NSW Attorney-General On R18+: "More work needs to be done on this issue"

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+."


    What a joke!

      What would you expect from our government, they sit on their a$$ all day talking sh!t and get money for it. All they care about is their popularity and their money. Truth means nothing to the government, if it wins them money or popularity, they won't really care what the people on the other side want. In this case we're a minority, the ACL and the ignorant, concerned parents are the majority.

        The ACL and the ignorant are the same people ;)

    I'm not surprised really - New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia are all currently controlled by the Liberal party who are naturally more right wing and hence more likely to stand against this decision. Not saying that's what it came down to in the end (afterall, the previous SA AG was from Labor), but that's my theory.

    Hopefully the AGs of Victoria and WA fall in line and someone gives Smith some overriding orders before this meeting. Sick of these politicians getting voted in and not doing what we wanted them to do. They're not voted in to impose their views of what's right and what's wrong on us.

      My local MP is National. When I asked him what he thought of people sending their money out of the country to obtain R18+ games instead of spending local, because the current law treats anyone over the age of 18 as 15, he responded that it was bloody stupid for the local economy having to suffer for short-sighted AG's. Of course now the Libs/Nats are in charge on NSW I wonder if he has the same thoughts...

        Nationals MPs are (generally) always going to be concerned about local industries, it's part of their policy.

        But they're the minority partner in all of the LNP governments, and it's the Liberal members and ministers who are generally influenced, or openly support, the position of the ACL.

        If this were, say, about agriculture or water resources, we might have a chance of influencing a change in the stance. But it's such a peripheral issue to most governments (let alone Nationals).

      It's a bit rich to say that this is an issue along party lines. More realistically, it's an issue which is not being solved because of a curious paradox between both parties.

      Labor may be a centre-left party, but they are also the party of the big government nanny state.

      Liberal may be the party of individualism, but they are also the party that has found value in appeasing certain demographics of Christian voters.

      Quite frankly, neither wants to upset their support base, whether it is control-freak bureaucrats or hardcore religious voters.

        Paul has the right of this I think. The only real option is to vote for neither of the major parties. Without genuine competition (which a two party system doesn't offer) issues like these will never get resolved efficiently.

          Solution: Vote for the ASP. End of story.

          Spot on I reckon. The only problem is that you then have the Nationals/Greens, who are a mixed bag of good ideas with some scary isolationist style politics, or a whole lot of faceless independents, which don't get much support from the system because, let's face it, the main parties who normally have power wouldn't say "hey, let's make it easier for independents to put themselves out into the national limelight so everyone knows them and their policies".

      Try again you complete tosspot - Michael "it's all about the money" Atkinson former AG of SA was Labour and he was the Sole reason the first proposal failed when all but he supported it.


      We're the peasants right now so do we bend over and bite the pillows or do we make them?

    And by the time this report comes to light the people sitting in those seats will have changed again and they'll want new reports done up. It's a constant cycle of delay tactics that needs to end. Isn't there another office of government that can step in and take this decision away from these do nothings?

    More work?! More work!?!?

    I hope that whatever Minister O'Connor has got planned, legislation wise, to resolve this is easy to pursue.

    Because given the ridiculous cycle of successive Attorneys-General waiting for public consultation, I don't see this issue being resolved any time soon.

    There's a place for public debate, but there's also a time when such an absurd amount of debate has been done as to make the public mood incontrovertible. Exploiting the system to satisfy lobbyists with anachronistic ideas is, simply put, a ridiculous situation.

      There has been public debate and it came out in favor of R18+; but what did they do with that? Throw it out as biased, unbalanced gamers screwing with the system.

      It's what we call passing-the-buck. Just "discuss" something long enough and either by the time it comes around to make a decision, or there is an election, you can have your position replaced by the new government or move onto another portfolio.

      It ensures all politicians can do as little as possible without any of the risk of actually having to put their name to something.

    More work = do as little as possible, score cheap political points while doing it and charge everything to the tax payers.

    They do know we all can get access to evidence of the foot dragging on all of this, right? I say we abolish the position of State AG's at the same time - useless mugs.

    I you neglected your job and duty for this long in any other profession, you'd be sacked. Just settle this thing, and do it quickly.

    Its so hard not to have a defeatist attitude towards this, Who we're up against scream the loudest (ACL and "concerned parents") and its hard to talk to anyone when the person next to you is screaming. We will forever be the minority and no politician will buy our vote. We just need to keep getting back up and starting from scratch. Who said politics doesn't work?

      At least we have more rights as gamers than in Europe.

      For now at least.

        The hell? The only place I can think of that has something as backwards as Australia is maybe Germany - the rest of Europe, as far as I'm aware, is quite fine outside stone-age.

    God damn it, what more work does he want?! It's been nearly 10 years of petitions, studies, public debates and political meetings and STILL they say more work needs to be done! I think they just can't accept that we have matured as a nation and out grown their archaic, Christian moral mentalities. It's pathetic.

