R18+: Rationality Is Dead

R18+: Rationality Is Dead

A discussion is only rational when both sides can accept the possibility of change. If a point or position has been shown to be false, with evidence, you must concede. You can’t reuse the same argument, you can’t continue to make statements that aren’t backed up with evidence. You move on. You accept defeat with humility — and change your viewpoint accordingly.

Sadly, there is no such thing as a rational debate when it come to the R18+ issue in Australia. When it comes to R18+ rationality is dead.

When someone, in the face of overwhelming evidence, refuses to adjust his or her opinions, you have to ask yourself — is this really a discussion? Or is it something else entirely — something far more insidious. A discussion involves both sides listening to one another, and responding in kind. From what I’ve seen, those on the other side of this ‘discussion’ have done a whole lot of talking, but they clearly haven’t been listening to a word we’ve been saying. How could they be?

We’ve been told more public consultation is needed on the issue. How so?

We had a public consultation, with 58,437 responses. More than any other public consultation in Australia’s history — overwhelmingly in favour of an R18+ rating. Apparently that wasn’t enough.

Game and PALGN tabled a record breaking petition, with 89,210 signatures — more signatures than any petition ever presented in parliament. Still, that wasn’t enough.

Then the Federal Government commissioned an independent survey. In said survey, over 80 per cent of Australians claimed they were in support of an R18+ rating for Australia. Nope, still not enough.

In the face of this concrete evidence — as concrete as it gets — what gives anyone the right to say that more “public debate” is required? How is this rational? How can we call this a ‘discussion’ or a ‘debate’, if you are not willing to accept the facts and figures placed in front of you?

Lyle Shelton of the Australian Christian Lobby claims that ‘academic research’ shows that games are more harmful to children. What academic research? Where is this research? A government literature review of all relevant research has shown that games are no more harmful than any other medium in that regard. All credible research has shown this. All literature reviews on the issue have confirmed this.

There are claims that “vested commercial interests” are attempting to force an R18+ rating through with “propaganda”. There is next to no commercial gain here — Australia is a tiny market, and a miniscule amount of games are refused classification. In the grand scheme of things video game publishers couldn’t really care less whether an R18+ rating is passed or not — in fact, before the matter was raised again last December, publishers had informally agreed to stop pushing for one. Why? Because it doesn’t affect their business in any significant way.

Today, astonishingly, Robert Clark – the Attorney-General for Victoria – claimed that an R18+ rating would “legalise games with high levels of graphic, frequent and gratuitous violence, including violence against civilians and police”. Is he referring to Grand Theft Auto IV? A video game that can already be purchased in stores under an MA15+ rating? Did he not hear Brendan O’Connor when he said, repeatedly, that games already Refused Classification would not be given a new rating? Does he not understand that 99.9% of these games are already available in this country and, regardless, those that have been refused classification are easily accessible via online piracy or through importation?

Have we not already discussed this? Is this not a ‘discussion’?

These are the facts, backed by irrefutable evidence. If you make a point, which is subsequently made redundant through evidence, you must abandon that argument. That is simple logic. So why do we continually have to repel the same arguments? How can you call this a discussion? This is not rational. This is something else entirely.

This is not a discussion, it’s a process. A process that, in part, justifies the existence of Lobby Groups such as the ACL, a process seized upon by politicians seeking to avoid the broader issues, a process whose primary function is to sustain the position of people who do absolutely nothing of consequence.

And the problem with processes are – they tend to repeat themselves. Endlessly.

Since I’ve joined Kotaku, over a period of roughly six months, I’ve written 71 stories about this issue in Australia. 71. This will be my 72nd. In that time it seems as though nothing has changed. Round and round we go – endlessly – from point to point. The same old arguments, the same old people, the same voices. Where did it begin – when will it ever end?

This is not a discussion, this is not a debate – if it was it would have ended years ago, rationally.

But this is a process, and rationality is dead.


  • Yeah, this is beginning to put a lot of people off, me for one. It’s so frustrating that the government refuses to act, because god forbid they have to do anything rational that would HELP EVERYBODY involved…

    Well, I guess I need to move to Canada, eh?

    • Agreed, I’m 28 (have been gaming since the NES era) and I’m starting to think I may never see an R18+ rating in my life time. What a horrific thought. I keep asking myself how can this be? We were naive to think that seeing the last of atchison was the end of our troubles and that another clueless politician wouldn’t pop up in his place and do exactly the same thing.

    • Hence the reason why there are so many ex-patriots and we have a serious skills shortage in this country. All the smart ones keep going to more free and green pastures.

  • There will be no R18+ rating for games in the foreseeable future.
    That is the only fact that we gamers need to accept.

    We have tried every possible avenue to introduce an R18+ rating but, as this article has basically pointed out, it has been a complete waste of time.

    Back in the 17th/18th century women were banned from reading fiction novels because it was believed their minds would not be able to differentiate fact from fantasy.

    Maybe there was some truth to that because Lyle Shelton sure cant comprehend overwhelming facts presented to her.

      • My comment isnt sexist. Its fact. Go look it up.
        And sorry, I though Lyle was that chick whos rallying against the R rating recently.

        • It’s a fact that “maybe” women can’t read fiction novels ‘because … their minds would not be able to differentiate fact from fantasy’?

          …. really? You’re OK with considering that? No alarm bells ringing?

          • You are misunderstanding what warcroft has tried to say. warcroft was simply stating that in history, the government believed something stupid with unsupported facts and is doing so once again.

            You owe warcroft an apology for trying to bring sexism into this and making warcroft to be a fool.

          • “Back in the 17th/18th century women were banned from reading fiction novels” is the factual part.

            It’s the part where you said “Maybe there was some truth to that” which makes it stupidly sexist.

      • Yes, you read sexism in the comment – because sexism IS in the comment, because it IS in the history – you can’t erase a part of history because it makes you feel uncomfortable now.

        In fact that’s the whole point of his comment, to remind you of forms of censorship in times past.

        In some countries women aren’t taught or even permitted to learn – yes this is a sexist regime however it is still fact, and the fact is some facts are uncomfortable.

        Political correctness is not the answer to dealing with uncomfortable facts. It simply covers them with lies.

        • *sighs*

          The historical bit of his statement? That’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s true, after all. The bit where he uses that as a basis to imply that Lyle, whom he believed to be female, can’t differentiate fantasy from reality BASED ON GENDER? That’s the problem.

      • There’s nothing sexist about it. He mentioned a historical fact, then facetiously and jokingly admitted it might be true -based on the fact that this person, who he thought was a woman, couldn’t differentiate fact from fiction.-

        If you honestly believe that he’s genuinely saying “Wow, maybe they were right to not allow women to read fiction!” then you need to step back and rethink your posts before you submit them.

        • Historical fact has nothing to do with it, and saying it was just a joke is a poor shield. He implied something that he would not have if he had known the true sex of the author, and that my friend is sexist.

          This is not up for debate, nor the topic at hand. It is what it is. Stop twisting truth.

          • good god, people take issue with anything these days, i read it as a joke as i know he is talking about Barbara Biggins, a joke in poor taste sure but seriously get off your bloody high horse. I didn’t read the comment as sexist in the leastbut people love to take issue with everything these days (like women that take issue with “Mens only” clubs when women also have their own “Womens only” clubs which apparently are perfectly fine because they are only discriminating against Men and who gives a shit about Men?)

    • not every possible avenue, just the legal ones.

      Im sure after ninjas were to assasinate those against the ratings, the newcomers would soon realise how it’s gonna be.

      But we are classier than the ACL we don’t work our voodoo magic on the basis of scare campaign’s. We use fact and knowledge. The two things no religious person group can ever truly accept as it automatically invalidates any future claim they make

  • What gets me with the whole thing is that it is an insanely minor issue compared to everything else that is going on. It should be a case of “oh right, that’s a bit silly. Hang on a sec, fixed. Back to business”.

