O'Connor And R18+: "I'm Not Going To Let This Matter End"

The Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor has commented again on Australia's lack of an R18+ rating for games, claiming that "if there is not a consensus around this issue, the Commonwealth will certainly be considering other options."

It seems like if the Attorneys-General do not come to a consensus on the issue during July's SCAG meeting, the Federal Government will most likely explore other issues.

"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," claimed O'Connor.

Although he was keen to emphasize that his preference, of course, would be a "consensus around the table in July".

This is an interesting move from O'Connor, and one that could suggest a couple of things - firstly it appears that the Federal Government are completely willing to pull rank on this issue if State representative don't fall in line and, secondly, it could be that a couple of Attorneys-General are against an R18+ rating and this is a direct attempt to reel them in.

Regardless - it's clear that the federal government is now acutely aware of how big an issue this is for gamers and the wider public, and that can only be a good thing for those in favour of an adult rating for games in Australia.

All signs point to a positive result in July.

Government threatens R-rating games showdown [ABC News]


Comments

    It's about time someone at the Federal level decided to smack State level heads. Australian State level governments are in it for themselves and quite often don't see the bigger picture. Nice work Brendon, go kick some skulls!

      Couldn't agree more, state level government has become nothing more than a bureaucratic circle jerk.

      It seems the only reason it exists is to constantly remind us that it exists.

        Don't forget wasting money

          As a South Australian I've got as much hate for the state government as anyone... but I don't want to live in a country where everything is administered on the east coast.
          There's too much done for the benefit of Eastern Australia, at the expense of the rest of the country, as is.

    I could probably think of at least 100 games that should immediately be moved from MA15+ to R18+ as soon as the rating becomes available, as well as those from RC to R18+.

      This for my mind is the completely wrong angle to focus on, because it makes us all look irresponsible.
      The issue is about widening choice and freedom for adults, and bringing games into line with other forms of entertainment.
      This idea of "R games are being rated as MA" has never sat well with me as a political reason for adding an R rating. It smacks of vested interests and is more likely to convince people the opposite, or at least, a crackdown at the board.

        Does it strike you as wrong because you're under 18? If that isn't the case, then its baffling that close your eyes to the fact (not theory) that games decreed "adult" (or R18+) everywhere else are being stamped "adolescent" (or MA15+) in Australia.

          Changing games that are rated ma instead of R to R would be bad

          It says the board wasn't doing there job like they should have been as well as putting even more doubt on whether these banned games should ever be allowed

          Being told theres been 100 games released under the MA banner that should be rated R makes it sound like mortal combat and l4d2(uncensored) must be truely horrific games if the board that was willing to fudge the ratings on these 100 games but not them

          Which then adds weight to maybe the system is keeping out the truly bad games.

          Though I must add that it's harder to take this view if your of the belief the ratings system is in place solely to protect children.

          The reason we NEED an R rating is freedom of choice, not to protect the children. Just because somebody else classifies a game as adult doesn't mean that under our standards it also needs to be - there are always going to be grey areas.

          Classification systems are always going to be different between countries because of context - each country has certain sensitivities that a global standard would easily overlook.
          There should, however, be a similar range of choice for all adults within a specific country between books, films, theatre and games.

          Liberty should be our call to arms, not more control, because if that gets misinterpreted things could get worse - for example, we say "too many games are being classified as mature when they're adult everywhere else". The easiest, fastest solution is to clamp down and tighten the mature rating so that even less games get classified, and you have to accept that because your problem - too many adult games being classed as mature - is now solved.

          Without the argument of personal liberty and freedom of choice, there is no need for an R rating.

            Oh I don't disagree my point was more by reclassifying it suggests the system was working around the laws for the vendor of the older gamer

            And one could argue that this amount of workaround means ghat there must be something wrong with the game if they didn't want to fudge game 101 through as well.

            The only issue is you cant use this argument in conjunction with for the kids to keep the r rating out. Because one says that we are protecting the children and the other says the content gets through most of the time anyway.

