Gamespot is reporting that a spokesperson for the NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith has stated that they won’t be “going down a definitive route with R18+ at this weeks SCAG meeting,” and plan to wait it out until the ALRC report back in early next year.
“More work needs to be done on this issue,” claimed the spokesperson. “We want to wait to see the results of the ALRC classification review.”
But in a letter sent by Greg Smith to Kotaku a couple of months back, Greg Smith claimed that he was waiting until the SCAG meeting to make 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 wrote. “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.”
Other Attorneys-General, including the Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clarke, had voiced concern that the proposed guidelines presented by Brendan O’Connor required “public debate”. This was most likely the reason why O’Connor released the guidelines publically, before creating a survey on the guidelines afterwards – this appeared to be a direct attempt to silence any opposition to the guidelines on this basis, in order to pave the way for a final agreement in July.
The major obstacle now, of course, is the Australian Law Reform Commission. We have been told that O’Connor was keen to force the R18+ issue through so that the ALRC could focus on the broader issues of classification – but at the moment that outcome is looking increasingly unlikely. The ALRC report always had the potential to scupper any final decision on R18+, a fact O’Connor openly admitted after speaking to him when the commission was initially announced. While he was keen to admit they were “seperate issues,” he admitted that there was a strong possibility that some AsG would want to wait for the ALRC to report back.
This was back in January.
At the moment, simply put, it’s simply far too easy for specific Attorneys-General to hedge their bets and do nothing.
Speaking to Peter Chen, a Politics Professor at the University of Sydney earlier this year, he summed up the entire situation quite well.
“When you start messing around with the status quo, people start getting pissed off,” he said, bluntly. “It’s hard to piss people off, generally, when you don’t do anything, so by and large this area of policy making has seen very little change over time.
“That’s partly why there has been little change when it comes to R18+.”