    Instead it has become this insane quagmire (giggity) of hand wringing, legal crap and stalling. There has to be another issue at heart with it that their not being forthwith about. I refuse to believe that there are people out there with nothing better to do than spend their whole time combatting something this minor. And get paid far mire than me to do so. That would be depressing.

    • For certain groups, this really is an issue at the heart of something larger.

      Back in one of Mark’s earlier posts about the ACL’s role, Kotaku got a number of comments from (apparently genuine) religious conservatives hinting at what might be part of the mindset of some of the R18 opponents.

      This isn’t really about video games for them, or even rights for adults – it’s a symptom of the continued ‘moral decline’ of Western society, complete with kids running amok on the streets, drowning in violence and sex, etc. Most of it was silly nonsense, but it’s deadly serious for those who genuinely believe it.

      The ‘moral’ element of their argument is why rational discourse just won’t work.

      All the evidence in the world isn’t going to convince somebody who believes violent video games are a precursor to society falling apart at the seams in a tide of depravity.

      • I think ‘Religious Persecution’ in this case is the ACL persecuting adults for having an opinion.

        Once again, I humbly request the ACL remove the word ‘Christian’ from their title as it offends me – as a Christian.

      • A good case in point is that, contrary to their beliefs, the statistical evidence shows that crime is and has largely been dropping, and that where there have been increases, they can largely be attributed to increased reporting and changes in what constitutes some crimes.

      • They said the same thing about rock and roll, movies, television, pornography and even Dungeons and Dragons for crying out loud.

        Yet here we sit decades later with all those things widely available, and the sky still hasn’t fallen in on us yet.

        Why should anybody believe that video games will somehow be any worse than all those things?

        • Rationality isn’t dead; it’s just a moral panic. Any change precipitates a moral panic. For instance, Socrates thought the written word was going to destroy society. Catholics believed the printing press would destroy society.

          Books were once considered to be not unlike modern video games, and arguments were presented in the same irrational manner.

          Point is, moral panics always fade when society adjusts.

          We’ll see an R18 rating, but more importantly, we’ll see the day when video games aren’t treated as a dangerous, second class medium.

      • It’s weird isn’t it. An r18 rating will keep these games away from the kids. At times I think the opposition should be arguing with us.

      • I’m an atheist. Are you claiming that I should tolerate having someone else’s religious views forced upon me?

        I don’t think so.

        This is a religious extremist group, albeit a non-violent one, who represent a tiny minority of the Australian population, yet they, and dozens like them, are being given a disproportionately large voice in the running of our country. Since when did our government become about serving the vocal minority? This is a goddamn (yes, I went there) democracy, and the government need to remember who it is they serve: The population of the Commonwealth of Australia. Well, the population has spoken. On countless occasions. Their opinion has been backed with evidence of every kind and is supported by international standards.

        Now give us our bloody R18+ already, dammit

        • I’m not claiming that at all, no. On the contrary, I find the ACL both divisive and outdated. I don’t have a problem with religious faith, just the application of superstitious dogma on public policy.

          But it might go some way to explaining their die-hard refusal to consider a rational response that this issue is framed, in part, in terms of a wider moral battle for the soul of society (along with the internet filter, same-sex marriage, or any of their other concerns). When something is interpreted as just one more move in the direction of depravity and moral decline, a rational response is hard to come by.

          As we’ve seen.

          • As an athiest who’s actively looked at various religions, I have yet to hear a rational explanation for ANY religion. It should come as no surprise that religion itself is used further as an irrational argument.

          • If you look at the census Australia is one of the least religious countries in the world and “No Religion” is the fastest growing category on the question of religion (well that and Jedi Knight!)

            The problem is the wowsers are organised, the athiests are not, therefore they become a silent majority. The thing about silent majorities is, they are sometimes very easy to ignore.

            I too am frustrated at how long it is taking to settle what is a no brainer.

  • Honestly its come to a point where i just flat dont care anymore.
    if a game gets banned ill import it.

    I know it hurts the industry but i cant help that.
    Besides its cheaper from overseas anyways.

    All the arguments against are rediculous and just plain stupid.


    • I will happily send my money to overseas game retailers.
      Sure, its no blow to the economy, but it will help me sleep better at night knowing that even a tiny portion of my cash is not going back into a government system that cant even listen to is general population.

    • +1

      Can we get the email/snail mail addresses of these moronic politicians and all send them this well thought out and completely correct article? This needs to be distributed to as many of these people as possible because I’m guessing a lot of them don’t frequent Kotaku.com.au on a daily basis like the rest of us.

  • The “Facepalm” pic probably would have been more appropriate here.

    I would have given up on the politics of the issue if it weren’t for the support of Brendan O’Connor. At least there is SOMEONE who understands.

    • In light of the overwhelming evidence showing that there is more than a strong support for the introduction of an R18+ rating for games, aren’t the few people blocking the progress of the issue going against the very definition of democracy and the democratic process?

      We all feel angry and upset at what most of us see as near criminal behavior, but what else can we do? I’m not very knowledgeable in political or legal matters, but short of having to wait a full political term and then campaigning to have them removed, is there anything in the Australian Constitution that can be used to either bring them into line or remove them altogether from their high and mighty pedestal? Is there any kind of legal action we can instigate against them to reprimand or remove or reduce their power?

      • The only thing we can do is to ignore the law and make alot of noise when we are caught. Its how all the stupid laws are changed, like the ones against witchcraft that were only removed a few years ago or the ones where a licensed electrician is the only one legally allowed to change a light bulb. If a law makes no sense and the idiots in power don’t change it than it is up to us to simply move on and leave the law in the past.

      • and this is exactly why i think no politician should be able to sit in the same seat for more than 2 term’s. they should be forced to move around(kinda akin to what the states have)

        Being able to swing the vote because the WA guy sits in a largely christian seat, and the like stymies any real action from the politicians.

        the person who has held my regions state level seat for 12 years now, haven’t heard or seen him do anything for the last 6 other than the re-election campaign. It doesn’t help that the libs don’t want to put an actual opponent against him and use it as a testing ground.

        To the point where in the last election we actually swung away from him, to the liberal candidate who was 21 and had been on the front cover(from memory) because his facebook showed him at drinking/promoting 24 hour bottle-O’s and abusing simon overland

  • The only logical thing to do in this situation is to call for the removal of those who are not acting in a rational manner. Naturally, when this involved private organisations, such as the Australian Christian League, this is not possible, but when it involves an Attourney General, a democratically elected AND specifically appointed station, it’s definitely within our right to call for the removal of such people.

    Write to them. Write to your local Attourney General, and write to the your premier. DEMAND, as is your right as a citizen of Australia, accountability for this irrationality.

    • So true. Like, when I become irrational I am removed from society by QLD Mental Health! No joke (but it is actually funny)…

  • Well said Mark. I think you have summed up perfectly how the majority of us folks feel regarding this issue.

    It is beyond the joke now. What else needs to happen before this issue is taken seriously?

  • I think we should discuss the public consultation process on how much we can discuss before we decide if we should have a meeting on bringing about the plans to proceed with the discussion for an R18 consultation paper which will yield results which can be put forward to the committee responsible for deciding on if the department can meet and discuss the probability of possibly determining if an R 18 Rating should be put on the agenda for future discussion at the next 12 thousand meetings of the standing committee of attorney generals.

    Your tax dollars at work!

  • So depressing. I had a really bad feeling about Victoria’s AG and now my fears have been confirmed.

    It’s not entirely suprising though. The ACL is an entirely powerful lobby group that has a lot of influence over politics/politicians. And considering so many people live under the false belief religious groups are morally superior and know what is best for everyone it’s not surprising they can spew nonsense and convince others they are right.

