R18+ bill to go before Australian Government in February

Ministerial reshuffle doesn't affect mature games rating decision date

The Australian Government will debate and vote upon the issue of an R18+ video games classification in February, dispelling fears that a recent cabinet reshuffle may have delayed the issue,.

Formerly, ex-Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor had responsibility for the bill, and had been pushing for a vote on the subject for some time, despite a number of delays. O'Connor was also a vocal public supporter of the need for an R18+ category.

During the ministerial reshuffle, O'Connor was moved to a new role as minister for Human Services, with ex-Defence Materiel minister Jason Clare taking responsibility for the office of home affairs - which includes the censorship bill in its purview.

Speaking to GamespotAUClare has now confirmed that the bill will still be decided in the country's first parliamentary session of the new year, beginning on February 7. If the bill passes the lower house, it will then proceed to a final decision in the Senate.

The bill has already been approved in principle by state governments and a Senate majority, so some see the debate as a formality.

In order to pass, the bill needs the support of at least two of five floating crossbench MPs, who have all remained private in their thoughts on the matter.

However, supporters are confident that the bill will move as far as the Senate, where it is thought to have enough support among the minority parties to pass.

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Latest comments (4)

Tony Johns10 years ago
Thank you Brendon O'Çonnor.

Also thank you Greens for supporting our struggle for equality for adult gamers.

Lets hope that both sides of politics as well as some of the independants are behind this.

However I feel that people like Bob Cattar and even Barnaby Joice and even Tony Abbot might be the biggest hurdles that we may need to overcome to get this to pass.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany10 years ago
Let's hope this time is for good and Australia can update his "Arcane age rating policies" (EA Dixit)

@Tony Johns: I agree, but more than "equality for adult gamers." I see it more as justice and liberty to choose what you want to see.

Australia is a member of the free world, Videogame censorship rules have no room within herself
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Dominic Jakube Student 10 years ago
I think the R18 classifacation will actually hurt the indusdry.Games that are currently rated MA15+ for mature gamers might be bumped up to the R rating.Big hitters like call of duty and grand theft auto could lose a lot of sales to the teen market as parents will get a bigger say in to what little Johnny plays.Parents might buy their 13 year old an MA15+ game, resoning that it's only a couple of years differience could balk at the R18 rating.
Remember that even with an R18 rating games can still be refused classifcation but I think the greatest threat is industry self censorship.Much like the motion picture industry self censors to avoid the R rating as it is poison at the box-office.
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 9 years ago
Dominic, do you think it's better that some games don't get released at all than to suffer the risk of other games that might be rated R18 instead of MA15+, or get tweaked a little more to make sure that they make the MA15+ rating?
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