Brendan O'Connor Is "Delighted" With R18+ Consensus

Today the NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith announced that he agrees in principle to the introduction of an R18+ in games, meaning that all Attorneys-General are now in favour of an adult rating for video games in Australia. In a statement just released, the Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor claimed he was "delighted" with the news.

“I am delighted that NSW has decided to support what is not just a practical public policy, but a very popular policy,” said O'Connor.

“The introduction of an R18+ classification for computer games will provide better advice to parents and help prevent children and teenagers from accessing unsuitable material.

“Once introduced, the new classification will also afford adults the opportunity to view material designed for adults.

“It is a credit to all jurisdictions that the meeting has now been able to achieve agreement over what is a complex matter in classification policy.”

According to the released statement, the Federal Government are preparing to legislate to introduce the R18+ rating.

One caveat in the statement did sound a little worrying - a claim that the updated R18+ guidelines would "recognise the unique interactive nature of computer games". It will be interesting to see precisely what amendments have been made to the original guidelines and in what areas.

We've heard rumblings that some compromises have been made in order to get the R18+ rating through, but the changes aren't too severe. Hopefully said guidelines will be released to the public soon.

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Comments

    Mark, can you please poke around and find out when the estimate of when we'll get the R18 rating is now that Greg Smith has agreed?

      I think preparations were already being made in anticipation of Smith agreeing.

      Before the end of the year is the timeline O'Connor said. But honestly, I have no idea at this point. Might be worth poking around.

        Did you ask him when the revised guidelines would be released to the public?

          This sounds like comments from a media release, so it's unlikely Mark had a chance to pose any questions, but it may be worth trying to get a few answered.

    We're delighted with Brendan O'Connor, nice to know parliament has a few rational minded people filling seats.

      So true, he has gained a lot of respect from me

    I'm willing to put money on this new rating being a rebranded MA15.

    “Recognise the unique interactive nature of computer games.”

    WTF does that mean? That the interactive nature has no effect? Yeah I highly doubt that's what they mean.

    Here's to our unchanged system.

      It means they recognise the current system is inadequate for interactive media. Up until now, they've only worried about passive media, and dumped interactive in with it. This is a step forward, and will help the push for studies into what damages games actually do, instead of what the acl claims they do.

        I very much doubt it, I'd place money on it meaning they will continue to be judged more harshly than non-interactive media such as film.

    But how can allowing a HIGHER level of violent and sexual games into the country DECREASE kids access to them?

      Lol sorry, I couldn't help myself.

      Jim,

      The only thing stopping my kids from getting access to content they shouldn't have is me.

      The point of classification's is to inform people(like me) of what they are getting so less knowledgeable parents don't let their kids experience content that they are not ready to experience. When I was working at a video store parents often had no idea that Grand theft auto really wasn't a good option for their 10 year old kid and most were grateful to me for pointing it out though their kids were less appreciative :)

      You are not protecting children you are hamstringing parents and yes I am a christian whose kids think he is way to strict when it comes to games

        Couldn't have said it better myself Eddy.

        I bet there are allot of parents who see an MA15+ game and just think "well my son is close to that age, so it should be OK". This is without knowing other countries might restrict that game to adults; but once they see that black sticker, they might think twice about it.

          I really hope Jim reads your reply Eddy, it was spot on. If your kids are playing adult based games that you believe will effect them badly, then stop preaching to the world and spend some time with your head over their shoulder instead.
          Don't think I'm attacking you Jim, your welcome to your views, but this really is a common sense approach to this problem, you may not like it, but civilizations are always changing and adapting, take some time to enjoy some of the technical marvels in the industry. Don't be cowering and running out of the building such as was the case of the first feature film, which was a train approaching.... But look where film has come now, there are movies for kids and adults alike and you know what. People enjoy them.

            Uh, do any of you realise GamePlayer was logged as Jim as a JOKE?

              Not straight away.....took till after i made my post to realise that :P

      Dear Mr. Wallace - consider this training for families in your much-vaunted "family values" argument.

      Who else is better equipped to "protect the children" than the well-informed, educated, and concerned PARENTS of those children you want to protect so badly?

      An R18+ rating for games gives parents the critical information they need to protect their children from content that is not suitable for them.

      Would you prefer the current system, where games that should be in an R18+ category, and are so in other countries, are made available to minors under the M15+ rating?

      However you try and spin it, and huff and puff your morally panicked point of view, R18+ is the very thing YOU NEED to protect YOUR CHILDREN from the threats you perceive.

      And nobody else's.

      I don't think that's really Jim Wallace

      Because current games are put under the ALLOWED FOR KIDS game rating. Under the new guidelines, they are NOT ALLOWED FOR KIDS.

      About the same way that submission to a HIGHER power DECREASEs one's analytical capacity.

      Jim, seriously now, GTFO.

