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."