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

NSW Attorney-General On R18+: “More work needs to be done on this issue”
Facebook may have decided that you shouldn’t see the news, but we think you deserve to be in the know with Kotaku Australia’s reporting. To sign up for our daily newsletter covering the latest news, features and reviews, head HERE. For a running feed of all our stories, follow us on Twitter HERE. Or you can bookmark the Kotaku Australia homepage to visit whenever you need a news fix.

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 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.

  • 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.

        • 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”.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • Translation:
    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?

      • 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

  • “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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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…

      • 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.


  • umm yeah it also pisses people off when they dance around questions and prolong things that are needed our government structure needs to be rebuilt on how much they work and get done rather then what they currently do im quite disapointed epic facepalm

    well im hoping he changes his stubborn mind and gives in that would earn him more popularity imo rather then doing the oppisite

  • Im done. Seriously, i dont care anymore.
    I am old enough to import games when ever I want and ozgameshop makes them cheaper than ever.
    I dont care.

    • Indeed. OzGameShop and others like it have filled the gap that the government have created and the gap that retailers have forced open by marking up products excessively. Now we all just buy from overseas because even with the shipping (and OzGameShop deliver for free of course) it works out cheaper. Not just by a few dollars either.. we’re talking half price, retail copies of games.

  • It’s been said many times that the reason the ACL are so successful with holding their influence is because they are well organised, and well routed. And the opposition(us) are nothing more than an assorted group of angry nerds leaving rants on Kotaku that only other angry nerds will read.

    So it means that we need to start playing their game. We need to create a lobby group like theirs, and get some big numbers behind its cause, perhaps the backing of a few retail chains.

    …And most importantly, we need to be pulling off the same bullshit that they’re getting away with. The saying ‘the sqeaky wheel gets the most greese’ definately rings true here, and an organised political lobby group will always squeak louder than a few pages worth of kotaku rants. If we can do this, we’ll have an organised voter base that politicians will actually take notice of. Because at the end of the day, they respond to votes, not pure facts.

  • Filibusting. When you don’t want to do anything and get positive attention from it.

    Funny how people don’t want to change because it’s “out of the norm” yet everybody is laughing at Australia for being so abnormal.

  • These people just don’t seem to understand how easy it is for experienced computer users to bypass the legal boundaries imposed by classification anyway. Anyone with a knowledge of file-sharing can get around it. Anyone without that knowledge can usually get around it too by importing it, tho that carries more risks.

    All they are doing by delaying is forcing people to break the law to play the computer games they choose. The system doesn’t work.

  • Called it. It’s never going to happen now. O’Connor should’ve just gone around the AG department after the SCAG meeting in December. What could possibly be gained by waiting on the ALRC? Everyone knows they’ll just increase the level of censorship because that’s what the religious zealots want. We’ll just have G and PG to PROTECT TEH KIDDIES FROM TEH HARMFULL MATERIAL OF TEH WURLD

  • I am absolutely livid. I’m tired of feeling like our government doesn’t care about what the people want, it has it’s own beliefs that it will push and pursue.

    I’m tired of looking at political parties when I vote and feel like I’m choosing the lesser of two evils.

    It’s not just games. It the attitude that there are a black and white set of rules that define you as either a happily functioning citizen or a spawn of the devil looking to kidnap children and engage in wanton murder, or other seeming crimes against humanity like being against the internet filter or supporting gay marriage.

    There are many issues that I’m part of the minority on, and I’m fine with that. You can’t always get what you want, and being in a society means majority rules. When there IS a majority on an issue I expect the government to do the job we voted them in for, and represent the majority.

    That’s what I thought it to be, at least. So far, I’ve yet to see it. I’m beginning to feel like I’ve been lied to about the idea of democracy.

  • I f*cking called it. Oh well. I pledged never to buy retail again several months ago so it makes no difference to me.

    Let these pencil-pushing, fat ar*ed, conservative ret*rds b*tch and moan about how they need more time – despite the 10 years they’ve had up to this point. Any excuse will do to delay the issue. Brendan O’Connor will say a lot but do nothing. The ACL will claim it’s a victory for the morally right. Rinse, repeat ad nauseum.

  • This is why it’s much easier to assume politicians are pond scum. That way you’re never disappointed by any of their moves.

    • Let me see if I can sum up the opponents position:
      Kids will (somehow) get their hands on these games more easily (apparently) and be exposed to inappropriate content, such as violent first-person shooters (which are already MA) and rape games (which wouldn’t be allowed in an R rating if we had one)…

  • Where can I get a job over there? It seems they get paid more than me for doing absolutely nothing. Please give me this job, it is perfect for me!

  • I’ve always been proud to be an Australian. Today I wish I lived in New Zealand. Then I could call myself Australian AND be treated like an adult.
    Note to the government: We are NOT a penal colony anymore. Your citizens were freed. You are not jailers, and we are not criminals. But we are about to be because you are forcing us to obtain our games illegally…

  • bloody ridiculous, passing legislation to ban kronic took 2 minutes with next to no evidence why the fuck is this taking so long to get an R18 classification? no different to movies IMO if anything not as bad.

