward thinking lot, aren't they?

Poidad
Poidad

so does this mean we'll be able to get mortal kombat?

brocky36
brocky36

yes for sa but comon the rest off aus

gamerhell0987
gamerhell0987

Great news for us, but sucks to be under 18 yrs old. Also sucks to be anywhere outside ACT and SA.

snaggleoooo
snaggleoooo

Great news for us South Australians. Not sure why they want to kill off the MA rating though. The M15 rating has no restriction, but is just a recommendation for only 15-and-ups, where MA restricts the game to 15 and overs. It'd be better IMO to remove the M rating.

Ozmodiar1
Ozmodiar1

Hell yes. Nice to feel glad about being South Australian for a change.

badiie05
badiie05

thank you! john rau, even though ma15+ wont be modified, i just want new south wales to agree, i want mortal kombat sooo bad, i have all of them ...raaahhh

benboz
benboz

You can't get rid of MA15+ rating. It will just stuff up the whole system again.

DamnClown
DamnClown

Anyone else get that feeling that all the MA15+ games will get bumped up to R18+ in South Australia?

jjk1981
jjk1981

Don't Phase out MA-15+ that's a step in the wrong direction! While it will fix half the problem; kids getting there hands on games not suitable for there age group, it will also mean that certain games will still not get through which is that whole reason this issue started in the first place!

wawasjohn
wawasjohn

NO dont phase out MA. keep the same ratings and just add in R. blackops does not deserve R

herodotus2006
herodotus2006

Yes, all the [MA15+] games that are a bit "iffy" for the Govt will be [R18+] now, but those that have been banned and will be banned in the future (RC'ed) will never reach our shores. If this becomes regional as opposed to national, Qld will never see the classification. We don't even allow books that might corrupt our precious youth ("American Psycho" was initially rated [R], then banned altogether), such is the mindset of this country state. I'm yet to be convinced this new classification system is a good thing...it just might work against us.

yogibbear
yogibbear

To me if you move all the current games that are rated MA15+ and not just a few that have obviously snuck in due to the current failed ratings scheme, then you will reduce the impact that an R18+ rating should have to parents. They will think "Oh little johnny played GTA3 and that was only MA15+ but it's now R18+... he can play GTA5 as that's also R18+". Whereas if there was COD rated as MA15+ and GTA5 rated as R18+ then the parents get the idea that one has violence and swearing and so on and the other has EVEN MORE of this. If both games were both R18+ then the parents can't tell that there is a difference in the level between the games, and the rating scheme will continue to be completely pointless as usual. Great work!

Rattlesnake_8
Rattlesnake_8

Its just a joke.. other countries have rating systems in place. There is no excuse why Australia hasn't brought in an R18 rating.. and for SA to phase out the M15 rating and replace it with an R18 is even more mind boggling. Im well over the age of 18 so it wont affect me.. it wont stop parents buying games for their kids though, so we will still have 12 year olds screaming down their mics in online matches. If anything we need an R18 rating for people to buy headsets.

bahamut_au
bahamut_au

This is the worst implementation of the R18+ possible. NO currently RCed games will be admitted, get that straight people. Instead, Halo Reach, Fable 3, and all the Uncharted and COD games will be rated R18+. Expect huge holes in local game sales and game prices to go up further if this becomes nation-wide.

scq7
scq7

Classification uniformity is needed across ALL media across ALL of Australia. I applaud the introduction of the R18+ classification but the removal of MA15+ is impractical & a poor decision. John Rau's explanation of the removal of MA15+ is a condemnation of the previous classification scheme & recent SA Govt policy. "It is also important to note that there are some games that are rated MA15+ in Australia which are rated R18+ in other countries" i.e. the previous absence of a classification scheme with an appropriate scale has created problems. So rather than confront that issue the SA Government has instead created a new additional problem by removing MA+15. The whole thing is becoming a confusing mess. Who would want to run a retail business in SA?! I am an SA citizen and will be raising this issue with my local member. Again.

robfield
robfield

Edit: Just checked. Apparently I did not realize the M rating in Australia is for 13+ audiences. I thought the M was just another way to refer to 15+. I would not consider 13 year olds "mature" They still failed to address a large gap. What about content that is for teenagers? Content is not just for adults or children, teenagers exist too. Why not just make R15+ be R13+?

krisroe_213
krisroe_213

Great news. Sorry, kids, but stay in school!

masterds64
masterds64

I wish I was in SA...still it's too late for mortal kombat unless they re-submit it :(

tHeKiDdrUMsHarD
tHeKiDdrUMsHarD

WOO! South Australia leading the way! Oh a proud moment... -brief tearful reflection- ANYWAY, it's a promising sign in any case and represents a good deal of forward thinking and maturity on the part of Mr Rau - you have my sincere thanks good sir. Here's to hoping for a successful outcome in a few months time.

shaunn191
shaunn191

Yes! Progress finally, get rid of MA15+ who cares, we want R18+

xiras
xiras

here is to hoping that vic will adopt the R18+ rule in australia

AceBalls
AceBalls

Now this is a demented surprise if I've ever seen one. Dunno about losing MA15+ tho.. that bit is kinda ridiculous because any game with a single drop of blood or one F word will be rated R18+... not to mention the 50% of games that are already out there with an MA15+ already on it!

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

This guy is a beast.

chakkerz
chakkerz

@selbie - Not entirely clear. It would probably reclassify all MA 15+ to R, but R has a different definition. At least with movies, R18+ can contain significantly more ... of everything. So MA15+ disappears, more games are classified and released as R18+, but certain titles would still be refused classification, the question is, what the new R definition for games would be....

zaiderules
zaiderules

i wonder if any of you sauth australians will put R+18 games on ebay that arent broken cause thats the only way im getting mortal kombat and im not moving to SA i am not getting in a car for 10 hours just to get half way

zaiderules
zaiderules

hmm i do want an r+18 rating but but i dont see removing MA +15 but i dont live in SA buuuut that why we have ebay :)

Cstav1
Cstav1

Pwned!,, everyone under 18 :D lol

nclausen
nclausen

Wait so the R18+ rating WILL add more games that would be banned in other states?

ReviewMonkey101
ReviewMonkey101

Why the hell remove MA15+ That's just so stupid and an R18+ rating is no no excuse to remove MA15+ratings

therealsomeguy
therealsomeguy

JUSTICE....SWEET JUICY JUSTICE, now if only it was the same in Victoria