    I hold out a tiny morsel of hope for an R18+ but it is being quickly overwhelmed by the pessimist in me.

  • “publishers could really care less whether an R18+ rating is passed or not”


    the phrase is “couldn’t care less”. The amount of people who mis-pronounce this saying and don’t understand that it doesn’t make sense when said incorrectly boggles my mind.

  • The system is broken. These are elected representatives actively refusing to do what the majority of the public are asking them to do, and they have no credible reason to continue to stifle the process. Rationality isn’t dead in this debate – it never entered into it in the first place. You cannot argue against someone who makes up their own rules and refuses to play by everyone else’s.

    The system is broken, and the only way forward is a federal intervention. If the states are incapable of coming to a decision, the decision will have to be made for them. And that will mean the issue will become politicised, wrapped up in the petty, childish name-calling and one-upmanship that plagues both sides of this country’s administration.

    Why does the ACL hold so much sway over our politicians? What happened to separation of Church & State? I seriously want to know the answer here. They have enormous pull for a fringe element of a single religion. What percentage of the population do they actually represent?

  • Excellent article. At this point it really does feel like a grind doesn’t it. Feels like Mrs Lovejoy on their side screaming random BS and we’re trying to fight sensationalism with logic…

    • Then maybe its time to fight sensationalism with sensationalism… 😛 We need a big nationwide advertising campaign showing all the super-awesome-ultra-violent games that ‘YOUR’ kids can buy without restriction and how its only going going to get worse unless there’s an 18+ rating…

      Yo, Kotaku – how about a competition to come up with the best anti-anti-R18 ad? 😀

  • Very well written piece Mark. Unlike the ACL and ACCM articles that are littered with rhetoric and inflammatory remarks.

    But, as usual, the vocal minority will always strive for the last say. To which I say it’s time the majority were as vocal. Instead we try something new. Facts.

    • I don’t understand in this day and age a religious faction can have sway over laws. Go push their beliefs elsewhere, because I don’t want my life ruled by something I don’t believe.

      • That’s why there is supposed to be a separation of church and state.

        The ACL clearly didn’t get that memo.

        • So much for “seperation of powers” considering a religous group should have no power over state or federal decisions.

          Wonder what my law lecturer would think on this matter.

          • They’d probably be upset that you misused the term “separation of powers” =p

            That’s the executive/judiciary/legislature split, with the different powers of the state shared between them. The whole point of separation of church and state is that the church is supposed to have *no* power in the state.

        • Seperation of church and state…hahahah that is a good one.

          When NSW has a Police Commisioner who sanctions bibles printed with the police crest on the front, seperation of church and state has long been a joke in this country.

        • Mark,
          I think you’ll find that Australia actually doesn’t have a formal separation of church and state:

          This is something that distresses me as a Christian because we are met with hatred from people (a number from Kotaku itself) who see those of our faith as oppressing, or forcing our beliefs upon others.

          Laws should be made from common sense and the general concensus of what adults consider fair and reasonable, not because of ANY one large organised group that holds power in government.

          Stop stalling SCAG – deal with this issue or hold a public vote – then you’ll get your public consultation!

  • it’s mind boggling to think that the people elected to represent US the people are so out of touch with real issues in our community. If i was presented with an issue that was breaking parliamentary records in regards to overwhelming positive response to change i very much doubt i would need further debate to clarify the issue for me. I think a better title would be Politics is dead because if they can’t do there Job which is to represent us the people then how do we justify there existence?

    • Good article.

      Peter, the R18+ classification is hardly one of the ‘real issues in our community’. There’s hardly any comparison between this and such issues as drug and substance abuse, cost of living pressures which governments of late seem to care little about. They aren’t even doing the basics.

      There’s so much time wasted on this issue. If a kid wants to play an age-inappropriate game, a classification system won’t stop him. If a parent wants to monitor their child’s gaming habits, at least stuff that could be 18+ will not get through on a lower rating. Kids will get their hands on whatever material they want regardless of classification systems if parents are not concerned with them playing age inappropriate materials. People holding this up should just get over it.

      While we wait though we need to stop acting like our lives will be somehow irrevocably deprived because a few games are banned.

  • Good article Mark, I hope you don’t have to make it to 100 but I’m glad you are still fighting the good fight.

    (No, video games did not induce me to use a violence analogy)

  • heres an idea. take whoever is not wanting to accept a R18 rating, and show them a R18 rated (elsewhere) game, like GTAIV, etc. show them the nitty gritty, bloody violence they are so phobic of.
    then tell them that a 15 year old kid bought the game.
    then, ask them, what should this be rated? surely not MA15..

    but hey, R18 games in MA15 rating doesnt hurt, just lets more people play !…

  • If anyone is in Victoria, please write to Robert Clark at the below address. Tell him that failure to legally realise R18+ for videogames will allow the continued sale of precisely what he described: “games with high levels of graphic, frequent and gratuitous violence, including violence against civilians and police” to children. It’s happening every single day all across his state, his electorate, and he’s failing to protect the interests of his constituency.


    In the advent that he fails to change his stance, write to the premier and demand his termination as Attourney General.

    That is literally the only option we have, as citizens.

    • I think this is probably the most useful avenue. I don’t know what the chances are that we will be taken notice of, but something has to be done and this is the best idea I’ve seen on here yet. I say we all give it a go.

    • I have just sent through an email to Mr. Clarke, let’s hope he is a rational man and not too brainwashed alreay.

      *crosses fingers*

  • Ah, I remember how optimistic we were for a return to rationality when we heard Michael Atkison was stepping down. That was great…

    • I wish the ACL would just go back to where they belong: In the pulpit of their own church, preaching to those who choose to listen and follow them, and stop trying to push their beliefs on me, which in itself is steeped in violence and hate and genocide.

      • As a Christian, I agree, the ACL shouldn’t push its beliefs on people and there should absolutely be a complete separation of church and state… but saying that Christianity is “full of hate” is ridiculous and offensive to be honest, and is a view based only on a few misquoted, taken-out-of-context Bible verses and the fools in power.

        • Does that free the people that could only follow those leaders, and not themselves, from guilt? The idea seems to have spawned a lot of violent activity “in its name”.

        • Sorry Mattroe, I’m Gay and I have experienced quite a bit of “hatred” inspired and sponsored by the Christian and Catholic Church. Any student of history has ample evidence of the attrocities committed through the centuries sponsored by the “Church”. Jesus apparently cast out the money changers, but they have been back in for a very long time now. I suspect he would refuse to have anything to do with it today.
          I have no problem with Spirituality in it’s many forms, however organised religion is only about power and wealth, and maintaining that power and wealth for those that benefit from it at the expense of others.

    • Stop that! That’s how groups like the ACL work.

      They spin fiction and attempt to make them fact by trying to coerce a desired reaction from others.

      Thus, if we wish harm on them, they can turn around and say “See! We were right! There’s living proof we do not need this rating right here!”

  • After having just moved back here after 18 months in the UK, it’s disturbing to see that gamers are still nowhere near having an R18 certificate for their games. What the detractors probably fail to realise is that games that have received an 18 certificate elsewhere (GTA IV for one – albeit slightly toned down for the Australian audience), are being given an MA15 certificate here. If they are really trying to restrict content to appropriate age-groups, they should be all for an R18 certificate.

    Maybe we should form an Australian Gamers Lobby and lobby against things that the ACL support…

  • Kinda had the feeling the last 6 months that the plan of those opposing this proposition, are just going to run this in circles until we become to frustrated and exhausted to repond/care…

  • Keep fighting the good fight, Mark. You say nothing has changed in 72 articles, but at least for my part (and I’m hoping I speak for a large proportion of the Kotaku community as well!) you have inspired a continued interest in the issue, and renewed my HOPE that something will change.

