NSW AG Greg Smith Remains Vague On R18+

When it comes to the R18+ issue, the new NSW Attorney General Greg Smith has arguably been the most inaccessible. After initial inquiries we were told he needed time to formulate an opinion. Then we were told to call back closer to the SCAG meeting in July. Now, after writing to Smith, we've had a reply - and his position is... vague.

"While I have noted your enquiry about my position on this matter," begins his reply, "it is important to recognise that, under the National Classification Scheme, new classification categories cannot be introduced without the unanimous agreement of all Commonwealth, State and Territory Censorship Ministers. In addition, prior to Ministers considering whether or not to change the Classification Scheme, there must be national consultation on the proposed change."

It's a position that sounds very similar to the Victorian AG Robert Clark's position, who claimed that the Federal Government's proposed guidelines required "careful scrutiny and public debate".

Later in the letter, Smith stated that the views of the community and his Minsterial Colleagues would inform his final decision.

"A decision regarding the introduction of an R18+ classification is expected to be made by Censorship Ministers at their meeting in July 2011," he continues. "On that issue I can only advise that I support the national approach to classification and will be informed by the views of the community and my Ministerial colleagues."


    I swear these AG's all use the same reply template. This sounds exactly like all the other non-answers I've seen.

    "I am aware this is an important issue, that's why I won't make my uninformed, stalling decision until I'm behind closed doors and not held accountable in any way. By the way, tell the Australian Christian Lobby the meeting time has changed to 2.30pm"

    " In addition, prior to Ministers considering whether or not to change the Classification Scheme, there must be national consultation on the proposed change.”


    We had consultation already, i swear when ever they discuss this stuff the AG's must put their fingers in their ears and yell


    These guys are elected officials who represent the people...
    but they cant tell the people they represent how they are going to represent them... Anyone else find this funny?

    To me this reads like "I don't give a shit about this issue at all, so I'll wait and see what everyone else thinks and vote accordingly".

    So, basically, he wants to see what the others say and just agree with the majority. MMMMMM thems some good politics!

    Which community will he be informed by, I wonder...
    The views expressed in the public debate and overwhelming feedback in support of an R18 rating from the responses to the initial proposal?
    The views of the Association of Catholic Bishops, also in support of an R18 rating?
    The views of the community who signed the petitions at GAME and EB in support of the rating?
    Or the views of the ACL who have been referencing outdated and disputed data and personal opinion in their arguments against the rating?
    And will you be informed by your Ministerial colleagues in the SCAG, your federal colleagues like Brendan O'Connor and the Prime minister, or your state ministers who are (or should be) more concerned with utilities and services which are their responsibility?

    So basically, he's going to figure out whether he'll get in trouble with anyone or not if he agrees.

    Well that's good news. He'll be "informed by the views of the community". That's the same community that shows ~90% support for an R rating, so I guess we can count him as a vote for our side, right?

    *awkward silence*


    *crickets chirping*

      +1. Well said.

    On the former... a) I believe the question was regarding his opinion, so while it is "important to recognise that...", it is essentially irrelevant to the question asked.
    And b) where has he been for the last two years? How much public debate is required before the AGs realise "Hey, hasn't this been done before?" It looks like we're still at the "By Jove, it looks as if they're trying to tell us something!" stage.

    On the latter, it sounds like he's just going to go with the flow - he'll side with the majority.

    "I can only advise that I support the national approach to classification"

    That doesn't sound vague to me. It suggests that he supports the federal government's position, which is pro-R18.

      Nah, it just means he isn't going to "go it alone" as suggested by a couple of other AsG.

        Peer Group Pressure:

        Getting shit done since the dawn of civilisation.

    So he's a pushover then. This could be a good thing, or a bad thing for us.

    please, get this man a bowl of water to wash his hands in...

    Wait... he said WHAT now?!?
    *scratches head*

    I feel like he should have just ended with 'ujelly?'

    how much time is being wasted on consultation and review, these guys sit at a SCAG like 3 times a year. just think of how many other important issues are being sidelined because they can't make up their minds on a rating for video games...

    on a related note, i saw an actual 12 year old boy smoking cigarettes today at a bus station. these politicians are worried that VIDEO GAMES have an adverse effect on kids...?

