The R18+ Inquiry Recommends An Adult Rating For Video Games Be Passed

After the R18+ classification bill was presented to Parliament on February 15, the Coalition asked that the bill be sent for an inquiry. That inquiry has now come back with the clear recommendation that the amendments to the Classification Act be made, and that an R18+ rating for video games should be implemented in Australia.

The inquiry came back with a single recommendation:

The Committee recommends that the House of Representatives pass the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Amendment (R 18+ Computer Games) Bill 2012.

The inquiry was initially suggested on the basis that not enough consultation had been made regarding the introduction of R18+, but that suggestion was dismissed in the additional comments section of the report.

"The Committee notes that extensive public consultation on the introduction of an R18+ category of computer games legally restricted to adults has been undertaken since 2009," stated the report.

"More than 58 000 submissions were received by the AGD on the topic, and more than 2 000 people were surveyed via telephone polling. More than 2 500 submissions were made to the subsequent Review of the National Classification Scheme, which examined the need for classification of computer games legally restricted to adults. This constitutes a significant number of individuals and groups that have expressed their views on the topic."

In a debate in which rationality is often absent, it was refreshing to see the Committee respond with such a great degree of common sense.

"In the Committee’s view, it would be inadvisable to undertake a further round of public consultation by inviting submissions to a parliamentary inquiry," continued the report. "Given the amount of evidence obtained thus far, the Committee does not consider it necessary to duplicate the extensive public consultation processes that have already been conducted. Moreover, the public should not be called on to make submissions to multiple inquiries on the same topic.

"The Committee is satisfied that the evidence demonstrates overwhelming support for an R18+ Restricted classification for computer games. The Committee further notes that the Bill’s aim is not controversial. Rather, it seeks to align the existing classification system for computer games with the system that applies to films."

Hopefully this means that this inquiry is just a minor roadblock in passing the R18+ legislation at the Federal level.

The full report can be read here.


    Excellent news!

    Excellent, news

    Finally something interesting coming from Canberra.

      Hey, I live in Canberra!...

      Nah okay, youre right :|

        Yeah there is nothing interesting here, wont argue that.......At least we are a bit more than just "That place with the politicians" now.

        Well to gamers anyway :/

          wait, Canberra isn't just a place with politicians?

    My, isn't this refreshing?

      It is indeed. Nice to know some people out there are willing and able to go past blatantly obvious delaying tactics. I didn't actually think this would happen - this is politics and law after all :P

        I'm just surprised they pushed this enquiry through so quick ... especially given how busy Labor's been playing politics lately.

          I'm thinking someone on the committee wants some lollipop chainsaw action :P

            They're more likely worried that if gamers don't get this, that we might start paying attention to their "politics". If I were them, I'd worry more about potential rioting.

    That's the think I think some people don't see about Government, that it can actually be rational. The House of Reps is the circus that hides the real nitty-gritty of the Senate and the prep-work done by public servants. They're quite often bi-partison and ignore the politics - leaving that guff to the shouting matches happening across the hall.

    Anyway, this is great news!

    this is great news, but just wait for the liberals and abbott to jump on this and delay it further.

    So how will the Coalition pander to conservative supporters now? What other frivolous avenue of bureaucracy can they exploit to put this off further?

    I appreciate the Committee's clear response, it is nice to see someone is paying attention, but I don't think this is over with.

      It wont matter if they do labour now effectively controls the house of reps since the whole speaker issue. As long as the independents continue to support everything labour puts forward this will go through. The greens love it so they 2 out of the 4 they need.

        Well the coalition was able to send it off to another inquiry, I was wondering whether there was anything else they could do to delay it. Labor controlling the house of reps couldn't stop the coalition pulling this nonsense. Perhaps they were hoping it would take longer for the committee to offer a response?

          I'm guessing this makes it harder for the coalition to oppose it now. They were the ones who sent it off to the inquiry in the first place. When that same inquiry that they insisted on comes back saying completely unequivocally to stop f*cking around and just pass the damn bill in its present form, I don't think it leaves them much wriggle room.

          The problem now is that Tony Abbott's only actual policy (if you can call it that) is the word "No", which means he'll oppose it anyway simply because the government has proposed it. Hopefully the independents and Greens will be on board so it'll get through regardless.

            The Greens will support it and I expect the independants to also, I can only assume this was a sop to the religious right wing of the LNP because frankly they've got bigger fish to fry with the carbon tax

              Yeah, but even then they don't actually have a policy of their own other than "No carbon tax!". Unless they're still pushing the "direct action" barrow they were at the last election which would, hilariously, actually cost more than the carbon tax.

