Strong gamer response caused Aussie R18+ setback

Dominant response from "interest groups" reason for lack of movement on adult rating for games; Federal Home Affairs Minister says government seeking "other legitimate views."

A strong response from gamer groups in the Australian federal government's R18+ public consultation has led censorship ministers to claim that more views from the community are needed before a decision into the introduction of an R18+ classification for video games can be reached.

Last week, Federal Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor released a preliminary report into the results of the R18+ public consultation, which took place from December 2009 to February 2010. Along with news of initial responses to the consultation, O'Connor also made it known that ministers had agreed that "…further work needs to be done before a decision can be made." According to O'Connor, the ministers had already "…requested further analysis of community and expert views."

Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor.

It now appears that the reason for this setback is the overwhelming response from gamers in the public consultation. Of the 59,678 submissions, 86 percent came from retailer EB Games and the pro-R18+ organisation Grow Up Australia. O'Connor's office told GameSpot AU today that ministers had agreed that a broader consultation of the public's views was needed following the dominant response from "interest groups."

A spokeswoman from O'Connor's office later stated that "interest groups" referred to the 34 community, church, and other groups that lodged submissions in the public consultation. However, given that submissions were dominated by pro-R18+ interest groups (EB Games and Grow Up Australia), the intended meaning seems clear.

O'Connor replied to GameSpot AU's queries with the following statement: "Consultations, by their nature, attract submissions from people who are passionate about the issue. Ministers would like to consider other legitimate views from as wide a cross section of the community as possible."

Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (iGEA) president Ron Curry has hit back at O'Connor's latest statement, citing last year's IA9 report, which identified that 68 percent of Australians are now gamers.

iGEA president Ron Curry.

"I’m not sure how the [Home Affairs] minister pigeonholes them as an 'interest group' because gamers cover all facets of society. If consultations, by their nature, attract submissions from people who are passionate about an issue--and I assume passionate in both opposition and support--then why bother? Surely the government asked for submissions to gauge the feeling of the wider community, of which gamers make up 68 percent," he said.

Curry believes that had there not been overwhelming support in the public consultation, there would have been a risk of interpreting the issue as a niche problem that didn’t deserve the full attention of the government.

"I don't see any harm done by a community voicing their opinion en masse. It’s incumbent on the [Home Affairs] minister now to continue to show leadership on this issue and spell out a clear and concise process and timeline to garner other 'legitimate' views from across the community. It’s all too easy to dismiss results that may not support a particular view, so we hope that the minister’s statement isn’t simply a way of placating those calling for an R18+ classification but rather a sincere commitment to ensure this issue is resolved in a timely and consultative manner."

Stay tuned to GameSpot AU for more on the R18+ debate. For more on video game classification in Australia, check out GameSpot AU's Aussie Games Classification FAQ feature.

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Discussion

106 comments
herodotus2006
herodotus2006

Well how typical. Don't listen to the people this legislation affects, instead listen to the groups who are anit-classification. That makes real sense. Wake up Autralia (yeah, you Pollies in Canberra). Treat us like Adults, instead of wayward children. Put the control in the hands of the home environment (read games-educated Parents, where those under-age are concerned) and enough with the Big Brother atitude. If you are for it, great. If you're againstit, that's your opinion and you're entitled to it. However, the government should not base it's decision on a minority vote.

danielgreen81
danielgreen81

If they wanted so many opinions, they should have just held a bloody referendum. Then everyone over 18 would have to vote on it.

isshiah
isshiah

What about the 14% of voters that aren't gamers?

xatman911
xatman911

May be people should start camping outside their houses and work places to show that we are serious about this discrimination against us.

arogo
arogo

Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever see the day when an Australian politician will grow some balls. I was just starting to get my hopes up, thinking that democracy was still alive in this country. Why won't anyone give us a fair go? This decision defies logic itself. If this goes on much longer, it won't be the games which'll make me kill someone. I am 18. If a game is released here as MA, it doesn't affect me. If a game was released here as R, it doesn't affect me. We are not little children asking for weapons. We are the ones with the weapons trying to keep them off the little children. It is a disgrace that an 11 or 12 year old is playing something which is banned for people under 17 in another country. The Australian Government says they want our opinion. We give them our opinion. They ignore it, saying "oh, wait, we didn't mean you, we meant those guys over there who don't even know what we're talking about". Ironically enough, all this venting will only make the government more suspicious of the effects of violent video games on us. I AM NOT ANGRY BECAUSE OF GAMES. I AM ANGRY BECAUSE I AM BEING DISCRIMINATED AGAINST DUE TO AN ANCIENT STEREOTYPE. We might as well be in Apartheid. Get a clue Australia!

sequekhan
sequekhan

The issue isn't one of "getting a broader community view". It's the fact that they don't want R18 themselves, and are trying their hardest to stop it from happening. It'll be another 5 years of bashing these clowns over the head with the idea before they figure it out. Then they'll blame the delay on someone else anyway. Just like politicians: everything they spout is hot air, much like when I fart.

abillionandone
abillionandone

My 2 cents is that they don't want gamers -- especially adult gamers -- because games encourage you to think, and allow you to detach from a reality where you're working 9-5 to buy 'feces' you don't need. Someone that is happy playing games makes for a bad worker bee.

