Brendan O’Connor: Classification Must Be ‘Clear, Simple And Consistent’

Brendan O’Connor: Classification Must Be ‘Clear, Simple And Consistent’

Speaking at the Game-Tech conference today in Sydney, Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor briefly discussed the ongoing Classification Review and provided an insight into the Gillard Government’s intentions with regards to the future of classification in Australia. The overarching point? Classification must be “clear, simple and consistent”.

“Computer games along with other forms of media interaction are portable, ubiquitous and networked,” claimed O’Connor, “and that will have a huge influence on the future of video game classification and content regulation more generally.

“That’s why the government understands that they have the responsibility to deliver reforms that achieve the important objective of minimising the regulatory burden on industry. In 1996 when the current legislation that underpins the national classification scheme came into effect it was based on what now seems to be an old fashioned paradigm.”

“We recognise that convergence and globalisation has revolutionised the way people access information and entertainment,” he continued. “That’s why we’ve taken a pro-active approach to ensure that the classification system keeps pace with technological change and other changes in the marketplace.”

“We need to come up with clear, simple and consistent rules for classification that can adapt to any media content and distribution platform.”

We couldn’t agree more.


  • The man is correct, although the language he uses is that of a career politician. Something that always makes me wary.

    Seriously, who can say “paradigm” or “convergence” whilst talking about “regulatory burden” and keep a straight face?

    • I’d say they’re there to make him sound intelligent, rather than ‘weasel words’ to give him a backdoor out of the argument. The latter is what you need to worry about.

      • It is a little amusing that he’s talking about something being clear, simple and consistent when using a lot of big, empty words that obfuscate the message.

          • If you think that’s confusing work a month in my office (WA Dept of Planning). Your brain will either explode or melt out your ears, 50/50 chance and no third option. I keep begging them to stop bringing in work experience.

        • +1

          It comes off as sounding hopeful without ever actually committing to anything. Grade A prime politicking.

  • I’m glad he’s keeping the issue on the books.
    It was neglected for a long time before the furor early last year and I think even gamers are in a holding pattern until the SCAG meeting in July.
    But it’s important to remember it’s still significant, even if we’re not making any noise at the moment, and progress is on the way.

  • Such exciting commentary.

    Bodes very well for the broad classification review, for those who want a consistent and modern scheme.

    Wetting my pants to see what the final recommendations are.

  • Seriously, people, if you care about the R18+ issue at all (and related things like the internet filter), don’t just sit around on your arses waiting for SCAG to make up its minds. Make a submission to the Classification Review.

    Yes, it does require a bit of work. But the Australian Christian Lobby and their ilk will almost certainly be making submissions. Don’t let them dominate the debate.

    • Bookbuster, that has been done and has been done many times. I am one of the many that have made a submission – even back when Michael Atkinson kept stone-walling the debate.

      And yet, the Lobby still dominates because they somehow have secured this unbreakable clout.

      • Er, no, a full-fledged review of the classification system, let alone one conducted by a well-respected effectively independent body like the ALRC, hasn’t been conducted for around 20 years. Contributing is extremely worthwhile.

        • Furthermore…

          Look, there are a lot of different reviews going on at the moment, doing different things and being conducted by different people. However, the Classification Review is perhaps the most important one going on at the moment, because it’s the only one that carries with it the potential for root-and-branch classification and censorship reform. It’s not just about the R18+ issue. What it is about is whether things like SCAG, that gave Michael Atkinson the ability to stonewall, as you put it, should continue. It’s about whether SCAG is a fair system. It’s about whether the ratings systems we have for all media are effective. It’s about how we should be managing these things in the future.

          So, yes, even if you’ve submitted to every review up until now and fought the good fight against Mick, read the issues paper and submit to classrev.

  • I’m quite shocked at how dedicated O’Connor seems to be on this issue. Most politicians would have moved on to something more ‘voter-friendly’ by now.

    I’m starting to think he actually might give a shit.

    • Mate, seriously, please. Don’t swear.

      This is the ACL works – they manufacture an image of gamers which is completely false and then hope that outraged games will reacted in the pre-designed way to make their fictions fact.

      We need to act in a calm and mature manner so that their manufacture remains a work of fiction.

      • I understand where you’re coming from and I agree but it’s not like I said LOLZ OLD DOUCHE BITCH DUNNO NUTHIN HALOOZZZZ FTW!

        The day that hateful, ignorant groups like the ACL and their idiotic, damaging views have any kind of influence on what I write or say or the passion and anger I have felt about this issue for years is the day I stop breathing.

        And I totally agree about discussing this issue in a calm, mature manner. If only groups like the ACL would think the same.

    • I don’t know anything, but I’d wager the classification experts have LONG thought this an issue that needed reforming, but there just hasn’t been sufficient political will behind actually doing it.

      Will be very interested to see how a “consistent” classification scheme plays out in the classification review…

  • “proactive approach”… what a crock of s***!!!

    These guys have been procrastinating over this for at least a year – or at least thats how long the media has been putting pressure on them.

    If it wasn’t for the gaming community and the media putting this pressure on them, i’m sure they would all be a bunch of unknowns that do nothing, and we wouldn’t see any change in the classification system…. oh wait… it’s like that anyway isnt it!

  • “We need to come up with clear, simple and consistent rules for classification that can adapt to any media content and distribution platform.”

    I agree. Ratings should have parity across platforms. That books and movies can get away with more extreme content and get lower ratings than their video game counterparts is completely irrational.

  • I’m sorry, but I’m still remaining skeptical about the intent behind O’Connor and the Labor Government’s push for this new reform. I believe the reason they want this ratings reform so bad, is because it would be easier to apply it to their compulsory internet filter. I mean, yeah. We may finally be able to look forward to certain releases without wondering whether or not it’ll get banned, but it’ll come at the cost of our freedom on the internet.

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