    I can almost smell the jaded cynicism liberally applied to your latest article, but I encourage you to retain SOME faith, as hard as it may be! Let’s keep hassling our representatives, Kotaku readers!!!

    • This can’t be said enough. Perhaps the continued exposure to the issue will eventually get gamers annoyed enough with the process to actually stand up and make some noise about it.

  • Here’s hoping for some kind of action in July. We know they’re not gonna unanimously agree. I just hope O’Connor is as sick of their shit as we are.

  • We can’t give up.

    More, Larger measures need to be taken.

    We need protests, stories on today tonight about our incapable government, front pages of newspapers.

    the vast majority if not all of the people involved in the decision of R18+ for games obviously don’t play games and don’t consider it worth discussing.

    they have their minds made up and thats it.

    Its not that they are reading the discussion and not listening, i believe they just arent reading as they don’t care about it.

    if its a bigger issue that will effect them directly, they will care!

  • The best thing to do is to import those damn games. With the forex rate overwhelmingly and unprecedentedly favoring Australian dollars, it IS cheaper to import your own games than to go out and buy it in a brick and mortar store to begin with. Not to mention that import games get here a month faster than they they are released here, if not before then.

  • i suggest we create a bot that masses emails regarding the subject to any politician that ignores the facts.

    nothing malicious, just something they will read if they receive it 500 or so times.

  • This is one of those political things that truly baffles me. There have been some really bad political decisions that have been made in the past but almost all of them have had some rationality behind them. This issue however is just blatent stupidity. It’s just a few people in unfortunately high places that are just too stubborn to step aside. I only wish this problem was a bigger priority in voter minds because if it was, it would truly shut those few annoyingly selfish politicians up.

  • Alright guys, we cannot give up on this issue. I know its taking ages and nothing may happen but ha doesnt mean we have to give up. The war just begun and we have to fight it as much as we can, just today at work a woman and her son came in to buy a game and I told them repeatatly the game is violent and involved drugs etc etc its rated R overseas, all she said was “meh its only MA15+ he will be right, it cant be that bad” this happens ALL the time.

    We cannot give up, we have to show these people we are actually more chivalrous than selfish.

  • Everybody here is acting as though they think 95% of politicians in this country (and other countries), are in power for anything else, other than personal gain.

    The issue with the whole system, is that its the 5% of people who are the most vocal, most short-sighted and most extreme, that get elected to positions like this. The reason being, that nobody in their right mind would occupy this position, because they are off working on far more interesting, higher paying things already. Most of the people working in such positions, are there because they have ‘served their time’ as a public servant, so the only logical next step, is to be in charge of something.

    Labors solution is a joke. They have been trying to push the internet filter through, in the face of a massive outrage / uproar / backlash for years. They are still planning on doing this, so why does anybody think they actually want an 18+ rating?…

  • I am going to email each Attorney General and Brendan O’Connor and use the points made above to counter each statement made by the Victorian Attorney General (I hope you don’t mind Mark).

    I am then going to ask each of them to seriously consider that the impact of their decision affects everyone on a National level and ask for the logical decision to be made so they can finalise this matter and have more time to consider matters that they inevitably feel are more important to their states.

    Yes, I am willing to bang my head against the wall yet again and hopefully there will be a significant number of additional head wall bang participants to back me up.

  • Goddam, the whole article just goes through how the R18+ is justified because they’ve got a big pile of “yes to R18″…now I’m all for R18+ but what I’m not for is mob mentality or “majority rules biatchs!”.

    • Look over some of Mark’s 71 other articles about this.

      There’s the argument from personal liberty (adults should be able to play what they like, within reason), the argument from international consistency (an R18+ game in the UK is an MA15+ here), the argument from domestic consistency (films can be R18, why not games?), that an R18+ rating would send a clear signal to parents that some games are off-limits to kids, and so on.

      There’s a very clear and rational set of arguments behind this, coupled with evidence-based studies of children’s behaviour and submissions from dozens of organisations (including, surprisingly, Catholic bishops).

      So it’s not just a bandwagon of people jumping up and down claiming mob rule. There is a rational argument here, in contrast with the emotive moralising of some of the opposition.

  • ONLY Australia would take so long to fix a problem like this. They are laughing at us overseas, hell I’m even laughing at us. Democracy my *ss.

  • If we have tried every way possible to prove our point and they continue to deny all the evidence.

    then fuck it why not prove there point show them how violent games made us LET RIOT IN CANBERRA TILL WE GET WHAT WE WANT.

  • The thing that always gets me with this is that a R-rating will “limit” what younger people will be able to purchase just like it does for all the other mediums… so wouldn’t it be in the best interest of the ACL and the others to be “limiting” what younger people are getting.. regulating the industry etc??

    This very fact alone shows that they are not being rational even to their OWN arguements.

    • The ACL doesn’t want R18+ games to be available to *anyone*, especially children; they probably believe them all to be immoral.

      I fail to see why a minority, extremist group like the ACL get so much attention.

  • When I think of these meetings, I like to imagine when someone asks for commuity feedback Brendan O’Connor hauling a massive volume containing all the submissions onto the table, then another containing all the signatures, then a third with copies of the research which relates to video games affect on people, red with negative, blue for none or positive.
    Then the table collapses under the weight if the argument and so do the Attourney Generals.

    Mark, the important thing to remember is since these articles started, our arguments have become more informed and rational, with far less rage and more thoughtful, educated responses.

    When the current campaign started, we weren’t so different to Michael Atkinson, blind to any argument contrary to our own.

    Now we understand the issue and how to approach it. The important thing is not to give up and keep pushing. Because we are the people, we are making ourselfs heard clearly and intelligibly, and the government is listening.

  • This is my thought ‘process’. As long as Australia wants to sell sex games aka We Dare to children I will import my banned games and to hell with what they think. They want to talk about protecting the children while their 10 year olds have a sleep over jamming wii remotes down pants and stripping off.

    Throw me in jail beause if I get fined for importing MK I won’t be paying it. Australia hates violence but condones children being exposed to even more sexual content.

  • Robert Clark and Barbara Biggins sure do have the children’s interest in mind.

    (fingers in their ears and yelling) “LAH LAH LAH, I CANT HEAR YOU!”

    When the pathetic people appointed to protect children are even more IMMATURE than those they claim to protect, it’s no wonder we’re a laughing stock and won’t ever grow up.

    Someone should appoint a minister for incompetency and sack useless and ignorant politicians. Why should our money go to pay an MP who chooses to ignore the people they’re employed to serve. Start a new petition for a new Attorney-General for Victoria and CEO of the Australian Council on Children and the Media, who actually will listen.

  • Yay for changes of Government bringing a new knob into the process to shit all over everything, and basically trigger a ‘reset’ to the entire process. This is beyond pathetic.

  • If it makes you feel better the government and the adult film and print industry have been having the same endless debate for what, almost thirty years now. It’s entirely possible the R18+ debate will continue that long as well.

    Lobby groups need to get the axe, Family First, ACL, the whole bunch, they represent a tiny element of the Australian public and justify their existence with moral supierority and a terrifying adherence to process that borders on the moronic savant.

    The worst part is that these people, and their families, don’t play games, will likely never view or experience any games above a PG rating, but they feel the need to impose their will on others. Unfortunately the people who fight have to keep pressing, because each little moral victory they manage to wrangle gets them hungry for more, then you get a situation like in schools in the US with creationism successfully getting petitioned to be taught in schools.

    Science help us all. Why can’t these people just get some damn hobby, sailing or making model airplanes or something.

  • It seems the Australian government cannot get it out of their thick heads that adults play games too. Their whole argument is that little Timmy could play GTA in which he can have sex with prostitutes, then kill them. They seem blissfully unaware that their own actions have allowed this game to be released as a 15 rating, opposed to an 18.

