Elizabeth Handsley – We have Not Changed Our Stance On R18+

Elizabeth Handsley – We have Not Changed Our Stance On R18+

Elizabeth Handsley – We have Not Changed Our Stance On R18+Earlier ABC reported that Elizabeth Handsley, Professor of Law at Flinders University and President of the Australian Council on Children and the Media, had softened her stance on R18+. After speaking to Handsley on the phone, she claimed that her stance has not changed and that her priority, as it has always been, is making sure that violent material does not fall into the hands of children.

“We’ve not changed our stance,” claimed Handsley, “but if you were to create a higher level rating, and apply the current MA15+ rating to that, then yes, we’re happy for gamers to have their adult rating.”

When asked what she thought of future games, games that would most likely be refused classification under MA15+, being given an R18+ rating and then sold in stores – like Mortal Kombat for example – Handsley became more cautious.

“It all depends on the type of violence,” began Handsley. “For us the most important questions are – is the violence glamourised, are you rewarded for the violence, what is the impact of the violence?”

We then asked Handsley what her ideal resolution to the R18+ debate would be.

“It’s difficult to talk about ideal resolutions – you have to talk about likely resolutions,” claimed Handsley. “It looks like Brendan O’Connor is determined for change, and we’re happy for a change, but we don’t want an increased amount of violence in the games on the market.”

“If O’Connor opened his copy of the constitution he would see that there is no clear way for him to legislate on this matter, and we’re questioning why he is going so hard on this issue. There’s discussion to be had – we’re always in favour of measures that help protect children from violent content. Anything that minimises that risk, we’re in favour of.

“My ideal world is one where there is an honest debate about this issue, and not one where people get misled into thinking that adding an R18+ classification to the system will provide better protection to children from material that everybody seems to agree is inappropriate for them. If you look at my various publishings on this matter you’ll see that that has been my constant theme.”


  • I’m just going to ignore her and go back to playing Hooker Massacre VII: Hyper Rainbow edition, followed by watching all of the SAW movies in a row. Scalping machine is awesome.

    …. That makes no sense, does it?


    HAAAAaaaaaaaaa…. I’m so bored at work, guys. Help?

    • Speaking as an adult student at Flinders, I can honestly say I am disappointed to see this closed-mindedness coming from one of my lecturers. We’re adults, and we’re entitled to view what we like regarding violence. It is that way in every other form of media, why should it be any different in games?

      As for protecting children, maybe she should seek to address the issue of parents buying these games for their kids, or allowing them to play them, before seeking to continue to deny legitimate adults the right to participate in quality entertainment that in any other country in the world we would be entitled to.

      • And as for the constitution, if this were put to referendum, it would be passed with an absolute majority, no questions asked. It’s the overly-vocal minority like Elizabeth and her group that are blocking the progress from the outdated views of the past into the modern age

      • @Protecting children issue:

        Parenting is definitely much more responsible for kids getting access to this stuff.

        I was at a games retailer recently, and overheard a conversation that a parent was having with a store attendant about the game Dragonage 2.

        Customer: Is this game suitable for my 12 year old?
        Attendant: Well I’ll warn you that there is a scene towards the end of a large battle after which everyone is drenched in blood
        Customer: Oh… [silence]
        Attendant: Yea, it’s MA for a reason

        Parents just do not know the difference between M and MA anymore. I work at Laser Skirmish, and the number of 11 year olds we hear talking about Modern Warefare 2 is staggering, there have been times where I’ve talked to the parent and told them exactly what is in the game, and surprise surprise they had no idea.

        It’s parenting, plain and simple

  • “My ideal world is one where there is an honest debate about this issue, and not one where people get misled into thinking that adding an R18+ classification to the system will provide better protection to children from material that everybody seems to agree is inappopriate for them. If you look at my various publishings on this matter you’ll see that that has been my constant theme.”

    When was the last time you saw a 14 year old walking out of a video store with 10 porn DVD’s?

    Now, let me ask you when was the last time a 14 year old walked out with a copy of SAW and 28 weeks later?

    Yeah. Unfortunately, Nobody, even salespeople care about MA15+ ratings. Kids walk out of EB games constantly with violent games, but I can guarantee that if there was an R18+ rating the store clerk would ask for ID.

    • I don’t type well today i walk into work tired huuurrr.

      I’m not all that articulate today, sorry. Can you spot the gramatical fail in the post above?

      • I’m sick of all this anti R-rating crap, these people who are anti R-rating think they’re right because they have more power. When really they’re wrong and their just pure lazy, its the kids parents that allow the kids to get such games, because really kids dont drive themselves to a shop to get a violent game and get it without anyone recognizing. The parents buy it, the parents approve it and these anti R-rating as parents themselves who probably have kids playing MA-15+ are refusing to say they’re the problem. I know a guy who had never(hes older now) played a MA-15+ game because his parents never let him, this is an example that its not the kids. So why refuse the R-rating?

