R18+ Will Be Put To Parliament In February — This May Take A While…

R18+ Will Be Put To Parliament In February — This May Take A While…

Gamespot is reporting that an R18+ rating for games will be put to Federal Parliament on February 7, which is the first step required for an adult rating to be introduced in Australia.

Brendan O’Connor’s replacement as Minister for Home Affairs is Jason Clare, and his office claimed that their plans “are to introduce the R18+ Bill in the first session of parliament this year”.

The process, however, is painful to say the least — it could be years before an R18+ rating actually exists in Australia.

To begin with, the R18+ bill will be presented to the lower house for first reading, then a second reading will occur in which the lower house will debate the bill. During the third reading voting will take place.

The bill is then taken to the Senate where the process practically begins anew. If the senate decides to make any amendments to the bill, it has to be sent back to the lower house.

And that’s just the beginning.

Once the bill makes it through Federal government, yet another process begins at the State level. Each state has the ability to decide precisely how they adapt to this new legislation. Each State could agree in principal to the idea of an R18+ rating, but could decide to not allow R18+ games to be stocked in stores in their own state. It is, however, unlikely that this will happen.

“A lot of this is routine,” said Dr Peter Chen, an expert in media politics, and Australian public policy, “and as it currently stand the bill will probably sail through. It all depends on how controversial the bill is — and it’s all about priorities.

“Each state has to determine the level at which they will participate in the bill and this whole thing just elongates the process. These things can take years.”

Earlier in 2011, David Emery, the Manager of Applications at the Classification Branch claimed that it would take at least two years before they received an R18+ application at the Classification Board, and it looks as though this may end up being the case.

Still, a positive step forward.


  • In parliament speak that means it will get passed but won’t be implemented till 2015. Then Gillard will slap a tax on it and call it a adult tax.

      • Abbot will say he cannot support the bill in it’s current format for whatever reason, repeat that line at every redraft until he gets elected in, and then bitch his head off when Labor does the same thing back at him complaining that they are being uncooperative, then finally he will take credit for it finally passing and claim it was a Liberal success in future elections. We’ve all seen the song and dance before

    • The way things work at the moment, Labor will propose a policy, the Coalition then opposes it publicly while Labor does all the backroom stuff to get it done. One of the backroom deals results in the new law giving a minor tax increase to a tiny section of the community under certain circumstances while giving a similarly minor tax break to a slightly larger subset of the community. The Coalition uses their good old “great big tax” line, names whatever Labor is doing the *insert blank here* tax and we have a big media showdown over rhetoric where everyone forgets the entire point of whatever is trying to be done.

      In the end, the law passes, everyone is largely the same as they were before but Labor has taken another hit in the media without actually managing to screw up anything of importance.

      Politics. I don’t know why I bother following it anymore.

      • Pretty much.

        Labor got this running, and will get it through parliament. The Coalition will oppose it, dogwhistle about kids shooting each other, get a lot of cut through and air time, then move on.

        Tony goes on Alan Jones, talks about our impressionable young kids getting violent games, relates it to boat arrivals and Kevin Rudd somehow, suggests the NBN should be scrapped because it costs money. The bi-daily sub-section Daily Telegraph online-only poll shows a boost to someone of one voter. Analysis happens. Kevin Rudd is mentioned somewhere. Someone suggests Gillard is a lesbian (again).

        In the meantime, the legislation gets passed, the ALP fail to sell how great they are for getting it through, and there will be a lot of sulky commentary around “Sure, great. I guess. Why wasn’t this done 15 year ago?”

        In the end, the legislation has passed, reform has happened, no-one realises it; media dumps on Gillard.

        Woo! Politics.

        • Labor did NOT get this running.

          While they’re carrying the ball now, it was an ALP politician obstructing the implementation of the R18+ rating at every opportunity, if you’d be so kind as to remember.

          One of the reasons it has legs now is the opposition isn’t stupid enough to try and stop it, given the broad community support and obvious positive implications of restricting adult content to adults (read: it’s really easy to make politicians look stupid, publicly, for opposing its implementation).

          Everyone knew this was going to be a long haul, and the passing legislation at the federal level was always one of the options.

          • r1nce is completely correct.

            Michael Atkinson was ALP. The ALP has a lot of socially conservative Catholics in its ranks.

            The idea that the ALP is somehow the party of sex/drugs/rock-n-roll is absurd. Both the ALP and the Coalition are fundamentally political opportunists that will simply make social policy stances on the basis of what helps them win elections.

            Social conservatism, and social liberalism, are bipartisan phenomena in Australian politics.

          • If they were Catholic they would have views in line with The Australian Greens regarding refugees who arrive by boat.

    • They finally read the posters at GAME, EB and other game retailers, Australia’s finally growing up. But only at the speed of a plant’s growth. It sucks but at least a modernized version of a 1974’s East German government is finally being less religious and started to listen to the public. I hope that the Attorney-Generals are still positive.

    • You really want a proposed law made by an interest group to be passed without due process, debate and consideration? Just because you agree with this one doesn’t mean you’d agree with other proposals that are also scrutinised in both houses of Parliament. Its the same process for all proposals, this is how democracy works. No one gets their way without deliberation and time to vote.