ActiveCancer
ActiveCancer

Why, i'm so sick of this, why can't they be logical, i mean R18+ will level out the entire system yet they refuse it as the logical choice, instead let's ask people who never play or look at games that's really going to help

Wallraven
Wallraven

@WalterPeck: "If Australia is anything like the United States, younger people that play games do not vote in near the amounts that older people do." Actually Walter, in Australia it is compulsory for everyone over 18 to vote. You'd think this would make the politicians more willing to listen to young adults, since they are ALL voters... but apparently the government doesn't see things that way.

ketsuatama
ketsuatama

As a member of an "interest group" with a vote, I know I will certainly not be voting for this clown's party and its elitiist views. I would hazard a guess that this "minister" only plays the game of expediency and political self-inteerst that makes him look good to the nanny state advocates!

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

I believe the only way for Australia to have an R 18+ Classification will be to have a nation wide vote, and who knows how long that will take.

Australians
Australians

i believe in my religion buy church groups come on im a Roman catholic and we all know that if church groups were in charge we would have the pope on from 6pm to 8pm as our prime time television and hell the max raiting would be PG13+ next thing they will be asking religious cults

ferretshob
ferretshob

@PerilousWolf Let me ask you something. If the tables were turned and the majority of gamers (yeh right) would have voted against it, do you the the Ministers office would still be asking for further views on the matter? NO matter would have been as usual swept under the table. They have had years and years and years to ask the population their views on an R18+ censorship. They continue to use any excuse they can found to bin the matter. I seem to think that they will be going in the same direction this time to.

DAMSOG
DAMSOG

Church groups? why would you want input from one of the most disgracefull group of people this world has ever known, moral guidance? What a joke that we still suffer from the guiding hand of church groups when they are a law unto themselves.

PerilousWolf
PerilousWolf

Ah i see We can't just listen to gamers views on a matter which is strictly to do with game classification. We must listen to the views of those who DON'T buy games. Won't that be helpful

whispershade86
whispershade86

@AceBalls I agree, its just a load of bulls***, well said

AceBalls
AceBalls

I can see where all my tax has gone now. To stalling incompetent non-gamer AG's and ministers who can't make a choice on something, even after the poll figures prove how massively obvious it is..

Totalgym9000
Totalgym9000

if it doesnt change games that should be rated R18 are just getting through at MA15 so kids are getting access to games they shouldnt be, it really is doing more harm than good by not having an R18 rating in Aus

T_C_W
T_C_W

this is bcomin a real joke just give me the rating ya bunch pricks

midway_nights
midway_nights

It seems to me that if the entire population said they want an 18+ rating they would still "think about it". they want to realize us that they are kings and we are slaves.

midway_nights
midway_nights

i agree with Vaultboy-101, we are gamers and R18+ rating directly effect us not others who dont play the games. we want r18+ because we are adult gamers.

raptor1906
raptor1906

excuses excuses excuses, Why cant politicians look at things in a logical perspective instead of doing everything to maintain their own ego. Its still not too late to admit that no R18+ in australia was a irrational decision and can be addressed easily.

Vaultboy-101
Vaultboy-101

gee these guys are idiots. So they are saying just because we're gamers we arent part of the community!? Come on and just guve us the damn rating already its not rocket science.

spetz_naz_basic
spetz_naz_basic

Another nail in the coffin of this impotent public consultation.

AceBalls
AceBalls

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

AceBalls
AceBalls

Getting an opinion for an R18+ from people who don't play video games, and agreeing with them, is like getting an opinion from a eunuch on the art of masturbation

AlphaCommando
AlphaCommando

Just guessing here... maybe gamers were the majority of the responses because they're the only ones affected and therefore care? I don't know. /sarcasm

Shadow_zone
Shadow_zone

To be honest, I dont think the public is really all that interested in the issue. There werent even 100000 responses, there are 3 times that number living in blacktown. That is hardly a comprehensive look at what the public really thinks about the issue. I think gamers need to stop relying on a small sample of public opinion to show that, 'hey 86% of people who knew the consultation was happening agree that an R 18 rating is needed', they need to instead go out and talk to as many people as possible amongst their friends and tell them about the issude. Start facebook pages, twitter about it. Talk to KRudd about it on twitter, can you do that? Im not into twitter. Instead of carrying on like babies about how the process is undemocratic and talking about how much you hate politicians and how cowardly they are, take some positive steps. No politician is going to make an issue out of something if they dont think there is enough public interest in it. Look at other issues facing the nation, dramatic increases in boat arrivals, economic collapse all around the world, Housing shortages, skills shortages, nurse shortage, lack of money in one particular state to pay nurses etc. Do you think many MPs care if gamers cant get Left 4 Dead 2 uncensored legally in Australia if their costituents dont care? Do something positive to drum up support for an R 18 rating outside of the hardcore gamers scene.

