Brendan O’Connor And R18+: “I’m Relieved It’s Over”

Brendan O’Connor And R18+: “I’m Relieved It’s Over”

We’ve just spoken to Brendan O’Connor about today’s decision on R18+, and confirmed that he believes an R18+ rating will be put in place before the end of the year. He expressed relief that the issue now appears to be in the final stages of approval.

“It can happen because NSW just need to take it back to their cabinet and discuss it,” said O’Connor. “They didn’t say no, they actually said they didn’t want to be the odd one out – so that sound positive considering the eight other states agreed in principle.

“And the reason it says ‘in principle’ is that there are some amendments that have to be made, and that’s just a matter of the Attorneys-General taking these amendments back to their cabinets and approving it.

“I’m relieved it’s over. And I’m especially appreciative of the WA and VIC Attorneys-General for their help on this.”

We asked O’Connor how he felt about the situation being resolved, since his campaign for an R18+ rating in Australia arguably put him at reasonable political risk.

“Well, I really threw myself out on a limb with this one!” He laughed. “I felt that rather than take a back seat, you really have to go out there and take a lead. If you want to be in public life you have to put policy in place, and this is good policy.”

We agree wholeheartedly with that sentiment.


  • I’d never heard of this guy until Kotaku posted an article a while ago saying “Brendan O’Connor says it’s gonna happen whether the AGs agree or not”, but I sure like him.

    Hell, at nearly 27 years of age, he’s the first politician I know that’s stood up for something and made sure it happened.

  • I’m not in the habit of praising politicians, but I have to say this guy is the exception to that rule. If it had not been for his firm stance on this issue I don’t think we would have made it this far. For that, Mr. O’Connor, I (and every other adult in the f*cking country) thanks you. 🙂

  • Nice work Mr O’Connor – mucho respecto.

    Not sure just how much of a political limb you’re going out on when you push for something that 80+% of the population are in favour of, though 😛

    • He’s going out on a limb because he’s pissing off the Christian Lobby groups that provide support to the party in exchange for keeping our country in the Dark Ages.

      You know how Adelaide is known as the city of Churches? Thats why they keep making silly descisions about stickers and hiding dvd covers.

      Kudos, Brendan!

      • Umm… Statistically, Adelaide doesn’t anymore churches then any other city and i haven’t seen any store in SA that actually sell R18+ DVDs with plain packaging, they are in their own separate section but that’s not really anything to bitch about.

        • I remember when my local video store had that “Other Section”.
          Are the ones in SA a little room at the back with those bead curtains?

          • Yes, it’s the “city Of churches” because in its early years it was one of the few places where people could practice their religion freely without fear of persecution or harrassment. Not because there are an unusually large number of physical church buildings, but because there were an unusual (for the time) number of churches (Church of England, Catholic, Lutheran, etc) all living side by side and more or less getting along with each other.

  • Amen, sister.

    I’m particularly impressed that he got Christian Porter and Robert Clark to come around. Clark, especially, is regarded as one of the most moralistic and conservative members of the Victorian government.

    I think O’Connor probably needs a rest now 😉

  • Why is everyone celebrating? Kudos to O’Connor and I applaud his efforts but the fact is they’ve said the draft guidelines have been amended “specifically paying attention to violence and sexual violence.” It’s almost certain now that it’ll be just like the current MA classification but rebranded as R.

    • But that’s notthe entire point here. There are many kids who don’t understand the difference between games and real life. Having the system implemented will allow parents to know that some of the current MA 15 games are simply not suitable.

    • Sometimes the issue goes beyond us adults wanting to play Mortal Kombat. Yes, that’s a significant reason for us to advocate for the reworking of the classification system, to allow adults be adults, but it’s also so we can see that parents and guardians make informed decisions over the games their kids play and the content we’re exposing to our minors, especially as us adults are trying to push for us to gain access to what was formerly deemed excessive content.

    • remember that the classification board is an independant body, and they make the descisions. Do you think, no matter how legislation is worded, that Mortal Kombat would not be classified if the R rating existed?

      • It’s difficult to say I think. It really depends on the wording of what is acceptable violence in an R category. What mainly frustrates me is that film doesn’t get this treatment in its own guidelines. I really want to see what they’ve changed.

        • lets be specific – 15-17 year olds are minors, a comment reffering to the RC of MK was ‘the game is not appropriate for any minors, therefore we could not give this game an MA15+’
          Should the R18+ rating exist, regardless of wording, they are classifying for adults, not minors.

  • Looking at this while I’m in a lecture………resisting the urge to fist pump into the air and yell “hell yeah!”

  • What I want to know is if the R18+ rating does actually come about, will they be re-releasing the games that have been censored or banned?