    • Gentleman Fistbeard, what’s depressing about your post is that you’re correct. I’m a retailer who pays keen attention to the age of his clients, and will always ask for identification when I consider it to be appropriate.

      But the number of times I deny someone a game, then see them walk past five minutes later with the same item in the bag of a competing retailer… It’s depressing.

      I’m honestly tempted to find a kid who’s 13 and use him in a sting operation. I’m -really- surprised that Today Tonight/ACA hasn’t already done it.

      • EXACTLY! it SHOULD be done to the retailers and I believe heavy fine should be imposed, its like fist beard said when was the last time you say a 14 year old walk out of a video shop with 10 porn dvd’s???? the reason is because if it did happen the store would be heavily fined why can’t it be the same for r18 games??? and i’m getting really annoyed at the current standing of “an r18 classification will only result in more violent games…” thats like saying putting speedometers in cars will promote speeding. The whole issue is to ‘protect the children’ ok i’m all for this but there is a difference between protection and turning a blind eye which is exactly what the government is doing! as for further restricting games i wonder if it would be the same for movies magazines television shows and music oh and of course let us not forget the bible! it has adult sections that children shouldn’t hear….. bunch of morons!

        • Justin you’re point pretty much sums up the case I have been trying to spread to others.

          However the issue of actually selling games that are of an MA+ rating to children basically rests in the hand of the retailer’s employees. In the end its all down to what the employee believes and what his/her views are on the matter and what’s ethical to them. But from a franchise owner’s view, it all comes down to profit, and if they’re focus is on gaining it then they wouldn’t care.

          If you’re idea on fining these franchise’s or organizations would come into place, who would monitor them?

    • 14yo kids walk out of EB Games with MA15+ games because their parents let them. Don’t start trying to pretend that the responsibility lies solely with the salesman. I know for a FACT that EB Games staff ask for ID when people purchase MA15+ games when the customer looks under 18. No ID = No sale. I also know that the kids will then get there parents/brothers/sister/etc to come in and purchase it for them, and/or the staff will explain the reason why their child couldn’t be sold the game and ensure they understand the content BEFORE purchasing the game for their child.

      Comments like yours are typical, ill-informed, finger-pointing, when you’re really not qualified to do so.

      You worry about kids getting their hands on games they’re not supposed to ruining our chances of getting an R rating in this country because the people supplying them don’t care? The people who want them the most (and stand to profit from it) ie. EB, GAME, JB Hi-Fi etc, are trying to do everything they can to bring in an R rating! EB and GAME even started their own petitions. EB got over 42,000 in 3 weeks.

      The problem is with the parents AND the system. Just note I’m not blaming the parents, I’m simply saying they make mis-informed decisions when purchasing games they obviously aren’t playing themselves, which is exactly WHY we need this rating. Retail staff can’t say “sorry I’m not selling to you because it for your 12yo son and not really for you.” It doesn’t matter how much they care, in the end it comes down to the people buying the games- the parents. With an R rating they’ll be less inclined to purchase a game for their underaged child. Just like they wouldnt porn or cigarettes. Those products are meant for adults!!!

      • “Comments like yours are typical, ill-informed, finger-pointing, when you’re really not qualified to do so.”

        Holy crap, take a step back dude. You’re taking my post far too seriously.

        Sure, the game retailers like the idea of an R18+ Rating, but I hate to tell you – The majority of retail stores from EB Games to Big W don’t have staff who really care about that stuff. Maybe where you live has retail outlets with non-stoner workers, but almost every time I’ve walked into an EB Games, Game or any department store I’ve seen kinds walking out with MA games – some with their parents in tow, sometimes without.

        Hell, I’ve seen a parent buying God of War as their 12 year old kid is right next to them, and the salesperson doesn’t even mention it’s too violent.

        Also, “Qualified to do so”? Aww crap. I’m gonna go get my masters degree in “Being a consumer and using my eyes”

        • After working at EB Games for a period of 3 and a half 1/2 years I can understand you may think that the employees “don’t give a stuff” but this is not true from my experiences.

          We were told that you could be given disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment for not follow the law and ask for ID.

          But as stated above the amount of times i declined sales to a person for being under 15 only from them to return with a parent (who actually got angry at us for not selling the game to their child on occasion) was ridiculous. Saying to a parent, “You know this contains material that may not be appropriate for your child” only was able to get a shrug from the parent in a “I dont mind/care” gesture.