      Is this even to do with christian morales? I don't recall reading anything in the bible that Jesus said "Thou would be wise to stay away from games that are unsuitable for children. They are forms of evil temptation!".

      Heck, back in those days you're an adult as soon as you're 13 or something around there - well, at least, you could opt in to be an adult, but they were more relaxed and pragmatic. Perhaps something modern society needs to consider (pragmatism - I don't think it's safe saying that every say 15 year old who wants should get adult rights, since I know many stupid 15 year olds (and 30 year olds too)).

        Thou shalt not performeth thine fatality.

        I'm pretty sure that was written on one of those stone tablet things.

        It's the Christian way of "any form of entertainment that contains material involving violence, drugs and/or sex is a SIN! And we must (metaphorically) block our ears and shout LALALALALALA in the hopes children and adults a like are in ignorance of such behaviours

    I'm never going to get to play MK am i?

      You can but you'll be considered a criminal for getting it

      Ebay my friend and get it wrapped up as a birthday present. Problem solved

        That's not the point. I'm not importing it on principal. I should be allowed to buy this game as an adult.

          In that case, no, you probably will never get to play it.

    “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. "

    Bollocks. If politicians cared so much about disturbing the status quo, then this Labor government wouldn't be so fixated on pushing their carbon tax.

    I'd bet money that if the ARLC suggest increased censorship, you would see them rush through the paperwork with all haste.

      ^^^ This man speaks truth! Many internets for you sir

    :( just when you think they are getting somewhere!!!! man this makes me rage

    Totally unsurprising. Guess what's going to happen in 2012 when the ALRC tells them to do their fscking jobs? They won't do their fscking jobs.

    Oh for god sake!

    How long are these idiots going to keep their heads buried in the sand?

    God [email protected]' Damnit.

    *Goes back to playing his imported NZ copy of Mortal Kombat*

    I've given up hoping for any change. I'm importing everything.

    It takes a hell of a lot to keep such a massive group of people, calm, rational and logical in the face of such fascicle attempt to delay for this long. Bravo to Kotaku and other websites for keeping everyone on track but I'm starting to seriously think that the ACL's tactics (yelling their head of as much as possible) might be more effective. Gamers as a whole have a much louder voice.

    Face it, we are never getting this R rating...

    God damn it I'm so over this crap. I don't care what they do anymore. It's ridiculous.

    Has anyone ordered MK from eBay? What can I do to make sure it gets through ok?

    I'm sick and tired of this nanny state. I'm not allowed to drink, smoke, surf the web or play violent games because simply by me doing these things I am harming children and am the devil himself!

    If they are planning on getting rid of the MA15+ rating in SA for an r18+ rating and NSW is going to block a R18+ rating, does that mean that SA will be restricted to M, Ha, that would suck!

    This stuff still going on?
    I gave up on it a couple of years ago.
    I dont even bother reading the articles any more. I just read the headlines which tell me all I need to know.

    Seriously people, face it, its not ever going to happen.

    So if its broke, dont fix it coz it might upset some people ..... great mentality

    Oh dear...


      Indeed. As much as I like his gusto I'm not sure how this helps anyone.

      I was annoyed by that too, but then was even more agitated about the NSW Attorney General.

      Now im not as agitated by the SA... wanna know why? If O Connor doesnt hold up to his threat and go through with it anyway, the SA have said that they are getting rid of the M15+ rating regardless of what happens.

      Whether or not they'll replace it with an R18+ rating is unknown, but I think that either way it can be a benefit.

      There will be backlash because if there isn't an R18+ or M15+ rating in SA, it might encourage SA to get an R18+ rating.

      If SA gets an R18+ rating, it might encourage OTHER states to get an R18+ rating.

      The damage is already done the moment that NSW AG stays silent on the matter, might as well take what we can get

        I don't think you understand what SA is doing. They're not giving a true R rating, just shifting MA into R category. This is the WORST outcome you could hope for. Games will still be banned as usual but games will also be kicked into a higher bracket and lose the one they deserve to be in for the most part...

      The hell did I just read..??

        I'm sorry if I was unclear. Let me nutshell it for you.

        NSW AG - Complete retard that will halt everything
        SA AG - Planning to introduce R18+ rating in place of M15+ rating no matter what happens (apparently)

        At least South Australia is actually GOING somewhere, while the rest of us are doing nothing.
        Unless the SA AG suddenly backs out

          In theory they are but in practice they're not. I can slap an X rating on the MA category and say its now X. It doesn't MAKE it X because it still has the MA limitations when reviewed by the OFLC. See what I mean? I understand what you're saying but again it's really the worst thing that could happen.

      At this point, I'm assuming that my state government is full of piss and vinegar. But, let's assume for a moment that they're legit with their claim. For one thing, we still don't know exactly how they'd go about establishing a single state R18 rating. I suspect that they'll just continue piggybacking on the ACB and slapping a black sticker onto anything the rest of the country is slapping red stickers on.

      I highly doubt that SA will enstate its own ratings board. So in reality we would still be at the mercy of the country's archaic ratings system, but in South Australia, we'll at least look like we have an R18 rating.


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