      FYI, 3 state Premiers are Liberal, and all of those states have approved the R rating. It was NEVER the Libs at the state level in the way of this. Abbott is just being pigheaded about this change, because he's Tony Abbott. Not because his voters don't get it and approve it.

      Don't worry just hope that Labor won't do anything to pander to them too like the whole internet filter bullshit.

    wait... does this mean this is actually passed and ready to be implemented now or can someone still come along at the last second and stick their dick in the pie and ruin it?

      It's still possible for someone to try and fuck with this, but the language of this enquiry and specifically its brevity makes opposition incredibly unlikely.

      I read a fair bit of political dross in my role (working for state, not fed gov), and the language, clarity, points covered, and brevity of this statement is, in itself, a statement.

      Any politician who understands 'bureaucratese' will understand that message fairly clearly. In short it is: "We can't believe you wasted our time with this, and we will NOT tolerate you doing it again. Stop being children and just get it done."

      The repetition with regard to the amount of public consultation and popularity is actually a borderline rebuke in itself. The point about controversy is the part which explains that any attempt to resubmit to inquiry under different auspices will also be met with a similar result. They stopped just short of using outright condemnation of anyone stalling... next time they won't, and it'll get used in question time. So no-one will try it.

        But at least we're on the right track, the things that can fuck it up is the 2012 Mayan Apocalypse (Trolol). But at least Micheal Atkinson's no longer SA MP (Now John Rau) and Brenden O' Connor is no longer NSW MP (which he delayed the green light to the bill until November 2011). Only the Mayan Apocalypse and Julia Gillard (the bitch) can stop it. so cheer up

    My heart is fit to burst I feel like Hisao.


    So does this mean it'll be passed at the next reading? I think it's been read twice already.

      With a bit of luck, yes.

      It's been read twice, and third reading is next.
      If that then passes, which, with that recommendation, it should, then we should definitely see it quite soon.

      If they fast-track it, that is.

      But yeah, it probably still won't come into effect until next year

        Well, you know how the saying goes: Third time lucky.

        This news is pretty sweet, though.

    I'll be convinced when it's passed

    Does this mean if you bought the bullfucked version of L4D2 that Valve will give you the PROPER version of the game?

      Doubtful, in order to have this happen, Valve would need to resubmit the game for classification under the new regime. Had L4D2 come out in December 2011, I could see the value in doing this, however a game that old is unlikely to sell more copies if re-classified. But it means L4D3 will likely be fixed up to reflect the US version.

        I'm fairly sure that DLC allows for a nice little loophole.

        They can rerelease a "complete and uncensored" version with all DLC on disc and that would count as a different title to be classified.

        Then just give that edition away to everyone who owns the original on Steam.

      Pretty sure it was mentioned months back that even if this passes anything that was previously refused classification will still be. As in this will only effect future releases. Went looking for where it was said but cannot find it. Perhaps someone else knows.

        A company can however, submit an appeal if they haven't already. Games like MK and Syndicate which didn't submit appeals, (I THINK MK didnt???) could then be resubmitted and given the R Rating appropriately and released posthaste in the more appropriate category. They've not been banned, just refused classification as they don't have an appropriate classification at this point. When one becomes available, if they resubmit, they may be allowed to be released under that.

        If they just gave it away, they would potentially be giving away 18+ content to a legitimately purchased 15+ version to a minor, unless they wait 3 years past when the law is changed and those people who owned the 15+ version are old enough. If they did that, they would then be begging for the government to shutdown Steam in Australia altogether for freely providing illegal content to minors.

        They could (legitimately) get around it by submitting an "uncensored" or "directors cut" version to buy at the usual price and have it at a discounted rate for owners of the original (they've had this on Steam before, a discount for people that own other titles) - even if its just a few dollars (sounds fair to me, they have to pay the Classification Board to resubmit for classification). That way an actual purchase of an 18+ version must be made and their terms must be accepted, rather than just a free update.

      As others have said, it would need to be resubmitted.
      However around the time it was RC'd Gabe (or someone else at Valve) said they would do their best to get an uncensored version to customers.
      He was probably hoping for something a lot sooner, so whether he follows up on it, when the rating comes in, or not is something we'll have to wait and see.

    One hurdle crossed, only a few months left now.

      1 hurdle? It feels like we've been running around the same track, jumping over the same hurdles while every "save the children" moralizing, nut-case has been (ironically) shooting at our feet with an assault rifle.

    I like turtles!

    With the possible exception of Germany, our adult restricted rating will still be the most heavy handed in the western world. Its all there in the guide lines. This victory leaves a funny taste in my mouth.

    This is a little odd.

    The system is actually almost, kind of apparently appearing to work.

    I'm not sure how to react to that.

      This is politics we're talking about. The answer is invariably "with deep cynicism".

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