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.