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We can all agree that classification is a complex issue and despite an R18+ rating for video games getting the go-ahead early last year, its existence and application will continue to be discussed (and potentially legislated) for years to come. Western Australia is the latest state to reconsider the ramifications of the rating, with a recent report suggesting games classified as R18+ should be banned outright from sale in the state.
Yesterday ABC News reported that the Federal Government was planning to merge the Australian Classification Review Board with a number of other review board and tribunals as part of a $500 million cost cutting exercise. What initially seemed like a strange move by the Abbott government is actually almost perfectly in line with what the Australian Law Reform Commission recommended in its extensive Classification Review in 2012.
Back in November, Attorney-General for South Australia, John Rau, called on the Classification Review Board to reassess how the ratings system was being applied to several high-profile video games on Australian shelves. It was criticised as a huge waste of money, but the Classification Board undertook the review anyway, and now the verdict on said games is in.
The Australian Classification Board has classified multiple video games as R18+ since the introduction of the rating in January this year. But despite this South Australian Attorney General John Rau is claiming the guidelines aren’t being applied rigorously enough, and plans to write to the Federal Government in an attempt to apply more scrutiny to the Australian Classification Board.
On Friday we learned that the Australian Federal Government intended to implement a number of classification recommendations put forward by the ALRC. For video games, two recommendations have the potential to change the way content is classified in this country. We spoke to Josh Cavaleri, Legal and Policy Counsel for the iGEA to figure out precisely what these changes might entail.
As a result of Australia’s new R18+ rating, Mortal Kombat finally received a classification in this country. But while Warner Brothers waits to officially release the game here, Gametraders is exercising its legal right to import the game from overseas, slap an R18+ sticker on the game and sell it in-store — and why not?