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Post by Steve Farrelly @ 01:21pm 06/12/10 | 25 Comments
No doubt a lot of you caught wind over the weekend of the Gillard Government backing the R18+ rating for games position, with Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O'Connor, stating that "if the new category is introduced it could result in computer games that are currently classified as MA 15+ being reclassified R 18 +, providing a new level of protection". The support is a massive win for gamers and supporters of the position Australia-wide, but the real test comes this Friday where the proposition will be discussed by the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG), who will either pass it, or shoot it down. O'Conner was careful, however, to remind anti R18+ lobbyists the Federal Government also carried their concerns, echoing in his statement that "children and teenagers shouldn't be exposed to the gratuitous sex, violence and adult themes that are contained in some computer games".

But it's not all hunky dory. Within the SCAG, which needs a unanimous vote for the introduction to pass, not all of the AGs appear to be in line, though John Rau, who replaced the rating's most staunch protester, Michael Atkinson, in South Australia definitely appears to be much more progressive on the subject, telling the ABC that "there’s no doubt that these things are available either by mail order or through downloads off the internet, so it’s not as if there’s a complete impossibility of getting hold of these things anyway". While that might sound like good news, he's still of the mind that games can be bad for you, it seems his stance then, is more one of common-sense.

"The issue is about what's offered for retail sale and who gets access to what," he said.

Michael Atkinson, however, remains as against the rating change as ever.

"I think some perfectly normal adults could be affected by these games because they are so violent," he said. "I don't think [people] who don't play video games know how gory and horrific some of these games are."

Western Australia's Attorney-General, Christian Porter, however, is yet to decide his stance and is coming under pressure from within his own party room to block the introduction of an R18+ rating.

"I'm in favour for more protection of children and kids but I think the borders of our morality have been extended to such an extent where we almost don't have any borders at all," said Frank Alban, MP for Swan Hills, to the AAP in protest of the introduction, while Upper House MP Nick Goiran joined in, saying in response to a submission to Porter by the joint children's commissioners that "If all of the children's commissioners are collectively saying this is bad news, this is a bad idea, then I take that very seriously". He also said that he was "concerned" at the Government support of the position, adding "it makes [you] wonder what is the point of having a children's commissioner".

So we're clearly moving forward, but the more major support we get, the more opposition seems to crop up. One thing's for sure, Friday's meeting is going to be keenly watched by the gaming community at-large, here's hoping everything comes up Milhouse when it adjourns.

r18+r18+ ratinggillardaustraliavideo games

Latest Comments
Posted 03:22pm 06/12/10
if the new category is introduced it could result in computer games that are currently classified as MA 15+ being reclassified R 18 +, providing a new level of protection". The support is a massive win for gamers
How is that a massive win, that quote says nothing about titles which would be banned, or have been banned, it just says that the extreme MA games would get an r18 rating. What is his stance on games that have been banned in relation to r18, would they get through under a new classification system?

I wouldn't be surprised if "they" just heard the part of the arguments they wanted to hear (ma15 games are too violent, they should be r18) and ignored the gamers side of the argument which was an r18 classification should be introduced to fit the banned games.
Posted 03:27pm 06/12/10
Well, it depends how you mean "win".

In this case the consumer is able to make a better guess between M15 (proper m15) rated stuff, versus R18 being significantly different. In that respect people who complain that something R18 is too violent for children is actually correct! This is maybe not a major win for someone hoping for games refused classification so far, but it's a huge win for correctly labelling things in its proper place.

With a label to accurately define games as appropriate now they may start to see some of the games which are adult oriented actually be released, although that would be a far sight rather than a short one. The previous reasons are less valid now.
Steve Farrelly
Posted 03:33pm 06/12/10
it's a win in that regardless, getting the R18+ is a step in the right direction to proper classification and the Federal Government is behind it. Unfortunately his statement wasn't overly clear on their entire stance, it only pointed out that they agree we need an R18+
Posted 03:35pm 06/12/10
I think some perfectly normal adults could be affected by these games because they are so violent

err, no.

I cant stand these bulls*** conservativists. They need to be kicked in the balls. Lots.
Posted 03:39pm 06/12/10
I'm sure they can, but maybe they aren't 99.99% of people. Games don't kill people, people who murder people kill people.
Posted 03:46pm 06/12/10
unanimous vote is retarded. i think its time that changed.
Posted 03:47pm 06/12/10
I cant stand these bulls*** conservativists. They need to be kicked in the balls. Lots.
That's the same violence they're talking about right there
Posted 03:51pm 06/12/10
There's an An Open Letter: The Attorneys-General on kotaku that summarises the issue pretty well.
Posted 04:30pm 06/12/10
Not a great article.