          I understand people can hesitant about there being more violent games but the truth is THEY ARE ALREADY OUT THERE. Anyone with half a brain and knowledge of the internet can order all these games off the internet with even as much as a check of ID so this is about providing a internationally recognized ratings standard which allows parents to know all the information and make the BEST decision for their children.

          I’m an adult, what i chose to view is my choice. If i were to show it to an under age person and the parent got mad about it, they would blame ME, not the retailer who sold me the game.

          Start taking responsibility for your children parents.


        • That’s right you’re ONLY a consumer. You aren’t fit to place judgement on retail staff OR parents across the country. You can only comment on the issue directly related to you. That’s why you’re not qualified.

          Maybe the retail staff in your area do ask for ID, maybe they don’t, maybe they’re stoners, maybe they’re not. WHO CARES?! The fact is you simply fuel fire of the debate (counter-productively I might add) with totally irrelevant and unnecessary comments of things you obviously know nothing about. Oh wow, so you’ve been in the shop when a mum or dad bought an MA15+ game for their kid. So what. It happens all the time. And just so in case you haven’t figured it out yet, everything you’re saying is just ammunition for them to delay the R rating even further.

          Look mate, I want the R rating as much as you do, for various reasons, but it annoys me when people just blame the retailers, or the parents or the kids, or violence at school. I feel like I’m writing in circles here and I’m sorry to anyone who wasted time reading this rant so I’m just going to end it there.

          • And just so in case you haven’t figured it out yet, everything you’re saying is just ammunition for them to delay the R rating even further.

            If someone raises a good point against an R18+ rating we have to acknowledge it and sort it out. That’s the only way forward. You can’t operate under the idea that you know what’s right and just ignore it when the opposition raises a valid point.

            Fistbeard brings up a pretty important issue here. It’s far easier to obtain a MA15+ game than it is to get alcohol or cigarettes because stores are seemingly allowed to chose whether they want ask for ID. Even the people saying they ask for ID seem to be willing to admit it’s closer to store policy than a legal requirement.
            Under the existing system why would an R18+ rating be more effective than the current MA15+ rating? It might draw a little more attention at the counter from parents but it still relies on the stores choosing to ask kids for ID.

            So what could be done to change that? Ideally I’d say stricter enforcement of the rules, but that will cost money and a lot of the people making the decisions here don’t appear to actually care about the issue (or at least not enough to spend money to fix it). Knowing our luck they’d push the price of games up $20 to cover it.

            I don’t know what the answer is but even outside of the R18+ argument it needs to be addressed. Afterall we’re paying serious money every time we buy a game for a rating sticker that’s less effective at it’s job than the box art.

  • Well, Elizabeth, my ideal world is one where there is an honest debate about this issue, and not one where people get misled into thinking that adding an R18+ classification to the system will provide children better access to more violent or inappropriate content.

    That you should claim that the pro-R18+ group are spreading misinformation, no matter how polite the language within which you cloak your claim, is insulting and damned hypocritical, particularly given the misinformation spouted by the likes of the Australian Christian Lobby.

    You obviously have some intelligence if you are a Professor of Law, so please don’t let your ‘think of the children’ crusader mentality overwhelm your capacity for careful and logical thought.

    • Hear hear!

      Sir of great wisdom Cracks, would you kindly be able to print your fine anecdote and forward it to Ms Handsley? It’s typical of those who resist change to respond more clearly to printed correspondence than the virtual kind.

  • She talks about an increase of “more” violent games, which I don’t think we would actually see.

    Though I would be interested to know if she thinks there are games currently under the MA15+ banner that shouldn’t be on the market altogether.

  • Why exactly is this woman getting any sort of attention at all? Much like the ACL, she obviously has no understanding of the issue she’s so staunchly opposed to. My advice to her would be to simply READ UP on the problem at hand first, before you label all proponents of the R18 rating as self-interested morons who are misleading the general public. But then, it’s just so much easier to believe what the extremist minorities churn out isn’t it? R18 games?! That must mean pedophilia and gratuitous violence!

  • …I think I’ve finally figured out what’s going on – our country is being run by a bunch of old & out of touch bureaucrats who think anyone not of their vintage is just a kid.

    There’s no magical age barrier where people transition to adulthood, it’s just a shifting scale defined by the ignorance of people – I think that’s what the problem is and why there’s so much confusion about an R18 rating bracket…

    Seriously though – tightening the classification system by adding an R18 rating is going to put bad games in the hands of children? I honestly don’t know how that position is tenable – movies have an R18 rating (but that’s somehow different)… should we stop selling alcohol completely because kids might get their hands on it?

