Tony Abbott: “Happy To Look At” R18+ Rating

Tony Abbott: “Happy To Look At” R18+ Rating

At a public forum in Sydney last night, a Kotaku reader asked opposition leader Tony Abbott for his thoughts on an R18+ rating for games. Abbott said a Coalition government would be happy to look at the issue.

Kotaku reader Vitas attended the forum and asked Abbott: “What are your views on the absence of an R18 rating for video games and do you have any policies relating to this?”

Says Vitas: “The reply I got was quite positive. Parts of what he said was, ‘If what happens with video games is not roughly analogous to what happens in other areas, that seems silly.’ Also he seemed to be for it replying, ‘Instinctively I’m with you, and it’s something I’d be happy to look at, if we are in Government’ and ‘If you think there is a problem, I would be happy to look at it.’ Although he admitted he did not know there had been a debate on the issue.”

The Prime Minister Julia Gillard was also at the forum, but was not asked the same question.

Abbott’s response comes after he admitted he thought the current classification system – not just for videogames but across the board – was broken. Of the three major political parties, only the Greens have offered a public statement of support for an R18+ classification for games.

The issue will be discussed at the next Standing Committee of Attorneys-General, scheduled for November.


  • Haha. I think Tony Abbott has more important issues to worry about like the $billions$ of waste by Labor and paying off the debt (not just bringing a budget surplus). Although I want to see an R18 for games, I’d be worried if this was at the top of the ‘to-do’ list if the Liberals are in government.

    It was a good answer by Tony Abbott. Good on him if he looks at it.

  • Personally i don’t believe a word that man says… but that’s just me… He’s a worm as far as i’m concerned.. Then again, that’s politics.

      • Curious as to how you think Abbott’s toppling of Turnbull is any different to Gillard’s “backstab” on Rudd…

          • Sorry mate, that’s not how it works, as I’m sure you’re aware. Rudd was elected the same way as any other lower house member of parliament, and elected leader of his party in the same way Turnbull, Abbott and Gillard were. To suggest otherwise is to embrace ignorance and misinformation. Just because people wrongly perceive something, doesn’t mean we should encourage it.

          • Yeah, I understand that Turnbull was elected leader of the party like Rudd, but Rudd was, essentially, voted in. I understand that technically the party won and he went with it, but the leaders are the leaders. A leader is an extremely important thing to the party, as evidenced by the massive change in popularity for the ALP when Gillard took top spot. Sure, he was technically elected by the party, but the public views him as if they elected him.

            So I can see where you’re coming from, and you’re right, the idea that he was elected differently is wrong, but a lot of people think otherwise, and in some regards, they voted ALP in partially because of him so the public sort of elected his promotion from minister to Prime Minister, so there’s a bit of credence to that.

            That said, I don’t think she backstabbed him, but I can see why others do.

          • No, I’m sorry Wildgoose. You may be right technically, however the knifing of Rudd was done so the people could not pass their judgement on him at the election because if they did Labor would have lost. The ALP did the job of the Australian people and it was totally unfair.

            I’ll borrow a line from Tony, and whatever you think of him I believe he’s right. In Opposition, the leader belongs to the party, and in Government, the leader belongs to the people. They ran the election on Kevin07, he was the face, name, brand, whatever of that party. People voted for him when they went to the ballot box. How to vote cards had his face on it, it was very much a Presidential style campaign. Rudd was Labor.

            Turnbull was knifed because his ETS policy was totally at odds with his Party. Rudd was knifed because he had three bad newspolls. It’s unprecedented in Australian history, shatters conventions and is damaging to the prestige of the office of PM.

          • If Tony honestly believes in Opposition you should be ruled by your party, do you really think it’s any different when he’s in power?

            Of course not! And you’re a bloody idiot if you think otherwise.

            None of these politicians deserve our vote, and Australians deserve a better system of political representation – one based on skill and knowledge and responsibility, not catch phrases and media coaching and unaccountability.

            The problem is political rulers in Australia is no better than that of the French in 1788 – inbred, ignorant, wasteful, and out of touch with the common person.

            The solution which happened in 1788 is the same solution that we need here.

            You bring the wood, I’ll supply the blades.

          • Even if both Turnbull and Rudd were treated the same, the fact that Rudd was Prime Minister does make a difference. Never in the history of Australian politics has there been a ousting of a Prime Minister in their first term of government, one whose peak popularity was only second to that of Hawke’s. A significant drop in the polls was no justification for such a change.

            Compare this with the ousting of Turnbull, who had been hammered with bad polls for not weeks, but months consequently after the whole Godwin Grech thing. Besides the fact they went through two leaders and were on the verge of reaching bi-partisan support for an ETS, they are seen in a better light.

