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Post by Steve Farrelly @ 02:29pm 02/12/10 | 23 Comments
Our good friend Mark Serrels over at Kotaku AU has posted a chat he had with leader of the Australian Christian Lobby, Lyle Shelton, regarding recently released information regarding the effect of videogame violence to real-world behaviour among youth by Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O'Connor.

While I'm sure Mark's questions were well-gauged (he hasn't posted the interview in entirety), Shelton's responses still follow a similar pattern to R18+ objectors, in that the broader picture of the correct classification for all types of media, to be made to all manner of people in Australia, is null and void in their view, which clearly categorises all videogames as being made for, and played by, children.

"You’re saying let’s lift the ban on violent video games and allow them into the country – legally, for the first time – and I don’t think that’s something parents would want," Lyle told the site. "I think most parents feel that keeping these games out of the country is the most desirable thing for their children. It is naive to think that if the ban on these games was lifted they wouldn’t fall into the hands of children."

Again, however, the issue here is that the current classification system only accounts for children - the sheer fact that it only goes up to MA15+ is an actual concern among most gamers - regardless of their age. There's also the fact that, the majority of gamers in this country, are actually over the age of 15, which is a non-considered group in this entire debate from the side of the anti-R18+ lobbyists.

"There’s widespread agreement among politicians, parents and the general public that our classification system is broken," he continued. "That’s been acknowledged by both Tony Abbot and Julia Gillard. The idea that we would then further liberalise our classification system and allow a new violent medium to be introduced when there’s widespread concern about lax classification standards is way out of step with where parents are on classification issues."

Surely education is the key, and education in this instance falls under the bracket of age gates - age restrictions on material not suitable to specific brackets within our consumer-base. Parents clearly currently buy games for their children that need to be classified R18+ but due to a lack of the rating, are being passed through to M or MA15+. It's frustrating that these lobby groups just don't see they're ignoring an entire body of people - to them it's the children or no rights at all...


Latest Comments
Posted 02:57pm 02/12/10
After reading as many emails i have which are reports on child safety and welfare, child youth and so on, I can't honestly see how they could hold out on this kind of thing when so many other problems exist.

I can't really disclose details but compared to problems which exist, namely parenting, this pales as just as some kind of joke in relation to current real world problems which are largely ignored.

I used to say "pfft what a joke" when people said parent licenses. But now after reading hundreds of cases of abuse in every form due to neglect ignorance or a plain lack of knowledge or misguided views I start to wonder about the solutions to these things.

Currently there is a government paid maternity leave initiative. I'd like to see those who want this to first only be eligible after going through a minimum course. Rather it should be a course detailing basics of what not to do, what is good, and finally how to ask for help. Then they should be eligible for the few weeks of moneys and the baby bonus's that they want. This I honestly think would help a percentage of them who maybe at heart aren't the worst people in the world, but they're s*** because their own upbrining and surroundings have taught them wrong.

Education towards parents I think is totally underrated. Many parents do educate themselves. I'm so glad of this. I start to think that it should be made more as an initiative or a natural thing that people would want to do as a course paid entirely by funding of the government. I'm absolutely sure this would save money in youth justice and youth care departments nation wide.

Not to mention I think a lot of mothers would want to enroll in these courses because they've chosen to keep these children and despite the worst conditions ever try to fight to keep their children despite the horrible jobs they do.

It's slightly off topic, but education is the first step to bringing up a more rational child and being able to say no to stuff like the games which aren't suitable for their kids. Parents do turn a blind eye when they don't know what damage is being done.

I know most of you like me probably played tonns of these kinds of violent gory games as a kid. While the graphics weren't as good we knew exactly what was happening in our minds. Most of us do not feel violent urges. Most of us feel no need to replicate what happens in these games. Most of us know even at a young age these things are only limited within the game and aren't socially acceptable and doing that in society would harm our social status or worse. Most of us had decentish parents who made it clear or people around us that even without saying the words directly made it obvious.

Sadly as i read over and over not every kid had these situations. I largely blame a lack of understanding from abusive relationships of their parents who are doing much better for thier children than what happened to them but its still not good enough. BY turning a blind eye a lot of the time they're saying its okay to do as I've done, or worse hitting or throwing things when things go bad. They just say "Oh my child doesn't really follow my actions it doesn't know what i'm doing" but really it's not that simple. Education is key.