    I have to wonder what games they believe this would legalise. Most of them are available already, albeit under a lower age rating. Are they still talking about that Japanese rape game which wouldn’t have a chance in hell (thankfully) of being released anywhere outside Japan? The only ones I can think of are Mortal Kombat and AvP2, I think.

  • Games are more harmful to children?! Nice try, religion is more harmful to children than games will ever be.

    • 2012, according to one of MANY different, often broken mayan calendars

      P.S. amazing that a tiny nomadic people’s insane beliefs can make news, that said christianity is still going strong.

  • Mark.. i couldn’t have said it better myself…

    … no, really… i couldn’t… that was awesome!

    I was thinking about this whole thing over the weekend (due to duke nukem and the fuss it’s kicking up), and pretty much all of that was running through my head. I just keep getting angrier and angrier about this whole thing…
    The funny thing is that even one of us snaps and has a go back, or punchs somoneone from the ACL the cry will automatically go up “OH!!! SEE!! THERE!! GAMERS ARE VIOLENT AND UNSTABLE!! NO R18+!!!”


  • well i would be upset by this, as an avid gamer from the age of 6, which was 16 years ago.

    i personally thought this couldnt get any worse, and all my faith in the government is dead.

    they waste time, and keep putting it off, because up themselves parents who want to protect the children from violence, to make us suffer cause their parents banned them from watching movies like scarface, who were doing it because their parents didnt like them listening to KISS.

    its just another group of pissy parents and politicians who dont understand the current generation, the adult generation just like the two before that have no idea what their talking about.

    however my faith in the government may return after reading that mr brendan oconnor is basically going to tell the state attorneys to go shove it for taking 9 years to decide this shit, and hes just going to allow it anyway.

  • Well since they don’t seem to be listening to any sort of rational argument anymore why not organise a protest. Take the discussion to the front lawn of parliament house and get some media attention and also hopefully attention from the federal gov

  • As frustrating as this may be, I, for one can see progress. We’ve moved from “a bunch of kids asking for violent games” to some serious political support. Our argument has been polished and now holds weight.

    Yes, they still have the control, and yes, they keep on acting on an increasingly irrational manner. They have to.

    Only political pressure will effect this change, the kind the ACL now uses. We don’t have that now, but doesn’t mean we can’t get it. We cannot give up.

  • Mark: the tone of this article is pretty despondent, and for arguably good reasons.

    But social policy reform is always going to be difficult. It’s almost never rational, almost always strongly contested and falls to an increasing number of ideologues on both sides to press their cases.

    The beauty of social change, though, is that attitudes shift and worldviews fall out of fashion. Moral panics and staid, dogmatic conservatism might be depressingly common, but nobody is still seriously arguing for slavery or oppression of women (except, maybe, for that poster above).

    So even if the opposition is entrenched and irrational, eventually change will happen. Rationalism will always trump dogma when the facts become clear. The sky hasn’t fallen in, and it probably won’t.

    It’s ridiculous that this argument isn’t rational, and that a minority of (arguably self-righteous) anachronistic ideologues can hold up the entire process, but I’m confident that someday this will happen.

  • If the ACL had more freedom to actually implement policy, they’d be burning me at the stake for witchcraft. I posses the ability (as Viscount Johnny von Sweetwood my LARPing alter ego) to cast Ice Storm +4. They’d probably chase me through the Adelaide parklands and I’d have to parkour my way through the inner city to escape their conservative vigilante group weilding pitchforks, broomsticks and torches.

  • We need to borrow Jack Thompson. Seriously, hear me out.

    He appeals to the hystrionic demographic, especially the christian variant so he’d not only be a lawyer with expertise on the issue but also a champion of rhetoric so they’d have no option but to hire him, they’d be mad not to.

    He’s also staggeringly incompetent and makes any side he attaches himself to a laughing stock thus costing them every bit of support they could get.

    With him on their side its lose/lose which is of course a win/win for us

  • Right, time to shake up the AG offices and whatnot. First it was good old Dino Atkinson, now everyone and their dog pops out of the woodwork to “have a word” in the ears of policy makers telling them to “Think of the children!”.

    If a parent buys an 15+ game for their 12 year old because they made sad puppy eyes at them then how is that the fault of anyone but the parent? Their argument that parents can’t control the content their children access is weak in the extreme, and should only mean that legislation be made for parents to undergo courses where they learn to say no to their kids.

  • Nice Article Mark. I think every reader here on Kotaku would agree, and are just as frustrated with this pointless unending argument, where the same old points are raised again and again.

    There seems to have been no progress on this issue in the past few years!! All these campaigners against continually sprout about research and facts, but they rarely seem to produce these facts and research.

    Like the wonderful Simpsons said “Won’t someone think of the children!!”

  • I totally agree with this article. The way this R18 rating is being handled is ridiculous. There comes a time when a government should just say, enough is enough and bring in the new rating system. The fact is, the current rating system is broken.

    The average gamer age is 30 here and almost everyone in Australia is in favour of an R18+ rating, the rest of the world has one, why shouldn’t we?

    I think if the existing government and Attorney Generals can’t make the decision that clearly has to be made (to bring in the R rating), then I say we should vote them all out of parliament. What’s the point of having them there if they can’t do their jobs properly.

  • Mark Serrels for PM… or at least A-G. At least then things would get done.

    Seriously Mark, you have down such a great job with this issue. Every article is clear, to the point, and rational! If at the end of the year, there’s some sort of internet journalism awards I’m sure the Kotaku community would be very willing to nominate you for all the effort you’ve put in. Keep up the good work, knowing we’re all behind you.

  • I’m seeing all too many comments saying “I don’t care anymore, I’ll just import”.

    While thats one way to get around this carousel of stupidity, this has more or less become a matter of principle.
    If we were to all just import in the end and let this issue slide, THEY WIN.

    And next time something like this happens, THEY’LL DO IT AGAIN!

  • Just sent this to Robert Clark. These kinds of letters dont mean much individually but they build up…

    Hello Robert,

    I am writing to ask for definitive action on the issuing of an R 18+ rating for video games. As a consumer of mainstream media I feel it is high time video games of an explicit nature are separated from MA 15+ to ensure the proper discretion is taken when minors purchase video games. A higher rating is a proven, logical solution. Public support for this simple move has been demonstrated time and time again. Frankly, people are sick of hearing such an insignificant issue being pushed up alongside serious concerns. Stalling on the implementation of the R 18 rating has taken my faith away from the regional lawmaking system.

    I dislike the example this sets for the current  and upcoming generation.

  • C’Mon … we need it, we want it …. I game and I vote … pull your head in politicians and start listening to the people!

    Hey guys all also looked at the awesome and easy to enter win an XBOX 360 and Kinect bundle over at the Game Guru … check it out.

  • I agree entirely.

    The debate has clearly gone beyond the bounds of reason. It is a fully-fledged moral panic.

    Just like the one we had over video games when the American Progressive Dr. Frederic Wertham wrote “Seduction of the Innocent” and accused Batman comics of causing homosexuality.

    Just like the ones the Christian Right have happily exploited over Dungeons and Dragons during the 80’s.

    Just like the Satanic Panic of the early 90’s, where religious-oriented psychologists peddling “recovered memory therapy” managed to provoke the McMartin Preschool Trial and perpetuate their myth of a massive Satanist conspiracy involved in the ritual abuse of children (which of course they said was a symptom of the ‘decline of Christianity in America’). The same Satanic Panic managed to put Damien Echols on Death Row for being a teenager that wore black and listened to metal (thus making him a convenient scapegoat when a murder was committed even if the evidence against him was shoddy at best and based on the testimony of a mentally disabled kid that had been extensively interrogated by police who just wanted to convict someone).

    Just like the one Tipper Gore happily participated in over Rap music.

