Brendan O'Connor On Greg Smith, The Guidelines And The Progress Of R18+

We've been informed by Brendan O'Connor's office that the new guidelines for an R18+ classification are due to be released today. In the wake of that, and NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith's comments on Seven News last night, we spoke to Brendan O'Connor himself to clear up some of the details.

"I understand he has concerns but I think those concerns are already dealt with with the Refused Classification rating," said O'Connor, when we asked him about Smith's comments. "There will continue to be material that is Refused Classification but some of what he is referring to is already Refused Classification. [Some of] the games he refers to are already banned.

"There was every effort to make sure that we have better protection for minors so they’re not engaging in what I believe and what the Classification Board believes to be adult content."

It was difficult to discuss the details of the new guidelines given the fact that we haven't had access to them yet, but Brendan O'Connor believes that the guidelines are a "step forward."

The guidelines are a reflection of the very clear and extensive considerations of the council of attorneys general," claimed O'Connor. "This is another step forward and another step closer to realising the introduction of an R18 classification.

"I believe that there has been a perverse outcome in the absence of an R18+ where we have pushed content into a lower classification.

"Certainly that concern will be reflected in the changes of the guidelines but also we accept that there should be an adult classification for video games, and this will come about as a result of our long and vigorous prosecution of this argument. We want to do two things: have a classification for adult gamers so they have comparable entitlements to other countries around the world and take adult content out of the hands of children."

David Emery, the Manager of Applications at the Classification Branch, estimated that it would be at least two years until he received an application for an R18+ rated video game in Australia — O'Connor maintained that we wouldn't have to wait that long, but did concede that there were obstacles that have to be navigated.

"We need to make sure that the legislation is enacted in all of the jurisdictions so we can have this R18+ rating in effect next year," he said. "The commonwealth has begun drafting the necessary amendments and is on track to introduce it to parliament early next year.

"I and the other ministers take this very seriously and we’ll be looking at this as soon as we can.

"There are some hurdles to jump, but we have a readiness and a willingness of all governments to get this done. There are some mechanisms that can’t be done with the speed of light but will be done as soon as possible."

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Comments

    "Smith's comment" "Council of Attorney-Generals" should be capitalised. Misplaced closing quotation mark in the sixth paragraph.

    Great news.

      Actually no closing quotation mark is necessary at the end of the sixth paragraph, as the quote continues into the seventh. And the plural of Attorney-General is Attorneys-General, as in the article.

    A good way to protect minors from playing games that have content that should only be played by adults is to simply give them good parents. How else are they going to buy games you need ID for?

    But what do I know, I'm under the firm belief that anybody under the age of 18 should be banned from participating in all online gaming.

      I agree with the parents comment, however we all know minors get alcohol from older siblings and strangers, either way that is against the law and we can't make laws expecting them to be broken.
      However I think online gaming shouldn't be removed for minors, only restricted. Minors shouldn't be allowed to communicate with other players that aren't on their "friends" list and friendships should be approved by an adult account.

    Ban the Bible and other religious texts. It gave me nightmares as a child.

      you saying you want to ban one of the greatest selling fiction novels of all time?

        My favourite comment of the day right here

        My thoughts exactly!! I have always believed the bible was just a very popular fictional story (possibly with some references to some real people and events)

          Haha +1. Comment of the day.

            http://uberhumor.com/why-dont-people-believe-in-god-2/

            lols, made my day

      As a Christian, I'd just like to drop in and say that I'm not offended in the least. There's some crazy shit in there, man.

        Glad you approve.

        Nick Ross over at the ABC tech & games site done a good write-up:

        http://www.abc.net.au/technology/articles/2011/11/04/3356630.htm

    I guess all we can do is await the new guidelines at this point.

    And hope that Greg Smith didn't find some way to do to them what Seven News does to the truth.

    and round 40 of the we agreed but are not happy stalling begins. I have a feeling something will upset us adults.....

    and round 40 of the we agreed but are not happy stalling begins. I have a feeling something will upset us adults

    Why doesn't Brendan O'Conner get time on 7 News? Why is it only Jim Wallace type nutbags that get on air?

    Its strange how he thought announcing his R18 support would get him alot of attention and support... THis new approach he is taking is sure to cause a massive backflip to all who originally supported him...

    I dont see how 'Changing the definition" of R18 is ment to justify R18 rattinng...

    Why must the gaming sector be so different form the movies rating system...

      Never been a big fan of the argument "it works for movies, why not for games?" Many mediums have completely different classification schemes. Like comic books versus books versus movies versus music versus TV versus video games.

        Im not saying copy and paste the guidelines... Just the fact movies can see alot more pass through than games under the MA/R guidelines compared to games...

        Im pretty sure if a movie 'showed' someone have sex with a prossy then take them out with an AK they would grace that with an MA ratting with no questions asked..

        I have always liked the argument that proposes a consolidation of rating schemes.

        Then again, I've also always liked the notion that censorship is absolutely unacceptable; that nothing should be banned. Age-restrictions are fine, but ban nothing.

    It sounds a bit like a round-about way of saying what we mentioned in today's earlier article comments: less will end up in MA15+ and things will still be banned. I guess it's hard to say much without directly asking him "would we see GTA banned in the new classification guidelines?" because that's the direct example that was wish upon for 'banning' by the AG.

    I hope these classification guidelines show a lick of sense, reasonable understanding and maturity.

    So Mr O'Connor effectively said nothing. Thanks for that, mate.

    Also, points to Mark for jumping on this at lightspeed; your coverage is fantastic. There's a good reason why Kotaku.com.au is open at work more often than our email client...

    So in the end this isn't a step forward in anything. The current MA15+ rating will become the new R18+ and things that should end up in the new R18+ will still end up banned.

    Well it's all screwed up then. As usual Australia will remain behind the rest of the world forever because of the "think of the children" mindset of todays corrupted politicians

      At least there is someone in government who supports getting an R18+ rating now though. Could be a while until we get it, but until then - just import!

    Yay censorship. So good, I love it… oh wait, nevermind. I will celebrate the death of anyone who is in favour of censorship.

    This is very bad. Adults are still being treated like children. See the way the Attorney Generals lord it over Australians and talk about entitlements as if they are to be handed out like privileges?

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