In an interview with ARN's David Ramli, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Stephen Conroy, stated that he supports the introduction of an R18+ rating for video games. It's arguably unsurprising considering the Federal Government announced their support prior to the SCAG meeting in December, but it's always positive to hear politicians in the public sphere agree that an adult rating is the way forward for video game classification in this country. Even if the support does come with a caveat.
“I’ve always supported the R-rating and did so long before the Government made its decision,” claimed Controy. “Just because it’s a video game doesn’t mean it should have a different classification system to movies and all other things.”
Conroy then leads the discussion towards his controversial internet filter - claiming that if video game content can be rated for consumption, why not content on the internet? That's when his stance becomes a little more clouded – it seems his support for an R18+ rating is part of a broader attempt to classify all content, and restrict it if necessary.
“I’ve always argued we should try and have across platforms one system, ie it should be platform neutral,” he said. “That’s why the argument around Internet filtering becomes particularly ferocious because I argue it’s just another platform, it’s not mystical.”
Of course, the internet filter is an entirely different issue and, in our opinion, completely unrelated to the R18+ issue. The Australian Labor government is currently wrestling with the concept of classification - at all levels - which is why they've called for a review of how classification is done across all media. As we mentioned in an earlier feature, these problems have become part of a broader issue, and we won't know until December how this will affect the introduction of an adult rating for video games.