WA pro-R18+, but seeks guideline amendments

Western Australia agrees on adult rating for games "in principle"; Federal Minister says "time has come" to make a decision.


Following on from Monday's news that the NSW attorney-general will not take part in the R18+ vote at the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General meeting this Friday, Western Australia has now clarified its own position on the issue.

Speaking to GameSpot AU, WA Attorney-General Christian Porter said the state supports R18+ for games in principle but wants some amendments made to the federal government's proposed guidelines.

"Western Australia's position was to inform the Commonwealth in June 2011 that the WA government is not opposed, in principle, to the prospect of an introduction of an R18+ classification category for computer games," Porter told GameSpot AU. "However, before the WA cabinet would give any final approval, the state government would like to see some modifications to the proposed R18+ classification guidelines.

"The Commonwealth has indicated its willingness to consider amending the guidelines in accordance with Western Australia's suggestions."

It's still unclear what the outcome of the SCAG meeting will be; Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor has previously stated that the issue has taken too long to resolve and that he would seek "other options" should a unanimous agreement between attorneys-general not be reached, something that is looking increasingly likely. For an R18+ rating to be passed at this Friday's SCAG meeting, all nine state, territory, and federal ministers need to agree on its introduction.

O'Connor now says he welcomes the support of those states and territories that have decided to vote "yes" on introducing R18+, but will not give away the federal government's plans.

"This issue has been on the table for close to a decade and the time has come for a decision to be made on introducing an adult classification for computer games in Australia," O'Connor told GameSpot AU.

"This is not only practical policy, but popular policy. The result of a nationwide Galaxy survey requested by attorneys-general that 80 per cent of those surveyed said they support the introduction of an R18+ classification for games. I welcome the action of those jurisdictions that have indicated they will support an R18+ classification in the interests of protecting children and young people. I look forward to hearing the views of all attorneys-general this Friday."

[UPDATE] GameSpot AU has also contacted Victoria, the last of the three states besides NSW and WA that, as of May this year, were still undecided on R18+. According to the Victorian Attorney-General, Robert Clark, the state's decision will also be based on modifications to the guidelines.

"The Baillieu government is seeking modifications to the Commonwealth's published draft guidelines so as to better protect the community," Clark told GameSpot AU. "Our decision at SCAG will be based on what proposal ends up being put before ministers for decision."

GameSpot AU will be reporting live from the SCAG meeting this Friday.

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