Conservative Columnist Calls For R18+ Rating In Australia

Conservative Columnist Calls For R18+ Rating In Australia

In a shocking turn of events, Fairfax columnist and conservative ‘maverick’ Miranda Devine penned an opinion piece over the weekend calling for the introduction of an R18+ classification for video games in Australia.

Triggering the editorial was Sega’s light-gun shooter House of the Dead: Overkill, its tongue-in-cheek yet gratuitously disturbing parody of the horror genre causing Devine to argue that “it’s clear Overkill should never have been awarded an MA15+ rating, according to the office’s own guidelines, under which state classifiers are supposed to take into account ‘the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults’.”

Devine points the finger at conservative lobby groups whose “good intentions have backfired spectacularly. Instead of protecting children, they have exposed them to unsuitable games shoehorned into the MA15+ category because the alternative is an outright ban, and the ire of anti-censorship activists.”

It’s interesting to see someone from the conservative side of the political spectrum come out and agree that the current classification system is not working. And to do it using the very same argument the games industry has been using in its lobbying for the system to be changed is eye-opening.

Indeed, as unlikely as it may appear, perhaps this is precisely the kind of support the industry needs to convince conservative politicians to enact the necessary changes.

Colour me amazed.

A Wii shock to the system for parents [Sydney Morning Herald]


  • Honestly, all I can say is…


    Seriously, an utterly hilarious turn of events. I disagree with pretty much everything Devine writes so it’s utterly astounding that even she has displayed this level awareness at the floundering state of our classification laws.

    • You see this is what we put up with. Old people sitting behind a desk for 9 hours a day hating what they’ve viewed for about 60 seconds. It gets even better when they hate violent video games, yet won’t help restrict them to minors… we have SMART PEOPLE in our system.

  • Common sense had to prevail eventually right? Lol, oh that’s right, we’re still dealing with politicians. I won’t hold my breath.

    • they’ll eventually realise why we want one and it isn’t for more adult content in games. we already have that, we just can’t classify it as adult so it comes through at 15+ or not at all. there is absolutely no reason why there shouldn’t be one. honestly i can’t think of any reasons, but of course i’m not a politician.

    • you sir, are a tit.

      Why waste your time “hating” someone so much? Here’s an idea, build a bridge and get over it.

    • “God I hate her, total pain in the b-hole. I don’t care if she wants an R-18 rating, I still loathe her.”

      You hate her simply because you disagree with her politics. A pretty flimsy reason to “hate” someone.

      If she shared your politics, you’d probably give her a hug.

      I’m not conservative, but the woman is quite smart, articulate and she knows what she’s talking about (for a journalist, anyway). Find other, more valid reasons, to dump on someone.

      • You’re kidding, right?

        Miranda Devine is a terrible journalist and an example of everything that is wrong with journalism in Australia.

        She’s vapid and tautological in her arguments, can’t write a word without spilling her bias over the page, and a proven liar and plagiarist.

        She’s in the position she’s in not because she’s a good, interesting, well informed writer, but because her daddy has a name in the newspaper industry.

      • Well I apologise if I offended you by stating my opinion about a person.

        Perhaps I should of said “I disagree with her beliefs, and even with her support of an R-18 rating, I still disagree with her other beliefs” then I’ll go research a cure for cancer and then roll around in a green luscious field.

        We are allowed to dislike others that don’t follow our views, it is what makes us people.

        Have you even read one of her articles? She hates other people and she voices that hate through her articles.

      • “Have you even read one of her articles? She hates other people and she voices that hate through her articles.

        Seems like there’s a lot of that going around…

      • @adam:

        But so many people’s politics are about hating me. Fair’s fair, isn’t it?

        That said, I don’t hate most people. That would require emotional investment in them they don’t deserve. I may not like them, and may think their views are dangerous and detestful, but I don’t hate them as people.

  • i actually couldn’t agree with her more.

    i’m glad at least she has some clarity of mind.

    Hopefully this may start the ball rolling to getting R18+ classification, so we can avoid any more decent games getting banned or edited for kiddies

  • I think this is a good step towards an R18 rating,. I personally think we will get an R rating when the public gets fed up with the fact that so many obviously Adult games are just being swept under the MA banner.

    Right now the only people really doing anything about the R rating are gamers themselves, Its easy for the politicians to just say no to us, but once the general public starts to get upset the “we are protecting children” argument wont really hold any merit.