    Where does the logical reasoning for this attitude begin and end?

    • I suspect the problem lies in the fact they delude themselves into thinking that adult rated games aren’t sold here at all and adding an 18+ will allow it in. The reality is of course that we already HAVE the games and CAN’T restrict them to the level we should because our system has spent the last decade or 2 stagnating

  • I could never walk out of a video shop with an R rated movie until I was 18 (Asking for ID wasn’t difficult apparently).

    What does this irrelevant cow bleat on about when that sort of thing is brought up? “Oh but kids will find a way!”?

  • As I thought. She just wants MA15+ to be restricted further.

    The problem is that people like these are absolutely convinced that violent media produces violent people. It ‘makes sense’ and is ‘intuitive’ to them. Problem is, intuition is often wrong. In this case, almost all actual scientific literature does not support her position. The problem with people like these is that they simply don’t care, because to think otherwise doesn’t ‘make sense’ to them, because they have already intuited the answer and will never be swayed by reason. It’s the same dark part of human psychology which results in things like witch hunts, sadly.

  • Handsley makes her motives clear; she wants less violence in games full stop.

    If she really wants to keep violent material out of the hands of children, she’d stop singling out one form of media and apply the same standards consistently to all forms of media, including the existence of categories for things appropriate for adults only.

    But no. Her “must protect the children” crusade is one she’s more than happy to sacrifice individual rights for, hence why she suggests more or less turning MA15+ into an R rating.

    “No violence for you” basically.

    Well, sorry Liz, but I’m 24 and thus I have a natural right to view whatever the hell I wish as long as the production of the material doesn’t violate individual rights (i.e. my right to view whatever I wish doesn’t include snuff or kiddy porn).

    I don’t care if Liz thinks my entertainment choices aren’t her cup of tea. I don’t care if she rationalizes her objections as “for the children.”

    My rights are not sacrificial animals to be slaughtered on the altar of anything; even “the children.”

    Hideous violence is not new. The Bible, the Iliad, plenty of works of literature and film and television all contain it. Society hasn’t collapsed so we can’t assume violent fiction causes societal decay. The classification system seems to work alright with these forms of media and there’s no rational basis to differentiate between them and video games.

    Let’s also clarify; she’s a law professor, not a child psychologist.

    Professor Liz has no right to control my life (or anyone elses). Her advocacy of the use of the State to do so is evil. I find it hard to believe she is intellectually honest on this issue; from what I see she’s cloaking her desire for power over others in the language of “for the children” (then again, most politicians basically do this).

    • I agree with you entirely, StudiodeKadent. This kind of high-profile lobbying is the sort of commentary and action that damages the integrity of, and invalidates the proceedings of a democratic government.

      Lord Editor Serrels, can you please request an explanation from the SCAG as to why this woman is given an audience at their meetings? Her expertise is clearly elsewhere, so hearing her is inappropriate and, honestly, approaching corrupt.

    • Remind you of a scene from Family Guy where Peter and Bono are trapped on the desert island. Bono won’t let Peter eat the food because it’s for the starving children.

      Nice post … btw.

  • I could go on a crusade against anything as long as I use the words “children” and “future” and people will automatically listen to me.

    • Something like “I have a dream, a dream where in the FUTURE all the CHILDREN will function as our slaves and when they start to get rebellious, we make CHILDREN burgers to quell any FUTURE insurrection”?

      • I don’t like people who wear puffy vests, they should be banned. Our children’s future is depending on it.

        • I don’t like people who wear puffy children, they should be banned. Our vests future is depending on it.

  • I don’t know the R Rating, I.. I never met the R Rating or had any contact with it, but… I’m sorry, I can’t go on.

    That’s OK, your tears say more than real evidence ever could.

  • She doesn’t want violence in games…. does she play games??? no??? oh ok then her bloody opinion shouldn’t matter because she has nothing to do with the argument, there settled.

  • Has anyone got this lady’s email address, or who can point me at where I can find it? I’d like to ask her what empirical sources she is basing her arguements on.

    I’m really hoping its not the ones I’m thinking of. I did a debate on this for a 2nd year psych degree, and I remember a lot of the studies were flawed in some ways in regards to the testing.

    • Google her name, all uni staff have email address’s listed.

      I would suggest that anyone wishing to contact her does so in a respectful way or you are just shooting us all in our collective feet. I wrote an email to her yesterday simply offering some facts and asking if these were taken in to account when setting her position. The facts are commonly known i.e the amount of ma15 games that are adult only in other countries and the fact that some games have minor changes ie fallout morphine to med-x to get through classification.

      Seriously, no notes under her door made from paper clippings and no threats or abuse. Be polite, offer her an open dialogue and if she refuses don’t bombard her with follow-up emails.