    I so want to get my hands on uncensored L4D2!

    • Google search “Left 4 Uncut” version 2.1

      It’s a trainer that enables gore and you can still play through steam with friends.

    • It’s not retroactive. Games refused classification or censored for classification have to stay that way.

      I’d expect that the publisher would be able to re-submit the game should they want to, but there is a fee involved. For most publishers it’d be a huge hassle, they’d have to release a separate version with the correct ratings or if they patched it in, they’d have to recall any physical copies and reprint their covers with the new rating. In addition to the classification fee. For most publishers, this is way too much work.

    • Unless Valve spend more money trying to appeal the board’s decision to ban uncensored L4D2, I highly doubt it will be let through

  • I’ve had such a strong opinion of this for years now, believing that an adult rating would be good for us adult gamers, as well as for the sake of making a firm distinction between games for younger gamers and those specifically for us older folk. lets hope this goes through and becomes law soon!

  • “I felt that rather than take a back seat, you really have to go out there and take a lead”

    So he lead on a decisive issue…. that’s his job. I’m just happy this SHOULD come to a close and even happier it may be quite soon. Good job Brendan, good job.

  • WOOOO!
    Michael Atkinson must be spinning in his grave!
    What?…But he looked like…not even after all the death threats and hate?…and people say video games make people violent…
    Michael, you were a worthy, if cheap and OP, opponent.

  • Thank you, Attorney-General O’Connor, for publicly going in to bat for adult Australian gamers.

    Particular impressed that he shared credit (or blame, depending on your POV) with 2 Coalition AGs. Stay classy, Brendan.

  • My hat goes off to Mr. O’Connor. He seems to be one of the very few politicians to posses a degree of integrity and commonsense. Well done mate.

    I don’t think NSW will hold us back, I think it’s just a matter of getting passed a few more formalities on their part. Either way, O’Connor said we’re getting an R rating, so win win.

  • Nice work Brendan, glad to see a polly put a stop the silly one stands in the way of many.

    Great to hear our gaming classification has moved into this century.

  • I’d love someone (possibly Mark, if you see this) to clarify something:

    Assuming we get the R18+ rating put in place. Does this mean that games with more objectionable content may be released, or simply that some which would currently get put in the MA15+ bracket get bumped up?

    (e.g. if L4D2 or MK9 were to have been released once the R18+ rating was in, would they be allowed or banned?)

    I ask this because on the ACL website someone linked to, they were happy that “it appears that the existing ceiling for games has been maintained”, which they go on to say means that any game which would currently not be banned would remain so even with an R18+ category.

    • Existing games that were refused classification won’t be reclassified. That’s what O’Connor said a while back – I think that still applies. 🙁

      • Sorry, I should have clarified – I was (ineptly) trying to ask what would happen to new games which have the same ‘level of impact’ as, say L4D2 or MK9, being classified under the new scheme.

        i.e. does the R18+ rating allow for a higher level of impact, or does it remain the same? (I hope that’s a clearer question).

        As for existing games, my understanding is that publishers can resubmit the game for reclassification at their expense.

      • That is completely illogical. They are not RC because they belong in the RC category, they’re there because they did not fit in the MA15+ category, and the R18+ category didn’t exist for them to fall into. Hopefully this was just some fluff to keep the ACL happy.

  • It hasn’t happened yet. I’ll believe it when I see it. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Anyway, this will take all the fun out of importing. I thought I was so cool importing Mortal Kombat until I found out every gamer I knew was doing it. I guess it makes little difference whether they pass this or not. Even if a game isn’t banned I end up importing it just to save money. At least Australia will no longer be the laughing stock of the world. Now Germany will have to take all the brunt instead.

  • Now they just have to overhaul those terrible rating’s logos that cover half the artwork 😉

  • I’m so jaded about this that I almost don’t give a stuff

    I’ll believe it when it’s implemented *properly* and wholeheartedly, not half-arsed or a kiddies version of what it should be

  • Until I see games on shelves with the R18 sticker, I refuse to get too excited. I’m sick of the roller coaster ride.

    I remain hopeful, but too often this debate has backflipped and left me hurting…

  • One sec guys, NSW didnt agree, so we haven’t got the R18 system yet? Or is there something I’ve missed

  • I feel like I’ve been watching someone attempt to feed their child (who is obviously starving hungry) some delicious dinner when the child has been screaming and tantruming, throwing food and bawling at the top of their lungs with snot streaming out of their nose.

    So yeah, I’ve run the gambit of emotions from “what?! but you LIKE this” to “fine, I hope you starve and die”. I’m rather fed up with the whole thing.

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