    Not that it does now…

  • lol, I actually read that over the weekend & didn’t see who it was by untill i’d finished (@ which point I was like; omg!)
    She writes an awful lot of shite really, but occasionally, her infuriating contrariness is directed appropriately.

  • Haha yes, being her I was so surprised that she had approved of a R18+ classification for video games that I had to re-read the article again!

  • She doesn’t remember about the Golden rule of politics… they don’t really take laws out, they just add more in just to make life more miserable…
    Bring back the days of where someone can enjoy something without a barrage of rules that doesn’t just become sticky taped to someone’s face…

    • “Bring back the days of where someone can enjoy something without a barrage of rules that doesn’t just become sticky taped to someone’s face…”

      This Golden Age of Rule-free Living never happened. There’s ALWAYS been someone willing to tell other people how to live their lives, usually at the force of a gun.

      Yet, ironically, despite the proliferation of rules, we now live in a more liberal society than we have ever done. You can’t even start to compare governmental censorship to what it was like 100 years ago; we are pretty much free to watch and read things that our C19th and C20th forebears would be shocked and astonished by.

      The moral of the story: ALL governments seek power over people; it’s what they do. It’s thus the job of the citizen to oppose government intervention for the sake of intervention, instead of barracking for one political party over another as if it were a sporting contest.

      • Don’t forget that it’s also the politicians’ responsibility to appease the public or else they will lose support, fail to win the next election and lose what power they had! So really as long as we bitch about it long enough it will happen =)

  • its nice to see someone in media is writing about what I’ve been saying, the current setup is worse for kids than having the alternative of R18+ as they are exposed to ma15+ when it should be R18+.

  • Its sad that the best hope of getting treated like an adult is to twist the argument so it appears as though we’re protecting the children.
    I completely agree with what she’s saying, its just being forced into fighting the battle on this field seems wrong. As a grown man my opinion doesn’t mean squat, yet if I’m defending hypothetical children* aged 15-18 from nasty pictures suddenly I’m worth listening too.

    *I’m not having kids for quite a while!

  • YAY about time I just hope we hear more on this subject in the next couple of days.

    PS Did I mention I have a new hero.

  • 🙁 Unfortunately if you read the piece, most of it is trash and just as uninformed as you’d expect.

    “Video games have always been subject to less scrutiny than other forms of entertainment”.. umm.. err.. no.

  • Luke
    August 24, 2009 at 3:14 PM
    We dont have R18+ games but the games that get rated R18+ overseas get an MA15+ rating here

    Nailed it on the head dude. Nailed it. Absolutely.

  • Did anybody link to the article. She still managed to put down every adult gamer by referring to us as “mature”. What a self righteous bitch. Thanks if we get the R18+ but I think you should probably get off the high horse before you enter the debate “lady”!!

    • “She still managed to put down every adult gamer by referring to us as “mature”.”

      What are you on about? What in hell is wrong with calling people mature?

      Mature is a compliment. Look it up in the dictionary.

      • Iono; I like to unplug my friend’s controller when he’s winning at Pro Evo. Then if he’s really winning, like by 9 goals or more, I like to turn off the console.

        Also; poppycock *giggle*


      • Are you tards? she put it in inverted comma’s……its basically negating the meaning of the word and call us all adult but in reality she thinks we are immature adults for playing games.

  • This makes me cry… everytime I see a game banned in Australia it takes away a tiny piece of my soul, the current censorship laws for gaming are aweful, Im almost ready to take a book out of the German’s page and start to protest this issue, it’s even a problem to the conservatives, everything is being labelled wrong just due to the proper guidelines not being implace, anyone else wanna start a petition or something? Were sure to get alot of notice if we present it the way its supposed to be, a problem for everyone Conservative and Liberal.

  • I totally agree. Games like Deadspace, Resident evil 5 and Fallout 3 should not be passed as anything lower than an R rated title for the simple fact that the content present in the MA15 rating is, in my mind, quite confronting to minors. Atkinson and Co have only allowed this media to be put in the hands of younger gamers instead of what they have argued till they were blue in the face over.


    Great article, I like the point that when the gamers themselves are disgusted it certainly means a boundary has been reached. This is good news!

  • Why is it ‘surprising’ that a self-proclaimed Conservative backs R18+ games?