TL:DR; education is key
Steve Farrelly
Posted 03:01pm 02/12/10
Moreover, Shelton's use of the term "violent new medium" misdirects and clearly pinpoints their lack of understanding of videogame market. It's an age-old industry that is clearly not new - this issue is new because videogames are becoming more and more complex and real in their depiction and representation, however, that is no different to the advent and mastering of special effects in violent movies.

Another facet that is equally enraging is their apparent lack of understanding about what is, and isn't, released in this country. It almost seems like they think we ban a violent, abhorrent videogame every week and that these games are rampant in every other country. Does he not realise that we get less than six bans per-year? And that the most violent games available, in terms of explicit imagery are already available here? FRUSTRATING
Posted 03:08pm 02/12/10
i could only just read through the quotes in your acticle. i think my head would explode if i read kotaku's. the guy clearly has no f*****g clue.
Posted 03:17pm 02/12/10
Is there any other activity that adults do that must (by law) also be suitable for children aged 15 and over without restriction?
Posted 03:21pm 02/12/10
What do you mean Hogfather?

I hate to be just a yesman but its hard not to be totally enraged by the lack of competence of those in charge. Especially when there are so many sources which are simply ignored just because they don't agree with their current stance. They're no more than yesmen to the voting population without educating the population on why they might consider change.

A business does a better job of educating the people on s*** they do and don't need than the government. They don't even try.
Posted 03:26pm 02/12/10
It's like they all actively refuse to know what they are talking about, and yet they are continued to be allowed to oppose something of which they really have no understanding, I actually believe that if someone could get them to be even just a little open minded and learn about where things in the industry actually are and how they work that they would start agreeing. It's just ridicules that no one seems to of publicly pointed out that everyone who opposes the introduction of an R18+ classification has no idea what they are talking about.
I dare the next person who has an interview with someone from "the other side" just sits there and says, "that's all well and good, but your completely wrong and have no idea what your talking about"
Posted 03:58pm 02/12/10
I completely agree with Steve's post

The games are already here.

Wouldn't you, as a parent, feel more comfortable picking up a game with a R18 rating knowing full well its not for your child. Instead of picking up a MA15 title thinking its going to be okay and not that bad

R18 rating should not be about not banning games, but showcasing clearer expectations of the game contents.
Posted 04:20pm 02/12/10
Religion should never be involved in government standards and decisions. Yes get the responses and concerns from the no R18+ groups, but don't involve religion. It shouldn't dictate anything at all. It is something people have to choose to be involved in, not something that we have to abide like the law. Therefore religion should have no stranglehold over what happens in the government.
Posted 04:56pm 02/12/10
Religion should never be involved in government standards and decisions. Yes get the responses and concerns from the no R18+ groups, but don't involve religion. It shouldn't dictate anything at all. It is something people have to choose to be involved in, not something that we have to abide like the law. Therefore religion should have no stranglehold over what happens in the government.

In this case they're acting as a no R18+ group, if you removed the part about where the dude is from you wouldn't have any idea it was a Christian group, you'd just think he's another crackpot from some minority family group. Which is why this really shouldn't turn into yet another pointless religious thread, and stay more on topic about the general idiocy of no R18+.
Posted 05:44pm 02/12/10
Hogfather makes and great point.

Should i not be able to go to the stripper because in theory a kind under legal age could possibly get in, should i not be able to drink because a 15 year old COULD get hold of a beer?

Honestly, I get quite frustrated just hearing the anti 18+ arguments because not a single one i have heard, has any real logic in it. Too many assume games are for kids, too many think that if we have 18+ games, we'll all be playing rape games and some kind of messed up perverted porn/murder games or something.

If the anti-18+ group bothered to educate themselves they would look and see that giving us an 18+ rating is essentially more protection to the 15- group. games like Dead space, modern warfare, black ops, fallout 3/new Vegas have all been 17(us)/18(uk) but in Australia they only have 15+ ratings.