    Just like the one that engulfed Marilyn Manson as well as the Goth subculture in the wake of Columbine (Columbine was arguably where the current moral panic over video games began too). Both the Christian Right and many prominent figures in the Clinton Administration, as well as the Democratic Party generally, gleefully fanned the flames of this (Joe Lieberman for instance, although IIRC Lieberman has left the Democratic party and is now Independent).

    Moral Panics cannot be resolved by reason. Generally what happens is they blow over when the Moral Panic Industry (Current Affairs news shows, Talk Show hosts, Lawyers, District Attorneys/Politicians/Judges seeking re-election, Pop-Psychotherapists etc.) discovers a new Moral Panic to scare people about. Calling it an ‘Industry’ per se isn’t entirely accurate; most are in it not for the money but for the political power.

    The only practical solution is for Australian gamers to ignore any RC’ing and just import the games they want if the government decides to ban them. The more the law is defied, the less legitimate it will become.

  • Another shining moment in the history of stupidity. This is 2011, the fact that this is still an issue shows how little we have progressed as a society that when the overwhelming majority want something, an amazingly small minority can stop it dead in it’s tracks.

  • So we need more public input to see whether or not the people still favor the truth, or if they’ve given the liars a fair listen? What the heck is the holdup?

    I can’t stand politics.


    For goodness sake what is bad about R-18!

    I want Mortal Kombat so damn bad, 80% of Australia’s gamers want R-18 so damn bad. WHY HASN’T THERE BEEN ANY CHANGE!

    I’m sick and tired of our politicians, you know what burn them all, they don’t do anything good.

  • Australian Christian Lobby, keyword: Christian. They have never been known for their rationality and accepting of facts.

  • I love it, this guy is new to the debate like a comedy show and he is telling knock knock jokes, wouldn’t hurt to read up on the issue before opening your mouth.

    Well got to love victoria libs, ban UFC, ban the R rating, play around with the cops wages and health programs.

    The system is broken, as long as it is a state issue in the hands of these wankers it will never pass. And the nsw AG is a liberal so guess what he is going to say? …I wonder. It’s so annoying because both parties are being dicks, you can’t even have your say with your vote! So importing is my choice.

    This is just turned into a joke, but this article says it all. No one even does their homework even when they are getting a giant pay to do so. Shove it buddy, I’m importing and I don’t plan to stop.

  • Can Brendan O’Connor really say that current RC games won’t get a new rating if the classification code changes? I could understand it if he said that RC games would not automatically be relabelled as R18+, but that is quite a different promise.

    Surely such a change would be enough for a publisher to resubmit the game to the classification review board, or even submit a trivially modified version of the game to the main classification board. It would seem quite unfair to prevent them from doing so.

  • I’m against super violent video games and I wouldn’t like Australia having an 18+ classification. Having said that, if most people here in Australia decide they want an 18+ classification then it should happen. If the undemocratic politicians we have now don’t listen to the people of Australia then where are our rights. I find this in every country at the moment be it Canada (refusing its citizens the right of peaceful protest) or America (the list would go endless). Australia could and would become the same if the people are not careful. If the political figures of Australia (who represent the people) refuse the 18+ classification of video games, I would like to see WHY. Video games don’t matter to me that much but the attitude of those now in power does. This is not Cuba or North Korea, we deserve better or this political system is a joke.

    My 2 Cents


    • While I respectfully disagree with your opinions regarding the R-18+ rating, I commend you for your commonsense approach to the issue, rather than the fear-mongering of the lobby groups. I tip my hat to you.

  • It looks like we are run by Christian Lobby Dictactors after all, so much for Australia being Democractic… I aghree, no change will happen and the current Governments are a waste. I know there is probably more important issues on the table like the Carbon Tax and the Economy but the process is proving to be broken. Australia is heading like America and these lobby groups all have no interest in protecting children or sheilding content. Heck, ban religious donations to the Government, tax them like the businesses they are and lets see what happens then, proper Democracy is what… As an expat and non-practicing christian (the church is a business, they practice nothing what they preach) I hope people begin to realise how corrupt and destructive its become to Australian Society. The state Governments need to move on this and I wish just one of them would have the decency to do it themselves and show the other states wht its necessary to have a proper system. It afects games on, movies have it, why not games. I am starting to get really angry with our dilussioned politicians, all a waste of space in my opionion as they are bone-idle and gouging taxpayers money, for what!?!

  • “Did he not hear Brendan O’Connor when he said, repeatedly, that games already Refused Classification would not be given a new rating?”

    This is a big fail anyway. games that were RC’d as they didn’t fit into the Ma rating ~should~ be re-evaluated for and R rating if one were to be created.

    Honestly you look at the number of MA games sold over here that still have the UK R rating printed on the disc and you can’t help that feel something is wrong with the system.

    But religious zealots left rationallity behing long ago.

  • As much as I hate the system, the idiots that run/influence it…

    Don’t stress so much! play-asia.com will sort you out on those games which don’t make it through. Screw the economy! We can buy as we like, Mr Speaker.

  • Well, I sent off emails to the Attorney Generals and Brendan O’Connor (with slight rewording as appropriate) addressing Robert Clark’s concerns directly. It’s a bit wordy but I was trying to be thorough:

    “Dear ….

    I read Robert Clark’s comments quoted in The Age newspaper on 2 April 2011, available at http://tiny.cc/9ntza, and felt I needed to address these comments directly as I feel Mr Clark’s concerns have been more than adequately addressed.

    1. Public debate and scrutiny

    On 14 December 2009 a public consultation was launched that concluded on 28 February 2010, with 58,437 responses, more than any other public consultation in Australia’s history, overwhelmingly in favour of an R18+ rating. A staggering 98.4% of individual submissions were in favour of an R18+ rating. A copy of the final report is located at http://tiny.cc/7ng8y.

    In November 2010 Game and PALGN tabled a record breaking petition, with 89,210 signatures, more signatures than any petition ever presented in parliament.

    On 5 December 2010 the Federal Government released an independent survey showing over 80% of Australians claimed they were in support of an R18+ rating for Australia. The survey is located at http://tiny.cc/prj03.

    2. Legalising games with high levels of violence, including violence against civilians and police.

    Violent games are already being released in Australia under the MA15+ rating. The popular example being the GTA (Grand Theft Auto) series. These games have extensive violence directed at civilians, police and other authority figures. The GTA games have been released as 17+ and 18+ in nearly every country but have been released locally with an MA15+ rating.

    The Call of Duty series has also had scenes of violence against civilians, and again is available in Australia under an MA15+ rating, but have adult ratings overseas.

    3. Whether the final proposal will adequately protect the community.

    On 1 December 2010 a literature review of research into the link between violent video games and violent behaviour prepared by the Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department was released stating that “there is no conclusive evidence that VVGs (violent video games) are more harmful than any other form of violent media.” The review is located at http://tiny.cc/sdrxy.

    4. Summary

    · Public consultation has shown overwhelming support for an R18+ rating.

    · Violent video games are already being released un-edited in Australia at the MA15+ rating that are clearly intended for an adult audience and are rated appropriately in other countries.

    · There is no conclusive evidence showing that there is a greater link between violent games and violent behaviour than with any other form of violent media

    5. Conclusion

    Public review and consultation along with research conducted by the Australian Government Attorney-General’s department show that there is overwhelming support for the introduction of an R18+ rating and no conclusive reason to prevent its introduction.

    Any concern that an R18+ rating will allow even more violent video games to be sold within Australia are easily discounted as the majority of internationally adult rated titles are released un-edited under the current MA15+ rating.

    An R18+ rating will give the Classification board greater scope to correctly classify material appropriately and provide clearer indications to parents as to what games are not suitable for people under the age of18.

    It is also important to remember that your decision at the next Standing Committee of Attorneys-General meeting affects all of Australia. Please consider what is of most benefit to all Australians and make the logical decision regarding this matter, which would allow you to instead consider matters which I am sure you feel are of greater importance.

