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Lack of consensus will not kill R18 debate in Australia

Government suggests that failure to reach agreement might trigger further reforms

Australian Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor has said that a failure to reach a consensus in the debate over an R18 classification for games in the country would not necessarily mean a stalemate, indicating that the Federal government would be willing to investigate other options should an agreement prove elusive.

Currently, any games which are deemed too mature for a 15 rating are refused classification in Australia, leading many publishers to re-edit content to make it appropriate for that age-bracket, or simply to decide not to release the title in the territory at all.

"We're becoming the laughing stock of the developed world, where we're the only country that doesn't have an R18 classification level for video games," O'Connor told ABC News.

"I foreshadow that if there is not a consensus around this issue, the Commonwealth will certainly be considering other options because we cannot continue to have an outdated classification system that's actually, in my view, causing harm to young people.

"I'm not going to let this matter end because it's too important to allow one or two jurisdictions to stop the majority of jurisdictions in this country moving on an important reform," Mr O'Connor continued.

"But can I say my very strong preference is to have consensus around the table in July."

O'Connor has long been an advocate of the higher band rating, as have the majority of surveyed Australians. However, some religious and parent groups have claimed that an R18 rating would expose children to new levels of violence.

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Latest comments (5)

Tom Halls Creative Account Manager, Electronic Arts5 years ago
'However, some religious and parent groups have claimed that an R18 rating would expose children to new levels of violence.' Yet some games released here in the UK have 18 ratings and receive 15 mature in Australia? Is violence defined differently there?
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Antony Johnston Writer & Narrative Designer 5 years ago
"an R18 rating would expose children to new levels of violence."

Them kids sure are young for their, uh, age.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Antony Johnston on 21st March 2011 10:02am

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Daniel Roy Studying Bachelor of Games and Interactive Entertainment, Queensland University of Technology5 years ago
I find the ACL's response to this quite acute with their overall image among modern age people. Sure paints them in a picture where they don't quite understand what is going on with technology.
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Tony Johns5 years ago
Thank GOD he is on our side.

Although I would think that the lack of the R18+ rating will harm the sales of certain games in Australia more than the harm that would supposiverly come to the kids who are 15 and can play any MA15+ rated game.

It is more harmful to the Australian retailers who will lose allot of money trying to sell censored versions of games that would have been more attractive to older gamers in Australia, like myself, who want to play the uncensored versions of games like the recent Mortal Kombat.

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Tony Johns5 years ago
I would consider it best that Australia has a games industry type of rating sustem designed by an independant body, NOT one that is designed by the government.

Because as we all know in Australia, the government can't agree on anything because of the different political parties always fighting on different points of political debates...they are like school children and most of the vocal ones behave like bullies...

Perhaps that is the reason why school bullying runs rampant in Australian schools, and the victims who fight back are punished...

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