“We want to provide better guidance for parents and remove unsuitable material from children and teenagers. The introduction of an R18+ classification will help achieve that.”
The announcement comes ahead of Friday’s Standing Committee of Attorneys-General meeting, where Classification Ministers will be asked to make a decision on the issue.
“We believe that this is the right decision for Australian families and the right decision for parents who want to be able to make informed choices about the games their children play.”
“Children and teenagers shouldn’t be exposed to the gratuitous sex, violence and adult themes that are contained in some computer games,” Mr O’Connor said.
“There are dozens of games that are currently classified as MA15+ in Australia, but in other countries these gaming titles are restricted to adults only.
“If the new category is introduced, it could result in computer games that are currently classified MA15+ being reclassified R18+, providing a new level of protection for children.”
“Games that are currently refused classification and do not meet the standard required for R18+ classification will remain in the refused classification category.”
The argument for a new adult classification is backed by research, some of which has been released in recent weeks. (For details visit www.ag.gov.au/gamesclassification).
The latest available data is a Galaxy survey, requested by the Standing Committee of Attorneys- General in May to assist Ministers in their decision making.
The national telephone survey shows that 80% of the 2,226 people contacted said they support the introduction of an R18+ classification for games.
“This survey also reflects the community feedback that I and many members of the Gillard Government have received from our constituents in recent years,” he said.
The national survey found that, of those surveyed:
- 91% said that adults would know that a game classified R18+ is clearly unsuitable for children
- 81% aged over 50 agreed that there should be an R 18+ classification for computer games
- 76% of households with children aged under 18 thought that there should be an R18+ classification for computer games.
Support was strong across all States and Territories:
- Western Australia – 84%
- Victoria – 82%
- Tasmania – 82%
- South Australia – 81%
- Northern Territory – 81%
- Queensland – 80%
- New South Wales – 77%
- Australian Capital Territory – 77%
The survey results build on the recent public consultation, where 98% of about 57,000 people supported the introduction of an adult classification.
Australia’s most restrictive classification for video games is currently MA15+. Games that do not satisfy this category are refused classification and cannot be brought into Australia.
An R18+ classification for computer games can only be introduced with the agreement of all Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers.
Media Adviser: Jayne Stinson 0458 547 512 firstname.lastname@example.org