UPDATE: The Coalition Push The R18+ Bill To An inquiry

UPDATE: The Coalition Push The R18+ Bill To An inquiry

We’ve just heard word from Ed Husic, MP for Chifley, who has tweeted that the Coalition has asked that the R18+ bill be sent for an inquiry.

As part of the legislation process, if one MP calls for an inquiry on a proposed bill, that bill must undergo extra scrutiny and further examination by a Standing Committee. This inquiry process is usually utilised for bills that are deemed complex or controversial.

The good news, however, is that these inquiries are usually fast tracked, and made up of people with responsibilities in that portfolio area, so to not delay the passage of the proposed legislation. It’s probably worth noting that, since 1990, approximately 30% of bills have been sent to Standing Committees.

Still, it is yet another stumbling block, and a step that further delays the progress of the R18+ bill through Parliament. Hopefully it’ll ultimately be a minor one.

“I’m just flabbergasted that after 10 years this has been pushed to an inquiry,” said Ed Husic. “Everyone is in support, people have basically spoken. We’re ready to get this done.

“It only takes one person to do this and you lose time.”

Husic suggested that the inquiry could just be an attempt by the Coalition to hold up the R18+ legislation or, worse, kill it off entirely, but admitted that he wasn’t sure which way they would sway at this point.

“The Coalition hasn’t indicated what they’ll do yet,” he said. ” But I’ve spoken to Independents, and tried to make it clear that this is an issue that’s been going on for years.”

Husic is confident, however, that this inquiry could be a quick process.

“People will want to move quickly,” he claimed. ” It could be one day enquiry and get it over and done with, the committee may just refer it straight back.”

A full blown inquiry, however, is a far lengthier process.

“First they have to call for public submissions — again,” explained Husic. “They may hold a public hearing based on the submission. Then they have to draft a report, the Committee has to agree to that report and then they submit it back to Parliament.”

Logistically the process can be done in under a month, but if it’s not done quickly, there could be other roadblocks.

“The issue is that we’ll sit in March, but we don’t sit in April,” said Husic.

“If people want this inquiry to move quickly, they should make their voices heard on the issue.”


  • Sigh. So all it takes is one tool in the pocket of the ACL or some hand-wring “family values” association to upset the apple cart.

    Here’s hoping this 20 years and counting legislation doesn’t really need MORE scrutiny.

    • This isn’t the first “inquiry” and it probably won’t be the last. There’s plenty of time to get it passed before the date it’s meant to come into effect, so eventually it should just pass.

      • Well I’m hoping that this is the ONLY time it can be pushed for an inquiry (unless it’s modified later, obviously) else I can see this getting nasty.

        • From what I’ve heard, this has been put through an inquiry before. It’s a nuisance bit it isn’t really an issue.

          • It seems to me that there will be constant delays in the passing of this legislation.
            As you say, this has been put through an inquiry before.
            Could this be a tactic employed by those opposed?

            Delay that bastard until every one is so sick and tired of hearing about it that they will let it fall by the wayside and it can be snuffed out with out the public giving a shite!

    • On the road again… to possibly the last chance to ever get a adult rating, ever. Julia Gillard, John Rau, MP’s of the Coalition and state Attorney-Generals of Australia and the Lord Almighty. Please let the rating, if it doesn’t I’ll resort to cannibalism

  • What is the deal with this constant road-blocking by Government yokels. I bet it’s because they associate R18+ with meaning porn, and their idea of a “video game” is Welly’s Wangers.

    Hehe… I said wang…

          • It isn’t a typo.

            Michael Atkinson was indeed a member of the Australian Labor Party.

            The ALP has a large base of socially conservative, often Catholic, working class supporters. The ALP is not necessarily a haven of social liberalism.

            Social conservatism is a bipartisan phenomenon in Australia. Kevin Rudd wasn’t exactly an anti-censorship pro-gay-marriage pro-legalize-pot kinda guy, and Julia Gillard isn’t pro-gay-marriage or legalize-pot either.

        • Except, in this case, Federal Labor has pushed the issue hard and managed to drag two new Liberal State premiers along who really wanted to say no.

