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:

MA 15+ - MATURE ACCOMPANIED 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 THEMES The treatment of strong themes should be justified by context.

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

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

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

DRUG USE 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 Nudity should be justified by context. Nudity must not be related to incentives or rewards. Note:

And the R18+ guidelines state the following:


IMPACT TEST 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 THEMES There are virtually no restrictions on the treatment of themes.

VIOLENCE 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.

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

LANGUAGE There are virtually no restrictions on language.

DRUG USE Drug use is permitted.

NUDITY Nudity is permitted.

And a game will be refused classification under these circumstances.

RC - REFUSED CLASSIFICATION 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:

CRIME OR VIOLENCE 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.

SEX 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.

DRUG USE 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.


    Clearly defined, and socially reasonable and fair. One thing though, some of these comments make me think that some of you will never be satisfied even with an R18+ rating! Settle down people, all the guidlines are saying, really, is no X-Rated Violence, sex and drugs - there is a distinction between R18+ and X (X being Refused Classification). If there was NO Refused Classification at all, f****d up shit would start appearing at seedy adult shops in your local town/city - havent you seen the state of the internet...

      haven't seen that suggested anywhere people are just curious about the ambiguity that some things have

    But what of little Timmy? He might become exposed to horrible acts of sex!. It will scar him for life!...
    (That is until his 14 and has seen more sex than a fully grown male has seen back in the 1970's) :\

    These guidelines make total sense from what I can see.

    They will make zero difference. July will come and go without incident. Bet on it.


    So we will get R 18... but we will still be restricted as adults by some games that will still be RC'd. GREAT. Thanks! Ugh.

    It looks like my pyronecrobeastiality simulation game still won't get through >:(

    Surprised Nudity is allowed in any form for M15+

    As for any piece of legislation or policy created by a Governing body, what we need right now is a page detailing the definitions of terms like "Strong and realistic violence" and 'Sexual activity".

    I'm astounded. A politician recommending something that is sensible, logical, enforceable. So many 'ables.

    In fact, the only thing that isn't pretty clear up front is how you define "practices which are offensive or abhorrent"... Given the rest of the measurements I'd hope that this is equally pragmatic but it does leave a fair bit open to interpretation.

    Who wants to start an anti Australian Christian Lobby group.Majority Australia Lobby...maybe.Sick of these freaks and the power they weild in Australian politics.Lets show them real people power.
    Whos with me???

    Guideline look good!

    Gears of war 3 has been rateded if anyone does not know

    It pisses me off that they actually still keep the violence & sexual restrictions.

    18+ is meant to allow for adults only material, yet they still treat us like children, telling us what we can and can't see.

      The restrictions are only on content that is deemed as offensive beyond decent standards or that involves high-impact violence.

      This is the same level as movies (apart from the X rating) - there's just some content that is considered offensive to public decency.

    Very fair and resonable I would say.

    Not sure if mortal combat would make it, seeing a Fatality where a dude gets ripped in half slowly from the crotch up as all his internal organs fall out could probably only be made worse using a chihuha, 3 bottles of lube and a close-up shot showing which half of him got to keep his tackle bag.

    But then I'm not the sort that giggles their ass off during horror movies. Still, GTA etc would still get through and if it's made illegal to sell to minors then the entire arguement can be reduced to "Timmy's parents say they can find their intelligence, would you mind checking down the back of the couch please".

    Small Problem, X-Rated movies are legal in this country.

    Only place to buy them is the territories like ACT & NT.

    I own knives, kitchen knives. I suspect in all kitchen's in this country there is a sharp knife. Do you realise how many kids could be at this moment dying from knife related deaths. How can parents keep these deadly deathdealing blades out of their children? I mean kids will get em anyway right?

      "How can parents keep these deadly deathdealing blades out of their children?" ????

      Did you mean to say out of their childrens grasp?

      Mind you when my daughter was one she did try to swallow everything so you may have a valid issue.

      Better take it to the ACL. See what the authorities on the subject have to say.

      * nods knowingly to cover up the fact he is bullshiting more that a herd of bull on laxatives *

        No I realy didn't I meant specificly out of their children.

      "Small Problem, X-Rated movies are legal in this country.

      Only place to buy them is the territories like ACT & NT."

