Gamespot is reporting that an R18+ rating for games will be put to Federal Parliament on February 7, which is the first step required for an adult rating to be introduced in Australia.
Brendan O’Connor’s replacement as Minister for Home Affairs is Jason Clare, and his office claimed that their plans “are to introduce the R18+ Bill in the first session of parliament this year”.
The process, however, is painful to say the least — it could be years before an R18+ rating actually exists in Australia.
To begin with, the R18+ bill will be presented to the lower house for first reading, then a second reading will occur in which the lower house will debate the bill. During the third reading voting will take place.
The bill is then taken to the Senate where the process practically begins anew. If the senate decides to make any amendments to the bill, it has to be sent back to the lower house.
And that’s just the beginning.
Once the bill makes it through Federal government, yet another process begins at the State level. Each state has the ability to decide precisely how they adapt to this new legislation. Each State could agree in principal to the idea of an R18+ rating, but could decide to not allow R18+ games to be stocked in stores in their own state. It is, however, unlikely that this will happen.
“A lot of this is routine,” said Dr Peter Chen, an expert in media politics, and Australian public policy, “and as it currently stand the bill will probably sail through. It all depends on how controversial the bill is — and it’s all about priorities.
“Each state has to determine the level at which they will participate in the bill and this whole thing just elongates the process. These things can take years.”
Earlier in 2011, David Emery, the Manager of Applications at the Classification Branch claimed that it would take at least two years before they received an R18+ application at the Classification Board, and it looks as though this may end up being the case.
Still, a positive step forward.