          And after extensive public discussion, the Liberals are yet again putting up roadblocks.

          The ALP got behind this issue, the ALP are forcing this issue, we’ll have an R18 rating thanks to the ALP – which will likely be made unworkable in Liberal held States soon after.

          • As the article says, it only takes one MP to call an inquiry, so this may have just been one concerned conservative Liberal.

            The only reason why it probably wasn’t done first by a conservative Labor MP (somebody along the lines of Atkinson) is because the ALP have the stalinist party rule of booting out anybody from the party who does something without permission from the rest of the party. The Liberal party doesn’t have such a rule – each MP can do whatever they want.

          • Brendan O’Connor mentioned it once, but figured an R-Rating had the higher chance of making it through with the least amount of changes.

            Unlike the ACT where it’d make it, on the national level we’re better off going for the R-Rating now and work on the rest later.

            Time to contact all of your Liberal representatives people: especially if you live in a critical swing seat like I do. Heck; even contact the Liberal representatives outside of your swing seat. 😉

      • Except an inquiry doesn’t stop a bill.

        And you act as if the govt can pass any bill it wants therefore becoming a dictatorship.

        Every bill is voted on by the current house of representative/senate depending on where it is. And while the governing party generally has a majority they currently don’t. Which is an issue if they are insistent on passing a bill that there party promised and will be thrown against them in the next election(and is why all the uttering’s of having to call an early election if they disagree to many times occurred)

        About the only time something can be passed under a dictatorship is when the Governing party tells all it’s members they have to vote yes regardless of the person who maintains that seats personal opinon on the topic. Meaning that the vote is in the interest of the Party Politics and not those of the indiviual representatives electorates. Which is referred to as a Party Line Vote.

        Though generally it is used when they know the opposition will oppose the bill in it’s entirety(normally because they have the same party line vote occurring.

      • A dictatorship of freedom would see us light years ahead of our time. Unfortunately stupid people like you associate the word dictatorship with “bad”.

        • If you’re forcing freedom then it’s not really freedom, dictatorship and freedom (in the true sense of the word) are essentially opposites. The word dictatorship is synonymous with repression (see those things called dictionaries).
          Indeed there’s nothing inherently ‘bad’ about a dictatorship (at least no more than any other form of government), but if Alinos is stupid for associating what has traditionally been a position held by horrible people with a negative view, then what does that make you for using the term “dictatorship of freedom?”

  • I find it amazing that even after stunts like this the Liberal party gets so many votes from young people. I know this isn’t exactly an issue that many people will throw their whole vote behind but on nearly every progressive motion they attempt to stall it or thwart it … and people still take them seriously.

    • its either that, or the Labour party who are a bunch of idiots, and the Greens who are basically Labour followers anyways. While the Coalition consists of backwards folk, at least they have some sense of knowledge on how to run to the country, not run it into the ground like Labour seems determined in doing.

      Also why does the ACL/Backwards Family Protection groups not want this? This means more games will be R18+, meaning less MA15+ games meaning less 15-17 year olds getting their hands on it, and less parents buying the R18 games for there kids.

    • I find it amazing too, but by definition conservative and progressive politics are opposites, so it’s really no surprise.

    • Perhaps if the Opposition were actually consistent social liberals, they’d get more of the youth vote.

      After all, during the last election, the ALP supported Conroy’s internet filter.

      Social conservatism is a bipartisan phenomenon in Australia.

    • Why would youth support the ALP? Anti-art, anti-free speech, anti-X rating, anti-fireworks, anti-guns, anti-unemployed and anti-men’s rights

      • Exactly. I’m from Queensland and here, an ALP Premier pushed through a fine-for-swearing-in-public legislation. So much for free speech.

        The ALP is no less likely to indulge in social conservatism than the coalition.

        • Losing a handfull of swear words does not take away Free Speech. Not that we have Free Speech in this country it is merely implied.

          That being said you can still stand on any street corner and call the goverment a pack of money grubbing imbeciles and nobody will stop you. Sure the police may come because your a public nuisance, and they will ask you to go away before trying anything. But if you need to sprinkle some F*Bombs in to make your point or it just doesn’t work, than they can cart you off and maybe just maybe your point isn’t worth it.