      The Commonwealth lays down the guidelines but it is up to each State (or Territory) to enforce them as they see fit. When you say X18+ movies are legal in Australia - you mean they are legal to own and be watched by any adults (18 or over), in private.
      The buying of X18+ material is moot - its available for purchase here in NSW if you know where to look. What I find more interesting is the laws governing parents (or guardians) with respect to minors.
      Its illegal for a 14 year old to be sold MA15+ rated movies/games and R18+ movies - but its *not* illegal for the parent/guardian to supply their children with that material - nor is it illegal for the hypothetical 14 year old to watch R18+ movies if their parent/guardian is with them... (X18+ and RC private exhibition is still illegal).

      Another example is alcohol - I don't know if NSW law has changed but it never used to be illegal for a parent/guardian to supply their children with alcohol. This may have changed but even so - how can it be enforced?

      "I own knives, kitchen knives. I suspect in all kitchen’s in this country there is a sharp knife. Do you realise how many kids could be at this moment dying from knife related deaths. How can parents keep these deadly deathdealing blades out of their children? I mean kids will get em anyway right?"

      There are laws, preventing minors from buying certain types of knives in NSW - but I agree that doesn't stop idiots getting hold of them.
      My point is that rather than relying on state law to protect your kids, it is every parents responsibility not just to teach and enforce their own moral values, but to educate their children as-well.
      Trying to ban material, or censor it - or even trying to push your moral values onto everyone else doesn't work...

      I didn't mean "you" specifically 'DKnight1000'... I just used your comment to make my own point.

      I own knives, kitchen knives. I suspect in all kitchen’s in this country there is a sharp knife. Do you realise how many kids could be at this moment dying from knife related deaths. How can parents keep these deadly deathdealing blades out of their children? I mean kids will get em anyway right?

    "Nudity is permitted."


    Aww man by the sounds of that, Heroin Hero would be RC'd! D:

    So, wait? Who exactly is deciding what is considered morally abhorrent? I mean, my views on what's morally abhorrent is wildly different to what a government official would consider morally abhorrent. Drug use, really? Only implied sexual activity for 15-17 year olds? I wonder if the governments know the majority of people that age have gone further than simulating it. The levels of allowed violence are a bit sh***y as well. Surely they realize that you can use violence in a meaningful way?

    So what is the difference between MA15+ Strong Violence and R18+ High Violence

    Strong vs high... seems a little grey to me... Perhaps this should be defined a little more clearly.

    Sounds pointless, R18+ is still spoon feeding adults.

    can someone please tell my why Grand theft auto, if it were classified under these guidelines, wouldn't be stickered as an RC.
    violence, crime, drugs, as a incentives or reward??

      GTA may count as a parody and from memory all those things, within the story, lead the character to trouble in a subtle (sometimes blunt) way thus they are not a reward.

      If they can see fit to let GTAIV come out as an MA15+ game now, then surely it'll just be an easy slide up to R18+.. It's a no brainer.

      Rockstar, or any other publisher for that matter, won't be rubbing their hands together thinking "Sweet, Australia is back from the stone age, we're finally safe to make Grand Theft Virginity".

      Besides, the Australian PC retail version of GTAIV is unedited, I believe. Or, is it maybe missing the blood stained clothes? Anyways, it still has blowjobs.

    Looks like a good start, might be a couple points that are vague in their definition of "high" etc; but overall looks quite promising.

    These guidelines are actually better than I expected.

    Whilst I don't like the tightening up of MA15+, the R18+ category does allow more extreme content than the old MA15+ category and thus the classification system will indeed allow more violence, sex and 'bad' things than previously were allowed.

    This is good.

    How would the point about "Violence is permitted except where it offends against the standards of morality, decency and propriety" affect a game such as the uncensored version of Left 4 Dead 2?

    I believe it was initially RC'd due to the fact that melee weapons inflicted the most damage, causing copious amounts of blood spray, splatter, dismemberment, and intestinal spillage.

    IMO, bashing/shooting a horde of zombies trying to kill you doesn't affect the notion of "I am brutally harming a 'human'", we all know zombies don't exist, as much as Christianity likes to believe differently, it just can't happen.

    'Decency' and 'Propriety' flies out the window as soon as the notion of human self defence, and survival instincts kick in. Who in the world would just lay down and die a painful death to a horde of zombies, rather than protecting yourself and your friends.
    as for

    Oh good, it's nice to know the R18+ rating won't change anything and that The Witcher will still get censored over here for dealing with an actual real issue.

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