Despite the fact that the public have been consulted extensively, Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark has claimed that the new guidelines currently being prepared for a possible R18+ rating require "careful scrutiny and public debate" before any decision is made. And, in a statement that sends alarm bells ringing, he stated he was worried about the possibility of increasingly violent video games being made available in the country.
"The Coalition government is very concerned that the draft guidelines currently being proposed by the Commonwealth would legalise games with high levels of graphic, frequent and gratuitous violence, including violence against civilians and police,’’ Clark stated, speaking to Fairfax.
"The Victorian government will decide our position based on our assessment of whether the final proposal will adequately protect the community."
Brendan O'Connor claimed that he was open to suggestions, but reminded Clark that the public were in complete support of an R18+ rating for games.
‘‘The public has been consulted extensively on this matter and overwhelmingly support the introduction of an adult classification for games," claimed O'Connor.
‘‘About 60,000 submissions were received in the last consultation round, showing huge community support for the introduction of an adult computer game classification. I await state and territory governments’ views on the draft guidelines and remain open to sensible suggestions consistent with community expectations and good public policy.’’
While many have interpreted Clark's statements as an outright rebuttal to the proposed R18+ rating, it's worth noting that at no point during the interview did he claim that he outright opposed such a rating. That said, he did state that the "Coalition Government" were concerned about the draft guidelines, which suggests that the issue may get caught up in the web of party politics as the Coalition seek to appease their Conservative voter base.
We're remaining positive. The position of the new NSW Attorney-General remains unclear, but there is plenty of support amongst the other Attorneys-General. Hopefully common sense will prevail. Brendan O'Connor has stated that a decision will be made in July, hopefully that decision won't be delayed by the petty squabbles of party politics.