  • Stupid person is stupid.

    An R18 rating only makes it harder for minors to gain access to “adult” material. I don’t see many kids walking out of Target with a copy of American Psycho…Why would the person at the counter suddenly sell them a game with the same rating?

    This is a woman who reads packages before she buys her kids cereal. Someone needs to take one for the team and warm this biddy up.

  • I would like to have games that are rated MA15+ to be for 15 year old and games that are rated R18+ for ADULTS. But according to her article “I can’t have it both ways” my question to her is why not?

  • Hooray, lets all poop rainbows and vomit butterflies. Look, denying a 18+ rating altogether has more problems than it does benefits. The think of children card just doesn’t work. Even if the kid does somehow get their hands on the game, parents are SUPPOSED to be checking up on their kids. I’m guessing she is not one of those parents – too lazy to check in with their kid once in a while to make sure they’re doing the right thing. Heck, that’s probably why kids nowadays are seemingly misbehaving more and more.

    Here’s a compromise, how about actively fining retailers for selling MA15 and R18 content to minors? Money for the government and incentive for retailers to fix up their act.

  • Listen lady, the majority of people in Australia are above 18 (obviously). Why should the majority of people have things censored from them just because a small minority shouldn’t view it. adult ratings work for movies and for games in most other countries like u.s.a, u.k and even new zealand (omg i know right? nz? anger!!!). What is her and other persons problem? these games are not ment for children and if parents are bad enough to let there kids play it well life goes on have a F@!#%ING cry!

  • The R18+ rating seems to be such an issue in Australia, Is it this hard to discuss the issue in the USA……Oh wait they already have an 18+ rating and so does the UK and so does the rest of the world.

    Oh the Australian government, if you only had a brain.

  • The part of the Classification Guidelines that refers to children being protected from media that is “likely to cause harm” to them gets bandied about a fair bit by people like Prof. Handsley.

    What is the burden of proof here? What level of likelihood do they have to demonstrate? Because right now I have yet to see anything that shows a causal relationship between any violent media and “harm to children”.

    It doesn’t help that “harm” is poorly defined. At best, a short term increase in aggressive tendencies has been shown. But even that is disputed and very few people would consider that to be harmful, else all manner of things should be under similar levels of scrutiny.

    One form of media that I do believe can cause harm is propaganda. Violent media is not necessarily a form of propaganda that convinces that viewer/player/reader to take part in violent actions, but often if a lie is repeated often enough with “reasonable” sounding justification many people are able to be convinced that it is true. That’s propaganda and that’s what can be truly harmful.

    Conving people of falsehoods can lead to them partaking in dangerous actions, such as committing violent acts or introducing laws that restrict people’s freedoms.

    So I wonder, what is the real harmful media here, the violent video games that Handsley opposes or the research she uses to support those claims?

      • I figured the sarcasm was basically dripping from the word so air quotes were unnecessary :p

        Also the last sentence should end: “the research she uses to support that opposition?”

        I swear, people like Handsley really bring out the troll in me. Or in this case, I’m just sick of the debate being on their terms because that’s the only reason they have any ground whatsoever. Therefore, the more trollish my response, the better I feel about dealing with this idiocy.

    • It’s funny that (most) of all the posts for an R18 rating are well thought out, constructive and usually don’t put down the opposers too much. Yet their retorts consist of “it’s bad for children” and that obviously we, as gamers, don’t know anything of the outside world.

  • Why don’t we stop attacking the people making these arguments, and start attacking the arguments themselves?

    The short answer as to why we don’t is because, as a demographic, we’re kind of lazy. It’s much easier to attack a person, than it is to REALLY and PROPERLY attack the argument.

    Why don’t we change that? Kotaku is a pretty big community, and the more people that are involved in a task, the easier the task becomes (spread out over many hands).

    This is my suggestion… Everytime someone like this lady (and including this lady) makes a statement, lets find out what studies these people are basing their arguments on.

    If it turns out it’s just opinion – That’s a big win. It invalidates the argument they’ve just made.

    Imagine this for a news headline, “Kotaku community debunks ‘s R18+ arguement”.

    If it turns out that they are basing their arguments from actual studies… Let’s find the studies. Let’s make sure that the studies are truly unbiased. Let’s make sure that the studies aren’t flawed. Let’s beat them at their own games, and really make this a meaningful argument.

    Heck, let’s do our own studies, hand out questionaires through schools, workplaces, offices… Gather the results and publish them somewhere, even on Kotaku.

    I never graduated through my degree, but its not that hard to design unbiased questionaires to measure results.
    Heck, I’d even spearhead this initiative if I knew I was going to get a decent backing of people to help, and to open channels so this could be tested properly.