      You can smoke in MGS4. Ban it.

        Derp, I dunno if you can in 4, can't remember. You can in 2 though. Joke fail.

          Yeah you can in 4, Snakes smoking in half the damn game!!!

    SCAG will make their decision as soon as they finalise their position on whether the Earth is round. Unfortunately the evidence presented to them so far on this Earth thingy is still under debate....

      I say we need more discussion and community consultation on this Earth shape debate!

    So basicly in the first bit he is informing us of the process which we are already WELL aware of (hopefully after the time he took familiarise with the issue he is aware that that there already has been extensive consultation) and later he states that when the decision will be make (again common knowledge) before giving us what can only be a described as a non-decision.

    Is there any way we get to know how the AsG vote in the SCAG meeting, I think that we have a right to know how our elected representatives have chosen to represent us rather then them playing political bull$%#* and sticking with the status-quo without having to put their name down as being opposed to the proposal.

    I say this because I feel certain that some politician is going to play it safe and say "wait until the national classification review comes out at the end of the year" and I think we have a right to know who is opposing change that effects the entire country. I am sicck and tired of politicians that can say "no" in the meeting and then say "it's very dissappointing that we didn't come to a decision" when it all over without some accountability!

      "Is there any way we get to know how the AsG vote in the SCAG meeting, I think that we have a right to know how our elected representatives have chosen to represen"

      ^^ This.

      This is one of the best things i've heard in a very long time. Kudos to you, sir.

    Yes, we get it, you don't really care so you'll just see which way the wind blows at SCAG. Well how about we finally get the inevitible R rating done and the you can focus on th issues you consider more important, just like I said in my letter to you. Oh, will I be getting a response from you any time soon?

    seriously i wonder if the ACL are lining this guys pockets to stay against it

    For fucks sake, just introduce the damn rating already! These politicians don't actually take homophobic idiots like the ACL seriously, do they?

    I'm calling it now: SCAG will push it further again because of not enough evidence (read: ACL bullshit) or because they think its a pointless endeavour.

    Possibly the best thing to be takedn from this release, and there isn't much, to be honest, is that it seems he is not inclined one way or the other, and is unlikely too be a sticking point if the majority vote yes.
    The main danger at this stage, hopefully, is if one of the SCAG decides to say no, which none have given a clear sign of yet, or if one abstains for further consultation, at which point Brendan O'Connor breaks his fingers with the list of facilities where the submissions in support of an R18 rating are being stored.

    The AGs are chosen to be so due to their understanding of law. If they (apparently) can understand the logic and illogic of the law, surely they can understand the logic and illogic in this debate...

    O, I forgot, they are lazy, backstabbing, self-centred politicians, not legal experts, becuase if they were, they wouldn't be politicians, they'd be doing something, like a lawyer or a judge.

    Look, do any of us honestly BELIEVE that these turkeys can come to a unanimous 'yes' position come July? Anyone? Nope. Thought not.

    When the next meeting roles around it'll be the same thing we heard at the last meeting. Brendan O'Connor will say something to the effect of "There was a real feeling of progression in the room, but some of the AGs feel they need more time to fully explore the issue with their respective communities and cabinets. I'm confident we'll reach a unanimous agreement at the next meeting in December."

    Whatever. I've given up on this being resolved in the near future. I'll just continue to import and or pirate whatever these idiots claim is unsuitable for me as a mid-20s adult.

    Things like this used to make me angry, now it just makes me sad, my personal campaign of civil disobediance (Buying games they say I can't have online) is at least effective in that I play what I want.

    But come on this has been an issue for what a decade? Longer? Seriously a decade, ten years of stalling, screwing round and having this wonderful country of ours being a laughing stock on the international stage. Many of you have raised good logical issues and questions over the course of Mark's articles, probaly longer and I thank you for that. Props to Greg, I imagine if when a AG gets voted out because he doesn't support R ratings on games we'd get the Rating the next day.

    I hope I'm wrong, but I see the result of this upcoming Meeting being the gaming population (Average age 37) having it's collective face in two palms, because one simply won't be enough.

    Oh, people talking about smoking, I remember smoking in MGS1 on the PSX to steady yourself with the sniper rifle and to see the lasers.

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