          • Way to give the facts and miss the point David…

            At the end of the day you’re technically correct, you vote for an individual or a party. The head of the party (and therefore the PM) is decided by the party, you don’t vote for the PM.

            That said in every election campaign the head of the party is promoted and the verbal contract from the party is “vote for us and this will be the PM”. Look at the last election where Labor’s FUD campaign was Don’t vote Libral as Howard may retire whilst in office and you’ll get some-one you didn’t vote for as PM.

            Now at the end of the day it doesn’t matter the head of the party is a figure head (and clearly a potential scapegoat), but none-the-less it’s Labor’s own arguments last election that make Gillard’s behaviour worse.

    • He didn’t say he thought it was broken. He admitted to not knowing anything about the issue. Don’t forget for a minute his radical conservative Christian leanings; he was not given the nickname “The Mad Monk” for nothing (especially considering his vehement opposition to abortion while he was health minister).

      If it’s a choice between backing gamers and backing the ACL, I know which way he’ll go. But for now, HE WANTS YOUR VOTE and he’ll say anything to get it. It’s that simple.

  • Be careful what you read into this. Saying it’s broken, and they’ll ‘look at it’ doesn’t mean a thing.

    The AG’s just ‘had a look at it’ and received significant replies in support of the R18 classification.

    They have since decided that the submissions need to be broadened. Probably just stalling until a religious / family group submits their opinions so they can be used as ‘overwhelming opposition’.

    • Agreed. The Greens are the only major party who have actually come out and said “we support R18+”, everybody else is like “we’ll look at it…” or “we’ll do consultations…”.

    • Hahahahaha, this is such a great comment.
      We’ve made it, guys! They now fear our nerd rage!

      But yeah, all we have is “right now, it’s not a no”, just like J-Gill’s middle ground nothing answer on the internet filter.

  • Tony wasn’t reading a prepared statement, so he was lying.
    The only part i believed was that “he was not aware there had been a debate on it”
    Hes not aware of much that goes on in the real world in my opinion.

  • The hole opposition is shit ATM. I would rather Labor stay for now, simply so that the fiber keeps getting lays down. Ratings are handled by the AG’s,and is a STATE thing, not a Federal thing. Anyway, I would rather see the ASP get in than ether of the wackos that are there now.

    The ONLY good thing Abbot has done is stop the Carbon Tax. There is NO FUCKING WAY I am paying for cows farting.

    • mate,
      A) no one was proposing a carbon tax, it was carbon trading

      B) farm emmisions were exempt from the scheme as part of the deal negotiated between Turnball and the Govt.

      but hey, never let facts get in the way of a politicaly motivated rant , eh?

  • Haha I wonder if Tony Abbot even understood the question. The man knows nothing about technology, just the fact that he thinks the current copper wiring can sustain us into the future is a joke.
    Anyway even if liberal win government nothing will be done, Abbott doesn’t know the difference between a PC and a Mac let alone anything about copper and fibre optics wiring and which is better or ANYTHING AT ALL about video games.

    Tony Smith is just a dumb on the issue and while I don’t agree some of Labor policy, I agree with more of theirs and with Liberal, but at least Stephen Conroy knows the difference between broadband and dial-up.

    Abbott said it himself I think on Wednesday that he “doesn’t actually understand a lot of the new nbn scheme” yet it has become one of the major issues of the election in the last week or so.

    Fuck both of them, Vote Greens.

    • While Tony Abbot may be a ludite who has no idea what a megabite is, I would hope his communications minister (Tony Smith) would.

      So lets follow what he (Smith) has to say instead.

      Unfortunately I think he is currently towing the party line of a 12Mbps connection and not the approx 100Mps of the Labour party.

  • Abbott lost my vote as soon as he said the Coalition won’t be supporting the NBN. As much as I want an R18 for video games, this sways my desision a hell of a lot more.

  • @Chris Wolter. Don’t forget the internet filter. We all think is dead an buried, but this is Labor’s baby, so better safe than sorry. I’d rather have a slower free internet than a crippled NBN. Broadband speeds can be fixed in the future, whilst a filter imposed now will set a precedent that may be difficult to get rid of.

    Do you really want Conroy to stay in office?

    • The opposition have said they will strike it down if it ever goes to vote, so have the greens. It would never get passed.

      • Is that the same opposition that promised they wouldn’t introduce a GST and then subsequently introduced a GST? Who actually coined a new term, “non-core promises”, which means in effect “promises we have no intention of keeping and never did from the beginning”? Why yes, I do believe it is. Yeah, I can really see myself putting a lot of faith in ANYTHING they say.

        I’d sooner vote for a roadkilled koala than Rasputin there. Besides, “happy to look at” is about as non-committal as it is physically possible to get without going out of your way to invent new ways to be vague.

