R18+: John Rau Is Sticking With Stickers

R18+: John Rau Is Sticking With Stickers

Despite the fact that all Attorneys-General have agreed to R18+ in principle, South Australia’s AG John Rau is ‘sticking’ to his plan to remove the MA15+ classification in his own state – by putting stickers on all MA15+ rated games.

Speaking to Gamespot, John Rau confirmed that this plan has already been approved by the South Australian government and will be put in place when R18+ is put in place by the commonwealth.


  • Do you think that anyone, at any point along the way from coming up with this idea to starting to implement ever asked “why?”

    Somehow, I think not.

    • I wonder if the way they came up with this went a little like this:

      Rau: Alright assistant, little kiddies with their little kiddy minds are apparently getting their hands on some rather nasty games. I need to come up with a way to stop that or I’m going to be in deep doo-doo.

      Rau’s Assistant: I have a cunning plan, m’lord!

      Rau: A cunning plan? A plan so cunning that it out cunnings the cunningness of a fox that was just awarded the Nobel prize in cunning for it’s work on cunning use of cunning in cunning situations?

      Rau’s Assistant: I don’t know about that, m’lord but I was thinking we could try stickers.

      Rau: Stickers?

      Rau’s Assistant: Yes. You see, I think that if there was a sticker on the games then the little kiddies couldn’t get their hands on them because the sticker would say that kids aren’t allowed it.

      Rau: That is the stupidest, most idiotic, ridiculous, useless plan I’ve ever heard of. No. What we need to do is have a nation-wide campaign of ignorance run by a minority group that constantly makes hypocritical statements but nobody else in parliament can disagree with because they have a name that makes it sound like they have popular support. We can use that to push ahead with our censorship regime and save the little kiddies!

      Cut to several months later…

      Rau: Right. That didn’t work. We’re going to use stickers.

  • My heart goes out to you SA.

    Has anyone challenged John Rau to put a sticker on a digital download?

    I imagine him scrolling through the steam store, putting stickers all over his screen, wondering why its having no effect.

  • This response is just another display of how monumentally misunderstood this issue has been by the people making the decisions.

  • So if a 15 year old orders online through Steam, or simply buys it in another state (even online) what will he do? Lock them up?

  • It’s important to point out that SA can legally do this, as far as I know, since they have clarification laws that can override Federal decisions.

    That being said, this is a farcical, ludicrous idea.

    • you are completely correct

      since classification was never mentioned in the constitution, it is therefore a state power, and the states can decide whatever they want, SCAG was made so they can decide uniform decisions across states, but these decisions show that it’s not an effective system…

      i’m a politics and law student btw so i felt like showing my knowledge (although i’m one of the worst students) 😛

      • Stupid federalism 😛

        It made sense a hundred years ago, but the constitution is a little bit borked when it comes to states’ rights…

  • Use of valuable resources for something that not many can see any logic or good justification for such actions.

    • But this *isn’t* an R18 rating. It’s a renaming of an existing restricted classification. It fixes the ‘problem’ of games being underclassfied by overclassifying everything.

      Effectively it’s saying that South Australian teenagers are two years less mature than the rest of the state. Or maybe that their parents are even less capable. If I lived there, I’d be insulted.

  • Don’t SA have that messed up law that requires R18 material to have plain black packaging with only a name in standard font on it, kept in a restricted section?

    • I’m not sure what the EXACT law is (there’s a couple of provisions for the display of different types of media).

      In the case of, say, JB Hi-Fi, a separate section clearly marked as containing R18+ DVDs is allowed.

      No alternative packaging is required, and the shelf space is right next to the other DVDs, so it doesn’t do much other than point out to people where to find all the naughty movies.

      From memory, if the content of the R18+ media is larger than a certain size (perhaps an oversize collector’s DVD box set, although I don’t know the threshold dimensions) then alternate packaging is required.

      • My local Big W store has a separate R18+ section for DVDs but they are in their normal covers.

        I haven’t even seen R18+ in plain packaging.

  • What a complete and utter waste of time and money.

    Some stores won’t bother with putting the sticker on (and I bet it will be up to them to do it themselves) so will probably just not sell those particular games. It’s like the plain packaging or separate section required for R movies, some have just stopped selling R movies.

    This is the same guy who wants to put age verification on Facebook and allow parents to have access to their children’s profiles, a process which will probably take much time and money to scope out and be completely wasted when facebook say “Piss off”

  • As a person living in SA, this is a waste of time, and confusing to boot.

    There would be situations where 16 year old Dave, living near a state border, is not legally allowed to play a certain game. However, if he hops in his car and drives across the state border to his mate Steve’s house, he CAN legally play it.

    What if a relative, not knowing the SA laws, buys an MA15+ game in Victoria and posts it off to their teenage relative as a birthday present, who is not legally allowed to play that game in SA.

    Of course, it won’t stop these cases, but that just serves to point out even more clearly how pointless this is.

