NSW AG's Office: We're 'Not Against R18+', Not 'Derailing' The Decision

Yesterday Gamespot reported that NSW were set to "derail" the R18+ decision. We've just spoken to a spokesperson for Greg Smith who strongly denied these reports, claiming that the AsG need to look at R18+ "after the ALRC report to make sure this thing is right".

"Any suggestion that we're trying to derail the R18+ rating for games is completely untrue," claimed the spokesperson. "Is a train derailed because it stops at a station? All we're trying to do is create a situation where we have more certainty for gamers when it comes to classification, instead of rushing into something.

"We're not against an the R18+ rating for games at all," he continued, "we just don't want to rush it through. For example, we don't agree with what John Rau wants to do either with removing MA15+ - instead of browbeating let's get a national approach."

While most of us are keen to get R18+ approved as soon as possible, it seems as though the Attorney-General's office in NSW is asking for patience. Considering the fact that we are on the cusp of what could be the biggest shake-up of classification in decades, Greg Smith's office believes that waiting for the broad ALRC report makes more sense than rushing the rating through at July's SCAG meeting.

"This has been on the agenda for a very long time now - over 10 years now? Waiting a little bit longer to make sure classification is done correctly is not derailing the process - why the rush now? We would just end up with bad policy.

"We understand the determination of gamers to get this thing through, but we need to look at it after the ALRC report to make sure this thing is right."

Overall, this appears to be good news. Being perfectly honest, expecting an R18+ rating to be passed months before the ALRC report is, and always was, an impossible dream - the best we can hope for at this stage is some sort of consensus in preparation for the final report early next year.

Let's hope we get that, at the very least, we get that consensus.


    This is one of the reasons why I maintain that classification should be a federal issue, not one handled by the states.

    The current system that the Attorneys-General operate under is simply too inefficient to do anything but sit and wait.

      It shouldn't be a government issue at all. Nanny state rubbish.

      There shouldn't be any national "classification" scheme, it's censorship plain and simple. Make it voluntary, if publishers want to sell their content to children they'll provide the details the parents demand (or they could use one of the numerous websites that provide MUCH better information then what the current "classification" scheme provides).

        I also think it should actually be a classification system (which is meant to inform customers about what they're viewing), not a censorship system (which is meant to restrict access to content). But that's another issue entirely.

          you are not getting the big picture. those violent games are not targeted at children. all we want is so that we adults can enjoy some quality blood gore games besides, it;s the parents fault. i am sure they can tell if a games is violent just by looking at it or watching youtube.

    Just rush it through and get it right later! In the spirit of many game companies!

      Yeah don't they realise you can patch legislation, they're called ammendments. :P

      Nah seriously overall this looks like good news long term. Still a bit scared my local WA A/G will be a hold out. Haven't seen anything suggesting Christian Porter is for an R18 rating.

    So in other words, he started getting a large number of emails from us Kotaku readers and backpeddling.

    Lets be honest: there has been MORE than enough work done on Video game ratings. Every time there's a state election and a new AG are we going to have to wait again simply because while they've been in office there hasn't been enough discussion?

    This is a case of uneducation on the minister's behalf in my opinion.

      Looks like greg smith needs more emails regarding the topic of "ammendments" and "10 years is not rushing"

    Why the rush now?? I dunno, probably because we've waited a decade already!

    Obviously just stalling, I can't see it any other way

    As long as patience pays off and we get that R18+ rating, I'll be happy. I do wish that the decision could've been made years ago though...

    "This has been on the agenda for a very long time now – over ten years now? Waiting a little bit longer to make sure classification is done correctly is not derailing the process – why the rush now? We would just end up with bad policy."

    As appose to waiting now and continue the current bad and inconsistent policy?

    Seriously if it has been on the agenda for 10 years I say hurry up and get it down with as clearly it has been there for far too long.

    Laura Parker caught sensationalising an article just generate page-views and controversy, again?


      A bit unfair I think - I didn't agree with the choice of words in the headline, but NSW AG is effectively using his power to delay the process. She broke the story, so deserves kudos for that.

      Just my opinion.

    It's the same excuse EVERYTIME! We've had to wait for two surveys, two reports now, AND two new AG's who didn't research the issues they'd be tackling BEFORE they took the job. No I don't think they're against it but this is typical beauracracy at itr worst!

    Yeah, but they could still agree that it needs to happen and leave the review to sort out the details and work it into legislation afterward. They haven't even agreed we should have the rating in the first place.

      Exactly! Tell the ALRC, "We agree in principle, but we leave the implementation up to you to figure out"

    But when the train has stopped at the station for over a decade and the problem can be fixed but wont because the mechanic needs a second opinion then we know something is wrong and everyone knows its just a deliberate stalling tactic.