      • +1

        The process “sucks” if it’s something you want yesterday.

        It “works” if it stops something you don’t like.

        Man, who’d be a politician?

        • Well that’s where I’m headed towards with my current studies….kind of ouch

          On a related note, about to start the gamers party….Anyone?

          • How about the Legislative Action Nationalist party?

            A. Legislative action is the crux of the matter.
            B. Needed an N word to be the LAN Party.

  • This is standard for most legislation which goes through parliament, although some jsut goes through state or federal levels.
    Some get fast-tracked if its an election issue, but mostly it just goes on the various houses’ metaphorical inbox.
    The important thing is prograss is being made.

    • The things that really drag it down are the lack of ability for anyone outside two parties to change the country, how the two parties basically turn things into a two-sided single-party-state, and how much power money has. Apart from that, it’s not that bad.

      Some things are also not in the govts control, e.g. if the majority of the population are douches, then obviously they’ll elect douches into parliament and then all the laws will be douchey 😛 So basically, if we’re all good people with good intentions working towards THE GREATER GOOD!!!!, then we have a lot less to worry about 😉

  • Oh boy! In just a few years we’ll have something that should never have been unavailable from the very beginning!…

  • I’m sure plenty of perfectly adequate potential R18 rated games will be banned before this is passed. Such a shame.

  • What will be Australias first R rated game? Shane Warnes finger jam – fire edition or House of Abbott 4 – Floating Flotilla Frenzy. Whatever it is Im buying two. One to play – one to keep sealed.

  • and how many games in the mean time will be ban hammered until I till we have the R18+ in place for stupid reasons … there’s been some really inconsistent rules from the ACB over games and it’s set to continue that way for a longer period … sad, really just sad … and there will be no retrospect applying of the rules 🙁

    • For get about games being banned or modified. Ask yourself this: how may more games get rated MA 15+ instead of R 18+ while the process carries out?

      Cases in point, Fallout 3, Grand Theft Auto 4, BioShock, BioShock 2, even Splatter House.

      It’s crazy how R rated games can end up being rated MA 15+.

  • This calls for means of celebration not whining, all things move slow in the government the only things that get fast track are election based promises or public outcries ( Banning of Semi automatic rifles, conscription etc) unless we all protest about it is going to move slow.

    Meanwhile in 2 years we should have what we want so be happy.

  • hahaha i remember learning the whole process for a new bill last trimester in business law.
    It really is something!

    The funniest thing is that if a bill is constantly contested and no one can reach an agreement, the GG can step in and dissolve parliament and call an election for new government… Although that is very very unlikely.

    Oh well.. i guess it’s something worth waiting for.

    I can pretty much guarantee it will be be help up in reviews for a long long time, however.

  • I wish we had an American style ratings system, nothing has to be rated/censored but if it is released unrated then not as may stores will carry it and online would be the primary way to get it, also Pay TV shouldn’t be censored considering you are paying for the product. (I am against all forms of censorship {except for child porn and the obvious} )

  • See, this is why democracy doesn’t work. This situation would have been resolved long ago if I was dictator-for-life, as I should be.

    A vote for Braaains for El Presidente is a vote for an R rating now!

  • I’ve lost the will to care.. They’re still going to ban games for the sale of it regardless.. I’m calling it now.

  • Correct me if i am wrong but by passing the Commonwealth Act the COB will then be able to rate games R18 because the classification guidelines will allow it

    if the states choose not to have R18 on the shelves thats their problem for however long it takes.

    the item no longer is banned, no longer is blocked under the Customs Act and can be imported at will.

    Therefore, a lot easier to obtain then now.

  • and now we play the waiting game…

    the waiting game sucks, let’s play Mortal Kombat and Syndicate!

  • It will sail through until it’s a slow news day and Today Tonight or ACA decide to run a fear piece. Then we’re back to square one.

  • The National Classification review is put to parliament on 28 February, I hate to slow it down but considering the focus on all forms of media regardless of platform (meaning it will encompass games) it sort of trumps the R18+ for games issue.

    If a classification scheme that is platform neutral in implemented games will fall under it by default

  • Damn inefficient democracy. We need to move to one of those government styles with one fella at the top who tells everyone what’s what.

  • Dayam Guv’ment.

    It does provide (this whole clusterfuck) insight as to why the government can’t really do anything besides flop about like a fish out of water.

    Pass the damn legislation, I would rather give my money to a place situated in Australia than a place like PlayAsia.

  • Wow! An article, with words and stuff.


    If we were a politically active nation and actually wanted this billl to pass asap all we would have to do would be to set up a lobby group (post on whingepool also) and get people to ring/email/write their local member and push for it to pass.

    If we were a politically active nation that is …..

  • Once Channel 7 gets word of this, the ACL will run a massive fearmongering campaign and bribe Gillard and Abbott to make sure this goes nowhere.

    We haven’t heard the last of the ACL. These miserable Christians will stop at nothing to push their Bibles and religion onto everyone else. If only a politician grew a spine and told them where they can stick it…

    • I wouldn’t say all Christians are against the new rating – I know several who want it too.

      It’s the right wing Christian extremists that the Australian Christian Lobby attracts that seem to belive they have some right to push their version of fundamentalist religion onto everyone else.

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