    I’m all for classification when it is fair, consistent and clear, as I believe consumers should have access to that information when making a purchase.

    I don’t think the upgrading of all MA15+ games to R18+ games can be described as any of those.

    • Thats the thing people arent seeing, yes its very stupid but at least he is doing something about the issue and is essentially supporting a proper introduction of the rating.

      • How is it supporting a proper introduction of the rating? They’re just changing the label on MA15+ content to R18+. There’s no changes to the level of impact required for material to be Refused Classification.

        As far as I can tell, it does nothing but create further confusion and disparity between the ratings. Why should content that is at the low end of the MA15+ rating be bumped up to R18+ when the exact same content in a film would be MA15+?

    • If he posted a turd to everyone in his electorate he’d also be doing something, that doesn’t mean it’s positive. It’d probably be better than this move, however.

      An R rating is a necessary step forward, but in my view the “sticker” approach is far less desirable than just maintaining the current system.
      It’s a system of sweeping overclassification that will, in principle, affect dozens of triple-A titles and prevent the entire 15-17yo populace of SA from purchasing those games which, by all objective standards, are suitable for them. Compare this to the current system, where perhaps one good game a year falls through the cracks, and it begins to look very unattractive.
      If you’re measuring it solely on its ability to protect children then yes, sure, it’s better, but so too would be banning games entirely.

  • John Rau is a tosspot. Pure and simple.

    Hopefully this imbecilic idea will only last until next year when the classification review will hopefully come back and say that all powers over classification and censorship should be removed from the states and handed to the federal government in order to have one, single, uniform system across the entire country.

    That’d be great because then SA Labor’s idiotic laws about the display and advertising of R rated films can get thrown out, too.

  • movies have G, PG, M, MA, R
    games should have G, PG, M, MA, R

    i really dont understand this want to change all MA games to R. what a goose.

  • Anyone else reminded of Futurama?
    Cubert: “There’s a crack in the hull; that could cause explosive decompression.”
    Dwight: “Put a sticker on it.”

    If this issue were that simple, it wouldn’t be ten years old.

  • The most ridiculous thing about this is at 17 you can drive in real life by yourself in South Australia, but you can’t drive in an game such as Gran Theft Auto as it will be R18.

  • Maybe they are basing it on that it has been stated by a few people including in classification that some games were slipped through to MA15+ because they had no R18+ etc.

    I thought maybe it was because classifications had shifted over the last 20 years because MA15+ was introduced. However I was surprised that films rated from the 70’s still maintain their ratings despite the super directors hairy balls platinum coated editions.

    In short I got nothing that could even explain this stupidity. All the states have laws against the X rating as it is. For again no real apparent reason.

    Stupidity aside all the South Australian population have to do is look and see if there is a sticker or not. If the sticker is there then as far as the rest of Australia is concerned their kids can play it.

    Again just politicians playing politics. Can’t wait for Gen Xers to start ditching the 2 party preferred or creating their own and getting up.

    We will be spending years to undo the stupidity of Baby Boomer politicians legislation.


    Christ, he’s older than me (twice or more) and I have more sense!

    * = Excluding the games rated M17/R18 overseas.

  • I moved to SA late last year after having lived the rest of my life in NSW and Qld, and this place is by far the most conservative state in the country. It’s got some great stuff going for it, but Adelaide really does need a good kick up the arse.

  • The MA15+ rating will be essentially redundant when R18+ comes in anyway. Why do we need that when we’ll have an M rating?

  • In other words, Rau is just moving the same titles into a higher bracket and we don’t get to enjoy a higher level of ‘adult content.’

    The worst of both worlds.

    Import. Download. Don’t let the government control YOUR gaming habits.

  • This is a pyrrhic victory for Australian gamers; a gift to the Conservative interests that Rau panders to (see his ludicrous Facebook crusade for an example). In SA it’ll be a R18+ tier in name only, in that they’ll just be bumping everything that used to be classified MA15+ up to the R18+ level, leaving a gulf between that and M. In reality that’s a more restrictive application of the classification system and one that’s likely to impact game sales and game content nationally. Developers and publishers of titles that would sit squarely in the MA15+ caregory will now, in all likelihood, self-censor Australian releases down to M levels in order to avoid being bumped into the less profitable R18+ band in SA, in much the same way movie studios do the same in the US. Fuck you, Rau – you pretended to be a friend to Aussie gamers, but now you’ve stabbed us in the back and left us worse off than we already were.

  • ^
    inr i get most of my games from ebay, as long as Europe has a game u can get it in Australia cuz we both use -pal. im 15 years old so i wont be missing out on any games ill just use ebay a lot more

  • The biggest problem with this is that it defeats the purpose of having an R 18+ rating. What’s the point of telling parents that a certain game is not appropriate for children under the age of 18 if you’re putting all games that were appropriate for children into that category? The whole idea of the R rating for games was to better inform parents, this move will not achieve that.

Log in to comment on this story!