    If these things were done, maybe, just maybe, we could some day cultivate a political climate where people would actually have to support their viewpoint with valid EMPIRICAL studies, instead of rhetoric and opinion.

    • I agree with the notion that we should shoot down the arguments. Only, we’ve tried to do it before. The opponents cling to the tatters, and completely ignore us. By far the largest problem we face is legitimacy. A vocal minority is being given every opportunity to proclaim their views, while the majority (us) are shunned because we aren’t either ‘experts’ in law and/or psychology or because we don’t subscribe to a radical religious lobby group (now that I’ve mentioned the ACL, how the hell do they have any right to lobby on this issue?!?).

      In the face of this denialist approach by the anti-R18+ group, and knowing that we are not as influential as the ‘personalities’ on display, we’ve devolved into segmented attacks on individual proponents, rather than a unified denouncement of the broader notion. We need people like Mark and Seamus to take the fight public. We need our own personalities to combat the unwholesome attention paid to the likes of Handsley.

    • There’s no point attacking their argument. They *have* no real argument, certainly not one which actually be rebutted. And they’re convinced they’re right, because they perceive themselves as having the moral high ground. You will never convince them to change their minds no matter how comprehensive your rebuttal. The thing is, they actually know they’re wrong. They simply don’t care. They have an agenda to push, and reality be damned.

      • It’s like trying to tell a religious fanatic that his religion is wrong.
        He doesn’t care, he won’t listen and damn you for saying otherwise.

        • I believe the phrase you’re after is “you can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into”.

    • I believe you’ll find that most, if not all, of the arguments put forwards by those who oppose violent media have already been debunked.

      There is a book that I’ve been meaning to read, Grand Theft Childhood that tackles most of what you suggested.

    • “I agree with the notion that we should shoot down the arguments. Only, we’ve tried to do it before.”

      “There’s no point attacking their argument.”

      “I believe you’ll find that most, if not all, of the arguments put forwards by those who oppose violent media have already been debunked.”

      I read the first line of each of your rebuttals and I see a reactive mindset rather than a proactive one. This is the just one difference between us and the christian lobby groups.
      They get mobilised, we get defensive.

      Is it so hard to ask that we turn the tables? We get mobilised and put them on the defensive? Or is it really that hard to get gamers motivated to a cause that affects them?

      It’s all well and good to say that we need people like Mark and Seamus to take the fight public, but what incentive do they have to champion our cause if they aren’t going to feel a present and potent force behind them?
      If we provide them, or others, with ammunition, won’t that make it more likely that they will fight our fight?

      We’d have to have experts, or university graduates, that visit kotaku. Is it too optimistic to suggest a plan, get it rolling, and then ask for these people to weigh in or contribute?

      I’m not asking for a revolution. I’m just throwing this out there and seeing where it lands.

      • And at this point, this is where I let out a sour laugh.

        How can we expect people to champion a cause, when we cannot even get our own internal dialog past the “post, rebuttal, post” stage.

        Our community and demographic will troll and rage, we’ll launch attack upon attack on people rather than the argument. We will stand on our soapbox and denounce the other party, while taking our own perceived higher moral ground.

        Yet we are impotent. We do nothing. We whine and complain, but ultimately we are impotent to bring about action, to bring about change.

        We like to think that we’re intelligent and thoughtful people, but I am going to put forward these statements now and hope bitterly that someone ends up proving me wrong.

        The only difference between us, and the ACL/anti R18+ crowd, is that we can’t get our crap together. Our logic is just as faulted as theirs, and we can’t be bothered to prove our points.
        Gamers are lazy, defeatist, and whiney.

        • Our points have been proven time and time again. They’ve been put forward and generally ignored by those who oppose the R18+ rating simply because it does not fit in with their world view and they refuse to listen to reason.

          We’ve had record breaking petitions, thousands of submissions put forward pleading our case and any poll you care to look at will show a vast majority in our favour.

          The only thing going against us is that those who oppose are given a disproportionally strong voice in the guise of “balance”, so our best course of action right now is to discredit them as irrelevant so that they are ignored and the arguments we have made can be seen.

          You talk about trying to be proactive. We’ve done that.

          Right now, I feel like I’ve just fallen for a troll.

        • Oh, how I wish I was a troll, and didn’t have cause to dispair at my fellow gamers.

          Unfortunately, I still see as at the same place.
          We marshalled our efforts for the R18+ (post), and we were ignored (rebuttal), we tried again to raise public awareness and support (post), and then we gave up more or less.