You call the former SA AG "Atkins" when it's actually Atkinson, and then you attribute one of his quotes "I don't think [people] who don't play video games know how gory and horrific some of these games are." to John Rau.

Apart from that, this is awesome news!
Posted 04:49pm 06/12/10
Are we getting confused because the classification system and the classification rating. I thought they are set by two different bodies. By the SCAG approving an R18+ classification for games it now means that Australian Classification Board now have the ability to classify a game as being adults only.

Getting them (ACB) to go back and reclassify L4D2 gory version is probably something that needs to be pushed by the community ?
Posted 05:05pm 06/12/10

Public push to get a Minster to submit it for reclassification. Or get Valve to re-submit (Which they would have to pay for and risk their now MA15+ game being reclassified R18 as well.)

Or you could claim that the stress about not being able to see blood oozing out of zombies and dismembered bodies causes you stress and is harmful to the general public.
Posted 05:13pm 06/12/10
I'm coming down to the stance that the government isn't doing enough to emphasize that parents should be parenting their children, not the law.

But at least this might allow the ones who are a little unconcerned by the MA15 nature and aligning it with movies and TV to maybe think again.
Posted 05:14pm 06/12/10
I heard some statement from Brendan O'Connor that they wouldn't be unbanning any previously banned games. Whether that applies to games that were censored rather than outright banned is the question.
Posted 05:15pm 06/12/10
the government wants everyone to think they are the only ones that can stop their children from obtaining such horrible content
Steve Farrelly
Posted 05:15pm 06/12/10
eski, thanks for pointing that out - early morning news post and my head wasn't working pre-coffee ;)
I will totally admit I got the quotes wrong - have fixed it now.
Posted 05:18pm 06/12/10
the government wants everyone to think they are the only ones that can stop their children from obtaining such horrible content

This is the reason we can't have nice things

(eg: real R18 content games, unfiltered internet for much longer, laws which enable us to sue someone else when we're at fault but they didn't compensate for how completely incompetent we can be at times)
Posted 05:43pm 06/12/10
nice work Steve, it makes Rau look a little less severe.

I like the approach the government is taking. If it's all about protecting the kiddies from violence the anti R18 lobby loses most of their ammo.

The comments in that Lyle Shelton thing are hilarious. Even his readers don't support him.
Posted 05:41pm 06/12/10

Religion and gaming rarely mix well.

Picture caption from Steve's article.

Sure they don't - that's why one shouldn't be used to argue against the other.
Posted 06:01pm 06/12/10
Under the Act, each of the following matters must be taken into account in classifying films and computer games:
(a) the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults;
(b) the literary, artistic or educational merit (if any) of the publication, film or computer game;
(c) the general character of the publication, film or computer game, including whether it is of a medical, legal or scientific character;
(d) the persons or class of persons to or amongst whom it is published or is intended or likely to be published.

The Code
Under the Code, classification decisions are to give effect, as far as possible, to the following principles:
(a) adults should be able to read, hear and see what they want;
(b) minors should be protected from material likely to harm or disturb them;

(c) everyone should be protected from exposure to unsolicited material that they find offensive;
(d) the need to take account of community concerns about:
    (i) depictions that condone or incite violence, particularly sexual violence; and
    (ii) the portrayal of persons in a demeaning manner.

The Classification Act Guidelines

The lack of classification of material for adults prevents or hinders the bolded requirements from being met, making principle a and b of the Code obviously mutually antagonistic. Adults may NOT "read, hear and see what they want" if it must also be suitable for children; ie the Classification Categories as they stand are incompatible with the law.

Just fix the broken f*****g system already so that the Board can get on with its job.
Posted 09:56pm 06/12/10
It is unbelievable to see this debate being twisted by spin to such an extent that having an R18+ classification is now being promoted as something that will benefit children

I've tried to come up with a funny thing to say to this for the past 15 minutues, writing and re-writing over and over and I just can't work out anything to say how stupid this sounds other than this is arse of the highest order. What magical world does this toss live in? Saying to kids "no you cant have this game, it's got to much violence/language in it" is a good thing. But of course that is logic and we all know how religion is on that.

Posted 10:34pm 06/12/10
My religion allows me to play violent games.

Prolly because it's the perfect way to go under the radar and acquire military training without being accused of running terror camps.

*looks at COD: BO with evil grin*
Posted 10:47pm 06/12/10
Posted 11:07pm 06/12/10
Meh 18 months from now all the people against this should be interviewed again. ask em if it was such a bad idea then.
Posted 11:14pm 06/12/10
Bajo did good (despite how much i hate some of his facial expressions).
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