    Thank you for your patience and consideration.”

    Who knows, it may inspire one of them to tell Mr Clark to stop making generic excuses!

  • We shouldn’t be showing pictures or referring to the Victorian Attorney-General by name – surely this is just him looking for some cheap publicity. So let’s forget the troll and this time around seek to give positive profile to those in a position to get the legislation through. To that end:

    I salute you, BRENDAN O’CONNOR. I don’t know what the rest of your policies are, but please keep up your good work on this one.

  • seriously id like to see r18 games out soon >.> im going to have to buy a copy of mortal kombat and get a mate to rip it and get it that way so its allright for christians to sodomize choir boys? but its not ok for us to hae R18 games? i call a crock of shit on that we need them games to alliviate stress to say anything it helps alot and KIDS HAVE ALLWAYS RUN the streets and drowned in sex and violence

  • Australian Gamers Lobby! I’m all for that, if it gets us our MK9 and a voice that can no longer be denied 8)

  • Please tell me you sent this excellent article to Robert Clark. Or at least just paragraphs 4 to 11. Surely he couldn’t read that and not go “Geez, yeah, I guess I have been a bit silly…”

  • Fantastic post Mark.
    Sad but true that we are hitting our heads against a brick wall on this one. I wrote about the need for the R18 years ago when I first came to Australia and six years on still nothing is happening which is a shame.

    I was on Twitter last night talking to a woman who bought her 10 year Bulletstorm which made me feel like people wouldn’t care for an R18 rating at times but also made me realise that many parents would see the label and hopefully think twice about buying that kinda of game for someone so young.

    Blog post on it is here: http://t.co/nOIr1qm feel free to comment

  • Unfortunately this debate isn’t going anywhere which is exactly what the Australian Christian Lobby and the politicans they own know.

    It’s too easy for them to have a single AG object, we scream at that person for a while, whilst other AGs all say they are in favour, and then, that single AG is removed. Suddenly, a different AG stands up and says they object and the process repeats. All they need do is continue this and there will never be a reclassification.

    Until such time as a concerted effort is made – not just clicking on online surveys – but where gamers get out of their chairs and go out into the real world and protest there – nothing is going to change.

  • Does anyone know how it works when different states have different ratings? For instance Queensland has no X rating. Do all the AGs need to agree to let disagreeing states bail out or is it a matter of someone, perhaps the Minister for Home Affairs, saying “Okay, then we will apply this rating to the states that accept it”.

    Is this a feasible alternative?

    • As far as I know there is scope under the 1995 legislation for states to establish their own classification system (for instance, SA has its own ratings council, ACT/NT have legalised X ratings, etc).

      Not sure how this is done, but for changes to the national classification system all Attorneys-General have to agree. The Federal Government is considering its options to change the legislation at the moment.

  • Siiiimple, we form an Australian Gamers Lobby.

    We get enough members, make enough noise, and make just as many irrational unsupported arguments, and presto, they’ll give us R18 just to shut us up =)

    Pretty much what the Invisible Man worshippers do =)

    • Religion itself isn’t necessary evil – it’s when humans use it for their own means, grabbing social, economic or political power that it becomes evil.

      The Australian Christian Lobby has come to respresent all that is evil about the use of Religion to gain power over others to use it. They no longer use religion to make things better, they use religion as an excuse to make things as they demand they should be.

      If the ACL have their way, we’ll likely see a return to the dark ages where all power resided in the Church.

  • The craziest part in all this is that it pretty much means nothing…
    We all know we can get games through online sources to bypass this issue. (particularly easy for PC gamers who can buy through a VPN then download and therefore don’t even have to worry about Customs seizing their articles).
    It’s worrisome that the anti R18+ people purport to “think about the children” yet are doing the opposite, but hey, it’s fun to laugh at them!

  • I think it’s hardly surprising that the ACL would
    – act irrationally,
    – claim to have research but refuse to provide it,
    – be ignorant of opposing research, and arguments
    – stick their noses into other’s business
    – resort to fallacies and stall tactics
    – act childish

    It’s the Australian CHRISTIAN Lobby after all.
    It’s kinda right there in the title.

  • They say a democracy is 2 wolves and a sheep deciding what’s for dinner.

    But I’m afraid that’s how it has to be. Because there’s nothing more fair.

  • I read up as much as I could on this and from what I can gather the STATES have until August to ACT appropriately on this or the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT will step in. It seems Julia and Co. are doing something about it but I think if the Liberals were in this issue would stop dead. Its not of their concern. Anyhow, democracy doesn’t seem to be working for us and we should at least be able to import without the fear of a stupid fine, especially if the game has been rated 18+ overseas. Good on you Robert Clark, you have shown that Victorian Politics produces ill-informed dinosaurs like yourself. I vote to BAN all RELIGIOUS donations to Government parties and a TAX be imposed on religious groups, after all they act as corporations, why should they get a free ride.

  • So those opposed to an R18+ rating believe that if we suddenly had one, it would send a signal to all the international game development studios to unleash hell on Australia in the form of ultra-violent video games? Like they’re all just sitting there with sinister intent, waiting for us to open the gates for them so they can step it up a few notches and rain down electronic gore on us all?

    Gimme a break.

    The content is ALREADY out there. Us having an R18+ rating won’t change the content being produced. Right now it either gets banned (driving gamers to direclty import it) or it gets slipped in as an MA15+ (the OFLC will never admit to that) and I bet you no parent worries about their under-15 kids playing those games. The outcome of this mix is that ultimately kids are getting their hands on the very games these conservatives are worried about.

    Conservative types should be all for an R18+ rating, as then there would at least be some transparency, awareness and accountability for parents who can now SEE that game is rated R18+ and little Johnny probably shouldn’t be playing it. If R18+ games are handled in the same manner as other agre-restricted content (“I’m going to need to see some ID, thank you”), then wouldn’t this be better than not?

    The ultimate problem here is that opposition to the R18+ rating still has not accepted that gaming audiences are also mature adults who can accept and deal with mature, adult content. They still believe that video games are only for kids and video games should not contain anything other than kid-friendly content.

    Until that attitude changes, I don’t see this going anywhere.

  • Why don’t we have a nation wide protest or something? Bitching on here isn’t going to solve anything.

    • Thing is there have been protests, petitions, public consultations, telephone polls and even a political party formed to address this! Unfortunately most non-gamers simply do not care enough to add their voices to ours.

      The trouble is all it takes is one AG to be indecisive and the ACL gets to claim another victory.

      How come the anti R18+ groups can get away with saying the same things over and over again and get considered every time when every single one of their arguments have been addressed and answered? Why are they not expected to provide a counter argument to add weight to their comments?

      If Lyle Shelton gets to make a statement at the next SCAG I will be protesting! I don’t care if I am the only one there. Enough is enough!

  • “Won’t someone please think of the ADULTS?”

    You know? The very same adults who voted (and are taxed) to pay your wages, so you can serve the people who voted for you. Too much to ask for? Then quit and let someone who still believes we live within a democracy and will listen to its people and create a better and safer solution for ALL. Not just the children you claim to protect.

    Your brilliant protection plan for ignoring an R18+ and instead (in 2003) increase MA15+ to accommodate for high and strong impact violence, and make it readily and legally accessible to children, rather than restrict them to adults only. Just magic, applauds all round.

    Games out now like, splatter house, god of war, dead space 2, AVP, even all the COD games where their aim is to bring you the most realistic war experience, THIS is suitable and SAFE for 15yr olds to play? Where game developers specifically intend the game for adults and all other countries that follow suit, rate the game higher to prevent youngsters from playing. But then ban MK9 for ADULTS, because you refuse to bring in an R18? So let the kiddies play more violent games at 15yrs but not 26yrs and older because it’s too violent for kids…that’s right, 26yr olds and over are still kids. Just goes to show the rationale of the people trying to “protect the children” and ignore accommodating the people they serve.

