New TAS Attorney-General Supports R18+

New TAS Attorney-General Supports R18+

Pro R18+ Attorney-General for Tasmania David Bartlett resigned earlier this month, which sent alarm bells ringing for some. Thankfully, we’ve just gotten word that his successor, Brian Wightman, is following Bartlett by supporting the introduction of an adult rating for video games.

We have been trying to get in contact with Wightman, and are expecting a phone call today, but later last week journalism student, and Kotaku reader, James Sheppard interviewed him for an assigment, and asked him about his stance.

During the interview Wightman claimed that he fully intended to push for an R18+ rating at the next SCAG meeting.

“It’s not going to completely stop children getting this material,” he said, “it will reduce those that do and it definitely won’t make things worse.”

Despite the fact that you would expect Brian Wightman to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor in his support of an R18+ rating for video games, it’s still a relief to hear it confirmed.

We’ve just gotten off the phone with Brian Wightman’s office who confirmed his stance. We’ll be speaking to him on more detail soon, hopefully this Friday.

Thanks to James Sheppard, for letting us know and providing the quotes.


  • Good news.

    There’s still at least two or three other As-G who are against it, unfortunately, so unless things change in the next month or so the Commonwealth might need to explore its legal options.

    Robert Clark in particular has been outspoken in his opposition.

      • Rob Hulls in Victoria was really strongly for it, then the ALP lost government and his successor (Robert Clark) is very much against the reform.

        Same thing with NSW’s Greg Smith (new LNP A-G).

        Then there’s WA’s Porter. So probably three against it. Maybe more?

        • I think it’ll happen in July. I believe. I think there’s an element of playing to the crowds by those three.

          • Regardless of how this issue has blackened my heart, I’ll bet I’ll be caught up in a wild frenzy of misplaced hope during the meeting by your posts/tweets.

            Pretty sure you got me so on edge last time that I threatened to burn down Oprah’s Hawaii mansion. I’m sure there was a correlation but hell if I can remember.

        • Same thing with NSW’s Greg Smith (new LNP A-G).

          Proof that Barry O’Fail’s government is just as bad as any other…NSW politics is a quagmire of unimaginable corruption and stupidity.

  • That journalism student was all
    ‘I’m James Sheppard, and this is my favourite AG in the country.’

    • James here
      unfortunately he wouldn’t let me record any video or audio 🙁

      he is a nice enough guy but he was not aware of all the issue about the r18 rating as he had only learnt about it from hearsay and a 4-5 page brief.

      i would have preferred Bartlett (had an interview lined up for him the day he resigned) as Bartlett knows more about this issue and i have met him several times before.

  • “It’s not going to completely stop children getting this material, it will reduce those that do and it definitely wont make things worse.”

    The best possible stance we can take here, and I’m glad he sees it that way. Groups like the ACL will say an R18+ rating just hands graphic adult material over to children, but what they fail to accept is that it’s currently much easier for children to get their hands on inappropriate content because MA15+ is so bloated with content that should be R18+ anyway.

    Yes, some content that’s more graphic and adult than what the classification board is willing to permit under MA15+ will get in once we have an R18+, we can’t pretend that’s not true. And yes, there’s a possibility some of it’s going to end up in the hands of children.

    But it will be better monitored, by retaillers and parents alike. Generally speaking, less content that’s inappropriate for children will make it to children if people have more comprehensive and clear guidelines to adhere to.

    Ultimately, there’s less risk of parents inadvertantly exposing their children to this kind of content. The kids who are persistent enough to view R18+ content will do so whether such restrictions exist or not, hell, they already are. Films, internet, magazines… I don’t see classification stickers on books, and there’s some pretty racy literature out there.

    Allowing stronger adult themes in a handful of videogames won’t change the content reaching minors for the better or for the worse – it might have a MARGINAL effect on the medium the content reaches them, but beyond that?

    • You’ve pretty much summed it all. Retailers need to enforce the checking of ID for purchases and inform the parents of minors on the rating and content in these games. It should be monitored just like when 18 year olds go to pubs and bouncers check their ID’s to allow entry, and if purchases are made by minors, then the retailer should be fined just like they are fined when they sell a game before it’s release date.

  • More good news. It’s just a pity I am too jaded from years of dissapointment to derive any joy from it.

  • One thing I wish that the platform holders would do is properly advertise their parental controls. Want to prevent your kids playing R18+ games? Both the major current-gen console systems allow you to limit what can be played on the system, and the same capability exists in Windows as well as far as I know. Simple directions for setting it up IMO should be included on a leaflet with the system.

    • Those particular settings should be controlled only through the websites of their particular services.

      If it’s on the console then it’s too easy for the kids to change… and it should send you an email when it has been edited so you can tell if junior has modified it.

      • Nah, then you’d need an always-on internet connection to check what the settings are and a lot of consoles aren’t always connected. Not to mention the issues that would be caused by a prolonged service outage like PSN just had. The parental controls are PIN protected which is good enough. If you can keep your ATM card PIN secret from your kids then you can keep the parental lock PIN secret. And if you can’t keep your ATM PIN secret then violent videogames are the least of your problems.

  • This is going to be a long, drawn out war. It will be blocked again in July by the LNP AGs who want to play politics like the arseholes that they are, but the Commonwealth will explore other options.

    • What is Brendan O’Conner going to do federally if they cant agree this time? I know he said something about taking it federal but does anyone know what?

      • It should be a mortal kombat style battle to the death. Obviously without any fatalities because those are too scary

  • That quote is darn solid, and I really like a politician saying a rational and very true fact such as this. Good to have you with us good sir!

  • Any chance of an article asking us for some questions for the AG if you are going to be speaking to him? Not sure how much of an interview you will be getting, or how much people will want to know, but might still get some good questions from the community.

  • Until the Price of game locally = Price of importing, then the issue of R18+ is a non-starter for me.
    Cost is the biggest driver for me to import rather than classification.
    Waiting for these idiots to come to a consensus is an exercise in frustration that could be better spent gaming!

      • What does it matter? Do you have that much of a moral conscience that you can’t import something that ONLY Australia deems illegal?

        I love my copy of Mortal Kombat, my uncensored copy of Dark Sector, Silent Hill Homecoming, hell even my copy of Reservoir Dogs as terrible as it was, was proof that this country is so backwards.

        I don’t even care if the R18+ comes into play, I will still import. When they stop marking games up 200% and stop ripping us off, I might buy something, but until then, EVERYTHING other than the impossible things, I import.

  • Mark Serrels, could you give us a checklist of whose for, whose against and whose fence sitting among the AG’s?

    I’m curious to know the division.

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