  • Until he starts getting petitioned by his Family First buddies and other conservative whackos to clamp down on those crazy violent pronographic video things the kids are playing.

    I wouldn’t count on Abbott to be the saviour of the R rating for games movement.

    His ultra conservative stance on many issues speaks for him, he’s crazy that a bag of greased rattlesnakes forced to watch the entire first season of Gilmore Girls.

    Crazy simile of the day I believe. Any challengers?

  • I cant believe the comments people have about the National Broadband Network.

    Typical mentality of todays generation. Wanting what you cant afford. I cant wait till Australia faces a ‘REAL’ recession and people loose their homes and their $40,000 cars and wonder “what the hell happened”. Heres the answer, ‘You borrowed beyond your means’.

    • Just to clarify Stevie, I don’t want the NBN at a cost of $43 billion just so I can have faster internet speeds for gaming…although I certainly won’t complain! 😉

      Yes the NBN will cost a lot of money, but its extremely important infrastructure for the future of our economy. From health to education to allowing small and big business to compete on a global scale.

      We can only trail the world in internet speed for so long before our economy starts doing the same.

    • Increased taxation to fund the NBN can be offset by the increased productivity many organisations would experience. At least in our experience, we’re reliant on some pathetic connection speeds (compared to international standards) between interstate offices. It’s an incredible inconvenience and a huge bottleneck. I’m sure there are others out there who have similar experiences. I also appreciate the NBN for its future-proofing. The Liberal’s alternative is like buying.

  • Forgetting the R18 rating for games.

    The whole classification board / system needs review.
    Standardise the guidlines accross all media, remove the subjectiveness, and isn’t it about time that it got renamed to include games?
    Perhaps call it the Australian Ratings Board or something similar, and try and standardise what materials are available nationally… instead of by state.

  • Heh, the Kevin ’07 campaign equivalent of this was “we’ll put a committee together for it”.
    Basically what he’s saying is “I’ll pretend I know what you’re talking about and fake that I’ll do something in order to get your vote”.
    If the liberal party was seriously going to do something about it, they would have talked about it pre election announcement.
    Anything you hear from a party that you haven’t heard pre election announcement is usually rubbish.

  • His comment means little to nothing. Unless he plans to change legislation taking the decision away from the AG’s, but if he didn’t even know it was an issue, I’m sure he doesn’t know who’s responsible for making the changes we need.

  • Guys, we all want the NBN, no filter and R18+. But that does not mean a vote for Labor. We’re never gonna get out of this rut if we keep pretending it’s a two horse race. The Greens want NBN, no filter, R18+, free dental, better health care, better education and affordable housing. This is why they have my vote.

    • Yeah, the Greens sound all good. But have you actually researched into what else they stand for?

      – Pre-schools free for 3 year olds – who pays?
      – Voting age reduced to 16 – so people who dont know a thing about politics can vote
      – 4 day working week – Look at the situatiuon greece are in now
      – Parental leave on full pay
      – No fees for tafe and uni – tax payers pay for other peoples education?

      Why vote for people who stand for unnafordable policies?

      • That still sound better than either of the dominant parties.

        Except for the 4 day work week. That’s insane.

      • Current voting laws aren’t stopping people who don’t understand the Australia’s political system or party policies beyond their pathetic advert ploys, either. The converse of your argument would be that it would encourage people to become politicised and engage with these issues at a younger age. Of course, the issue is a lot more contentious with our mandatory voting. Those who don’t care for it will just become frustrated.

      • @Stevie
        Education and healthcare should be free to all those that want/need it, both young and old.

        18 year olds don’t know much more, should we move it up? What age range do you think is appropriate? How else shall we start profiling people who vote?

        4 day working week. Greece is in this situation because their debts were called in; someday, so will ours.

        Parental leave. This wouldn’t be necessary if the cost of running a house didn’t require two parents working full time. See policy on affordable housing.

        • We have HELP (previously HECS) for further education, and we have state schools. any-one who wants an education can get one (if they put the effort in). Yes they’ll need to repay their Uni costs if/when they earn enough to be over the threshold, but it is still a reasonably good system.

          But I do agree that healthcare should be free to all.

      • My parents had free Uni why can’t I. So many of there generation wasted or missed out on due to social differences. Free Uni could be a HUGE boon for Australians future!

        • I didn’t pay a cent upfront for Uni (other than pens, paper, texts, ect). When I started working I still didn’t pay anything for a while (bellow the HECS threshold). Eventually I got better paying jobs and over some time my HECS debt got paid off (this year -a decade later- actually). There is no substantial financial burden going to Uni other than the things you need while there.
          If the entire tuition cost were paid by the government we would end up with more people doing Arts in the hope of keeping out of the workforce for a few more years, and they would complain about how the government should buy them their text books, and pens, and paper, and a laptop, and internet access, and a car to get to Uni….
          At the end of the day the education system as far as Uni goes works (primary and secondary I have issues with).