          I do hear what you are saying however, but I stick to one of my statements, because no one has disproved it yet. Gamers are lazy.
          “You talk about trying to be proactive. We’ve done that.” – And what, we then gave up?

          Now, I’d like to know, how many people actually went to the Australian Council on Children and the Media website?
          I did. I looked at all the references I could find, and discovered a potential hole in one of their main arguments.

          “Our and other surveys have shown that portable R18+ items such as DVDs and videos are easily accessible by children, in ways and at venues, not able to be controlled by their parents”

          The potential hole? This statement has no referenced data to support it. Nothing. Zip. Nil. Nada.
          This is basically their main arguement. It is the argument that lends support to their actual real and empirical psychological studies. Without it, their message is whimsical at best.

          What did I do then? Did I come to kotaku to immediately laugh and ridicule their message? Nope. I’ve sent them a polite email, asking for the data to support their arguement.

          This is one way to destroy an opinionated organisation. Find out the flaws in their arguements, counter their rhetoric, force them to provide evidence.
          If they cannot provide evidence, this organisation is national non-profit organisation, which means that its likely that they receive government assistance or funding.
          Write to your local parliment, show them your outrage that they are funding a group that bases their statements on ficticious assumptions.

          If it even looks like their funding might get cut or that their funding is in jeopardy, they will backpedal so fast, you will wonder why they even tried to begin with.

          Attack the arguement. Make them look stupid. Prove it’s opinion. Get that knowledge out there.
          Humiliate those who seek to twist the truth.
          Use truth and evidence as a weapon. Find out how certain organisations are funded and work out how to disrupt that cash flow.

          Oh. I forgot. Gamers are lazy.

    • That’s all well and good, Cray, but the issue is NOT public perception. If I remember correctly, GAME and PALGN.com.au presented the largest petition in Australian history to parliament last year.

      The issue is the Standing Council of Attourneys General: They allow people like Ms Handsley and lobbying groups like the ACL to present their case directly to the men who decide on this issue. So it honestly makes more sense to me to tear down those who champion poor causes with poor reasoning rather than look to promote our own cause, because that clearly has not had a significant effect.

      I should point out, however, that at the last SCAG meeting, all parties involved agreed that a change was needed to the Classification system, but could not agree on the correct change(s) to implement, and as such sent off their investigatory commission to return in December this year with a list of advices. So we’re left waiting while they discuss/await a result, rather than being left in the cold without any recourse.

      Give it time.

      • That’s not to suggest that I disagree that a more motivated, coordinated, energetic presentation of the Pro-18+ side would be useful!

        It would be great to hold rallies, have more personalities on talk shows, and such, but again, we’re dealing with vocal minorities, not oppressive majorities, so it doesn’t seem to me that we need public awareness to be raised more significantly, given that the vast majority of people agree.

  • I’m fucking sick of this whole debate. Let one of these idiots explain to me how it would protect our children if we removed the R-Rating from movies… cause that’s exactly what they want for video games.

  • Hey Kotaku writers,

    Here is a good test to perform on the general public:

    Get a copy of Call of Duty (or some other MA15+ game) and ask people on the street if they would allow their child to play this game. I suspect most would say yes as many people who dont know about video games still wrongly think of them as ‘toys’.

    Then get the same game and photoshop the R18 rating on the front and perform the same test.

    I think you’d find that the number of people allowing their children to play this game (even though its the same game) would be drastically lower.

  • “but if you were to create a higher level rating, and apply the current MA15+ rating to that, then yes, we’re happy for gamers to have their adult rating.”

    So then we would have 2 MA15+ ratings? whats the point of that? this makes no sense.

  • I think she doesnt understand the difference between X18+ and R18+! Its entirely logical that a game that fits into the X18+ (explicit sex & real violence) category would be RC, but not R18+ (high impact realistic violence) games! She’s also trying to use that old chestnut in which their are developers all over the world waiting for R18+ so they can display explicit sex (porn), and real violence (snuff)! Which would be rated X18+ and refused classification if that were true, anyway. And on the other note (kids getting their hands on stuff they shouldn’t i.e. ciggaretes, alchohol, drugs, porn, snuff films), has happened for thousands of years! And as it goes, in the real world, is that a responsible parent/guardian will catch them and take away the thing they shouldn’t have! And any parent/guardian/or adult who supplies or allows children to have these things, are not adults/parents at all! (I’ll stop there as thats where it goes into abuse territory…)

  • Don’t want them in the wrong hands?

    How about putting a proper freakin ratings system in place to monitor these things?

    Putting your head in the sand does not make it go away, and I can guarantee underagers are getting their hands on either imported or pirated copies of banned games. Why not try and cut down on those factors and have some form of control?

    These people are starting to give me the *^%$s.