    Lol “It is a credit to all jurisdictions that the meeting has now been able to achieve agreement over what is a complex matter in classification policy.”

    Really complex, adults see adult content, children don't.

    In my view it was extremely simple issue obfuscated by morons.

    I think I might get my four year old son to go to parliament and help them out with some of their other "complex issues"

    Finally.. Censorship of video games is going to die.

    finally i can play mortal kombat without risking being fined.
    hopefully steam will release a l4d2 patch that will fix that game up.

      No, it is not. This is still censorship, just not as severe.

      No you wont.
      Mortal Kombat will still be banned.
      If we had an R18+ rating a year ago, Mortal Kombat would still be banned.

        Your first statement is true, no game RCed before the introudction of an R18+ can be unRCed.

        But if we had an R18+ a year ago Mortal Kombat would likely have passed the requirements. ... ASSUMING they're reasonably similar to the requirements for films in Australia.

    I'm sure they'll screw it up somehow.

    Based on past experience, I have no faith in the system.

      Your "past experience" is hardly a valid point. Please be more specific...

      +1
      Experience has made me cynical too.

      I am waiting to see if its an Adult rating or just a teen rating called an adult rating.

        Have a read over this

        http://blog.iinet.net.au/r18-gaming-classifications-headway/

    I'm waiting for the other foot to drop.

    Where's the chair shot from behind? Where's the swerve here!?

    Experience in this subject tells me to wait just like a lot of gamers are. When everything looks too good to be true, chances are it usually is.

    I'm waiting till I can read the guidelines myself before I begin celebrations

    I'm waiting for the other foot to drop.

    Where's the chair shot from behind? Where's the swerve here!?

    Experience in this subject tells me to wait just like a lot of gamers are. When everything looks too good to be true, chances are it usually is.

    I'm waiting till I can read the guidelines myself before I begin celebrations

    I think the most likely effect of the “recognise the unique interactive nature of computer games” comment is the MA15+ rating may be a bit more restricted. To be honest I don't mind if some games, such as gears of war or other graphic violent games are pushed into the R18+ bracket, just as long as there is greater range and greater protection.
    And for those concerned, the ACL won't be the ones rating the games. You don't put a vampire in charge of the blood bank.

      But if the new gears gets kicked up into the R18 category won't the publisher just turn off blood and pay the ?$20,000 and get it rerated as MA15 leaving us with a crappier version in stores?
      I have this sinking feeling that retailers aren't going to like alienating parents with R18 stickers and will push for MA versions.

    I'm importing Mortal Kombat!!!!

      When I read the first comment, I has a slight thought that it might actually be a ACL supporter at least, but now...?

    I can't shake the feeling that all this will do is split the MA rating in half, and that games will continue to be banned for stupid reasons.

    Its about damn time! I would like to thank Kotaku (especially Mark Serrels) for keeping us up to date on the whole ordeal.

    So are they still planning on removing MA15+ all together from SA, or will this change something?

      Good question. I'm assuming the government will keep treating ALL adults like children and remove the MA15+ as the guidelines have originally stated.

    It would be important, he said, to ensure any proposal was in line with Federal and State Ministers' agreement to not dilute Australia's Refused Classification category

    oh ffs, can we just dump RC altogether?

      At the risk of being shouted down by some here, while I support a R18 for games, I'm quite comfortable in having a RC category. There's a lot of stuff out there that I *personally* don't see as worthy of personal choice / rights overiding the community protection/expectations.

      Besides, I suspect the reality is that removal of RC would likely not have genuine broad community support.

        It's far too prone to abuse. Why should a small group of people dictate "community standards" (and I am of course talking about grey areas, not outright abhorrent things).

          RC still stands as a necessary category for stuff like Rapelay. Granted it wasn't going to BE released in Australia but you can guarantee imitators of the sort would release themselves into the market willingly if able to. They do exist, they would do so and to think they wouldn't is naiive. They're the kind of trash that needs to be kept out. RC provides this service. The current games being banned however and edited, MK9, Fallout 3, L4D2 etc, don't.

    When I see an unbanned Left 4 Dead 2 in my Steam list, MK9 in stores and all games for the next ten years not banned, then we’ve “gone places”. Apparently games with drug use will still be banned…

    Some of you really can't be pleased can you? So pessimistic. The fact of the matter is it's a step in the right, sensible, direction.

    The announcement was made only today and we already have naysayers gathering to say their nays. I think it's just popular to look upon the government with skepticism.

    So far none of the negative nancys in here have backed up their parade raining with anything more than ambiguous references to their "past experience". This is irrational and baseless garbage.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again and again.

    Australia is getting a bum deal.

    Great that it's coming but I'm thinking that all it's gonna mean is the large majority of MA games being re-branded R.

    Also won't this impact on game sales?

    BF3 has been rated as pegi 18 so hopefully when it rolls out in October the new rating system will be in place here in Aus. so the lil' raging kids keep away.

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