Stephen Conroy Supports An R18+ Rating For Games

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.

Conroy supports R18+ game classification [ARN]


    "’s just another platform..."

    WTF?... Thanks Stephen for yet again showing us your complete lack of knowledge of the subject.

      Why? He's not wrong in saying that. It *is* just another platform for providing people with entertainment and information. But whether they could or should attempt to do add enforceable ratings to the ever-growing amount of content on the web is a different issue altogether.

      You know what might actually work though? A nation (or world!) wide community rating mechanism. A browser plugin gives you the option of ticking a few boxes about the content on any web site you visit. That same plugin can be configured to block access to sites that other people have said are bad. Password controls would protect the children.

      It's not the mandatory filtering that Conroy advocates but it could be a highly effective voluntary solution with suitable public awareness campaigns. In fact, something like this must surely exist already...?

        Yep, such plugins do already exist. For instance, the Web of Trust plugin for Firefox.

          Difference is I should be able to choose what I have access to no matter what conroys filter goes against this

          Which is the primary issue with mandatory filtering

          Not to mention that the responsibility should be that of a parents as opposed to a government

          What would be ideal would be to create some form of zoning ie adult only sites can only exsist on a .xxx type thing that way you should be able to avoid said content.

          Unfortunatly something like that would never work In practice

          I mean under conroys filter anything showing spray tagging should be banned because it's illegal. But what of those who do it as art in a studio, or for there job. Are they banned exsist a facet of the usage for there skills could be applied to a crime.

        The internet is not a platform. It is a carriage service through which platforms publish material.

    I almost did a spit-take reading the headline, but the body of this article shows that it's business as usual in the happy fantasy world that Conroy appears to live in with his filter.

      Yeah I guessed that the caveat was his internet filter from reading Mark's tweet. Predictable Conroy is predictable.

      Exactly the same reaction, Zero.

    I thought that maybe, just maybe Stephen would have something to contribute, but his own agenda takes over again.

    Gotta take what you can get guys. Conroy will never let this filter thing go until told to do so by someone higher up, or until he gets voted out. I'm just happy another official of government says its a good idea.

    That being said, I'm becoming more skeptical all the time of classification as a concept.

      The ALP is already looking like backing down on the filter - they've sent it to a review committee and it probably won't get through the Senate after July. There's way too much community angst about it (from lobby groups arguably more powerful than gamers) for them to risk proceeding.

      That being said, it could be argued Conroy has a fixation on it and it's unfortunate that he's conflating the very separate issue of game classification with internet filters. They're totally different things with different issues involved.

    Remember guys, if the ACL got its way, there would be no violence or sex in video games, movies or on tv, and the internet would be unplugged to "prevent the corruption of society".
    Makes you wonder what a christian theocracy would be like to live in.

      It'd be like the crusades all over again, and we'll wipe em out

    I'm opposed to the internet filter, (and after all that's gone on, don't really like Stephen Conroy that much)... but I have to say that I kind of agree with him when he says that the Internet is another medium that could be classified along with movies, games, etc. (note: Classified, not filtered/blocked).

    Of course, I'm not sure how feasible it would be to try and classify this type of thing, but I do agree with the idea.

    Support? Oh nice work Mr Conroy! Oh? Oh... right... I see.. well actually the In... ah, never mind.

    Whether you like him or not (obviously most won't), the fact that he provides a sentence so simple to sum up what we are after in this 18+ debate...

    “Just because it’s a video game doesn’t mean it should have a different classification system to movies and all other things.”

    Ignoring everything else he went on to say, this one thing above is all that we are asking for.

    I agree our classification system needs an update, but it's annoying that it will take over a year for the Australian Law Review Commission to come back with a report on recommendations only... who knows how long after that it will take before any changes will be made... IF changes are made!

    the internet is not just another platform. Its like a discussion in typed form.

    its like attempting to censor what i write in an email or letter or what i say in a conversation.

      What utter garbage. It's another platform. People like to think it's special because they see it as an untouchable "no one can tell me what to do here!" zone.

      While the filter isn't the right way to go about it, it's still loaded with completely unclassified content, meanwhile people seem to be entirely happy to have classifications applied to movies and games (outside the R18 games rating debacle).

        As I said earlier, the internet itself is not a platform: it's a carriage service through which other platforms publish content. Your ISP is not a television station: it is not publishing, nor is it broadcasting content. Indeed, it is far more akin to your telephone line than to channel 10.

        The problem for Conroy and his ilk is that what he needs to be targeting with his censorship - the publications platforms sitting atop the web - are so numerous as to be impossible to deal with. Every single blog. Every single twitter account. Every single Facebook page. Every single youtube account. Millions, maybe billions of personal websites. All of the internet radio stations. Your Aunt Gladys' podcast series about the history of Australian profanity. And so on ad infinitum. So the filter is nothing more than an attempt to move the responsibility for content regulation away from the publisher/broadcaster (where it has traditionally resided in every media platform) and on to the carrier (who is actually forbidden from examining your usage of their service without a court order).

        The internet itself is not a medium or a platform in the way film, literature, video games and television are platforms. As stated before, it's a facilitator, a network through which these content from other platforms is published.

    And so a dark shadow looms over that clouds silver lining...

    The internet filter is essentially paving the way for classification of non-fictional material...

    ...What's next, classifying the Encyclopaedia Britannica "RC" because it contains sex and violence?

    Well I for one think the sky should be classified, because it's just another platform for birds & skywriters to publish obscene material. There's nothing mystical about it. We should be platform neutral.

    "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?"

    The difference is though, that if a video game is rated R18+ I can still CHOOSE to buy it. Or not if I CHOOSE not to. The same with R rated movies. I can CHOOSE to buy them or not. It is MY choice. I get to decide.

    But with a mandatory internet filter, I lose that choice because what sites are blocked or deemed "innapropriate" is decided by someone else, someone who may have an agenda or political point that they wish to make.

    Why stop at the internet and games? Everything should be classified! Every object in the universe and every idea ever thought or written down! Stephen Conroy should be classified "delusional", for example.

    The worst thing about censoring the internet is [XXXXXXXXX].

    Please don't give up the last non-media-conglomerate owned source of information because you're too lazy to keep an eye on your kids.

    While it's great that Stephen Conroy supports an R18+ rating(even if it is for his own agenda), unfortunately, neither his nor the federal government's opinion is what's influencing the SCAG. At this point, they're being influenced by Jim Wallace's ACL, and for whatever reason, they're influence is alot stronger on them than the federal government is.

    Conroy... this is why governments can't be trusted with block lists:

    The US Government has yet again shuttered several domain names this week. The Department of Justice and Homeland Security’s ICE office proudly announced that they had seized 10 domains related to counterfeit goods and child pornography. What they failed to mention, however, is that one of the targeted domains belongs to a free DNS provider, and that 84,000 websites were wrongfully accused of links to child pornography crimes. These domains all displayed messages to the effect that the sites had been trafficking child pornography for SIX DAYS before the DNS changes worked themselves out. Imagine if that was YOUR small business.

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