  • Can we introduce a new system where we can have whatever content we want and just make it like alcohol and cigarettes and make it illegal for children.

    You want to talk about violence hows about you actually implement a useful anti-bullying scheme which would protect children much more than any red pixels are gonna do.

    went through 18 years being told im not meant to drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes only to reach adulthood and be told sorry your hobby isn’t supported for age groups 18 and over you should have read the box when you were 8 and took up an instrument instead

  • Omg i cant stand the stupidity of this woman. How does she even make a living? Her superior should have her fired, her husband should put her in the kitchen

  • From the words of Peter Griffin:

    “Oh my God, who the hell cares!”

    Seriously, never heard of this woman and I don’t care about what she thinks about R18+

    Not having R18+ is a bigger problem than having to be honest.

    She’s talking like she thinks that the majority of gamers are under 12 years old.

    I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times.



    FFS. Why do people like this exist.

  • She’s happy to advocate for the banning of my video games, but how would she feel if I got the cheeseburgers she so obviously loves banned???

  • So truthfully she wants other policys to be put to her and for her to say ‘No, no, no…’ like whats has been happening the past decade with no necessary change, take her paycheck and go home. Is this really democracy or are we all been taken for a ride as tax payers. Its obvious the system is broken, an R18 rating would help things but clearer guidelines and a proper assessing agency to ensure products are rated correctly is all the people of Australia ask. If you cannot deliver what the people of Aus want(I mean a vast majority of us, look at the signed petitions) they do not take up a seat in parlement and sit on the fence as it helps no one else but yourself. I am sick of these bone-idle politicians and their retoric handed down by the christian lobby. Deliver a fair system and do it soon, before people really start to create a backlash against an ineffective governemnt. O’Conner is spot on the money but I don’t know why he is involved but its good none-the-less. I have only two digits for you Elizabeth Handsley, and they come on the end of my hand you bludger.

  • What a dumb lady. If thats her feelings then all R rated movies should be banned. Oh while they there ban the internet too cos child can get hold of way to much bad stuff there too. Oh yeah why not ban kids from going out at all? Problem with this r18 debate is that the people in charge are letting their own personal opinions rule the whole thing. Want proof the current system is flawed? they gave a game called We dare with gets you to do SEXual activities onto each other a PG rating.

  • To make sure that once an R18 rating is introduced, to protect those games from kids I would take it to the next level and make it that anyone caught playing a game that isn’t intended for that age (eg. a 12 year old playing an MA15+ game) then the parent or legal guardian has to pay a hefty fine or even serve jail time and then has to attened parenting classes. But then again, here we are.

  • …and of course we live in a world full of flowers and cuddles and lovely things…
    Christ, when will these people stop trying to wrap everyone in cotton wool and face reality. If someone has violent tendencies, a video game isn’t going to change anything, someone pissing them off at work/school/on the road is just as likely to make them snap and do something nasty anyway. R rating or not, the police have been around for a lot longer than video games or film classification boards.

  • It is apparent to me that Ms. Handsley does not understand what an R18+ rating means. She aludes to how it will not solve the problem of kids playing violent games, and yet that’s EXACTLY when R18+ ratings will reduce.

    Lady, R18+ will NOT be purchasable by minors… not only do you misrepresent the gaming community with your misguided belief that gamers are children, but you also lack basic common sense.

    And our tax dollars go to fund organisations like the one she spearheads. Wow… just wow. I’m flabbergasted.

  • there should be no need for a discussion
    or use the same rules for buying beer or smokes!
    if u dnt look 18 flash some ID!
    JESUS its easy yet somehow some people are making this a bigger issue than it is
    they wanna protect everyone from over the top violence and sex….
    yet its redily available on regular TV….

  • “My ideal world is one where there is an honest debate about this issue, and not one where people get misled into thinking that adding an R18+ classification to the system will provide better protection to children from material that everybody seems to agree is inappropriate for them.”

    Your ideal world is the world we’re living in now; and right now, you have kids who are 15 or younger whom have access to video games that are CLEARLY targeted towards the adult audience. It is also the same world that banned one particular fighting game on the grounds of excessive violence, blood and gore (even if there’s games already available on the market that are no less different in regards to the content they have yet still passed for an MA 15+ rating) YET allowed a game with sexual overtones/adult themes to be sold in this country, and was given the rating of PG.

    Sorry, but your ideal world, Ms. Handsley, totally sucks donkey balls. R 18+ please.

  • i think she should let childrens parents decide whats good for them and whats bad. i played mortal kombat 3 when i was 5 years old and i dont walk around freezing people, tearing their heads off and throwing it at them so they shatter now do I?

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