          • Swear words are indeed free speech. If the speech doesn’t constitute defamation or coercive threats, it is (morally speaking) impossible to restrict without violating free speech.

            The role of the State is NOT to inculcate “proper language.”

            And no, the mere presence of foul words does not make speech worthless. It is quite possible to express a reasonable point in a profane manner.

            That said, legally speaking you are correct that this country does not have a legal right of free speech. But I’m speaking from the political philosophy traditions of the Enlightenment, not “whatever the law says right now at the time.” The law can easily be an ass. After all, under current Australian law, men cannot by definition be raped (rape is defined in terms of Nonconsensual Penis In Vagina, rather than Nonconsensual Sex more broadly). This is a pretty obvious case of The Law Is An Ass, and in this situation the law must be changed.

            Ditto with respect to free speech. Free speech is an inherent, natural, inalienable right of all human beings that exists logically prior to the State.

          • I never said I liked the fact that we technically don’t have free speech. My reply to your comment assumed you where talking legally as you quoted a law that banned swearing.

            Now I think you misinterrupted me, I didn’t say swearing invalidates the point, just that if the argument can’t be made without swearing it may not be that valid. I just don’t see Free Speech as a right to be profane. Free speech in my opinion is the right to express and idea without unjustified reprisal. Now do I think that you have the right to swear? Yes if you so choose that option.

            As for that whole Rape thing, don’t tell the loophole is Anal Sex. Because that would be a very very bad thing.

      • The coalition introduced the biggest gun control in our history. The Labor party has introduced, since being elected in ’07 a number of improvements to free speech and the rights of journalists, compared to John Howards infamous sedition laws. You sound more like a troll when you get into fireworks, the unemployed and men’s rights so I won’t bother biting there.

  • I’m going to do a prediction and say that the R 18 Rating will be a fedral law, but because the ratings can be tinkered with at state level, the church heavy states will have the most onerous and just plain silly versions.

    Like how Fight club’s cover in Adelaide has to be covered up because its an R18 movie (its a pink bar of soap).

    • I live in Adelaide…

      The cover doesn’t have to be hidden. R18 movies must be stored in a separate, clearly designated, section of the shop… but they’re not required to be wrapped in black plastic or anything.

  • “The good news, however, is that these inquiries are usually fast tracked, usually made up of people with responsibilities”

    Come on, this is the Australian Government we are talking about, everyone is as incompetent as each other so we might see the R18+ sometime in the next 100 years.

  • Screw you, Tony Abbot. Screw you to hell

    “The good news, however, is that these inquiries are usually fast tracked, and made up of people with responsibilities in that portfolio area, so to not delay the passage of the proposed legislation.”

    Who has responsibilities when it comes to video games? or are they gonna focus exclusively on those with responsibilities in censorship? If I find out they’re using the current censorship committee or they’re gonna invite the ACL again, I’m gonna scream

    • Actually, I think it’s the Justice department that’s in charge of this one. I doubt this is the same as when the SCAG met and invited all of the nutters to say their piece.

      It’ll probably just be a couple of public servants in a room for a few hours going “well, what’s apparently wrong with this?”

    • I utterly hate Tony Abbot and his backwards social and theological views to the very bottom of my soul, but there’s no proof he’s responsible for this.

      Remember that during the last election, Abbot criticized Conroy’s internet filter.

      Social conservatism exists within the ALP too. Remember Michael Atkinson? He was a socially conservative Roman Catholic. Just like Tony Abbot.

  • Unless the question posed by the inquiry is “Why the hell has this taken so bloody long?”, its likely to be a waste of time

  • Tony Friggin Abbott. Seriously, just take our fibre optic connection while you’re at it. I know how much you’d hate to live in a country that would be up to date with technology. My god, could you imagine how bad it would be if everyone were more productive? Are we honestly learning from the ASIANS now?!?! My god, no way in hell would you ever want fast internet now.

    • No see … modern, successful economies thrive entirely without manufacturing anything of value, without utilising information technology, without an education system and without taxing profits of the people who dig stuff out of holes.