    News flash! The children grow up to become adults too!

    Arrogance and stupidity is rife within our government.

  • Great article. Just unfortunate that something like this has to be written.

    Btw folks, Robert Clark is an ultra-conservative who uses ideology over the will of the people to govern. He’s already looking at removing other law reforms because they don’t fit the Liberal view of how society should run, no matter that they’re effective.
    It should come as no surprise that Clark and his ilk are devoted to bringing back the culture wars.

    • Unfortunately, yeah.

      He’s planning on rolling back changes to anti-discrimination laws, giving religious agencies (including schools) expanded rights to hire or fire staff and expel students based on whether or not their religious sensibilities are offended.

      Having seen some cases of this in action, it’s not pretty. Or fair. Or sensible.

  • I’m reminded of this, from Monty Python:

    “We would like to apologise for the way in which politicians are represented in this programme. It was never our intention to imply that politicians are weak-kneed, political time-servers who are concerned more with their personal vendettas and private power struggles than the problems of government;
    nor to suggest at any point that they sacrifice their credibility by denying free debate on vital matters in the mistaken impression that party unity comes before the well-being of the people they supposedly represent;
    nor to imply at any stage that they are squabbling little toadies without an ounce of concern for the vital social problems of today.
    Nor indeed do we intend that viewers should consider them as crabby, ulcerous little self-seeking vermin with furry legs and an excessive addiction to alcohol and certain explicit sexual practices which some people might find offensive.

    We are sorry if this impression has come across.”

  • The article is on rational thinking… Yet so far I’ve read people’s replys saying that:
    Christians don’t have a right to a political opinion – a huge chunk of this nations welfare is handled my Churches, Christians pay taxes too and oh…they are human…it’s every Australians right to have an opinion (isn’t that what you’re fighting for)
    You can’t have a position of power / authority and a religious belief – kinda flys in the face of our basic rights to believe what we want to believe. It’s naive to think persons bias isn’t going to affect their decisions. A belief to not believe in God is still in fact a religious belief – and from it you will base your decisions. (you’d be surprised how man western nations have had Christian leaders).
    The games are already out there – is not a rational argument. One could argue that we should then adjust our approval process and immediately stop these games being sold.
    Kids will just get the games from somewhere – again, not rational. Kids can get drugs but we don’t legalize them.

    I’m not trying to say I’m against the new classification but if we are going to bang on about how those that oppose it aren’t rational then we should make sure our own arguments measure up to our own standard.

    As for the article…did the author reference the stats he quoted regarding 80% of Australians want it and the largest petition? Due to the topic I think this would have been prudent, and if they are indeed true, I think it will actually change.

  • Y’know, when I think of WBIE’s plight with Mortal Kombat, they could’ve pulled a single trick to avoid their mess.

    And that’s to have simply not submitted MK9 for review.

    I mean, technically, they couldn’t sell it in stores, but without a Refused Classification stamp, there’d be zero risk from importing.

    Couple that with the effectness of word of mouth advertising in forums, and the fact that it’s cheaper for us to import from overseas anyways even with postage and handling(and for them, since they wouldn’t need to give EBgames a cut in sales), there really is no need for anybody to submit games for review.

    I know it’s off topic, but still…. alittle food for thought.

  • I jut don’t understand why there is such a road block to this rating! It is obvious as the article states that the people of Australia want this rating.

    How does the other side of this story get such a strong hold in the media? Should we be blaming certain pandering media, who are only after shock value?

    Do more drastic measure need to be taken? Organised protests maybe sounds promising? I know it isn’t such a worthy cause, but it is no longer just about the rating change, it’s about the fact that the government is not doing its job for the people of Australia!

    Do we try and get Anonymous involved? We need to get this as a major political issue! We need coverage, big coverage to show the truth!

    I think the talking is done with these ignorant, self-indulgent, minority pandering fools! ACTION MUST BE TAKEN AND IT MUST BE SWIFT!!!!!

    • Oh god no. Anon will just fuck everything up like it always does.

      The problem with taking drastic measures, such as public rallys and protests, is that the ACL can simply say ‘well they’re not debating this in a mature manner at all! See?! We were right!’

      Realistically, the best hope we have of moving forward, is by having Federal Government find a way over the SCAG, like Brendan O’Connor says they will.

  • Excuse me everyone, but I have a silly question.

    Why is it okay for my teenage son to own a game like MW2 where he can go through an airport and kill innocent civilians but it’s not okay for some way over the top stylized violence for me to play with MK?

    This is the real problem with our laws. Games are already falling into the wrong hands. An r rating will limit this problem.

  • Whilst I would love nothing more than to see an R18+ classification for video games, it still wouldn’t sit well with me to know that games are still being classified by the Australian OFLC. To be honest, I think it would be far better to have an industry-regulated game classification system, like the PEGI system, which is fairly popular from what I’ve heard (something like 40+ countries use it? Not sure, so don’t quote me on that). If the industry itself is classifying games, then we get informed decisions by people who know games, and are independent and unaffected by political bodies such as the ACL.

    • Yes I am sure you can. However you will have a monthly usage limit. In your case I think it will be oanurd just a little over 3000 mb per/month usage limit.

  • This is the thing I would like to know, when a new AG comes in before a scag meeting, like two months, how come they need more time? Like I can start a whole new job and get the hang of it in a few weeks, how hard is it to read up on one issue? A full afternoon? What are these guys doing all day?
    And two, check out Robert Clark trying to make it legal for religious schools to kick out gays.
    This guys sounds worse than Atkinson, serisouly the Scag need to be stepped over by the federal level, they have shown they are just waisting time and worse getting paid for it.

  • what needs to happen now- the very last thing left to the voters of Australia- is (in the words of Fiona Patten) for us to take up civil disobedience. We need to import and show that we are playing games that should be R18+ but are MA15+ or RC. We need local retailers like GameTraders, or GAME, or even EB to start to sell these PAL games that are rated 18+(PEGI system is the best one, since it is based in Europe, where PAL formatted games are already sold and distributed). Sure, the companies may ghet a slap on the wrist, and some of us may go to court for possessing and distributing these games, but everything else except the retailers backing us are in place for legal civil disobedience to take place

  • I’m not Australian but this is true about politicians everywhere. They ignore the public and do whatever it is that they want.

  • This is dumb. First its tjhe weedy guy in SA, now we have some idot in Vic, MY STATE! I will not stand for this any more. This is getting to the point of being DUMB.

    First we get shit about how Rapes Play, a game that the Japanies Goverment baned from being sold out side of there own contry, will some how get in to Australia if we get an R18+.

    Next is that fotball game that lets you tell your players to take drugs. Again, not going to get in if there is an R18+.

    Now we have a nother idote who beleves we will get games where we can shot cops and civilans.


    I can name COUNTLESS games that 15 year olds SHOULD NOT have. However, it is not up to me to decided that. It is up to the PARENTS. The ratings system is suppost to HELP PARENTS decided what is right for there kids. IT IS NOT UP TO A SMALL GROUP OF PEOPLE TO DO THIS.

    Yet some of them think it is. Why is it that we get polatitons who have no idea WHAT THERE JOB IS.


  • Great post. As an Aussie ex-pat in the UK I have the luxury of enjoying gaming like the rest of the industrialized world… it’s only through friends on Facebook complaining about Australia’s ridiculous censorship rules that I’m reminded of one thing I really don’t miss about home: the nanny-state mentality of the Government.

  • Other countries have many things that Australia don’t. One of them is an R18+ Rating on video games. Adults who are muture should have the choice to play games such as Mortal Combat nine. Its not like children are going to walk into a store buy it and be hurt for life. They wont be able to play it. So come on Micheal Atkinson, let us have them!

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