gameking5000
gameking5000

@Blayzino There is a difference between watching something and actually doing it or simulating it which games do. I don't think porn is allowed in movies, although I am not sure.

gameking5000
gameking5000

"which identified that 68 percent of Australians are now gamers". It needs to be more specific or else that's hard to believe. Gamers can also include people who play Wii Fit and other lifestyle games or those such as miniclip.

hotfiree
hotfiree

Shame we dont have a say Maybe ill make up some stupid excuse for not voting this year.

o0MrCheesy0o
o0MrCheesy0o

This is BS. The government just doesn't won't an R18+ rating so they keep on making excuses >_>

muzza93
muzza93

@Swindells Well Said

hotfiree
hotfiree

@swindells Yeah thats how its going to go - imagine if like 50+ year olds get to make the difference. ARGH.

Swindells
Swindells

F.R.U.S.T.R.A.T.I.N.G. Get it together, the people who are responding to this are the ones who the classification affects. wider community pfft, i can see how it will go, they will ask to survey a bunch of random people on this topic and say to the people (who aren't gamers and have no idea what its about) "would you support the call for an R18 classification in Australia, which will potentially allow in violent and depraved games dipicting beheadings, mutilation, rape and interactive sex scenes?"... and Joe dinosaur is going to say "thats sick, absolutely not" when what he really should be told is "do you support a classification system that better informs parents and gamers as to the true content of existing games that are already widely available in Australia"... I doubt they will but hey, free speech is their right, not ours.

hotfiree
hotfiree

Pft this is stupid. And why dont we get america to vote in our next election? Its only going to affect gamers so wtf?

SuprSaiyanRockr
SuprSaiyanRockr

All I want to know is: how are they going to get these views? A referendum? That would be a bit of a waste. Most people know nothing of the matter, and would probably vote 'no' just in case something bad happens. It happens at nearly every referendum.

brok
brok

For god's sake the original survey was open to EVERYONE, and anyone who actually had an opinion has ALREADY VOTED! You couldn't ask for a result that better depicted the views of the people that actually give a damn about the issue. Forcing people that aren't even affected by it to reach a decision won't provide any better idea at all.

sima-yi
sima-yi

Listen gamers of the world. We need to take a lesson from Gamers4Croydon. We need to organize a ourself into a large political party. We gamers get shun'd by the world, but if we unite as a people and yell as one voice they will listen.

DarthPlush
DarthPlush

@mattisgod01 That's a ridiculous statement. Increasing the speed limit affects EVERYONE, and they would never just ask hoons - they'd be asking road accident victims, families, elderly citizens. R18+ issue does NOT affect everyone, because not everyone is a gamer. So why go out and ask the rest of the community who wouldn't give a damn or know any of the details about it?

damo320
damo320

Yes it's much more important to get comments from people completely disinterested in the topic!! WTF? Is this guy serious? Anyone who gives a toss has already made their views known and now he wants the views of people who don't give a damn. Makes perfect sense - especially in the context of current Australian Federal Govt's overall decision making of late.

Chickan_117
Chickan_117

again we go backwards. The thing that still confuses me is that we're really requesting a more varied rating system. Of course this will result in one or two games that were banned maybe getting into the country but, on the whole, it allows for a much better classification for games like God of War 3 or Dante's Inferno. FFS people who are against violence in video games should encourage this as 18+ means a tighter restrictions for who can play what!? These gauls are crazy!

junor69
junor69

Good god i can buy a gun in real life but i cant get R 18+ video game hear in Australia, i think i have to move to US or England

tigertechie
tigertechie

Would we become pyscho killers if we're protecting young gamers from violence and sex? I think not.

Blayzino
Blayzino

The thing I dont understand is how they can have violent/pornographic R18+ films which, in most cases, are shot using real people and realistic (somtimes over the top) violence and no one complains about these but as soon as it comes to video games, they have a sulk about it?! It just seems the Australian government are contradicting themselves... Keep up the good work Australian gamers! just remember, more pressure = less resistance. :-)

x-2tha-z
x-2tha-z

Of course. This makes perfect sense. Ask a bunch of people who don't play games and know nothing about them, if they think there should be an 18 rating for games. Well done Australia.

wenisman
wenisman

I hate to say it but 'I told you so...' the entire process was a waste of time because the people in charge do not understand the issues. if we want to protected the children why dont we take all the children away from their parents (because they 'might' be a bad parent) and put them all in a foster home with no TV, no internet, no phones and only blue crayons because the red ones are too dangerous for young minds. So whilst I am being treated like a child then I will act like one, I am going to have my tanty and do something rash. I am taking my money (because obviously I am not mature or responsible enough to spend it here) and buying everything online from an OS source. Everything possible... and I encourage everyone else to do the same.

TheBionicRock
TheBionicRock

*translation* You were suppopse to say NO! We want a second opinion WAAHHHH!

HollowNinja
HollowNinja

*sigh* I still don't see why Australia has to be so childish.