      That’s how it works. Didn’t you get the memo? As in the one I hand wrote and sent by horseback?

      • No offense but that is a bizarre distortion of the economic beliefs even of people like Tony Abbot.

        Please take some actual economics classes before you make such concrete-bound, economically-illiterate criticisms.

        I hate social conservatives but remember, the first rule of warfare is Know Thine Enemy.

    • See the comment I made to Allanon10101. As much as I’d love to see Tony Abbot be crucified alive in an extremely gruesome fashion, there’s no proof he’s responsible. If there is, please show me and I’ll happily help make him pay.

      • I admit ur correct, but u gotta remember that this is politics. Spreading the hate among some random Coalition members just ain’t gonna do it. WE GOTTA FRIGGIN SCAPEGOAT TONY ABBOTT. Just pin all the blame on this one guy. Hell yeah, that’s how it’s done.

  • I’ve said it before, I will not be convinced we’re getting the rating until I’m holding an R rated game in my hands.

  • I just wish both parties would tell the ACL what the rest of the country is thinking, but know that would actually entail representing your constituents rather than pandering to lobby groups wouldn’t it.

  • I guess if you want something to stall you just keep going over old ground. Ask for an enquiry. Get more public submissions. Discuss/debate. Rinse and repeat.

    We’ve made our voices heard; that was the point of the public submissions.

  • This sucks, but at least this Husic guy seems to be on the ball about the issue. Hopefully he can talk some sense into whoever is wanting this.

  • What do you expect from a party run by a failed wanna be priest, who’s great vision for the future is to scrap the NBN and replace it with more roads in Western Sydney.

  • What won’t the Coalition do to ruin everything? Want high speed broadband? Nope. Allowing adults to make choices on what games they buy? Nope. Being really old and backwards against everything? Nope, well technically yes but we have to say no to everything by default.

    • That high-speed-broadband comes with Conroy’s internet filter.

      Legally speaking, this is a dangerous precedent, akin to SOPA in the US.

      Also, economically speaking, fibre-optic-cable could easily be technologically superceded only a few years after the NBN is complete. Or even beforehand, theoretically.

      • Should I say “Please take some technological and legal classes before making such concrete-bound and tech/legal-illiterate statements”?

        The fibre optic technology is future proof and easily uogradeable, unless they break the speed of light barrier. The alternatives and potential future alternatives are a distant second place, and are mainly only feasible in cities – provided only a few people use them at a time.

        Secondly, it is extremely disingenuous to compare the filter to SOPA, or to suggest the filter and the NBN are both-or-nothing, and shows a marked lack of understanding of both issues.

        • Please pay attention to context. I was replying to a comment which implied that the Coalition was “against” high-speed-broadband.

          I’m quite aware that in fact the NBN and Conroy’s filter aren’t the same thing. That said, they WERE presented to the public as a package-deal. And in elections, one has to measure a number of package-deals against each other.

          The point I was making re. SOPA is that both SOPA and Conroy’s filter gave the government (of the US and Australia respectively) far too much control over the internet.

          • “Also, economically speaking, fibre-optic-cable could easily be technologically superceded only a few years after the NBN is complete. Or even beforehand, theoretically.”

            I fail to see how that is saying that the Liberals are for high-speed broadband. What it is saying is that, as far as you can see, light-based technology “could easily be technologically superceded only a few years after the NBN is complete. Or even beforehand” – this is blatantly wrong.

      • Stuck in 2009 are you? I bet you blame the Greens just as much for the net filter as you do Conroy despite them being the only effective opposition to it.

        It was a conservative, non-attached to the Liberal Party who sparked the internet filter debacle. Labor just played along and stalled the project until he got voted out of office.

        If you want something akin to SOPA look at ACTA. It’s worldwide and already introduced and ratified here. Sure, it’s barely been used yet but it’s powers are heavy handed and the international negotiations for it pretty damn spooky.

        • Thanks for the prejudice.

          Actually, I do not blame the Greens. I dislike the Greens but on social issues, I agree with them more often than not.