            It's the same reason the afl never really pushes for a game to be banned once it's released because it shines negatively on their belief the system is fine how it is

            Oh I don't disagree my point was more by reclassifying it suggests the system was working around the laws for the vendor of the older gamer

            And one could argue that this amount of workaround means ghat there must be something wrong with the game if they didn't want to fudge game 101 through

            Only way they can truly reclassify these games would be a) change the guidelines b) reclassify everything.

            Unless they were reclassifying them because o complaints something that should have happened all ready if it were a real issue

          I doubt that many games are being given MA15+ instead of R18+.

          You need only look at film to see that Australia has a different set of sensibilities: the MA15+ rating is applied to most movies that receive an R in the US. In the US, games rated AO basically can't be sold, so all games shoot for a maximum of M (17+), which mostly fits into the MA15+ category.

        I agree its about giving adults choice, and part of choice is having accurate information. If I was looking at two versions of Mortal Kombat, I'd pick the one with the higher rating because its what I, as a consumer, am looking for in a Mortal Kombat game.

        I think you'll find there are a lot of R18+ movies with MA15+ video games based on them, which doesn't make sense for things like the newest AvP.

        I have to agree, though not due to the irresponsibility angle. My concern is that the opposition will hogtie us with the 'protect the children' argument by essentially making the current MA15+ category into an R18+ category without changing the scope of it. They can say that they've given gamers the R18+ rating they've been begging for to protect the children while still disallowing the 'worst of the worst' content, like MK. Win win.

          Yup what I was saying much more concisely :p

    Good luck to him, considering that the rest of those Attorney Generals are a bunch of naive half wits who only want what they want and not what the general public needs.

    But seriously I would LOVE to see what kind of argument they would have against the R18+ rating because the truth is there is nothing bad about it.

    The majority of gamers in Australia are ADULTS and adults should have the right to choose to buy any game they want seeing the majority of games these days are targeted at an adult audience.

    I definitely read that as O'Connor saying that if the SCAG can't get their act together, he's going to change the rules so that they aren't responsible for this anymore.

    Considering how ineffective the SCAG is at making decisions, it really makes sense for O'Connor to do that too.

    Here's hoping the SCAG tries to faff about again so that they are no longer responsible for classification.

      They should be changed to a democracy on all things now anyway so that in future we don't have any major issues

      I assume the logic behind it now is that the states can't gang up on a single state to stealresources or sumsuch

      Making that sort of change is another headfuck of legislation altogether. Although, in fairness, I can't see anybody on a federal level opposing this(except maybe the independants)

    Very interesting. Very interesting indeed!

    Didn't They say they wont have enough time at the SCAG
    Or isn't that another important meeting?

      That's the SCAG meeting in March... the NSW Attorney-General isn't attending because of the election. July is the next one where all of them wil be attending.

    Sounds like he's talking about removing the requirement for a unanimous decision from the state A-G's, which is a pretty smart move - when's the last time a roomful of politicians from different parties unanimously agreed on anything except a pay rise for themselves?

    It'll be interesting to see if they just make the requirement a simple majority, or if they take it out of the hands of the states altogether. Although I'm guessing there may be some constitutional hurdles to be jumped there.

    On a related note could the people of NSW start briefing the Liberal general attorney now so when July comes around he cant say he has not had enough time to know the issues. Cause if he says that my head will explode!!!

    Another day, another hope for a change in our ratings system...
    Until the day its actually confirmed, im not getting excited. (thats if it ever does change)
    Been let down too many times

    A move in the right direction.

    State governments are proving themselves irrelevant. Decisions like this, that affect the whole nation, should be made by the Federal Government. Not state leaders that only concern themselves with their minorities.

    Unfortunately, it's too late for Mortal Kombat :/

    A politician that actually gives a crap. And he even sent me a letter yesterday thanking me for my support for an R18+. Cool guy.

