Brendan O’Connor Releases Draft R18+ Guidelines

Today Brendan O’Connor released the draft guidelines for a proposed R18+ rating. These are the same guidelines which have been distributed to each of the Attorneys-General meeting in advance of the upcoming SCAG meeting in July, and detail the specifics of the R18+ with regards to how each game will be evaluated during classification.

“The Gillard Government wants to provide better guidance for parents and remove unsuitable material from children and teenagers,” claimed Brendan O’Connor in an accompanying statement.

“The introduction of an R18+ classification will help achieve that and will also bring Australia into line with comparable nations,” he said.

“This issue has been on the table for many years, without the necessary progress to make a change.

“We’ve recently seen several states publicly express their support for an adult only rating for games and I’m keen to reach a unanimous decision at the July meeting,” Mr O’Connor said.

According to the proposed deadlines the MA15+ rating, which AG John Rau was keen to remove, remains. The guidelines do, however, seem to suggest a tightening up of that rating, in order to create a clearer distinction between MA15+ and the proposed R18+ rating.

“The draft guidelines make it clear that sexually explicit games or games with very frequent, strong and realistic violence will not be allowed in the MA15+ category,” claimed O’Connor.

The guidelines are, as you might expect, relatively straight forward. All ratings besides MA15+ and R18+ are similar.

The guidelines for MA15+ are as follows:

Impact test
The impact of material classified MA 15+ should be no higher than strong.
Note: Material classified MA 15+ is considered unsuitable for persons under 15 years of age. It is a legally restricted category.

Classifiable elements
The treatment of strong themes should be justified by context.

Violence should be justified by context.
Strong and realistic violence should not be very frequent.
Sexual violence may be implied, if justified by context.

Sexual activity may be implied.
Sexual activity must not be related to incentives or rewards.

Strong coarse language may be used.
Aggressive or strong coarse language should be infrequent.

Drug use should be justified by context.
Drug use must not be related to incentives or rewards.
Interactive drug use that is detailed and realistic is not permitted.

Nudity should be justified by context.
Nudity must not be related to incentives or rewards.

And the R18+ guidelines state the following:


The impact of material classified R 18+ should not exceed high.
Note: Material classified R 18+ is legally restricted to adults. Some material classified R 18+ may be offensive to sections of the adult community.

Classifiable elements
There are virtually no restrictions on the treatment of themes.

Violence is permitted except where it offends against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that it should not be classified.
Sexual violence may be implied, if justified by context.

Sexual activity may be realistically simulated. The general rule is
“simulation, yes – the real thing, no”.

There are virtually no restrictions on language.

Drug use is permitted.

Nudity is permitted.

And a game will be refused classification under these circumstances.

Note: Computer games that exceed the R 18+ classification category will be Refused Classification.

Computer games will be refused classification if they include or contain any of the following:

Detailed instruction or promotion in matters of crime or violence.
The promotion or provision of instruction in paedophile activity.
Descriptions or depictions of child sexual abuse or any other exploitative or offensive
descriptions or depictions involving a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 years.
Gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions of:
(i) violence with a very high degree of impact or which are excessively frequent,
prolonged or detailed;
(ii) cruelty or real violence which are very detailed or which have a high impact;
(iii) sexual violence.
Sexual violence related to incentives and rewards.

Depictions of practices such as bestiality.
Gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions of:
(i) activity accompanied by fetishes or practices which are offensive or abhorrent;
(ii) incest fantasies or other fantasies which are offensive or abhorrent.

Detailed instruction in the use of proscribed drugs.
Material promoting or encouraging proscribed drug use.
As a general rule, computer games will also be Refused Classification if they contain:
(i) drug use related to incentives or rewards;
(ii) interactive drug use which is detailed and realistic

You can find read the proposed guidelines in their entirety here.

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