Agreement on R18+ classification for computer games


Friday, 22 July 2011

Agreement on R18+ classification for computer games

Minister for Justice Brendan O’Connor today welcomed in-principle agreement by Classification Ministers to create – for the first time – an adult category for computer games in Australia.  Law Ministers from all jurisdictions met in Adelaide today for the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General meeting to decide on the issue, which has been on the agenda for almost a decade. All jurisdictions, except NSW, agreed in-principle to support the Commonwealth’s proposal to introduce an R18+ classification for computer games in Australia.

The NSW Attorney-General, who has recently taken office, advised the meeting that NSW would abstain from endorsing the proposal and will consider it out of session.

“This is a big step forward in the long running debate on classification of computer games for adults,” Mr O’Connor said. “The introduction of an R18+ classification for computer games will
provide better advice to parents and help prevent children and teenagers from accessing unsuitable material,” he said. “Once introduced, the new classification will also afford adults the opportunity to view material designed for adults.”

“It is a credit to all jurisdictions that the meeting has now been able to achieve agreement over what is a complex matter in classification policy.”

“I thank all jurisdictions for their support for what is not just a practical public policy, but also very popular policy.”

A national telephone survey conducted by Galaxy last year showed that 80% of the 2,226 people contacted said they supported the introduction of an adult only category for games. Draft guidelines presented at the last meeting have since been amended and this requires some jurisdictions to seek approval from their respective Cabinets. Once that is achieved the Commonwealth will begin drafting the legislation necessary to introduce the new classification.

The proposed Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games recognise the unique interactive nature of computer games. These changes will ensure that games containing high-level violence are restricted to adults.  Games containing extreme violence will continue to be refused classification and banned from sale altogether.

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