    So when in July is the meeting? Do I dare hope for some positive action as a potential birthday present?

    About time the Federal Government did something, nice work Brendon.

    I got a letter on the issue on the R18+ from Brendan O'connor two days ago, on what has been happening and his feelings. He actually replied to my submissions personaly.
    I never been so proud of a political figure and taken such an interest in a topic. I am getting good feelings this may change sooner than I thought.

      Sorry to burst your bubble, but myself and four of my friends got exactly the same letter 2-3 days ago...Look closely at the sig...it's printed in blue ink not signed

      Last time I wrote to Michael Atkinson about the issue he spent 2-3 paragraphs addressing what I wrote in my letter, before copy pasting a generic speil on why R18+ is bad for another 3 pages, then signed it with ink. I definitely wasn't proud of him.

    Whilst I think its great they will consider doing something at the federal level, I don't think they have the power unless they amend the constitution; from either the states conferring their power to the C/wealth or just trying to legislate it.

    If they take the second, High court challenges on grounds that it is "unconstitutional" to do so will ensue along with the ACL crying foul.

    I think getting the states to agree will be a much easier task - it isn't as if they can withhold GST from the states that disagree lol.

    Good on him, but i think to keep saying "an issue for GAMERS and the wider public" is wrong. This is an issue for all the Australian Citizens and our rights to have adult material for ADULTS.

    People need to see this as not a bunch of gamers crying out for bloody games but about giving Australian adults the rights to play the game and to protect our youth better by having a international rating standard

    lol why couldn't they do this last year... before mortal kombat was release! :P

    It is good news though, I've actually finally got hope that this will go through

    No game currently RC'd will be reviewed again, no game previously MA will be moved up. This is how it will work. Unless a game company specifically asks for a game to be reviewed with a new system it will remain RC or MA.

    The issue that annoys me is the minority of intrest groups as in the Christain lobby can get a free blurb in the media, as if their minority view reflects some greater consensus in the population.

    If you don't want to play R rated games fine, if you don't want your kids too, how bout some parenting...
    The denial of personal responsibility for your own actions is one of the worst things that Australia seems to be adopting from American culture.
    phew, rant finished..

    O'Connor for Prime Minister!!!

      Hmph, funny you should say that.

      O'Connor has recognised that the next generation of the Australian public, a majority of voters, have grown up with technology, video games and computers. As well as many of them having a sensibility that is more modern than that of the average baby boomer that are, generally speaking, are stuck in their old ways. He'll win votes if he keeps with current issues that are relevant to this portion of the voting public.

      A promising step in the way of moving Australia forward, keeping up with the rest of the world.

      Next, let's get religion out of politics, support Assange and stop sucking the American Government's c***.

    I think classification should be a national issue... it's bizarre that a book, movie or game can be legal in one state, but banned in another.

    I'd love it if they nationalised it, but I think he's talking about ammending the act to make it a majority vote.
    Also, shouldn't legislation be in the works to introduce the rating... in anticipation of the yay vote?

    I'm calling this right now. A victory in July.... meaining another year long study, then a year to review the results and a year to table any potential changes let alone approve them.

    2014. Bank on it.

      If they put it off, they'll probably try to justify it as waiting for the outcome of the global classification/censorship review being conducted by the Australian Law Reform Commission.

    There's never been a shadow of doubt in my mind that it was a question of when, not if.

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Games are legitimate form of entertainment like any other (TV. Movies, Music, books). That's why the subjet matter will go from Dora the Explorer to Mortal Combat.

    To keep trying to frame gaming as "children toys" is the hallmark of backwardness.

    Progress is not going to stop for you ACL.

    I think if he was serious about reform, they should abandon stunts like yesterdays announcement on gamespot that "importers of Mortal Kombat face having their goods siezed and the possibility of a fine". I wonder what Captain Australia has to say on the issue?

    For those who own a PS3; check out my twitter feed. You will not be disappointed.

      Did you just make an overseas PSN account?

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