This just shows that if they were really concerned with protecting an under-age group, they would review the system, its just too many useless old bastards who have no understanding of how a new system should work, and fear what they don't know, and are too set in their ways to bother learning about.
Posted 10:50pm 02/12/10
In this case they're acting as a no R18+ group, if you removed the part about where the dude is from you wouldn't have any idea it was a Christian group, you'd just think he's another crackpot from some minority family group. Which is why this really shouldn't turn into yet another pointless religious thread, and stay more on topic about the general idiocy of no R18+.

Yeah you have a point, though is was made quite clear by the party itself that they oppose an R18+ classification. Because they are a religious group they automatically have a few thousand fanatical followers that eat the bucket loads of s*** they spew out without really thinking into it.

Guaranteed that the day this religious group made their stance against R18+, 10 thousand religious people jumped on the uninformed bandwagon against R18+. Slap the words, religion, Muslim, Christian or the pope on a headline opposing something and you automatically have a very strong following, no matter how extreme or ludicrous it may be.

This isn't a bash on religion, just calling it how I see it is all. I completely agree with what Eorl has said.

Anyway back on track, I feel that we are actually close to an R18+ classification. I still think we need a figurehead to actually call these uninformed parties out in a semi aggressive matter. We are all sitting back and can quite clearly see that the opposition has no idea about the topic. We need some one to capitalize on their lack of knowledge and really make them sweat.
Posted 11:30am 05/12/10
we're almost there just need the attorneys-general to approve

The federal Cabinet has approved an adult rating for computer games after finding that many classified as suitable for 15-year-olds in Australia had been ruled suitable for adults only overseas.


this part makes me sad though :(

And Mr O'Connor also gave a guarantee he would not allow games that had been banned in Australia to be approved for release under the new R18+ classification, if it is approved.

so no uncut l4d2
Posted 11:43am 05/12/10
why do they keep going on about the violence. Heaps of games have adult content in them/ its not just the violence your banning you church f*****s

Posted 03:05pm 05/12/10
Haha ravn0s that news link has so much bs in it.
One game, Left 4 Dead 2, is a first-person shoot-em-up, as they are known in the gaming world, that was initially banned, then changed to MA 15+ with a warning of "strong bloody violence". Following the reclassification, the Classification Board received 17 complaints that the game was no different to the original.

Sure no difference at all.

Mr O'Connor said it was relatively simple for gamers to find ways of restoring the games to their original versions using special codes easily available on the internet.

Ohhhhhh ok.
Posted 03:47pm 05/12/10
What do you mean Hogfather?

I mean anything that adults do for recreation or entertainment or whatever. Activity that is required to be suitable for children 15 years or over, and if not then a watered down version provided for adults because children 15-17 might get access to the real deal?

I honestly can't think of anything other than video games that is like that. Gambling, sports, alcohol, driver license, literature, media, voting. Our society is BUILT around a demarcation of rights and access between adults and children with guidelines on suitable activity for children rather than restriction / penalty for adults.

Well actually there is that stupid 'alco-pops' tax on pre-mixed drinks, quite possibly the most flawed post-war legislation to date.
Posted 04:49pm 05/12/10
Almost sounds like they might just make MA->R18, so basically we'll have the same system we have now, just you'll need to be 3 years older to buy the watered down versions.
Posted 05:12pm 05/12/10
Yeh, I'm cautiously optimistic.

They can say what they like about games being no less RC, but there is a lot of pressure on the classification board to make the right call. In the past this has meant some watering and some s*** hitting shelves at MA15+ that should not have been. From reading their interviews etc., I honestly got the impression that they were trying to do the right thing while bound with a s***** system.

An 18+ category means that they can rate s*** for adult consumption, or deny it on the grounds of being unfit for adult consumption.

I can't help but wonder at the timing so close to Kate Lundy's awesome speech. <3 Kate. I may move to ACT so I can vote for you!
Posted 05:18pm 05/12/10
Posted 05:16pm 05/12/10
Haha you broked it Bumpo
Posted 05:18pm 05/12/10
Ah crap... last time I'll post a link with my iPhone...
Posted 09:43am 10/12/10
the day has come. fingers crossed
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