          Education is free, browse the web, go to the library and read up on stuff, it’s free. What you are after is accreditation for free, and why should others pay for your credentials.

      • “Voting age reduced to 16 – so people who dont know a thing about politics can vote”

        So you really think 18 year-olds are all that better prepared to determine Australia’s political future?

        Hell, I’m almost 22 and I wouldn’t trust anyone I know of my age, let alone people younger.

        • @The Cracks
          “Hell, I’m almost 22 and I wouldn’t trust anyone I know of my age, let alone people younger.”

          If you had a tertiary education not only would you have not made this statement, but you might have understood the irony.

  • Here’s the problem – when Tony Abbot says that he thinks the ratings system is “broken”, don’t apply your own thinking of why it’s broken.

    To him, it may be because it’s not stringent enough – remember he is a social conservative of the religious right wing. Not exactly the idealogy that you’d assume would provide greater freedom from censorship.

    • something to note though that while tony is on the right wing, alot of his party are actually moderates such as why the liberal party opposes the filter.

      And on the topic of the forum, i watched it last night and have to say that it would have to be the best part of the election campaign because there were no pre approved questions. We heard alot about health and finace from both parties, and that forum was really the only time we would of been able to hear about minor things like an R18 for video games.

  • Good for Vitas, yet this means squat. For two reasons:

    1) He will not get involved in this as he has bigger fish to fry

    2) Even if he does, that position will last exactly until the moment someone from the ACL gets a hold of him.

    He was caught off guard, as with everything regarding IT.

  • Okay look the filter will never get threw ill explain people

    Notice labour have hushed down the filter lately because they know its bad but they don’t want to say “oh where getting rid of it now” that admits to fault and makes them look like idiots in the public eye…

    the greens still hold seats in the lower house and they have said it will never get passed threw soo in other words the filter is dead do your research =]

    • People said the same thing about the GST and the Former Liberal party’s Work Choices.

      And guess what happened.

  • Wow. Politics comes to Kotaku.

    Given the volume of pro-R18 submissions to the Senate inquiry into the classification system, and Peter Beattie’s statement earlier this year that most of SCAG is pro-R18, I suspect it’s a matter of time until the system is changed – when, not if. Tony Abbott’s newfound knowledge of the classification debate is probably a more positive thing (at least he now knows it exists), despite his seeming capitulation to the Australian Christian Lobby (who are heavily against the introduction of R18) on a few other issues.

    At the very least, whoever wins on August 21, the issue has got a tiny amount of mainstream media coverage – it was on the TV news last night and ABC24 this morning.

  • Hardcore right winger like him will brush aside any notion of an R18+ rating when it actually comes to the table. Him saying that is nothing but an attempt to get votes. I know some people have been saying that he is a “reborn moderate” but people who are all the way to the left or all the way to the right will rarely ever change their views. It’s not actually true that a lot the current liberal party are moderates. The day Malcom Turnbull was ousted was the day the Liberals showed that they were very right wing.

    Having said that, I don’t even know if Labor will bother doing anything about it. Both parties consider the rating chump change right now and it’ll stay that way until someone makes A LOT of noise.

  • Tony might be religious, but 1) Abortion is a state issue which he cannot do anything about, 2) The classification system is a matter for the State Attorney Generals, it isn’t a federal issue and therefore Tony cannot force his religious convictions on any of us, and 3) The liberals will dump the internet filter.

    The Australian Christian Lobby has ALREADY strongly opposed the Coalition dumping the internet filter. Tony has ALREADY pissed off the ACL. He has not “capitulated” to them.

    Lets also note that the State LNP in Queensland has already passed a motion supporting R18+ video games.

    The ACL is not nearly as powerful as the US Christian Right.

    And yes, Abbot equivocated when he answered the question.

    But lets look at Labor. Their working class union support base is HEAVILY socially conservative and often religious. Religiously-motivated social conservatism is a BIPARTISAN phenomenon in Australia. Kevin Rudd frequently invoked Catholic social teaching when defending his policies. Julia Gillard may be an atheist (and I applaud her for being open about her atheism; I am an atheist as well), but many people in her party are not.

  • Tony Abbot. Is nothing more then a bible basher. The running of a country should have no influence from any religion. This is the problem of todays world. Not to mention how much the education industry will crumble if he is elected in. But I guess it’s in such good shape as is it’ll be fine? hahah are you tards kidding yourselfs…. tisk tisk.

  • Too bad Tony wasn’t elected prime minister because then I might have been able to play Left 4 Dead 2 with some gore! but I guess I can wait one month for the verdict and if I don’t get to play L4D2 with gore before next year I might explode myself (and I don’t think they can censor people exploding).

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