    Not all Conservatives are pro-censorship psychotics. ‘Conservative’ is a broad classification and there are lots of differences amongst individuals in that group.

    Not only that, but please remember that Steve Conroy, Michael Atkinson and the like are all members of the Australian Labor Party, allegedly the ‘non-Conservative’ faction within Australian politics. The Kevin Rudd government is more socially conservative (in the American sense of the term) than John Howard’s government was.

    Additionally, many Australian political commentators frequently labelled “Conservative” are in reality Classical Liberals (or Libertarians). Whilst Devine clearly is not one of these, it is important to note that a clean “Liberals Versus Conservatives” divide does not apply to Australian politics (nor does it apply to US politics).

    I believe the idea of a “Conservative” supporting R18+ ratings for games is only “confusing” to people that are inaccurately applying the US political classifications to Australian politics.

    First, Australian “Conservatives” are usually less socially and economically “Conservative” than the US Conservatives (i.e. Australian Conservatives tend to support a stronger role for the government in the economy and a smaller role for the government in people’s noneconomic lives). Australian “Conservatism” is very British, Oakeshottean-style Conservatism with a strong focus on practicality. It is less religious (on average) than US Conservatism.

    Additionally, Australian “Liberals” (i.e. the Australian left, not the Liberal Party of Australia) are usually far more socially conservative than the US “Liberals.” These are broad generalizations, true, but it means you cannot simply import the US labels and use them without clarification.

    Finally, Devine’s argument for an R18+ rating is made on the basis of CONSERVATIVE principles. First, she argues for pragmatic policy rather than idealistic, ‘in principle’ policy. This is very, very much the British, Oakeshottean approach to Conservatism. Additionally, her moral disgust at the game (which is clearly a parody!), indicates she subscribes to some sort of religiously-based ethics, similar to the US Conservative approach.

    So in short, arguing for an R18+ rating in Australia on the basis of “Pragmatism; To Stamp Out Filth!” IS a conservative argument, by both the US and British-Australian definitions of the term.

    Personally, whilst I concede the validity of the argument (i.e. that an R18+ rating WOULD be better for preventing children from accessing inappropriate material), I prefer to use the Classical Liberal justification for R18+ ratings: individual adult human beings have an inalienable right to access any content they wish (assuming it was not created via the violation of another person’s rights (such as kiddie porn)), irrespective of how offensive ‘society’ may find said content.

  • For the sake of completeness, I feel inclined to point out that this is not the first time Miranda Devine has come out in favour of an R18+ rating for video games:

    “In 2002 federal and state attorneys-general refused to allow an R-rating in order to protect children. But, ironically, the decision may have had the opposite effect, with grisly games like Manhunt, which might otherwise have been restricted to adults, being allowed an MA15+ rating that many parents regard benignly because of their experiences with movies.”

    Of course I remember this because I felt all weird on my insides for agreeing with a Miranda Devine piece. That has now happened twice.

  • FunkyJ writes:

    “She’s vapid and tautological in her arguments, can’t write a word without spilling her bias over the page, and a proven liar and plagiarist.”

    Wow, someone woke up on the angry side of the bed, didn’t he.

    Vapid? Tautological? Heh!

    As for bias, well, duh? All journalists are biased. I don’t see you complaining about the pro-Labor, soft-left bias of the ABC and SBS. It goes with the territory. Devine merely writes according to her personal and political beliefs.

    As are you, by the sound of it. This is more of a political argument than anything, with people using the issue of gaming to smear someone they politically disagree with.

    When you start calling people “bitches” and “liars”, you might want to start examining your own motivations. I suspect they’re strongly political, and not at all kind.

  • I call ‘conspiracy’!
    Ninty, Sorny and HyperGlobalMegaNet are laughing to the bank because of our lack or R rating! KEEP the R rating away means games are release with minor (if any) cuts at MA15 and are available to a much larger audience

    As soon as R rating comes in, legislation will follow to limit the purchasing to people at age and games like RE5, DeadSpace and Fallout3 wont get the sales representative of the awesomeness of those games

  • Well I’m not surprised.
    That’s what the lack of the 18+ rating literally means: all the things that should be R18+ are being incorrectly classified.

    (classification FAIL)

    It’s bad for everyone. What actually I’m surprised about is the fact that “us gamers” are asking for it and not more people like Ms Devine!

    @ Matthew Dive
    There’s my vote in it for one. Or rather my not-vote for those blocking it.

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