    Need Some MP’s to grow some balls and man the fuck up

    • I’m beginning to think it’s been a farce for quite some time, and now they’ve stopped caring enough to be subtle about it.

    • Just so you dont have to click on the link.

      July 18, 2011 at 7:26 PM

      I really hope I am wrong however this next meeting they are going to defer yet again and indeed will do so till early next year.

      Why ? I hear you venomously ask.


      24 March 2011 – Release of formal Terms of Reference

      20 May – Release of Issues Paper and call for submissions

      June/August – Consultations

      September – Release of a Discussion Paper and call for submissions

      October/December – Consultations

      30 January 2012 – Final report and recommendations due to be delivered to the Attorney-General.

      Please note: the report will not be publicly available until it is tabled in Parliament.

      If you have submitted your own responses please do not be angry nor disheartened. It is what it takes to get things done in a democracy short of revolutionary actions.

      Be active and involved in the next round of submissions and keep pluggin away at the naysayers and limited thinking submissions responses such as those from the Australian Family Association. http://www.alrc.gov.au/sites/default/files/pdfs/ci_1189a_australian_family_association.pdf

      Keep your heads up and keep tackling the issues with friends, family and even those who do not see your point of view. Its the only way common sense can become that.

  • Yerp.. the SA guy was annoying.. no doubt about it.. but he was against it from the beginning and he stuck to his guns. Good on him for doing that. I didn’t agree with his opinion but he stuck to his guns and rode it through..

    What is wrong.. just plain and simple “wrong” is how now that he is out of the picture, it seems that one by one, the AG’s that were backing the R18+ rating are now going back on their word; going back on their unspoken promises; changing their minds etc. They are NOT sticking to their guns. They are just cowards and liars.

  • Hmm. I have only very rarely bought retail games in recent memory – I guess I’ll just stop altogether. Online imports and Steam it is.

    • Correct me if I’m wrong, but I was under the impression that Steam limits you to what would be available locally anyway. If a game is RC here, it won’t let you buy it, and if it’s censored here, you get the censored version.

  • How about instead of whining about the situation, everyone here send the NSW AG an email telling him (or his office) what you think? Not childish swearing and raging, point out to Greg Smith how you feel and why. Also let it be known to him that this issue is not going to go away until we get an R18+ classification and that we will continue to push for the R18+ classification at each and every SCAG meeting from now on – regardless of whether his office says he wants to wait.
    For that matter, if the proposed classification fails then be be sure to badger O’Connor too, about what he intends to do.
    Eventually the AsG will get fed up dealing with the same issue at every meeting and so long as we keep on their backs, then they don’t have time to address other matters…

  • Maybe we could get some kind of nationwide protest going? I doubt it will get anywhere though… unless someone has awesome protest organizing skills… (which I dont, I wouldnt even know WHERE to protest)

    So…. Yeah… anyone good at organizing protests?

    • Hm I just thought, maybe the best form of protest is showing the government that its doing more harm than good.

      Maybe one select day everyone should just order MK9 and (this may sound bad) but hope that some of us get fined, us being fined would make our message very very loud, especially if its happening in mass quantity.

      Or perhaps make youtube videos of us buying MK9 off of ebay and then sending the video link to the new south wales attorney general.

      • That would be a very good way to get Customs to crack down on game imports. Importing refused classification games is actually illegal, they can seize the game and fine you.

  • Jesus Christ… enough already with the fucking navel gazing! You’d think this was an environmental issue with all the stalling and navel gazing this jerk politicians are doing. What a joke!

  • LOL.. and once again the Australian Christian Lobby win another round against 88% (online polls of people in favour of the re-classifation) of the Australian population.

    Got to love democracy.

  • No surprises here.

    They’ll continue to do nothing so long as there’s an idiot out there with 2 neurons to mush together to speak against it.

    Just FYI Poli’s, NOT taking action is costing you VOTES too.

  • More work? Yes – implementation and deployment.

    As an engineer, projects tend to go through:
    understanding the issue, developing the requirements, design the system, implement it, test it, deploy it, maintain it.

    The R18+ issue is sufficiently understood (thanks to research and public surveys), we have the requirements and basic design (thanks to O’Connor’s proposal and the support it’s received) and the support (as shown by countless surveys), and those opposing it have no logical leg to stand on.

    What the hell is going on? Why are politicians being so obviously greedy? (Ok, stupid question…) Or are we truly being led by the blind and deaf?

  • Running out of R18+ submissions to use as toilet paper guys? Whats that?, Need about ten more years worth? Thats great!..really its no trouble at all its only takes about an hour and a half of my time for a couple of sheets. No need to thank me.

  • We vote for these guys right? I’ve been wondering for a while… they know how impatient we’re getting, do they think that by saying “OH BTW WE WILL SUPPORT IT LATER” that we will vote for them instead of risking someone worse becoming AG?

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!