  • The problem is politics. Something like this being done under a Labor government would hurt the LNP’s efforts to get back into power by enabling them to present themselves as the ones to finally bring the R18+ issue to a close. LNP may not be against it in principle, but if they want to get re-elected they have to stand against everything Labor attempts to do and make them look weak and ineffective

    • I doubt anyone in Canberra thinks of the R18 rating as an electoral issue or one to gain political benefit. If they did they would be making a hell of a lot more noise about the issue.

      • Dude, if noise is made about this, then the conservative voters will be so far up everyone’s asses. These are the people who refuse to see that the audience for video games are no longer limited to eight year olds, but rather that video games are simply becoming “more violent”. To them, there is really only a “G” rating for all games, be it Mario or Grand Theft Auto.

      • MrFaceplant is correct.

        There’s simply not much political capital to be gained here.

        The size of the game industry is irrelevant; the pool of actual ‘hardcore’ regular gamers, those that actually care, IS relevant. And this pool isn’t necessarily going to increase just because more people are playing games.

        We’re in a society with an aging population so demographic trends are temporarily against us. I say the best strategy is the Agorist strategy; import and de-legitimize the government’s authority over this area.

        Apart from that, the best you can do is write to your local MP or your State Senators and demand they support an R18+ rating for games.

  • Considering how morally bankrupt the Coalition has been of late, this is just another Labor policy for them to oppose to the death. Complete and utter morons.

  • So, I’m gathering support to elect myself as unquestioned god-emperor of the country. Once elected I shall get this R-Rating business sorted out quick-smart and have have the heads those who opposed it put on pikes at the gates of my palace.

  • The pollies have this wonderful gift. It works a treat. It’s called distraction. Think about it. The day after Gillard breaks a promise (pokie reforms) a “riot” breaks out. When labour under is pressure because as a result of offing Rudd, they cloud the problem with remedial drama such as this. Not surprised at all by this. Predictable tactic.

  • Just ordered a few more banned games today from overseas. Should be at my doorstep late next week. I don’t care about our Nazi political parties any more. Their constant fart assing around and laughable censorship laws are redundant.

  • Good grief! I know the most Labor policies and programs have turned out be twin train wreaks in slow motion, the R18+ debate is one of the few initiatives other than the NBN that is a step forward.

    But no, the Coalition has to oppose everything in a knee jerk manner rather than analyse and improve upon what Labor offers.

  • Hey why wont the government put a tax to R18+ games, then ill bet the will be passed within 24 hours…. The real reason behind the delay is the regulations and control over it, but if you put a tax on it, at least it will pay off the government and pay off maintaining the regulations.

    • Keep in mind that we’re in a minority government situation, ie: the ALP does not have enough votes in either the Lower or Upper house to just pass what it wants.

      To get anything through either house, they need the support of the Greens, the Liberals, and/or Independents.

      All these “taxes” you hear Alan Jones rant about all the time? Passed only with the support of one of the three groups above.

  • Isn’t the point of an inquiry to gain more information on the subject so that they can make a more informed decision? What have they been doing for the last two years? What did the ALRC spend six months researching for?

  • You reckon whomever is in the “clerical” position that has task of initiating the inquiry, would just collect THE DECADE OF ALREADY COMPILED SUBMISSION DATA and dump it on the desk of person responsible for the inquiry.

    “There you go (prick). Start (f*ckin) reading.”

    Seriously. We spend years (YEARSSSS!!) writing these submissions to various types of unofficial inquiries, just to get the thing LOOKING like a piece of legislation. Then once it reaches the next “tier” of government, they ask for a WHOLE BUNCH OF NEW SUBMISSIONS!!

    Next time I hear a Coalition member talk about WASTING TAXPAYERS MONEY, I’m gona be sure to BRING THIS SHIT UP.


  • I’m not disappointed in the slightest.

    If you view all politicians as self serving, petty, lying bastards, you’re never disappointed.

  • Tony Abbott you god damn freaking moron…
    Dont oppose for the sake of opposing.
    98.8% vote in favor of a R18+ and yet you and your Christian Nazi brethren (along side dictator Conroy) go and screw things up.
    Liberal / Labor. Both run by idiots. Both capable and willing to destroy Australia for their own DISGUSTING agenda.

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