      We also call that train "gosh darn late" but with harsher words. We would have caught a bus in the meantime, but, you know, Sydney public transport. It's probably stuck on Victoria Road somewhere.

    This issue isn't worthy of being handled by the states. Their inefficiency is just too much. I want efficiency. Efficiency leads to results. For this case, it seems like the Federal Government are the only potential ones who can provide our long desired outcome.

    They might have their hearts in the right place (so they say), but I won't hold my breath for any real change.

    Legislation has been getting post-release patches since before EA ever existed. What's the hold-up?

    Also, on balance I reckon Australia would be better run by one giant Federal government with the States just being administrative subunits.

    This screams of "damage control"

    *sigh* The problem with this is tha it's not 'just a little bit longer'. It's several more *years* before there's any action. Not only does the ALRC have to complete their report, which is a year long process, but then the feds have to read it and discuss it and decide which reccomendations they're going to take up. And then they've got to develop and *pass* legislation based on it. So, I'd say we'd be looking at 2013 at the very earliest.

      Further to that, there's nothing wrong at all with the idea of implementing an R18+ rating for games as an *interim* measure. It's not bad policy. Bad policy is what's let them put off this decision for almost fifteen years in the face of overwhelming public support.

      And not implementing this change, in the face of all that, sets an extremely bad precedent for future classification matters, regardless of whatever system we end up operating under. It says to any future legislator - hey, you *can* ignore classification issues until they go away or become someone else's responsibility!

    They introduced a carbon tax with less preparation/consultation/reviews/planning than what they are doing with R18. Face it people, it won't happen!

      Think what you like about the carbon tax, but this comment is retarded.

      If you think the overwhelming evidence, studies, economic modelling, international co-operation and guidance FOR the inroduction of a price on carbon is LESS than the amount of work done towards implementing an R18+ rating for videogames in Australia, you have some much bigger problems at hand. Being unable to distinguish reality from fantasy chief among them.

        I'm guessing by your vitriolic response you are very pro carbon tax and that has brought the red mist down over your eyes with respect to my post.

        I don't care one way or the other for it, but to suggest that the timeframes/requests for submittions etc that has been applied to the R18 issue is far less than that applied to the introduction of a carbon tax then it is you sir that are not in complete control of your faculties.

        When did you see umpteen reports and submissions from the public re Carbon Tax in between now and when Gillard said pre-election that there would be no tax?

          Nice derail attempt - think you could find a more tenuous link to moan about the carbon price?

    But can the ALRC do anything without the approval of the COAG?
    Wasn't the big issue of the last 10 years that there had to be a AG consensus before ratings could be introduced?
    So why can't the AGs give the rating a thumbs up to give the ALRC the freedom to dictate the terms of the classification?

      I'm not sure, but are you mixing up the ALRC and OFLC? The Australian Law Review Commission is the one doing the review. The Office of Film and Literature Classification is the one waiting on the SCAG to approve a new rating.

        Uh, the OFLC doesn't exist anymore. It's now the Classification Board. It's actually the Commonwealth Attorney General's Office that's commissioned this review, on beahalf of the current government. The driver for it is actually the mandatory internet filter plan, not the R18+ issue.

      The ALRC is compelte independent of SCAG. They're a Federal organisation designed soley to make reccomendations on how to improve our laws, and they're considered to be quite good and fair about it.

      *However*, part of what the ALRC is doing is reviewing the legislation that created SCAG to see if it works, and if SCAG is an effetive tool for managing classification & censorship policy. If you think the situation sucks, as I do, keep an eye out for chances to contribute to their review. The key words you want to look out for are 'Intergovernmental Agreement' or 'Cooperative Agreement'.

    You can't derail a train that has been sitting at the station for almost 20 years!

      Well said.

      Flashed on tractor tipping for a moment there... sorry.

    Rush it through? How long has this matter been up for consultation, 3 years or more? And that's just our current debate.

    to quote Willy from ALF "your stalling"
    You have abused the trust of this family faaaaar to long!

    “We understand the determination of gamers" We're also voters, parents and grandparents.

    If they think 10 years, of campaigning and pushing for a universal rating system, is rushing anything then it's no wonder so little is actually accomplished by government.

    If taking over 10 years is "rushing" then I'd hate to see what it would be like if they were taking their time.

    The exact details of an R rating will obviously still need to be hammered out say by, hmmm, the ALRC report, but to ensure consistency of ratings across all forms of media what the hell is wrong with giving a thumbs up to an R rating NOW!

    We all know it won't immediately be applied so what is wrong with actually making a call at this weeks meeting?

    We have been patient long enough.

    This getting rediculous

    'All we’re trying to do is create a situation where we have more certainty for gamers when it comes to classification, instead of rushing into something.'
    'rushing into something.'


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